• Posts Tagged ‘luxury’

    The Cost of Higher Standards

    by  • March 19, 2012 • Tagged: , , , ,  • Comments

    Churros y Chocolate

    In my belly.

    Image: Oscar

    In college, I had the good fortune to spend a semester in London. Because I was on a boatload of financial aid, and determined not to run up any credit card debt, I spent my summer budgeting and saving and preparing to spend as little money as possible living and traveling abroad. Four months and many bean dinners and hostels later, I emerged slightly more cultured and no more in-debt than I had been before my travels.

    Back then, I was more than willing to do (and endure) whatever it took to see as much as I could on the money I had. Reviews for that Paris hostel say that it has bedbugs? Whatever, it’s cheap! Dublin hostel only has availability in a room of 20? Sure, I’ll be there with a friend, it’ll be fine. Yes, I’ll leave at 5 am to take the cheaper train to France, and sleep in the Dublin airport to cut down on one short night of hostel expenses. I was young, and excited, and happy to endure slight inconveniences for travel.

    Years later, I’ve noticed that my standards have changed. Thanks to some careful planning, and $800 in vouchers for sitting in an airport a few months ago (thanks, US Airways!), my husband and I will soon be off to Spain for a vacation. Where once I would be heading to hostel websites, I instead found myself looking up hotels and apartments with high ratings and nice amenities. I’m older, and I’m a little bit more spoiled, and I now value a certain degree of comfort and privacy over the frugality of the international hostel options. I do not want to be in a room with 20 strangers. I do not want to wake up any earlier than I have to. I want to take the train, and not the overcrowded bus, to the cities we’ll be visiting. I want to sit down at restaurants, and order what I like, and not skimp on ordering drinks to save a dollar.

    My husband and I share similarly frugal ideals, although there are moments when we disagree on what is and is not worth it (I want to take a cab from the airport; he insists on public transportation). Luckily, we both agree on the unmitigated importance of stuffing our faces with as much jamon as we can find, and consuming all of the wine we come across. He’s had his fair share of frugal traveling, and we’re both at a place where we’re willing to spend a little more to get a little more. It’s a nice feeling, to know that my financial world won’t collapse if I’m not counting every penny that’s going towards sangria and churros.

    Have you noticed that your standards have changed as you get older? Or are there still areas where you’re willing to rough it?

    Friday Food – 24 courses, $175

    by  • August 18, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Food is funny. We all have to eat to survive, for nourishment, for that oh-so-great feeling of a full stomach. Some deem food and eating as a trivial necessity, in the same category of light bulbs or putting gas in their car. These people would be quite satisfied in unhinging their jaw like a snake and pouring the food in. These people probably don’t want to spend much money in food costs.

    Others, I would assume the most of us, like to experience varying levels of flavor in our food with the minimum amount of fuss and the maximum amount of nutrition. Of course that combination can’t always be obtained, so sometimes they have to make do. These people mix up eating out and eating in, and want to enjoy the meals rather than treating it like a chore. This crowd will plunk down affordable amounts of dough (GET IT?!?!? HAHAHA) for a good meal.

    Then there are the foodies. Never eat at fast food restaurants, calling the grub “dreck.” Knows the chefs at five star restaurants. Can tell you the best place for foie gras (which was recently banned in our town of Chicago).

    This is pretty old news to many in the Chicago area, but the restaurant Alinea has been crowned foodie heaven. The price? The eight course meal will run $75 a person. Twelve courses is $110 a person. The real reason to go there, though, would be to experience the $175 per person 24-course meal marathon that lasts more than 6 hours. This doesn’t even include beverages, but I’ve heard that a wine flight included with the meal will run another $80. Imagine the tip you’d have to leave! For a good dose of Alinea food porn, local Chicago blog Skillet Doux chronicled the 24-course event on his blog.

    We love to eat out, but a meal like this would seriously set us back in the finances department. When we do eat out, we usually hit up the local neighborhood fare instead of the trendier places in town. We find we get better service and great food at good prices. That doesn’t mean that I would never consider eating here…maybe when we win the lottery.

    Would you ever spend that much money on one meal? What was the most amount of money you have ever spent on one meal?