So today's post is about how you don't have to be rich to eat well for two. See, I've never been one for the college kid diet of Ramen or Cup Noodles... you know, that near-plastic stuff that melts into only slightly less plastic stuff when put into hot water, with two pieces of freeze dried peas for nourishment and something that resembles aborted shrimp fetuses... if you're lucky. Whether it's cooking on your own or eating out, there's nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your meal... as long as you have no morals.
Also, it probably goes without saying, but if you're looking for some fruity Martha Stewart-esque tips about coupon clipping or bargain hunting, go kill yourself. The following are Bryan's top 5 secrets to eating great for cheap.
1. Complain. A company wants to hold on to their loyal customers. After getting horrible service at a local chain restaurant, I contacted them by e-mail in a very polite manner and told them how the server had been rude to me, forgot to bring me something I asked for, and ignored me for 30 minutes, and I'd never eat there again. The manager called me two days later, apologized, and offered to pay for the exact same meal I had had. A $40 meal, for free? Sure, I'll take it. My instance was legitimate, but it's up to you whether the incident really happened or not. Remember: food always tastes better when it's free, but if you get someone fired for something they really didn't do, unemployment karma is a bitch.
2. Complain some more. Tip #1 works for regular products, too. I wrote a major yogurt company to tell them I found mold in my yogurt, which I did (and it wasn't expired, either), and they sent me a voucher for a free 24 pack. Again, up to you whether it's true or not, but just remember that some things are more believable than others. "I found AIDS in my baked beans" probably won't get you any free beans, but karma may give you AIDS. Do your homework.
3. Have a Shitload of Birthdays. Sounds stupid, right? Wrong. Most restaurants, if you sign up for their e-mails, give you a free something on your birthday. Well, once a year is bullshit, so I have 12 e-mails accounts and have a birthday once every month. Name and address doesn't matter, because the servers don't check anyway. This month's Qdoba coupon is made out to Eduardo del Sexo. Ole, bitches!
Oh, and make sure you find the good restaurants. Some will give you a free (under $6) appetizer... which is bullshit. The good ones, like Noodles and Company or Cold Stone Creamery, will give you a buy one get one free deal. As an added bonus, the kid behind the counter is often too retarded to do basic math, and will charge you significantly less than 'buy one get one free' simply because he doesn't understand the concept of subtracting one meal from the total. My last Noodles and Company ticket was $6 even though my meal alone was $8.
Thanks, 16-year-old-that-can't-count-and-doesn't-really-give-a-shit. I'd tip you, but I'm cheap. Deal with it.
4. Load up on bread. You're a cheap ass and you want to eat inexpensively but you also want to eat something relatively enjoyable. Well, have I got a plan for you. Go to your nearest restaurant that has really good, all-you-can-eat breadsticks or rolls. Olive Garden or Red Lobster is pretty good for this. Tell the server you need some time to think about your meal but want some bread in the meanwhile. Keep stalling and asking for more bread while you think. Maybe have personal problems by escalating verbally aggressive, awkward fights with your friend/loved one/escort you brought to dinner to simulate a real date. Have your drinks, eat your bread, and then ask for the ticket when you're full. By doing this, the now obviously pissed off server won't be able to spit in your bread, and you will have gotten a full, reasonably tasty (and damn filling, since it's all bread) meal for the cost of 2 happy hour drinks, you cheap motherfucker. Go home and bang that escort with pride.
5. Eat more 'all-you-can-eat' (with a purse). Dig out your biggest purse (ladies), drag along your wife (fellas), or go buy the gayest looking man purse you can find (fellas) and hit up the local all-you-can-eat joint, or AYCE for us
For example, the Indian all-you-can-eat buffet nearby doesn't pay much attention to its customers while simultaneously having big, deep booths, which is great because this gives perfect camouflage for stuffing a purse full of food. Those clever Indians, they probably assume their very sauce-filled, soupy dishes can't survive in a purse, but guess what fools, a bunch of tupperware can stack like a motherfucker in a boat-sized purse. Have one person be the look out, and by the time you leave, you now have 3 weeks worth of Indian food for under $20... and also a hall pass to the fiery colon cleansing you've only had nightmares about.
So, how do you guys eat for cheap?
Stay classy, friends,
Mood: Too full from all these Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits to even think about how I'm feeling
Beer: Whatever's under $3 and doesn't taste completely like piss water (just partially like piss water is fine)
Shower: Need one more to get the reek of 24 garlic breadsticks off of me.