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Eating out - good way to gain weight and lose pounds

kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
edited April 2019 in The cake stop
I might be on my own on this - but is eating out the most overrated pastime ?

You generally sit around for ages waiting for pretty average food to arrive - with staff from all directions making sure you have enough to drink.

To me eating is something you do to stay alive its a bodily function - but currently eating out and being a foodie is currently a hobby - I don't get it.

Go to a show, watch a band , go to the movies, go to the races, - eating out is creating an event when none exists

Thoughts ?
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  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,077
    You obviously are not paying enough!
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    photonic69 wrote:
    You obviously are not paying enough!

    I sometimes do - but even then the fun factor scores very low.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Lose with one "o" only.

    Half the time is a waste of money, the other half is worth spending that money. That said, I'd rather eat out than do any of the alternatives you mentioned.
    My problem is "other people", I can't stand being surrounded by folks at short distance... shows, films, concerts, games, races... it all involves being jammed in a small seat in a crowd, not to speak about queues and shortage of loos
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,767
    i can see your pov - and if you go to clone chain eateries, Nandos, Bella Pasta, Ask, Pizza Express, I can definitely see where you are coming from.

    All of the things you highlighted you could do instead (With the excception of racing) are all things you go to watch, and not really interact with who you have gone with.

    A nice meal, with good company, and decent food and drink, is a nice relaxing way to spend a couple of hours, and have some good conversation without the intrusion of everyday life imho.

    Not about the cost to me, but it is about the VFM, so a £30 meal out for two is still fine if it's value for money, but equally a £100 for two is fine IF the quality, and surroundings\ambience justifies the price.
    *Justification is a very individual thing!
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  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    To me its people who are shitless - what shall we do - oh lets go for a meal.

    With hindsight its gotten more pronounced for me since I got into northern soul - an evening of dancing costs a fraction and is just so much more fun.

    ....but I do dislike this idea that eating is a hobby . YMMV.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,077
    kingrollo wrote:
    photonic69 wrote:
    You obviously are not paying enough!

    I sometimes do - but even then the fun factor scores very low.

    I wholly agree with you. Being vegetarian a lot of places I seem to go to with friends are quite lacking on options for me. I have been to some very good vegetarian places too, but as I really like cooking at home I often feel a little disappointed still, thinking "it's OK, but..." etc.

    I'd much rather cook at home and have friends around with some good wines. But, that doesn't happen enough as a) cooking good food takes a LOT of prep, especially vegetarian dishes; and b) I don't have enough time as I'd rather spend time with the kids, riding bikes, fixing cars, doing DIY etc etc; and c) I really really really hate washing up!!! :lol:
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,013
    Most things can be described equally negatively. Eg going to the movies. You pay an excessive fee to then sit in a darkened auditorium for 45 minutes watching censored trailers for censored films you will, if you are lucky, never see. Eventually, after an eternity, the film starts but people still keep coming into the auditorium because the staff are more concerned about the money they make from morons who can't turn up on time than providing a good experience for those who can. You then watch a censored , overrated film whilst people fiddle with their phones, talk and try to eat food because they can't manage without these things for just a couple of hours (though given the excessive length of a lot of films and the aforementioned pre film tedium I have some sympathy for the need for refreshment). The worst are the ones continually trying to unwrap sweets extremely slowly from their weirdly needlessly loud wrapping (which are sold at the cinema for reasons I don't get because surely anyone with any sense would think that if you must sell food at a cinema you could at least source stuff that can actually be eaten quietly) in an utterly futile attempt to be quiet. I want to punch them.

