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Author Topic: Miss going out to dinner!!  (Read 3922 times)


  • Joined Sep 2009
Miss going out to dinner!!
« on: September 22, 2009, 12:40:45 pm »
Am I the only one that has felt like this. I meet up with some friends every 3 months.  I look forward to their company and a meal out.  (I'm the only one that cooks in the house).  I sit down and look at the menu.  Having recently lost 3 stone in weight, I have somehow turned vegetarian (but eat certain meats) and look at the dishes available.  They all have melted cheese in them.  There is such a variety of foods vegetarians eat, why is it always smothered in melted cheese.  I have a look at the fish dishes and they are covered  in batter or butter.  Now this is not about the lost weight and being a miserable git, but why can't restaurants come up with some good vegetarian recipes.  I finally pick something and think "I have cooked better than this".  It has been processed to death then frozen and shipped in from god knows where.  We are not talking about a city restaurant but a country pub. (The girls prefer them). Am I a miserable git or after cooking my own food for so long, I am now spoilt?  I love the company, but the choice of food is not good.  What about having rabbit on the menu? It is a very lean meat and in bountiful supply. And then, if you do find a place which does local produce, the price is so high it is ridiculous.  Should it not be lower as it has not had so far to travel?  I miss going out to dinner!!  I suppose my expectations are too high.  Local produce, variety, and value for money.
What do you think.   :cat: :chook:Roslyn


  • Guest
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2009, 12:57:15 pm »
First thing...WELL DONE!!! losing all that weight takes will power, I know, I have tried. I would agree and when I was on a diet it was very hard to have anything when you are out and hungry and resturants seem to have very little choice, I used to bend my diet a bit and have salad and chicken or something very palin, and yes, I could have had a better meal staying at home, it's horrid eating out when on a special diet. I was peckish when out doing my weekly shop and fancied some cherries, then saw they were £5 for the pack so I put them back, a few yard along were mutipacks of crisps for £1, now how unfair is that? I guess resturants don't sell too many diet meals and as you say, the vegetarian option can be fatty, I know a lot of Indian food is vegetarian so try a good Indian resturant next time, trouble is, they too can be VERY FATTY ummmmmmmmmmm :P


  • Joined May 2009
  • Peak District
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2009, 01:24:46 pm »
I do not eat out hardly nowadays due to the cost, but when I do, I have not been over impressed with the food.  If its a posh place, you get a fancy meat or fish dish covered in sometimes a peculiar sauce, and then some rock hard veg, and you pay a fortune.  The pub food is cheaper, bt it is usually pre prepared and oven chips etc. My friends daughter waits on in a country pub near us, and she told me she was running the kitchen one evening (she is just 18)  When I cast doubt on her cooking ability, she said everything just needed warming in the microwave, so it was fine.

I prefer proper cooked food, and fresh veg etc.  I suppose if the pubs did that they could not do two meals for a tenner, could they!!

I can sympathise with the vegetarian food when out, its not good is it?  I have a vegan friend, and thats a big headache eating out with her.  She usually ends up with just a baked potato - 0bviously no butter or cheese, and if she is lucky a dollop of baked beans on top!!!


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2009, 01:57:58 pm »
Same here! I can't afford to go out much, but I am very rarely impressed and do feel most times it is not good value for money. We do cook better at home and I wonder where all these places are that offer good, local and affordable food! Only seem to be seeing them on TV! (James' steak pie is one of the exceptions!) For vegetarians it seems to be much worse... Not much love going into the cooking (good, fresh ingredients, cooking skills), only time saving and profit making considerations ;D :&>


  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Milton Keynes
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 09:43:16 pm »
Hi, I'm totally with you!  :D  I became a veggie by accident really. I lived with someone who found she needed a high-fibre diet, we had vegetarians staying with us for a while, and I learned that my long-standing arthritis which, I was told, would put me in a wheelchair, might be alleviated by giving up red meat. Inside a fortnight, I was a convert. That was getting on for 35 years ago, and I've never felt the urge to relapse. And yes, my arthritis has been infinitely better.

