I just made the greatest discovery - cooking schools have little restaurants where they sell the food they make each day! Hey, this is amazing.
Cooking schools teach people to make all that fancy stuff that gets served in 4-star restaurants. At the 4-star restaurant, you will pay about 4 times as much money as you will at the school restaurant.
Yes, it is true that the ambiance at the school cafeteria/restaurant is probably not the same as the 4-star restaurant, but when you are dining with a six and a ten year old... ambiance is NOT the most important thing.
Today, I got homemade (yes, from SCRATCH) mushroom soup - it was delicious - and tri-tip with sauteed mushrooms and some fancy thing on top and PERFECT veggies and PERFECT twice baked potatoes and a drink. It cost less than a sandwich meal at Subway.
True, the entire item was served on styrofoam in the student cafeteria of the local community college, but I would be hard pressed to tell you when I had eaten a better meal.
I am hooked! Now, I am going to search out cooking schools wherever I go.
Take note that a lot of the schools may not serve at dinner time. Being a school, they may serve at lunch. Each school is different and you have to call and ask.
Here are a few places to start your search for cooking schools with restaurants in your area:
CookingSchools.com is a site where you can find cooking schools all over the world.
Contact your local community college and ask them if they have a cooking school restaurant.
And if you happen to live near Pasadena, California, you might check out Bistro 561 - This is a restaurant that I have been dying to go to and now I have an excuse. This isn't a super cheap restaurant (checkout the menu) but it is WAY cheaper than you will be paying once these chefs get their real jobs. Also, I think that the ambiance at this restaurant will be pretty good. I'll let you know. They also have a tasting menu every Thursday and Friday. Per their website: "California School of Culinary Arts opened teaching Restaurant 561 to the public in February 2000, giving patrons a unique opportunity to dine within the classroom and experience firsthand the passion and creativity of tomorrow's culinary talent as students take the final step in their Le Cordon Bleu education." Ooooh... doesn't that sound just divine?
No more fast food for my bargain hunting friends - Bon Appetit!