Sticker Shock!

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Recently, my husband and I took another couple out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. They were both about to retire, and we wanted to offer a small celebration. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, an intimate French place, especially celebrated for its fresh seafood.

We enjoyed fine wines, crusty bread and generous salads. My trout Provencal was absolutely delicious and our friends were equally pleased with their entrees. All in all, it was a lovely evening, but I confess that when the check was presented, I got sticker shock.

You see, I’d been lulled into complacency about dining costs because of my experience at Carolina Meadows. I’d been eating at the various restaurants on the Carolina Meadows campus, ordering an entree with two side dishes and a glass of wine for an average of around $20. The bill at the French restaurant was easily four times that per person, which is average these days for a dinner in the Chapel Hill area.

I finally dawned on me what a bargain eating is at Carolina Meadows. Not only are the prices extremely reasonable, but the dinners themselves are delectable. I can choose from a variety of entrees from a particular week’s menu, or if I want a steak cooked to order, or slice of salmon, (also cooked to order) or a chicken breast in a tasty sauce, I can get any of them. They are always on the menu.

In addition, there are many times a year when there are special dinners concocted by our expert chefs. They displayed their talents recently by preparing an international buffet. Here’s a list of some of the dishes on offer. Cacioepepe linguini in a Parmeson wheel, Anti-Pasto Mista, Yaki-Gyoza, (vegetable and pork pot stickers), Sushi, Bouillabaise, French Farm salad, Paella, Tapis, Indian Marga Masala Batar and Steak Diane. The array of desserts was not to be believed. They were a sweet-tooth lover’s paradise.

And all of this plus wine cost less than $30. I’m still stuffed thinking about the buffet. The fact is the only downside of dining at Carolina Meadows is that I must constantly fight “the battle of the bulge.”