My husband and I have enjoyed going to a hip and fancy wine bar a few times nearby our home. We can’t always afford the prices of the wine, considering the markup on the wine and food, so we often have a date at home. We buy a bargain wine, but a very good one, anywhere from $5.99 to $14.99. Then we buy fancy cheeses and crackers to eat along with some fruit and vegetables. Chocolate is sometimes an accompaniment as well. The cheeses are usually purchased from a nearby discount grocery store with very competitive prices. They only get certain items in seasonally, so the variety is always changing. With these few ingredients, we make our own cheese plate to have with our “special” wine. Sometimes we buy meats to add to the display as they do at the wine bar. It depends a lot on the wine that we have decided to drink as to what foods we will consume with it.
Also, when dining out and ordering a bottle of wine, the server does not intend for the customer to bring any home. In Connecticut, we are allowed to bring the rest of a bottle of opened wine home from a restaurant as long as it’s not within reach of the driver. We actually only bought a bottle of wine out once, due to the half-price deal on Mondays. But while dining, the server continually came back and top off our wine glasses, thus ensuring that we would lengthen our stay and buy more food. This technique often works in their favor.
This one occasion is still clear in my mind. My husband and I were planning on bringing home half of the bottle for later, but since it was already poured, we had to drink it there. As the server had anticipated, we bought a second appetizer, coffee, and dessert. We needed time to let the alcohol wear off and we also enjoy coffee, especially after having wine (not that it helps with the alcohol).
Drinking at home, we could have stopped at half of the bottle and saved money on more food, tax, and tip. When I am at home, I feel safer and more relaxed about drinking, because we will not have the risk of driving home a little bit under the influence. The pressure is taken off to finish the bottle all at once and then it is split over two or three days. It is more enjoyable because the wine is like new each day we have a glass. The best part is, I don’t have to wear high heals. We can curl up to a movie in our slippers with our wine, if we so desire.
There are occasions where we will get take-out food to have at home with our wine and we usually have a decent coupon as well. That way, we have restaurant food at home. Or we may purchase a nice frozen meal to share. But we seem to save money and have more fun at our home “wine bar.” It is more intimate and less crowded, we can dine without shoes, and we can pace ourselves. As fun as it is to dine at a fancy restaurant, I would much rather be at home.
Copyright 2012 Tanya Weitzel