It looks like it's just an omelet. Nothing particularly special -- merely a run-of-the-mill, slightly overcooked block of buttery eggs. It certainly doesn't seem like a dish worthy of the battle against the perpetually horrendous Third Street traffic and evil meter maids dying to meet their ticket quotas for the month. I could very easily forgo this post completely -- relegating the photographic evidence of my midday meal at the Little Next Door cafe a few weeks ago to the garbage bin on my computer. It's what I should do, but I'm not.
There have been many occasions in the past few years of penny-pinching and budget-watching, that I have turned down invitations for lunch, brunch or dinner to save money. Aside from the ill-effects to my credit card bills, I've also found that so many of the meals I am served in restaurants are inferior to what I could whip up at home. There is nothing worse than shelling out $20+ for an overcooked bowl of lukewarm pasta when I could be eating a sensuous plate of al dente noodles bathed in a sea of spicy arriabiatta sauce and topped with Parmesan Reggiano at my own dining room table. (I should really try making that some day.)
Of course, to always snub those invitations to sucker punch my bank account would mean missing out on the opportunity to not only discover a new favorite restaurant or dish to love, but to connect with another individual as well. My meal at the Little Next Door a few Sundays ago was not just about re-fueling the vessel and screwing over my grocery budget for the week -- it was about re-fueling a relationship with a friend whom I hadn't seen in several months.
As we both dug into our savory omelets, stuffed with tender poached chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and luscious chunks of goat cheese, we were catching each other up on what was going on in our lives. I told her about my sister-in-law and brother's baby shower the previous evening, she told me about her pregnant cousin in New York. I told her about the guy who was "just not that into [me]" and she told me about the guy that was "just not that into [her]." By the time we'd scraped the last puddles of cream from the decadent potato gratin sides on our plates, we'd made a significant step forward in our recently malnourished relationship.
While it is important to not throw one's money about like Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic, it's also important to know when to say "yes" to financial impracticality. There is a reason why Mastercard keeps putting out those sappy "Priceless" commercials -- some memories really are worth the splurge. Especially if those memories come with really good omelets and really good potatoes.