At first, it was really difficult to find ready-prepared vegetarian food, though it's a doddle nowadays. But I've always puzzled why so many vegetarian meals have to resemble meat; 'non-meat' pies, sausages, burgers, fillets... etc. I admit I do use them, but that's as much as anything because they are cheap and available, and there are few ready-made alternatives for people with busy lives, who can't spend long rustling up a more wholesome meal.

There are so many 'truly' veggie recipes that are seldom seen in a supermarket, or in a restaurant, that it grieves me! And 'vegetarian restaurants' often seem to be quirky, and send shivers down the spine of carnivores (as I'm uncharitably inclined to call meat-eating friends...)! So, when it comes to eating out, it's usually at a 'conventional' restaurant, where the (one!) vegetarian option is either a so-called lasagne, or a sad pizza (comprising only cheese and tomato!), something loosely based on a soggy lettuce leaf, or a meat meal with the meat missing! When there are often fifteen or twenty 'non-vegetarian' choices, why are vegetarians usually consigned to just one choice, and one that lacks creativity, interest and, often, taste!

I was blessed by poor parents who taught me to be self-reliant. At the time, 50-60 years ago, that was the mark of a poor family. Middle-class families aspired to have things done for them; poorer folk had to do for themselves! Mercy! I'm now damn grateful that I learned how to do things that middle-class people now have to take classes to learn! Among them was the ability to cook, and after my mother died whan I was in my teens, I was already glad to be able to rustle up some food. The ability to win a lady's heart by cooking her a meal came later, of course...!

At first as a vegetarian, it was a necessity. You couldn't buy ready-made veggie food. I learned to batch cook, so a few hours preparation gave me a few 'standby' meals in the freezer. And I did discover a few veggie restaurants that didn't alienate non-veggies, while providing something really special for the likes of us veggies*. They introduced me to a few new and different cooking processes, as well as some different food. And then I discovered Mediterranean food; not just the ubiquitous pizza, but different foods and foods cooked different ways. That was an eye-opener.

I still like to go out to eat; it's a social thing as much as a meal, but it's seldom food to be cherished; food you feel compelled to tell everyone about. Even the best quality is often mundane, in terms of interest and creativity.... So I do like to entertain at home. Besides enjoying cooking, it enables me to choose food that excels; food that's in season, that's local, and at its' best. So I can support local producers as well as use what I can grow. I can interest my guests with the tale of how this or that was grown or prepared, and tempt them with things they hadn't tried before. And if nothing else, the taste of food that hasn't travelled halfway round the world, or been grown in tasteless sterility usually speaks for itself.

Though a veggie, I do cook meat and fish for my carnivorous friends, and again, I enjoy finding good local produce. Some have even been heard to say they 'could eat vegetarian food'...! It CAN be a damn sight more interesting than lack-lustre pizza, soggy lasagne, or sad lettuce. So, yes, let's hear it for the veggies? And maybe a few more restaurants could acknowledge that one fifth of the population eats vegetarian food. That doesn't mean they're veggie, but they would eat veggie food sometimes, and enjoy it a lot more if it was interesting and tasty! And if you're unconvinced, don't knock it till you've tried it.

So yes, I also miss going out to dinner, but I don't miss staying in and having good food, with or without friends to share it. I may not be the best cook in the world though, looking at some of the TV cookery/masterchef programmes, I'm not sure there IS such a thing.... But I like cooking almost as much as I like eating good food. Isn't that enough?

(*If anyone's interested, one veggie restaurant that stands out head and shoulders above all others was 'The Garden House' Restaurant, at Portree, on the Isle of Skye! Please tell me it's still there and still as good, 20 or 30 years on!)

Cheers,   John


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 09:58:27 pm »
(*If anyone's interested, one veggie restaurant that stands out head and shoulders above all others was 'The Garden House' Restaurant, at Portree, on the Isle of Skye! Please tell me it's still there and still as good, 20 or 30 years on!)

