Saturday, July 9, 2011

Restaurants and Bars I Frequent, 2011 versus 2002

I was wrapping up a freelance project last weekend when my friend Andy called to invite me out to dinner. We went by Thai Yum-Yum, which I think is just fine but which most folks in town seem to not care for in comparison to Thai-Spoon and Siri Thai. My favorite is the latter. Admittedly, I suppose Thai Spoon is better than Yum-Yum, but it's food often has a fishy taste I don't care for. Then again, I'm not really a fan of Thai food anyway.

Afterward, we went for some shaved ice at Suno. I had been once before and already knew what the product was like, so I opted just to have straight ice cream, green tea ice cream, which I hadn't had in a long while. Andy gave me stress about not living a tip in any place, but I had no change for tips and Andy did--and left the tip accordingly. I paid for the dessert, so I think I made up for his covering the tips.

Anyway, the outing was for me what I felt to be an uncharacteristic expense. I don't eat out that much, or at least that's what I think. I decided to do some investigating. In fact, I do average one meal out per month. Here's the breakdown on where I've eaten, in the Athens and Atlanta area (as opposed to when traveling), in the past year:
I visited most restaurants I went to only a single time this year, and I didn't even visit my favorite (A Taste of Indian--for that is my favorite food). By contrast to how infrequently I eat out, I'll go out for the comparably cheap single drink quite frequently. Here's where I've drank in the past year:

I go to one bar, the Flicker, most frequently obviously; Beef's is there mostly because it's close to work and it's the place my coworkers go for happy hour. Now let's compare the number of times I ate a meal out to the number of times I went out for dessert or for drinks:

So meals out average to about once a month. This, I thought, was probably less than it was ten years ago when I moved here, so I decided to go back to review the records. I was surprised to see what I found. Here's the breakdown on restaurants I ate at in 2002:
Even here, however, how my eating out is shaped by others is evident. Bombay Cafe, at the time the Indian restaurant in town, makes up only a small sliver (one single outing). Clocked and the Grit were the most likely eateries in 2002, since that is where my friends went. Here's the breakdown on bars:
Here's how many times I ate out versus went out for drinks:

There was a tiny bit more drinking, but not too much. By contrast, I was averaging eating out almost three times a month. (There were no outings just for dessert; the change there is likely influenced by one friend having given up drinking in favor of ice cream and other sugary things.) That sure seems like a lot of going out now. Indeed, if I feel like I don't go out as much, this confirms it.

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