We went out to Saltgrass steakhouse with a friend, where I ate a lot of steak, veggies and shrimp. It was all very tasty. I still haven’t found any steak I like as much as my own, though. Maybe what I will eventually realize is that it costs me less money to treat my friends to steak at my house than it does to go to a restaurant and buy for me and my wife. That’s kind of a weird thought, isn’t it? But here, let’s lay it out.
Assuming we ignore the sunk costs of tools like the grill and the seasoning and the freezer and junk, let’s just do a cost comparison for the actual meat and veggies. I will drink water no matter where I go, so beverages don’t really enter into the mix.
Eating at a restaurant
- 8 to 16 oz steak dinner – From $12-45 depending on the restaurant and the cut of meat.
Eating at home
- 8 to 16 oz steak dinner – From $5-10 depending on the cut of meat. (Assuming I’m getting grassfed beef from my freezer at $8/lb. Buying grainfed ribeye from Costco is actually just a little cheaper.)
So if my wife and I both get steak dinners (we almost always do), we’re looking at a minimum bill of $30 plus tax and tip. With bigger, better cuts of meat, that can often go to about $40 plus tax and tip.
If I cooked at home, using the $8/lb total for meat, and maybe assuming a $2/person veggie allowance, I could provide and cook for 3-6 people for less money than it costs me and my wife to go get steak dinners somewhere else with our friends.
I doubt I’ll actually start feeding my friends steak on a regular basis, because that just feels like I’m being taken advantage of, but maybe it will inspire me to go with the hamburger no bun instead of the steak next time we go out. Or maybe I’ll institute an “I’m happy to feed you, but I’ll need $5 to help defray costs” rule or something. It costs them less, it costs me less, and we all end up with better steak. Not for friends who I see only rarely, or whose main purpose for coming over is dinner, but if we do a weekly game night at my house, that might be reasonable. This is sounding like a pretty decent plan, actually. Is it too mercenary, though? I don’t know. Socially speaking, charging friends to eat dinner at your house is probably a big no-no, but we hang out with a lot of friends on a very regular basis. If we establish the “free food at our place” precedent, we will quickly be eaten out of house and home, even at reduced cost. Unfortunately, since there’s not all that much I’m eating anymore, it’s not even like we can do it up pot luck style. What are they going to bring? Chips and soda? For non-paleo friends, asking them to cook up something gluten free is probably just going to get me blank stares.
So I don’t know. Mostly I’m just thinking that spending $40-50 at a restaurant once all is said and done seems a bit wasteful, especially since I can cook it all better at home than most restaurants. Not trying to brag, but I grill a very tasty steak. It probably helps that I’m buying better quality meat and cooking on a much smaller scale, so I’m not going to overinflate myself too much. There are a few restaurants that we go to that really do cook up an excellent quality steak, but they’re more in the $30+ per person range, and that’s just stupid amounts of money for a meal. Not saying we’ll never do it, especially for special occasions, but I’m thinking it will be less common for us for just a “hanging out with some friends” sort of deal. I just need to learn how to say no to people, or at least say “That’s a bit more money than we can spend on dinner. How about you come to our place and I’ll treat you to steaks and grilled asparagus.”
I like the sound of that. Everyone wins.
Anyway, I don’t even know how I got off on this topic. Totally unplanned when I started this post. I guess it’s just been kicking around my head and it finally found an escape. Maybe it’s a helpful thing for other paleo eaters, though? Heck if I know. Thanks for reading, even when I go off rambling.