If it's the one I'm thinking of it was there in 1993! We tried to do a few Munros that year - but it was so misty and wet we had to do the 'tourist thing' instead, so nice places to eat were a must - if only to keep us reasonably dry.   Can't vouch for the last time John and I went climbing in the Cuillins though as we did five of them, and stayed in a B & B with evening meals.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Jul 2009
  • whimple
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 08:40:57 am »
you have to look at it from our point of view as well( i am a chef at a country pub) most people wont buy what you like?? i have 3 menu's running farmers favourites(usual pub fare, but mostly homemade) bar snacks cheap and cheerful, but mostly bought in.and my ala carte specials, which are all made by myself... cost slightly more because the locals like to see them selves as foodies and like upmarket cuts of meat..and mostly shun fish exept for seabass,salmon and hake/cod

mainstay sales are the bar meals at lunch... with the favourites being favourite in the evening..... my special menu is very hit and miss and i can go days without selling anything that i like to cook...... so it eventually gets dummed down to what the locals like to eat :'(   

we have to sell what the majority of our locals want....cant be having homecooked stuff on the menu only to throw it away.... i am lucky in that i have a healthy trade in tourist's despite being miles from the sea so we still can and do run good healthy well cooked meals..... just not as much as i would like :o



  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 09:26:50 am »
I agree with both sides of the dabate (as usual and this fence is damned uncomfortable). Dan and i don't eat out as much as we used to. We rarely have takeaways because we always regret them if we do. Fish and chips is our favourite if we have one.

Sometimes even expensive restaurants are a lt down. We went to a well known restaurant on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh - the food was lovely but at £25 for a main, I kept thinking about what we could have done with £50.

We quite like The Muckhart Inn, which Dan says is like a proper pub and with the no smoking ban, the atmosphere is immeasurably improved. The food is pubby but they do nice specials - liver and onions - and good steaks. Puddings are a flop being prepacked mush with fabulous descriptions. Which is a pity 'cos nice puddings aren't hard to make.


  • Joined Sep 2009
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 10:03:19 am »
I do not envy you trying to run a pub/restaurant these days.  People watch the TV and go off on the latest fad that is in the headlines.  My main objection is that most eating establishments, whether expensive or cheap think that if it is a vegetarian meal, it must be smothered in cheese; cheese sauce, melted cheese and the like. I use over 8 different type of bean at home, as well as different types of split peas and things, different sauces made for meat dishes and not a piece of cheese in site.  One Indian restaurant I went to had spinach with mushrooms and it was so refreshing to see a different meal that I had not tried before. (Not a spinach lover but now converted.)  Like I said, it must be hard trying to pitch a menu right, so profits are up and wastage is low; I just get sick of melted cheese on everything.  Sorry for the rant.  Good luck with your restaurant. I wonder if people are unwilling to try new things because if they don't like it they will not eat it and lose out on a meal; so always pick what they recognise.  We must be more adventurous. Thanks.


  • Joined Jul 2009
  • whimple
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 05:39:18 pm »
maybe we should swop some recipes ;)  then i will please more veggies amd maybe i will have a couple you not tried before?? will get my daughter to pop the beans recipe up in a bit...i am back off to work now >:(



  • Joined Jul 2008
  • Milton Keynes
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 08:34:55 pm »
Thanks for the feedback. I sense we're all agreed in principle, but it's a solid dose of pragmatism that rules quite often. I've not owned a pub, but have friends who do, and I understand the sound economics. I fear all too often people's 'favourites' are what they know, and they won't eat anything 'unknown - and certainly 'won't pay good money' for something they don't know they will enjoy. Logical... I guess we all do it.

My publican friends did try a 'give us a recipe' session a couple of years ago, and got a few worth trying. But being in a rural setting, with little passing trade, they had to revert to the regular menu, for the regular customers, who are their bread and butter, so to speak. Indeed, even little tweaks to the menu provoke the most extreme reactions at times.

