Wanna know a secret?

Helloooooooooooooo! Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good. Little of this, little of that. I had a great meeting Friday afternoon with some folks I’m super excited about working with, but I’m keeping that a secret for a little longer. I’m not going to be a total Miss Mysterio, though.  I’m going to let you in on another secret that I promise you’ll thank me for.

If you, like me, love eating out, but do not love having to eat PB&J’s for the next two weeks to make up for the fact that you dropped some serious cash on dinner, I have three words for you:

Culinary School Restaurant.

If your town (or the closest metro) has a professional culinary school, chances are pretty good they have a little restaurant, too. Its primary purpose is to help give practical experience in both the front of the house and the kitchen to its students, but you, the dining public, can definitely reap the benefits of what is usually a fine dining level meal without the corresponding costs.

For instance, my school’s restaurant, Assignments, is open Wednesday through Friday for lunch (3 courses for $12) and dinner (4 courses for $21).  The menus are designed by one of the chef instructors, and both front of the house and back of the house are supervised by one, as well. The boyfriend and I ate there Friday night, and were absolutely blown away by the quality of each dish. I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single disappointment on any of the plates. My entree (the only part of the meal I got a photo of because, well, for the first time ever I just felt really awkward taking pictures of my food) was a grilled steak with fingerling potatoes, asparagus tips, red peppers, and a house made steak sauce.

blog_dinner

Beautiful plating, and my steak was cooked perfectly! Assignments doesn’t serve alcohol, but they do have some really lovely house made sodas and a great selection of fancy waters and teas. The total bill before tip for two of us was less than $50, and I promise you I would have paid much more.

This isn’t just a U.S. thing. Culinary schools all over the world have restaurants. Now, I can’t guarantee they’re all going to be such a great deal as Assignments, but you typically will pay less for a “training” restaurant menu than you would a regular full service restaurant. I also can’t tell you every city with a school has a restaurant, but if you know you live near a school, or you’re going on vacation in a major city like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and even Atlanta, do your homework. If you’re looking to stretch your dining dollar, this is a great way to do it.  I am going to recommend that you schedule maybe 15-20 minutes extra for dinner, just in case there is a little service snafu. Bear in mind, these are students, and you’re their guinea pigs. Nine times out of ten, your meal will go off without a hitch, but bring your patience with you because on the off chance your water glass isn’t refilled or your empty plate isn’t taken away as quickly as you like, the students still appreciate your business and the opportunity to learn from you.

Don’t forget! I’m drawing names for two prizes in my little giveaway on Wednesday morning. In case you missed them, the details are here.

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