Owning an Entertainment Book, a Diner's Deck, and the local 2-for-1 magazine as well as looking forward to the San Diego Restaurant Week coming up, I realized that we don't go out to eat as often as we used to. Every now and then we pop in somewhere for a burrito or a bowl of noodles or Thai food, but we talk about the nicer "high-end" restaurants more than we actually visit them. At first I thought it was because we're usually running around in "weekend" clothes and are rarely dressed for classier dining, but I think it's because I've gotten to the point where I'm hesitant to eat somewhere when I know I can cook it just as well for much less money.
We don't go to Ruth's Chris (or any other steakhouses) because we're just as happy getting filets from the butcher (or Costco) and grilling asparagus at home. We don't go out for rack of lamb because I can buy a rack for half as much and get more than 4 pieces on my plate. Last week we had ribeye and scallops surf 'n turf and opened up a bottle of wine and it was delicious!
However, we went to SF over Christmas and splurged on a nice dinner of sauteed crab and coq au vin. But, if I ever try to cook coq au vin, you can bet that's getting crossed off the restaurant list, too. We still go out for dim sum, Thai food, and osso bucco because they aren't dishes I'm willing to spend the time on in the kitchen. I look forward to ordering all sorts of soups because I just don't make them at home (except for tomato and french onion).
So, I was wondering, when you go out to eat do you look at the menu and try to find things you wouldn't cook for yourself? Do you order dishes like filets and ribeyes and shrimp scampi because you know you like it and you'll enjoy it anyway? Conversely, if you have a tasty sauce over salmon or something, do you try to recreate it at home?