But that doesn't change the heartfelt plea for veggies to get a better deal, when the most on offer in most restaurants is ONE (often bland and uninteresting) veggie option, alongside a dozen or two meaty things. And being fair, like I said, many people worry about the quirkiness of specialist restaurants, especially veggie ones. So perhaps many of those don't cater well for non-veggies.... Just a thought? Perhaps they, too, have to stick to what sells best...?

Sad, init?   John


  • Guest
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2009, 09:17:33 pm »
I have similar feelings about eating out, and prefer to cook at home.
we have a circle of friends, 3 couples, and we take it in
turns to cook at home, and one brings desert, another drinks, and you
cook the main course.

Then in three weeks time you go to someone elses house, and same
routine you bring drinks they cook, its great and you can enjoy yourself
without paying a fortune for bad food.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2009, 09:28:53 pm »
We used to do that.  But nobody invites singles to join in.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Near Stirling, Central Scotland
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2009, 09:32:46 pm »
That the same thing i found was that vegaterian things had dairy things in it (have problems with dairy), or peppers in it (which i have allergies too).

So couldn't really eat out for vegaterian food,

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Miss going out to dinner!!
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2009, 09:31:44 am »
I enjoy going out to dinner.

OK, so got that out of the way. I am old. So some of the things I used to enjoy doing have gone - I'll leave you to work out what. My joints often hurt, I get out of breath easily, I take enough pills to need a wheelbarrow when I go out.

So, what's left? Oh yes, nice tasty food. If I can't afford to go to posh restaurants, I have to make it myself.

Me and the boss (her indoors) left the kids a couple of years ago. So we only have ourselves to worry about now. She looks after the business (growing trees) and I deal with the shopping and cooking, laundry (not much too do), car (just changed the engine oil) and try to keep the house tidy.

So, back to food. I watch 'Pie in the Sky' with a certain amount of envy. But the issue is that using local produce (when you can) and making new things makes life more interesting and often the results are very agreeable. Recently, I have been making risottos and stir fries (not at the same time obviously).

I got myself a good stove when we moved here (5 rings and two ovens) and still have a good range of pots and pans. Some good lights in the kitchen means I can see what I am doing (essential in a kitchen).

Getting old means you don't need a high protein/fat diet. Plenty of good veg, starch in a variety of forms, and good quality meat or fish make the best meals for me and her. Now good meat is expensive and good fish costs a fortune. But if you only need a 100 grams for a good meal, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Living in rural Norfolk means there are still a few local family run butchers around. They trade on their reputation. So if you want it cheap - go to the supermarket, but if you want it good/excellent, go to the butcher.

Behind all this, there is the issue of time. I gave up trying to teach fools how to run their businesses about 5 years ago and needed something to keep me busy. So, I've got enough time to learn new things and then make something agreeable. It's probably different if you have a job and are raising a family.

And while I am about it, I recommend making your own beer/cider/wine. I use strong alcohol (shop vodka) to make fruit cordials, preserve fruit, and to make my own vermouth with Rosemary, Thyme and Basil (three old friends!) and a spoon of dark sugar. Not a traditional recipe but that's the point; trial (and error) but something nice, repeatable and affordable. It goes into the cooking and gets added to other drinks (with whisky and sometimes one of the cordials).

I have tried making air-dried ham, salami and smoking meat/fish. By the time I die, I should have the best stocked larder in East Anglia!

It's a good time of year to go looking for mushrooms. Get yourself a book and look for the ones which are NOT going to kill you! I recommend some called Boletus. They have gills under the cap which look like a sponge rather than being slotted. Wikipedia has a nice write-up:

Some of them cap be eaten raw but some are best cooked first. They won't kill you and the gills make them distinctive.

By the way, if you have stiff joints and possibly arthritis, try a slice of pineapple for breakfast. It does wonders for your joints and makes a nice change to having bacon and eggs.


Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds


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