It's the season for epiphanies so here's mine. Yesterday we had lunch at Shanghai Gate, and we met friends for a seasonal celebratory feast at Menton's for dinner. In Shanghai Gate's cheerful weird little green and pink funky room we had fabulous hot and sour fish soup and lion's head meatballs. The bill: $25.00 with a very big tip included. Satisfaction level: top of the charts. For dinner, at Menton, our bill came to $340.00 for two. The room is rather gloomy, with a corporate cold feel to it, though it is also very comfortable. The prix fixe menu was good and varied: the fois gras starter I had was delicious, the small things like the breads were meticulous, the service was great, the wine list is ridiculously jacked up, and the meal was certainly good. Satisfaction level: Meh except for finding a really good Etna Rosso which I'm about to search for at Central. I think I've reached the age where I've got to wonder why I want to spend that kind of money for an experience I've had many times before and at a higher level (sorry, but NY and France have this level covered in spades, and Menton doesn't come near to Per Se or eleven madison or even to the exceptional meal we had at a mere one star in Caltigironde, Sicily called Coria, which cost about $70.00 a person). When we eat at Shanghai Gate we don't spend time comparing it to "the others": it's unique, it's a "one-off", and it's cheap. I think my New Year's resolution is to limit my food dollars in Boston to the Shanghai Gate's and Strip-T's in town and leave my "uber-indulgences" to my travels.