    If you aren't enjoying eating out there are two main things to change - the restaurant for one that does decent food and your friends for a new less boring set. If the company is good enough the food ultimately doesn't matter so much.....
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,319
    It's sometimes nice to just go out and not have the bother of cooking and washing up even in the fairly bland chain restaurants. Eating out at a very good restaurant as a very occasional treat can be a real pleasure, I'm not exactly a great gastronome but there is definitely an enjoyment in eating high quality food. I've never quite understood people say they can eat just for fuel, why not make the most of the sense of taste? It's like saying you only use your ears or eyes for boring functional things and never enjoy a view or music.
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    Rolf F wrote:
    Most things can be described equally negatively. Eg going to the movies. You pay an excessive fee to then sit in a darkened auditorium for 45 minutes watching censored trailers for censored films you will, if you are lucky, never see. Eventually, after an eternity, the film starts but people still keep coming into the auditorium because the staff are more concerned about the money they make from morons who can't turn up on time than providing a good experience for those who can. You then watch a censored , overrated film whilst people fiddle with their phones, talk and try to eat food because they can't manage without these things for just a couple of hours (though given the excessive length of a lot of films and the aforementioned pre film tedium I have some sympathy for the need for refreshment). The worst are the ones continually trying to unwrap sweets extremely slowly from their weirdly needlessly loud wrapping (which are sold at the cinema for reasons I don't get because surely anyone with any sense would think that if you must sell food at a cinema you could at least source stuff that can actually be eaten quietly) in an utterly futile attempt to be quiet. I want to punch them.

    If you aren't enjoying eating out there are two main things to change - the restaurant for one that does decent food and your friends for a new less boring set. If the company is good enough the food ultimately doesn't matter so much.....

    For various reasons I can have a night at the movies with OH for under £5 ! - hate eating in cinema - but thats how cinemas survive (selling food)
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,130
    edited April 2019
    We spend quite a bit of money on eating out. We both enjoy food (and cooking). Neither of us are gaining weight

    It does sound like you're going to the wrong places though, if the food/service/experience is poor.
    photonic69 wrote:
    a) cooking good food takes a LOT of prep, especially vegetarian dishes

    Is that true? I'm vegetarian and we cook from scratch every evening. Chopping board to plate in 45mins.
    Ben

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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Daniel B wrote:
    i can see your pov - and if you go to clone chain eateries, Nandos, Bella Pasta, Ask, Pizza Express, I can definitely see where you are coming from.

    Don't knock chain eateries, at least they have a standard... I've been in some gastro pubs that were truly appalling... some even had nearly 5/5 on Tripadvisor.

    This is my review of one such place

    "The cute village, the ivy growing on the front, the Cotswolds and all... yet, prices are a bit on the steep side, portions are a bit on the small side and the quality is not even that great.
    Burger was good, although the portion of chips was the smallest I have ever seen and the slaw at the side was not there.
    The vegetarian Wellington was probably a mistake my wife made... although for £ 17 one would expect it to be something special. It wasn't... pretty dull chunks of undercooked root vegetables wrapped in pastry.... with some cubed root vegetable of some description on the side... bit of a joke really and not a cheap one"
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,543 Lives Here
    Quality of your enjoyment is usually more related to company than to the location...
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,674
    Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures.

    I love eating out and I am getting better at choosing the 'best' thing on the menu rather than what I usually would have eaten were I at home / playing it safe. Also restaurant plate sizes are 'just so' that I can eat everything over 3 courses and not feel stuffed, just perfectly satisfied. Unlike at home where I eat until I am about to burst.

    As said - it's about going to the right places, ordering the right food and having great company. Even chain restaurants are nice, just for a change of scenery and a night off the washing up.

    I do know some others who don't really 'get' nice restaurants. Personally I struggle a bit with overly fussy michelin-starred places with all the gels, mousses, purees and so on but still find them worthwhile for a treat every now and then.
  • To me eating is something you do to stay alive its a bodily function - but currently eating out and being a foodie is currently a hobby - I don't get it.

    I know a lot of people who view food in this light, and I suspect this feeds in to your lack of pleasure derived from eating out. You are definitely not alone in your view, I am sure many others share it. I am the complete opposite, food and cooking plays an integral part in my daily life and always has done, I believe it is an intrinsic part of our socialisation; sharing a meal, conversations around the dinner table growing up etc. but I appreciate this is not the norm for everyone. Eating in better restaurants is probably not going to convert you if you don't already see food as a means of gaining enjoyment and pleasure from something, perhaps better to spend your time and money on something you really enjoy.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,013
    kingrollo wrote:
    For various reasons I can have a night at the movies with OH for under £5 ! - hate eating in cinema - but thats how cinemas survive (selling food)

    It seems to be how everything survives these days - food is the only profit and most of it sold in such a way that is utterly devoid of pleasure.

