I’ll Take The Check: A Year In Review

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to eat healthier, work harder and spend more wisely. But with all this responsible behavior comes the urge to assess the year that’s just past, which I did (perhaps foolishly) a few weeks ago. I’m a big believer in ignoring my bank statement when possible. Live for the moment, I say! I took a look at my restaurant spending habits of 2011, and it sure is telling. Apparently I’m not the dining connoisseur I like to think I am.

Here are five restaurants that gave my credit card the biggest workout in 2011:


Founding Farmers: $777

With Founding Farmers a stones throw from my office, it’s a standby for me and my colleagues. A stressful afternoon at the office can result in candied bacon and a glass of wine (or three) on any given day of the week.

Standard: $625

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Standard. I’m counting down the days until the reopening in March, and am even more excited for Tad Curtz’s new venture further down 14th. For a menu on which no item costs more than $10, I guess $625 is a hefty sum. But you’ll know where to find me most weekends this summer. To note: On one summer afternoon at the Standard, a friend did pick up a check that exceeded my years total. That’s how we roll.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack: $335

Had Pearl Dive and Black Jack been open more than three months, I suspect this would top my list for the year. I can probably say that the majority of my spending here goes to Black Jack and their pork belly nachos. What can I say? I’m a sucker for good bar food and an even better happy hour, which is hard to find on 14th Street.

Estadio: $312

I’m ashamed that I didn’t spend more time (and money) in Estadio — the Montaditos alone are worth the trip. But mostly, I spent my time at Estadio sitting at the bar with a Tempranillo and a plate full of Jamón Serrano and Pork Rillettes, watching a little Spanish football from the archives.

Cafe St-Ex: $292

St-Ex is my brunch of choice. The Green Tomato BLT and a cold draft are exactly what I need most Sunday mornings. With a new kitchen and an updated menu, St-Ex has become more of a brunch destination for many, and perhaps more than just a neighborhood hang out.