Wednesday, May 17, 2006

16 oz. T-Bone $2.25

Ever since I was a little kid, I must admit, I've loved eating out in restaurants. I mean, I've REALLY loved it. I don't know why or what has caused that, but so many earliest memories have been somewhat obsessed with eating out, or mainly, with the menu prices of my dining experiences.

When I was three years old, my family always ate at the Red Top Cafe in Azle, Texas. However, I can well attest that my dinner consisted of a drumstick that I called, "chickey-bone-meat". I was always supplied with a nickle to insert in the booth-side juke-box thing that would magically play whatever selection I punched. My parents probably spent at least twenty-five cents to shut me up.

After seeing my Dad sometimes ordering a T-Bone steak, I asked that I could order one for my seventh birthday. My parents, indeed, let me order a steak for my birthday. It was a T-bone, medium rare, at the Double-S Restuarant in Kenedy, Texas. and it cost a whopping $2.25. I was in heaven.

I had heard about eating lobster and was just obsessed with the fact. We lived on the Texas Gulf coast where shrimp, pompano, and oysters were home-fare, but lobster was elusive.
Birthday, eleven years old. Parents had divorced. Mom was a single parent. I was taken to San Antonio with Mom and her mother for my eleventh birthday to a VERY fancy seafood restaurant in San Antonio called "The Zuider Zee" which was, apparently, the only restaurant in all of South Texas that served live lobster. I couldn't believe that the fresh lobster cost $8.75; the waitress affixed the lobster bib on me and everything. What was even more amazing was that my awfully frugal grandmother (Budgie) happily and confidently ordered a $3.75 flounder stuffed with crab meat. Wow! How did she know how to do that??
My mom kept the bill down by ordering fried shrimp for herself and the fried fish for my younger brother. We all had a wonderful time and it was one of my most memorable meals.

Mama Leoni's Restaurant, 1975, New York City. I was sixteen years old on an American Thespian Society tour of theatres for two weeks in New York City. We splurged and had THE seven-course meal at Mama Leoni's in mid-town. Price? $15.00 each (Keep in mind that I was sixteen - - keep in mind that the drinking age in New York in 1975 was sixteen for beer and wine, eighteen for liquor. . The bill was slightly more than $15.00 each . . . )

The Riverside, 1978, Austin Texas. I was nineteen years old, finding myself, and fell awfully hard for a sophomore at nearby U of Texas. With the tip, I spent $35.00 on the meal, the sophomore asked me to drop him off at a club to meet someone else, (without me, sans moi). I shoved myself and my 1976 Honda Civic back to my dorm room where I stared at the moon and wrote really bad poetry. I passed a bad check. Big Learning Experience!

Last Night: I met The Hag for an impromptu dinner after work at a trendy Central-American place downtown two blocks from my apartment in Chicago. While we were really enjoying our dinner together, The Hag pointed out that we no longer took notice of prices on the menu, and how nice that was.

We had a wonderful, tasty, impressive dinner. The waiter was great and we truly enjoyed ourselves. It was more than $50 and less that $100. I think.

I've come a long way. . .


At 7:51 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Memories of dining out...I think I just got me some blog fodder!

Love the lobster tale (sorry, too much time "around" Glasgow Charlie). And the self-sacrificing fried shrimp eating mama so her baby can have his lobster...what a gal.

At 8:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, THE HAG (gotta love that name!) loved her dinner, too...the food and service were great, and the company was pretty good, too!! *smiles*


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