Fine Dining and Chilly Nights

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I like eating in restaurants, but am not generally a fan of fine dining or place that are stuffy and pretentious. Mostly because I don’t think they are worth the money.
For a variety of reasons, I ended up eating in four such restaurants in the last month. More than I’ve eaten at in the last year. Now don’t get me wrong, the food in all of these places was what I would call good. Nothing amazing (like the lobster chowder at Moody Tongue in Chicago — yes, I am still talking about this!) but adequate.
For me, however, adequate is not good enough when you walk out spending $200 on dinner for two people. I will admit, I am picky about restaurants. More about small things (ice cold butter with soft bread or the wrong ice in a cocktail) than the big things, because the small things are much easier to fix. If you can’t pay attention to detail, charging $40 for a piece of salmon seems wrong.
The worst of them was the most expensive, and also consistently rated one of the best restaurants in my city. By the time we got to the last one, my husband and I split a salad (amazing!) an appetizer (okay), and a small pizza (decent) instead of getting $30+ entrees, and yet somehow, it didn’t seem to affect the bill that much. I guess this means I am much more suited to hole-in-the-wall taco joints or pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven in the same building as a convenience store (a real place that I loved.) On a side note, I’ve also had more Manhattans and Negronis than a person should probably have in a month.
Oh! Perhaps my favorite thing in October — We saw Hamilton. For the fifth time and it was just as good as the first. It helps to have front-row seats!
Things I’m excited about in November:
Voting. I’ve voted in every single election ever since I was able to. Sometimes it lets me down, but I always do it again the next year. I don’t care who you cast your vote for — voting is a privilege and one we should never take for granted.
Thanksgiving and pumpkin pies. In my opinion, this is the best holiday — no religious obligations, no gifts, just sitting around eating carbs all day with your family.
Crisp fall air, colored leaves, and hot chocolate.
Making pies. I have sights set on pies from this book.  But I might try some old favorites too.
On my wishlist for the holiday season:
Fry Away — this plant-based powder solidifies cooking oil so you can throw it straight into the trash.
This sugar substitute.  I generally don’t like fake sugar because it always tastes just that — fake. I have a relative that I like to bake for but he can’t have real sugar, so this might be the ticket!
This beautiful french glass dinnerware.  I have enough plates. More than anyone needs. But I would be willing to get rid of some for this set.
This Kitchen Aid Cordless Hand Mixer.   I have a stand mixer and it gets a lot of use. But it’s heavy and bulky and sometimes a smaller version would be nice. And cordless? C’mon!
The Breville Dual Boiler Espresso machine.  Starting the day with a really good cappuccino in my own kitchen? My life would change!

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