Thursday, May 27, 2010

Restaurant, Inc.?

I have just read a very interesting article on about New Yorkers average monthly spend on eating out, based on the neighbourhood they live in.

Topping the list at a whopping $2,350 (not far off my monthly rent!) is Chelsea, with my own zipcode coming in not too far behind at a choke inducing $1,895. Step outside of Manhattan however and the spend goes down quite dramatically to $710 in Park Slope and $233 in Astoria to pick just a couple.

While this is clearly a reflection on the differing affluence levels (and restaurant pricing) across each of the boroughs, I also believe it is a unique Manhattan trait for other reasons.

Apartments in Manhattan are small and cooking in some of the kitchens I have seen here would be the equivalent of performing a circus contortionist act. A friend of mine saw the most unbelievably small kitchen once when apartment hunting - so tiny in fact, that the shower cubicle was literally next to the fridge. No joke.

Grocery shopping can be a hit and miss experience. Delis and small supermarkets, while convenient as most of them are open 24 hours a day, usually only carry a small and sometimes quite odd selection of food products while larger places such as Trader Joe's and Wholefoods are expensive. I have often walked out with enough ingredients to cook just one meal that costed me nearly as much as if I had eaten out at my local restaurant.

And lastly restaurants are just amazing here. There are so many of them, spanning all the types of cuisines one would desire and all price ranges. I've had the tastiest eggs & bagels at Barney Greengrass for $10 and the most exquisite and elaborate food at Per Se for $250 per person. Overall the food and service in New York restaurants is overwhelmingly high compared to many other cities.

I must admit that I very much embraced New Yorkers' restaurant habit as soon as I arrived here and I eat out at least 4 times a week. And while I am not storing Manolos in my oven quite yet, my empty fridge always gives my visiting European friends a bit of a chuckle when they come and see me ...

* Screenshot taken on

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