    And no, can't do the TGI Friday etc experience. Horrible. Did it once. Happy Birthday to somebody every five minutes. If I want to enjoy eating I'm hardly going to choose a kindergarten for the venue.

    Also I don't eat anywhere that has (artistically optimistic) illustrations of the food above a counter. Particularly backlit ones. Nor, if I can help it, at buffet restaurants. I'm not cattle. I don't feed at a trough.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,130
    Rolf F wrote:
    I don't eat anywhere that has (artistically optimistic) illustrations of the food above a counter.

    Because it's advertising?
    Ben

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  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,767
    edited April 2019
    Daniel B wrote:
    i can see your pov - and if you go to clone chain eateries, Nandos, Bella Pasta, Ask, Pizza Express, I can definitely see where you are coming from.

    Don't knock chain eateries, at least they have a standard... I've been in some gastro pubs that were truly appalling... some even had nearly 5/5 on Tripadvisor.

    I avoid chains wherever I can for food and drink, would much rather give my money to a person with one establishment in my home town, or likewise when I go away.

    I'm happy to pay the extra (if required - lack of 2 for 1 offers etc) for the non chain establishments, as I notice more and more towns and cities are seemingly becoming clones of one another.

    We are lucky where I live, we have independent Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Nepalese, Lebanese, Fish & Chips, Spanish, English cuisine and probably more.

    I know someone who works for a large food manufacturer, and they make starters, main courses and desserts for a lot of these mass service chains - risotto for example, is cooked in huge batches, frozen and delivered by lorry to their premises, then they simply defrost it and reheat it for you - that for me, was the nail in the coffin of spending £8 (or whatever) on an otherwise perfectly acceptable risotto etc etc, as I feel it should be prepared fresh, or at the very least that day.
    All imho.
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Rolf F wrote:

    Also I don't eat anywhere that has (artistically optimistic) illustrations of the food above a counter. Particularly backlit ones. Nor, if I can help it, at buffet restaurants. I'm not cattle. I don't feed at a trough.

    You only truly appreciate such places in the middle of a 600 km Audax, when you cross a town after midnight... McDonalds trumps a Ginsters pasty at a gas station hands down
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,013
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    I don't eat anywhere that has (artistically optimistic) illustrations of the food above a counter.

    Because it's advertising?

    Ho ho! No, because I associate it with either dreary corporate behemoths (Subway, McDonalds etc) or cheap takeaways of the sort you only go to when drunk. Decent quality places never seem to need pictures of the food.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,864
    Daniel B wrote:

    I avoid chains wherever I can for food and drink, would much rather give my money to a person with one establishment in my home town, or likewise when I go away.

    Not just food, the whole chain vs independent establishment applies to lots of areas, retail, garages, clothes etc. etc.

    I prefer to support independents but you're often gambling with service levels that may be anywhere from amazing to dreadful. I think people like chains because they are comfortable and predictable. You know it won't blow your socks off but you are confident you'll fulfil your needs with minimal fuss.

    If I'm somewhere new, do I chance an unknown seller or go with the known option? I guess the more disposable income you have, the lesser the risks with an independent.

    It is this mentality that is driving corporate giants to more and more success, we are comfortable trusting large organisations to get the job done. Brand is everything today.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    morstar wrote:

    It is this mentality that is driving corporate giants to more and more success, we are comfortable trusting large organisations to get the job done. Brand is everything today.

    Or you can see it another way... if there wasn't such a large number of independent who can't run a catering business, maybe people wouldn't have to resort to chains...

    We are now in 2019, the all idea of coffee with frothy milk has been around for well over 20 years and yet the vast majority of independent cafes outside the big cities can't churn out a cappuccino... no wonder people choose Costa...
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    I actually prefer buffet - go up get your food - eat it. I really don't feel I am missing out by not spinning out the whole eating episode to a couple of hours.

    If its all about the company why bother with food at all.

    I get on really well with the people I work with - we are mostly of a similar age - and there is various office banter - its a good crack - one year our Christmas meal (self funded) was cancelled at the last minute - the only place we could get in was a comedy club - everyone agreed it was a fantastic night out - hilarious - but come next year everyone wanted to go to the sit down meal again ?????
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,013
    morstar wrote:

    It is this mentality that is driving corporate giants to more and more success, we are comfortable trusting large organisations to get the job done. Brand is everything today.

