Overexpensive meals and the redemption thereof… no success so far

Over the next few posts I’ll be backlogging amusing things that had happened over the past two months. I was buried in work, and everything was a blur… but at the same time I took two business trips to San Francisco – that’s two more than the amount of times I left home last year.

The first trip back in March was for GDC – it was much, much less useful than I thought it would be, even after sneaking into all those workshops that I shouldn’t have gone to (i.e. my badge doesn’t cover those sessions).

The second trip was in early April, where we’re suppose to go to the Web 2.0 conference. Things backfired – we had an exhibit hall pass and the hall wasn’t opening until the day after we leave. But that’s still not the point. During this second trip to San Francisco, I’ve managed to break my personal record for most expensive dinner not once… but twice.

The first one was over at fisherman’s wharf. The sun was setting and we were getting hungry, and not wanting to settle for street vendor food, we went into a restaurant – any restaurant – and waited 45 minutes in order to get in. It was located on the second story and it directly overlooks the harbor, but the price tag for dinner? 45 bucks including tax and tips, and this is considering that I ordered the cheapest thing that is not a salad on the menu – fresh clams over spaghetti, with a simple red sauce.

Then the day after, we break the record at a steakhouse in the heart of downtown SF. Order? One lobster tail. The price tag when the dust settles? 80 dollars.

You know, back in the days when I started hitting places like Claim Jumpers, I felt pretty uncomfortable paying 30 dollars or more for a meal, but I eventually settled down to it – for a good time, it was worth my money. But yeah, these two meals… they’re not that great. So now, in order to redeem myself, I’m going to find ways to cook the same meal on the cheap. My philosophy on the matter goes like this: If I eat the same meal enough times at a fraction of the cost, I’d balance out the amount of money I blew on the initial meal.

So, experimentation time! The spaghetti dinner was a total ripoff, with a list of ingredients that I can count on a single hand. So for my cheap knockoff I tried to use some extremely trashy ingredients:

1 lb of cheap spaghetti $1.50 give or take
2 cans of baby clams $6.00 total
1 jar of Prego $3.50
1 bag of assorted frozen
seafood (for more flavors) $2.00

The total comes to $13, and I served myself over 4 meals so that makes the cost per meal $3.25. The result? Ur… kinda suck. The baby clams are so small that they all kind of turn to mush when it’s cooked, and Prego’s tomato flavor is way too strong… and the result, while bearable, is really not compensating for that horribly expensive meal.

I’ll probably try the following formula next week:

1 lb of cheap spaghetti,
1 pack of fresh frozen clam meat,
1 can of diced tomato,
1 pack of mushrooms because mushrooms are so damn good, and
1 onion for some flavoring in the sauce.

Wish me luck.

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