The Final Word On Who Pays For Birthday Dinners

“A guest can’t volunteer all of the guests to pay for the host/honoree.”

Brunch-ian Economics

I like bacon, eggs, and any valid reason to start drinking before noon, but I detest spending $30 for approximately $5 of value.

Splitting the Bill With My Sisters

My sisters and I do not fight that often anymore, because we are older and more mature, but every time we do, it’s because of money.

Blood Sacrifice

A week ago, I took a plane from Naples, Florida, to Chicago, Illinois. I spent a grand total of 24 hours in Chicago, and the only reason I was there was to eat a $350 dinner at a restaurant called Next. The highlight of the meal was the part where we were served a canard à la presse tableside. The idea is French and this: a smothered cooked duck is hacked to pieces; what remains is packed into a press, and the blood runs out of the press and is made into a sauce. The technique has been considered “the height of elegance.” Watching the blood flow, it felt kind of obscene.

What’s Your Limit When Waiting for a Table?

On a Monday night, though, when you’ve still got work to do later in the evening and will be getting up early to head to work the next morning, a 90-minute wait is out of the question.

Early Bird Special

A friend of mine recently told me about a new Sunday ritual of his: He and his girlfriend like to have a late breakfast, and then they skip lunch and have a dinner at 5:30 p.m. at a place of their choosing. There is never a wait, no matter where they want to go, he explains, and they get to be home at a reasonable hour before starting the workweek.

The Culture of Eating Out

At GQ, Daniel Riley discusses being 22 and strapped for cash during the recession, but still falling into the foodie culture.

Why a Chain Restaurant Redesigned Its Menu

The Atlantic’s Megan Garber went to an IHOP restaurant recently and noticed that the menu was designed in a very specific way—well-organized, color coded, full of photos. The menu went through a redesign after the restaurant chain noticed that customers weren’t aware that they offered so much more beyond pancakes (though if I’m going to an IHOP, the thing I probably want is pancakes).

The Best Restaurants According to All of Us (on Yelp)

Earlier this week Yelp came out with its list of the 100 most highly rated places to eat in the U.S. and a small seafood joint in Hawaii named Da Poke Shack topped the list. When restaurant reviewers talk about our country’s best restaurants, they usually come with white tablecloths and big bills like Chicago’s Alinea, and the Napa Valley’s French Laundry. As Will Oremus writes in Slate, the Yelp list works as an equalizer of all the dining establishments we have:

The Empty Restaurant

My favorite foodie economist Tyler Cowen argues today that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant that doesn’t have long lines or tends to be empty because those two things are not always indicators that a place is actually good. I usually eat at places based on recommendations from friends or from reviews I’ve read, and those places have been generally busy. And dining in an empty restaurant can feel strange—Why is it so empty, you think or whisper to your dining companion, and then crack a joke about money laundering. I’m going to conduct an experiment in which I eat at one of the more empty restaurants in my neighborhood. I’m sure it’ll be fine, maybe even great.