Is it just me, or . . . (holiday menu pricing)

I just got an email from Quince restaurant in the City announcing their Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners . . .

Short and Sweet:

Christmas Eve:
– Seven-course Tasting Menu 295.00
– Optional Wine Pairing 250.00

Quince will be closed on Christmas Day

New Year’s Eve:
– Eight-course Tasting Menu & [one] Glass of Champagne 420.00
– Optional Wine Pairing 350.00

New Year’s Day:
– Tasting Menu 220.00
– Optional Wine Pairing 178.00

Now, I’m not specifically “picking” on Quince. I like Quince. But how many out there can afford a dinner that’s as much as $1,540 for two, plus tax and tip?

It’s pretty easy to spend this much at the world’s high end tasting menu places these days, so that must be what the market bears.

My “protip” is to save money on wine. My new strategy is to tell the wine guy “How many oz, in aggregate, is the wine pairing?” answer: “usually about 24oz ( as much as 32oz)”. Me: “holy shit, that’ll blow my tastebuds out and get me drunk. Can you pour me only about 12 oz, whatever you think matches best?” “Ok, sure. How much do you want to pay?” “pour whatever you think is best out of the pairings, and suggest a price at the end, I’m sure it’ll be fine”. First, they start with larger pours, and I come back and say “no, really, I want only 12 oz. Seriously.” Then, they start really THINKING and not just following the program, they ask me how the wine is, what I’m liking, and really tailor the tasting. At the end, they come back and end up charging me about $100 for the $250 pairing menu, and I end up “happy” but not drunk-drunk. Win-win.

PLEASE i should shut up and not tell people this. If more people start doing it, it won’t be as cool. THey’ll just start offering half-pairings.

( I did this first at Chez TJ in Mt View. The wine guy there is very pleasant, and was happy to oblige - but it’s worked everywhere else I’ve had a large tasting menu since then. )

Great tip re: wine! Sometimes my husband and I will share a tasting, otherwise we can’t remember the last 2 courses.

Many people like to splurge around the holidays so restaurants are simply capitalizing on it. Plus some of these menus include caviar, truffles, all sorts of expensive ingredients that people don’t think to order other times of year. I have found the holiday price:value ratio to be too high, much like on Valentine’s day. But for some people who are celebrating special occasions, are hosting visitors, etc., they have reason to want to spend more than usual. The bay area has enough people who can afford it and the demand is there (much like airline tickets), even though it’s not my demand.

Personally, I prefer summer for celebratory dining, the selection of fruits and vegetables is better.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr