September Summary and Observations

This month we  ate a lot of food outside the home, largely because we spent 18 days traveling in Europe: Amsterdam for IBC, Geneva for a presentation and Copenhagen to meet with clients. During that trip all meals were outside the home, although not all were expensive.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $3.66 ($2.52 in August)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $12.72 ($10.60)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.86 ($5.30)
  • Dinner eaten out: $26.28 ($15.82)

Our most expensive meal was the Signature Evening with Höst at approximately $103 per person. The two meals at Höst were among the best meals of our life, and well worth the cost.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $381.60 per person inSeptember. We actually spent $32.97 for lunches at home plus $254.35 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $287.32.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $788.72. We actually spent $58.62 for dinners at home and $446.76 for dinners out: $505.

September is always going to be atypical, as we traveled most of the month.

Sep 30: Smoked Salmon Bagel; Chicken Quesadilla with Eggs

Lunch

Wild caught smoked salmon, with cream cheese, cucumber, capers and thinly sliced red onion on an onion bagel. What’s not to like.

  • Smoked salmon $5.99 for the 4oz pack or $3.00 a serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Cream cheese is about 60c a serve
  • 1 lb of Persian cucumbers was $1.99, of which one went into this meal, or 12c per serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $4.10 a serve.

Dinner

Another variation on our flatbread-based Quesadilla, tonight with the addition of shredded chicken. A little chili lime added a nice enhancement to the eggs.

  • The shredded chicken is $7.59 for the pack, or 95c per serve
  • One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 26c
  • A very generous serve of salsa is 20c per serve
  • 2 oz of cheddar split between two is 50c per serve
  • Each egg is 50c or $1.00 per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.41 per serve.

Sep 29: Roast Chicken Baguette; Peruvian Meat Sauce with Rice Noodles

Lunch

We still had chicken and baguette so we repeated yesterday’s lunch.

  • The BBQ chicken was $6.99 but we shared one breast, or 88c per serve
  • The baguette was $2.69 and we shared half, or 68c per serve
  • The jar of sun dried tomato is $3.70 but we used only 1/4 or 46c per serve
  • Add 10c for the arugula.

Lunch today cost $2.12 per serve.

Dinner

It was time to revisit the Peruvian Meat Sauce, a.k.a. Red Curry and Pink Peppercorn Meat Sauce, we had on June 18th. This time with rice noodles.

Again we found that the recipe makes for three generous serves, particularly with the side salad.

  • 1lb of Prather Ranch ground pork is $9.30 or $3.10 per serve
  • Limes were $1.56 and about half went into the dish, or 26c per serve
  • The can of coconut milk was $1.99 or 66c per serve
  • Red curry paste is $3.69 a jar and we used 1/4 or 31c per serve
  • The soy adds 42c per serve
  • Add 35c for the toasted coriander, pink peppercorns, rice wine and cornstarch
  • Rice noodles are $3.56 per 14oz box, we used about 1/2 of the box, or 60c per serve.

Dinner tonight was, again, amazing. Definitely the best “spaghetti with meat sauce” ever, and it cost $5.70 per serve.

Sep 28: Roast Chicken Baguette; Pizza

Lunch

Time for some variation so today we had a supermarket roast chicken paired with a baguette, some dried tomato and arugula. That’s a pretty good combination.

  • The BBQ chicken was $6.99 but we shared one breast, or 88c per serve
  • The baguette was $2.69 and we shared half, or 68c per serve
  • The jar of sun dried tomato is $3.70 but we used only 1/4 or 46c per serve
  • Add 10c for the arugula.

Lunch today cost $2.12 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight was LACPUG night, so we had pizza following the meeting at Palermo’s on Vermont. Each person contributes $5.00 toward the cost of the pizza and wine.

Sep 27: Chicken Wrap; Pork Spare Rib with Red Beans and Rice

Lunch

Time for a return to our typical lunch, although today we used shredded chicken breast, avocado, mango and arugula in our wraps. They would have been great if the mango had flavor!

  • The flatbread is 50c per serve
  • The avocado was $1.50 or 75c per serve
  • The shredded chicken is $7.59 for the pack, or $1.90 per serve
  • The mango was $1.49 but we halved it or 38c per serve
  • The arugula is $2.59 for the pack but we used a tiny amount, or 15c per serve.

Lunch today cost $3.68 per serve.

Dinner

We had pork spare ribs from our Prather Ranch delivery, and paired them with home made red beans and rice. As we had the smoker and the time, we smoked the pork spare ribs.

The smoked pork ribs weren’t the most tender, but they had a great smokey flavor.

  • The pork spare ribs were $9.64 or $4.82 per serve
  • Onion, oil and garlic and seasonings about 15c per serve
  • Each can of organic beans was 99c and we used three, or 50c per serve
  • Instead of andouille sausage, we used diced ham for $2.79 or 47c a serve
  • Chicken broth $2.29 or 38c a serve
  • And the rice: 33c a serve.

Dinner tonight cost $6.65 per serve. It’s nice to be home and cooking again.

Sep 26: In and Out Burger; Tuna with Crunchy Thai Salad (repeat)

Lunch

After all the travel, it was nice to get back to our regular routine and that means Foodie Philip’s Burbank Monday. That means an In and Out Burger, Double Double Animal Style.

Lunch today was $4.03

Dinner

When we prepare the Crunchy Thai Salad, we generally have it twice in quick succession because the tuna comes in a two pack and it’s hard to buy half the vegetables.

Dinner tonight cost $5.36 as it did last night.

Sep 25: Smoked Salmon, Cheese etc on Crackers; Seared Tuna on Crunchy Thai Salad

Lunch

For lunch we decided to build on some Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Crispbread, which we really enjoy and is reminiscent of European grain bread. On top of that we built either a Danish Blue Castello, with sliced pear, or cream cheese, capers and smoked salmon.

  • A pack of 10 Crispbreads is $2.99 and we had three each, or 90c per serve
  • The cream cheese block is $1.69, but we used only a quarter or 22c per serve
  • The blue castello was $4.30 and we used 1/3 in the meal, or 72c per serve
  • Trader Joe’s wild caught smoked sockeye salmon is $5.99 a pack, or $3.00 per serve
  • The pear was 70c or 35c per serve.

Lunch today cost $5.19 per serve, but we’re living ‘high on the hog’ with this one.

Dinner

A return to a favorite: Seared Tune on  Crunchy Thai Salad. We simplified a little, leaving out the bock choy and cilantro, but added Chili Lime Cashews for a little extra crunch.

We added pan seared Ahi Tuna on top.

  • 12oz of frozen Ahi Tuna $7.67 for two filets. We shared one filet which works out to $1.92 per serve
  • Sugar snap peas are $3.99 and we used half, or $1.00 per serve
  • Mint came from our garden
  • An organic bell pepper was $1.63 and we used half, or 41c per serve
  • Mung beans sprints are 79c and we used a tiny fraction, or 10c per serve
  • A Persian cucumber is 97c, or 24c per serve
  • Green onions cost 79c for the bunch and we used about 1/3 or 14c per serve
  • A Napa cabbage is $0.90. We halved it to give 22c per serve
  • Add 30c for the dressing ingredients
  • We used about 1/4 of the $6.99 pack of Chili Lime Cashews, or $1.17 per serve.

This is an amazing salad, and the tuna was good quality for the price. Dinner tonight cost $5.36.

Sep 24: English Breakfast; Airline Food; Burrito

Breakfast

Up at 3am to catch a 6am flight out of Copenhagen back to Amsterdam, we had breakfast in Schippol airport: a ‘traditional English breakfast.’ That it was adequate was about the best you can say.

Today’s overpriced, average quality airport food cost $12.87 per serve with coffee.

Lunch

A double lunch on the 10 hour flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles included a decent coconut curried beef with rice and some other food best forgotten. The cost of the meal was included in the air fare so there was no direct cost.

Dinner

Back home and not feeling like cooking after a 23 hour day (up until dinner time) so we headed down to Chatsworth for a burrito from Carnitas Michoacan, which has become our go-to for Mexican.

The burrito was $6.00 each.

Sep 23: Traditional Danish; A Signature Evening with Höst

Lunch

Foodie Philip was determined to try pickled herring before leaving Copenhagen and we found Restaurant Kronberg where he had a mixed herring platter: pickled, curried and fried. Foodie Greg had Danish Meatballs.

The pickled herring was surprisingly mild and the three versions on the combo plate were very enjoyable. The meatballs were good meatballs.

Restaurant Kronberg: Mixed herring platter: pickled, curried and fried.
Restaurant Kronberg: Mixed herring platter: pickled, curried and fried.

With a beer each lunch today cost about $24.90 each.

Dinner

Because the food was so amazing, we went back to Höst to sample their Signature meal, with appropriate wine pairings. The “evening with” version includes an exceptionally good sparkling white wine (French but not from Champagne), sparkling water and coffee in addition to the extra little surprises.

The amuse bouche, steak tartar and fluffy mushroom puffs were the same so I’ll focus on the dishes different tonight.

The appetizer was Norwegian lobster and veal terrine with white asparagus and cep mushrooms and is today’s featured image. Surprisingly the terrine was deep fried making it extremely unctuous. It was Foodie Philip’s hit dish of the meal.

After a repeat of the exceptionally good Danish octopus with salted cabbage topped with a buttery-textured egg yolk swimming in a toasted yeast chicken broth we moved on to the main course. The egg deserves another mention because it was so amazing in both texture and taste.

The main course (entree) of beef tenderloin was excellent although it doesn’t photograph well. Foodie Greg thought this was better than Tuesday’s pork belly, but Foodie Philip gave his vote to the pork!

Höst: Beef tenderloin from Grambogård with salted black currant, beetroot, cress and sauce with marrow and terragon
Beef tenderloin from Grambogård with salted black currant, beetroot, cress and sauce with marrow and tarragon.

Tonight’s dessert of blueberry sorbet with brown cheese and cicely was amazing: we both gave it the thumbs up over the excellent corn ice cream of two nights earlier. The ‘brown cheese’ is a mixture of cow and goat milk that has been heated until it caramelizes before being made into cheese, which gives it an amazing sweetness.

Höst: Blueberry sorbet with brown cheese and cicely
Höst: Blueberry sorbet with brown cheese and cicely.

Although it looks like pasta, the texture was extremely soft.

Dinner finished with the same little chocolate treat and coffee.

With wine pairings and a small tip, tonight’s meal came to about $103.00 per person, but was well worth it for a meal of this quality and originality.

Sep 22: STV Craft Services; Copenhagen Street Food

Lunch

Another consulting meeting with a client who invited us to lunch in their staff ‘cafeteria’ – a meeting room with catered lunch. The wide variety of food – from meatloaf to ceviche fish – is part of their normal lunch routine supplied by the company.

We enjoyed meatloaf, a beef stew, some ceviche fish (probably herring), various salads, and more. All were very tasty and of restaurant quality, no doubt because the caterer takes special effort to ensure a good variety of high quality food to keep such a regular customer happy.

Our lunch  was covered by STV.

Dinner

Tonight we decided on something simple, so we walked over to Copenhagen Street Food, which is in a huge warehouse with about 40 food and drink vendors. There seemed to be every type of food except traditional Danish so we settled on a French focused fried chicken, with fries cooked in duck fat!

The warehouse on the river front houses abut 40 food and drink vendors.
The warehouse on the river front houses abut 40 food and drink vendors.

The chicken was crispy, but perhaps just a little over cooked. The fries were perfectly cooked: crisp on the outside and fluffy in the center and the duck fat did add to the flavor. There was a battered and fried red onion which was better than most onion rings we’ve had.

Dinner tonight cost 100K each or about $13.00.