September 2018: Summary and Observations

Because of the International Broadcast Convention in Amsterdam each September, the month tends to have the most meals out of the home of any month of the year. This year was no exception.

We had excellent food everywhere we went in England (for a personal side trip) and in Amsterdam during the conference time. Thanks to Trip Advisor, which seems to be a more reliable indicator than Yelp in Europe.

The food highlight was our meal at The Latymer, which was our first experience of a Michelin Starred restaurant. At around US$750 for the seven course tasting menu with wine pairings, for too. Obviously such a blow-out meal would skew our averages, so I’ve kept it out of the calculations.

Other highlights were de Kas in Amsterdam, and – local to where were were staying in Jordaan – Dos (small plates), D&A (Hummus/Mid East), de Curtis (Italian), Shahjahan (Indian) and Eatcafe Koevoet (Italian).  Other highlights were Riva (Modern Scandinavian) and Jun (Indonesian).

The averages for this month are slightly skewed as many meals were paid for by others:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.62 ($2.59 in August)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $12.99 ($9.69)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.08 ($5.27)
  • Dinner eaten out: $22.39 ($20.69), excluding The Latymer.

Our lunches at home average in a fairly narrow band and this month is only 3c up on last month. Lunches prepared outside the home are higher because we ate a lot of meals out while traveling and that tends to average higher.

Our most expensive meal was – obviously – the Latymer, but the most expensive ‘normal’ restaurant was Eatcafe Koevoet at $32.87, largely because we – atypically – had both appetizers and their signature ‘desert’ of lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco, which is not to be missed.

Our most expensive at home meal was the lamb leg chops with eggplant and feta salad for $9.02 per serve. This month’s meals at home are at the lower end of our averages.

Lunches at home cost 20% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home , while dinners at home cost 23% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $389.70 per person in September. We actually spent $31.39 for lunches at home plus $220.84 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $252.23 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $671.70 per person. We actually spent $76.17 for dinners at home and $134.33 (excluding The Latymer) for dinners out: $210.50  in total.

We saved $598.67 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat. What we saved this month by not eating out all the time more than paid for our one-off blow out meal!

Over the month we prepared 10 different recipes for evening meals.

Aug 2018: Summary and Observations

For us, we had a lot of evening meals out, or five counting another SoCal Creatives dinner, but we ate fewer lunches prepared outside the house.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.59 ($2.57 in July)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $9.69 ($11.28)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.27 ($5.76)
  • Dinner eaten out: $20.69 ($10.00)

Our lunches at home are a little up at $2.59, but within the normal ranged. Lunches prepared outside the home are a little lower because only ate at The Country Deli once during the month,.

Our most expensive meal was at Yen Sushi and Sake Bar at $33.27 per serve, but it was great sushi.

Our most expensive at home meal was the Bone in Pork chops, with Apple Endive salad, because the Pork Chops are such a generous serve, but still at $11.50 per serve.

Lunches at home cost 27% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home , while dinners at home cost 25% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $300.39 per person in April. We actually spent $59.54 for lunches at home plus $61.42 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $121.36 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $641.39. We actually spent $139.58 for dinners at home and $82.74 for dinners out: $222.32 in total.

We saved $598.10 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 24 different recipes for evening meals.

July 2018 Summary and Observations

Other than the monthly LACPUG pizza and a visit with SoCal Creatives, our other evening meals were all at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.17 ($2.57 in Jun)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $10.38 ($11.28)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.76 ($6.13)
  • Dinner eaten out: $10.00 ($11.80)

Our lunches at home are consistent around the $2.17 per serve. Lunches prepared outside the home are a little lower because we averaged in lower cost meals.

Our most expensive meal was at Cafe Firenze at $25.91 per serve. Our evening meal out was less because there is only the subsidized pizza.

Our most expensive at home meal was Grilled Rib Eye Steak, with Cauliflower Gnocchi in Blue Cheese sauce at $13.39 per serve.

Lunches at home cost 21% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home , while dinners at home cost 58 % the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $321.78 per person in April. We actually spent $38.99 for lunches at home plus $124.53 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $163.52 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $310.00. We actually spent $161.19 for dinners at home and $10.00 for dinners out: $171.19 in total.

We saved $297.20 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 18 different recipes for evening meals.

June 2018 Summary and Observations

June was the quietest month of the year with almost all evening meals at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.57 ($2.47 in May)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $11.28 ($8.10)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $6.13 ($5.60)
  • Dinner eaten out: $11.80  ($14.82)

Our lunches at home are consistent around the $2.50 per serve. Lunches prepared outside the home have skewed a little higher, largely because of lunch at Cafe Habana in the last days of the month and a lunch at The Country Deli.

Our most expensive meal was that lunch at Cafe Habana in Malibu at $23.58 per serve. Our evening meal out was less expensive than usual thanks to a discount voucher taking 30% off the meal at Gordon Biersch.

Our most expensive at home meal was Grilled Rib Eye Steak, with Cauliflower Gnocchi in Blue Cheese sauce at $13.39 per serve.

Lunches at home cost 23% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home , while dinners at home cost 69% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $338.40 per person in April. We actually spent $59.13 for lunches at home plus $78.95 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $138.08 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $354.00. We actually spent $159.34 for dinners at home and $23.60 for dinners out: $182.94 in total.

We saved $371.38 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 18 different recipes for evening meals.

May 2018 Summary and Observations

While May would normally be a quiet month, this year the Foodies travelled to Australia for the weeks around Mother’s Day. Traveling and staying with Family is a mix of “free” meals, some home prepared, and a little more eating out than at home. There were also two travel days where food was included in the air fare, which is hardly free, but hard to account for!

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.47 ($1.62 in April)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.10 ($8.36)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.60 ($6.63)
  • Dinner eaten out: $14.82  ($18.35)

While lunches prepared at home returned to a more typical level, our evening meals at home are somewhat lower, largely because we were buying ingredients in Australian dollars, but paying for them with US dollars, thus effectively reducing the price of supermarket items, and eating out, by 25%. Several meals out were similarly “reduced.”

Our most expensive meal was in Sydney on the last night of our trip, at an Oxford St cafe at $28.13 per serve (and that’s after the currency conversion)  Our most expensive at home meal was NY Strip Steak, with Cauliflower Gnocchi in Blue Cheese sauce at $13.42 per serve.

Lunches at home cost 30% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home (a higher percentage because Australian lunches outside the home take that average down), while dinners at home cost 38% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $251.10 per person in April. We actually spent $32.06 for lunches at home plus $105.28 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $137.36 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $459.42. We actually spent $112.06 for dinners at home and $88.94 for dinners out: $201.00 in total.

We saved $372.16 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 18 different recipes for evening meals.

April 2018 Summary and Observations

April is NAB month, so we spent a few days in Las Vegas, upping our “out of home” meal expense.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $1.62 ($2.20 in March)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.36 ($5.95)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $6.63 ($5.81)
  • Dinner eaten out: $18.35  ($15.20)

This month lunch prepared at home was the only category that dropped, with the others increased slightly, probably due to the travel and more eating away from home.

Our most expensive meal was the night at Yard House Las Vegas at around $22.23 per serve. Our most expensive at home meal was the Pork Chop with Apple Endive Salad at $12.68.

Lunches at home cost 22% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home, while dinners at home cost 37% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $250.80 per person in March. We actually spent $32.39 for lunches at home plus $84.28 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $116.67 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $550.50. We actually spent $150.01 for dinners at home and $91.75 for dinners out: $241.76 in total.

We saved $442.87 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 19 different recipes for evening meals.

Mar 2018 Summary and Observations

March was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.40 ($2.20 in Feb)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $6.77 ($5.95)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.81 ($5.11)
  • Dinner eaten out: $15.20  ($11.04)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little less expensive on average.

Our most expensive meal was the night at Gordon Biersch at around $17.92 per serve. Our most expensive at home meal was the Rib Eye with Roast Kabocha Squash and Buttered Balsamic Mushrooms at $12.84.

Lunches at home cost 21% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home, while dinners at home cost 45% the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $308.07 per person in January. We actually spent $39.99 for lunches at home plus $119.67 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $159.66 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $381.30. We actually spent $160.29 for dinners at home and $24.59 for dinners out: $184.88 in total.

We saved $344.83 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 28 different recipes for evening meals.

Feb 2018 Summary and Observations

February was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.20 ($2.40 in January)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $5.95 ($6.77)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.11 ($5.81)
  • Dinner eaten out: $11.04 ($15.20)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little less expensive on average. In February this was largely because of the extremely cheap ham we used.

Our most expensive meal was the night at Gordon Biersch at around $17.07 per serve. Our most expensive at home meal was the NY Strip Steak with “refrigerator” salad at $13.12.

Lunches at home cost just 37% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home, while dinners at home cost half the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $166.60 per person in January. We actually spent $39.49 for lunches at home plus $47.60 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $87.09 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $309.12. We actually spent $127.66 for dinners at home and $22.07 for dinners out: $149.73 in total.

We saved $280.92 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 16 different recipes for evening meals.

December 2017 Summary and Observations

December was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.33 ($2.23 in November)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $9.75 ($7.83)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $7.29 ($7.01)
  • Dinner eaten out: $14.00 ($12.28)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little more  expensive on average, partly because we use mostly Prather Ranch dry aged meat, which is definitely more expensive than supermarket, although comparable to dry aged meat at Whole Foods.

Our most expensive meal was the Aussie style Cobb Salad at home for $14.72. Our most expensive meal out was $14.00 at Krua Thai.

Lunches out tend were over 4x times more expensive than those prepared at home, while evening meals run about 1.5 x meals at home.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $305.25 per person in August. We actually spent $46.88 for lunches at home plus $62.64 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $109.52

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $586.8. We actually spent $189.16 for dinners at home and $24.56 for dinners out: $213.72.

We saved $568.81 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 22 (again) different recipes for evening meals.

November 2017 Summary and Observations

November was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.23 ($2.03 in October)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $7.83 ($9.08)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $7.01 ($6.58)
  • Dinner eaten out: $12.28 ($19.74)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little more  expensive on average, partly because we use mostly Prather Ranch dry aged meat, which is definitely more expensive than supermarket, although comparable to dry aged meat at Whole Foods.

Our most expensive meal was dinner out at Gordon Biersch at $19.96 for a disappointing meal. We’re reconsidering whether eating at Gordon Biersch is worth it.

Lunches out tend were about 3x times more expensive than those prepared at home, while evening meals run about 1.5 x meals at home, or nearly 3x if we exclude the $5 pizza at LACPUG.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $234.90 per person in November. We actually spent $46.88 for lunches at home plus $62.64 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $138.94.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $586.8. We actually spent $189.16 for dinners at home and $24.56 for dinners out: $213.72.

We saved $498.46 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 22 (again) different recipes for evening meals.