    Or you can see it another way... if there wasn't such a large number of independent who can't run a catering business, maybe people wouldn't have to resort to chains...

    We are now in 2019, the all idea of coffee with frothy milk has been around for well over 20 years and yet the vast majority of independent cafes outside the big cities can't churn out a cappuccino... no wonder people choose Costa...

    That's quite a claim! I've yet to notice anywhere big enough to have a Costa that doesn't have perfectly serviceable independent alternatives. Machines that can produce no worse a Cappuccino than the likes of Costa seem pretty ubiquitous nowadays. Just within the confines of Leeds Station there are about 16 different shops that sell fresh ground coffee/cappuccino etc (I know - that is within a big city but the point is that coffee shops are a ridiculously numerous form of shop).

    Incidentally, I've tried numerous independent coffee outlets in Leeds and so far they all seem to be better than Costa and Starbucks.
    kingrollo wrote:
    I actually prefer buffet - go up get your food - eat it. I really don't feel I am missing out by not spinning out the whole eating episode to a couple of hours.

    If its all about the company why bother with food at all.

    I get on really well with the people I work with - we are mostly of a similar age - and there is various office banter - its a good crack - one year our Christmas meal (self funded) was cancelled at the last minute - the only place we could get in was a comedy club - everyone agreed it was a fantastic night out - hilarious - but come next year everyone wanted to go to the sit down meal again ?????

    If it's not all about the company then are you going to those events you do like on your own? It doesn't sound like you'd miss out on your Christmas event if you went to the comedy club entirely on your own.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Rolf F wrote:

    That's quite a claim! I've yet to notice anywhere big enough to have a Costa that doesn't have perfectly serviceable independent alternatives. Machines that can produce no worse a Cappuccino than the likes of Costa seem pretty ubiquitous nowadays. Just within the confines of Leeds Station there are about 16 different shops that sell fresh ground coffee/cappuccino etc (I know - that is within a big city but the point is that coffee shops are a ridiculously numerous form of shop).

    I like to differ... a cappuccino is not about the machine, but the ability to froth milk and mix it with coffee in the right proportion/way, which is not trivial. It takes quite a lot of training. Maybe to you it makes no difference and in the end it's coffee with milk and some froth, but I can assure you that the vast majority of independent cafes out of big cities cannot do a cappuccino that would be recognisable as such in Italy. Still now you get given a large bowl of warm milk scented with coffee and a bit of froth on top... which is by no means the same thing

    .. and Leeds is indeed a large city, so I expect independent to be good
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,543 Lives Here
    kingrollo wrote:
    I actually prefer buffet

    omg.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,130
    Rolf F wrote:
    morstar wrote:

    It is this mentality that is driving corporate giants to more and more success, we are comfortable trusting large organisations to get the job done. Brand is everything today.

    Or you can see it another way... if there wasn't such a large number of independent who can't run a catering business, maybe people wouldn't have to resort to chains...

    We are now in 2019, the all idea of coffee with frothy milk has been around for well over 20 years and yet the vast majority of independent cafes outside the big cities can't churn out a cappuccino... no wonder people choose Costa...

    That's quite a claim! I've yet to notice anywhere big enough to have a Costa that doesn't have perfectly serviceable independent alternatives. Machines that can produce no worse a Cappuccino than the likes of Costa seem pretty ubiquitous nowadays. Just within the confines of Leeds Station there are about 16 different shops that sell fresh ground coffee/cappuccino etc (I know - that is within a big city but the point is that coffee shops are a ridiculously numerous form of shop).

    Incidentally, I've tried numerous independent coffee outlets in Leeds and so far they all seem to be better than Costa and Starbucks.
    kingrollo wrote:
    I actually prefer buffet - go up get your food - eat it. I really don't feel I am missing out by not spinning out the whole eating episode to a couple of hours.

    If its all about the company why bother with food at all.

    I get on really well with the people I work with - we are mostly of a similar age - and there is various office banter - its a good crack - one year our Christmas meal (self funded) was cancelled at the last minute - the only place we could get in was a comedy club - everyone agreed it was a fantastic night out - hilarious - but come next year everyone wanted to go to the sit down meal again ?????

