KJ's Kitchen,  Live Simply to Simply Live

Eating in or eating out

What is your favourite thing to do – eating in or eating out? When I eat out it is not only about the food but about the ambience. In the winter I enjoy sitting near a fireplace and eating a meal. There are not many cafe’s or restaurants that have a fireplace. I do know of two in Toowoomba and when possible I like to dine near the fireplace. That is why so often in the winter I find we eat at home, near our fireplace.

A few years back I made this cauliflower pizza. It was a lot of fun and I must do it again sometime.

Eating out is popular with all age groups but there is an increase in the number of Millennials (those reaching young adulthood early in the 21st century) dining out. They have been referred as the Smashed Avocado generation, spending their money on eating out and not putting it aside to buy a house. Tim Gurner a young real estate tycoon has some advice for those in this position. When I was in my 30’s I went to university and studied for four years (my undergraduate degree) so that I could get a better income to buy a house. The income alone though is not the answer. It is what you do with your income once it ends up in your bank account. By not spending too big on eating out over the last 20 years my estimation is that we saved $50,000. We still enjoyed eating out though, a picnic in the park or a BBQ in a tranquil bush setting and the occasional eating out in a restaurant or cafe. When we were on holidays in Tasmania last year I did not cook for 11 days! My favourite place to eat out in Tasmania has to be the Point Revolving Restaurant, Wrest Point Casino. The food, service and view was exceptional.

We had such a great time at the Point Revolving Restaurant. It was worth every dollar we had saved!
Tasmanian oysters to start with – delicious!
The views at dusk were spectacular.

There is nothing wrong with spending money on eating out as long as you don’t spend the money that could have been better used elsewhere, such as a new car or paying off a mortgage or that personal loan. Five years ago I spoke to a young woman who was getting married about the new home the couple had purchased. The topic turned to furniture and she told me they had just spent $50,000 on new furniture. She said what is another $50,000 added to several hundred of thousands of dollars of debt. My thought – lots! Lots of debt and lots of stress for years to come. There are places, including Lifeline and Gumtree, where you can buy good quality second-hand furniture if you don’t have the savings to buy new furniture.

If you budget well and allocate money for eating out – great! Eating out helps spread the dollars around to those who go into the restaurant/cafe business. The benefits to eating out is that there is no preparation, no waiting on others and no cleaning up. Just time to sit and relax and enjoy the company of friends and family.When we eat at home we know where our food comes from, how it is prepared and cooked. There are no additives and preservatives, just good home cooking. That is why we enjoy eating at home, more than eating out.

This type of food is easily prepared at home. This is what I cooked a few years back at The Tamarind Cooking School, Maleny.

Later this year I am planning a few dining out experiences. I am looking forward though to the opening of the Grand Central Dining Precinct in the Toowoomba CBD opening later in the year. It flows out onto a grassed civic area. It is sure to be popular in the warmer months. I am also looking forward to the opening of the Burke & Wills Hotel later this year. The hotel is undergoing a $10 million refurbishment and will have two restaurants that will be worthwhile checking out. I worked in the reception of the hotel back in the 1960’s when it was Lennon’s Hotel. My sister (now deceased) and her husband to be had drinks with family and friends in the bar of the hotel the night before their wedding in 1973 and then in 2006 my One&Only launched his book “George Essex Evans – His Life & Family” in one of the functions rooms. The event was attended by the Mayor of Toowoomba, Di Thorley, who did the official launch. The hotel holds great memories for me and I am looking forward to eating out in one or both restaurants when they open for business.

Last night we had one of my favourite – Tray Baked Chicken. Based on the Jamie Oliver recipe. The garlic, smokey paprika and balsamic vinegar gives the dish a wonderful flavour.

Tonight it could be a night of eating out for us. I have just found this Indian restaurant with great reviews. Eating out tonight won’t put too much burden on the budget. We can then bring the food home and sit by the fire. Buon Appetito!

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