    If it's not all about the company then are you going to those events you do like on your own? It doesn't sound like you'd miss out on your Christmas event if you went to the comedy club entirely on your own.

    Always happy to take a recommendation for next time I'm in Leeds. Where do you go for your coffee, Rolf?
    Ben

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    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    kingrollo wrote:

    If its all about the company why bother with food at all.

    Socialising around food is what makes us different from other mammals, who prefer to be left alone when they eat... :wink:
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,148
    Rolf F wrote:
    morstar wrote:

    It is this mentality that is driving corporate giants to more and more success, we are comfortable trusting large organisations to get the job done. Brand is everything today.

    Or you can see it another way... if there wasn't such a large number of independent who can't run a catering business, maybe people wouldn't have to resort to chains...

    We are now in 2019, the all idea of coffee with frothy milk has been around for well over 20 years and yet the vast majority of independent cafes outside the big cities can't churn out a cappuccino... no wonder people choose Costa...

    That's quite a claim! I've yet to notice anywhere big enough to have a Costa that doesn't have perfectly serviceable independent alternatives. Machines that can produce no worse a Cappuccino than the likes of Costa seem pretty ubiquitous nowadays. Just within the confines of Leeds Station there are about 16 different shops that sell fresh ground coffee/cappuccino etc (I know - that is within a big city but the point is that coffee shops are a ridiculously numerous form of shop).

    Incidentally, I've tried numerous independent coffee outlets in Leeds and so far they all seem to be better than Costa and Starbucks.
    kingrollo wrote:
    I actually prefer buffet - go up get your food - eat it. I really don't feel I am missing out by not spinning out the whole eating episode to a couple of hours.

    If its all about the company why bother with food at all.

    I get on really well with the people I work with - we are mostly of a similar age - and there is various office banter - its a good crack - one year our Christmas meal (self funded) was cancelled at the last minute - the only place we could get in was a comedy club - everyone agreed it was a fantastic night out - hilarious - but come next year everyone wanted to go to the sit down meal again ?????

    If it's not all about the company then are you going to those events you do like on your own? It doesn't sound like you'd miss out on your Christmas event if you went to the comedy club entirely on your own.

    Not sure I understand - the comedy club is still talked about in our office as one of the best Christmas nights out ever - I enjoy the company of my work colleagues - but one of our best nights out wasn't a sit down meal.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,013
    Rolf F wrote:

    That's quite a claim! I've yet to notice anywhere big enough to have a Costa that doesn't have perfectly serviceable independent alternatives. Machines that can produce no worse a Cappuccino than the likes of Costa seem pretty ubiquitous nowadays. Just within the confines of Leeds Station there are about 16 different shops that sell fresh ground coffee/cappuccino etc (I know - that is within a big city but the point is that coffee shops are a ridiculously numerous form of shop).

    I like to differ... a cappuccino is not about the machine, but the ability to froth milk and mix it with coffee in the right proportion/way, which is not trivial. It takes quite a lot of training. Maybe to you it makes no difference and in the end it's coffee with milk and some froth, but I can assure you that the vast majority of independent cafes out of big cities cannot do a cappuccino that would be recognisable as such in Italy. Still now you get given a large bowl of warm milk scented with coffee and a bit of froth on top... which is by no means the same thing

    .. and Leeds is indeed a large city, so I expect independent to be good

    Yes, but the point is that the smaller towns/cities have exactly the same sort of places as you get in Leeds (probably because, despite smaller footfalls, I suspect they make more economic sense there). And we are comparing them with the likes of Costa and Starbucks; hardly purveyors of top quality coffee I presume you would agree (if not, then the Italians need to learn a thing or two about making coffee :wink: ). For me, it isn't about the machine but the choice of coffee. And most of the time I prefer the taste of the coffee I make myself in a pan at home - froth or machines are not a necessity!.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    Ben6899 wrote:

    Always happy to take a recommendation for next time I'm in Leeds. Where do you go for your coffee, Rolf?

    In Solihull chainland, the best coffee is Boston Tea Party, which is a small chain, followed by Cafe Nero, Carluccio and Costa. There is an independent, which is terrible. Starbucks looks a bit sketchy, so I've never visited.
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