Have you ever had a friend come into town and want catch up over dinner? You think quickly about how messy your house is from leaving in a hurry this morning, and how the only things in your fridge are leftovers, because you were planning on going to the grocery store tonight after work. Most of the time you are the Hostess with the mostest - but not today. Eek!
Well to save time and face, you have to GO OUT TO EAT. Where you ask? There are great websites designed to help you narrow down your choices in a flash. The first is a website called Open Table. Open Table brings up some of the best restaurants in you area that take reservations. From your desk at work, you can make reservations for a number of people at a specific time, and it will send you a confirmation via e-mail. It also rates the restaurants based on user reviews, including Best Service, Special Occasion, Best Ambiance, or most Notable Wine List (my fave), if you are having trouble deciding. You can still look like the Hostess with the mostess when you meet your friend at the packed restaurant, and they not only have your reservation, but your table is waiting.
Another fabulous website is Restaurant.com. They offer gift certificates to local restaurants for a discounted fee. So for example, you are going to the new Italian hot spot, go to Restaurant.com for a gift certificate worth $25 for only $10. Before you purchase, they tell you the minimums that must be spent when using the certificate... for example, most $25 certificates are valid on a check of $35 or more (excluding alcohol). They e-mail you the certificate within minutes of purchasing it online, so you can print it and use it the same day (or hour!).
What is great is that they often offer specials of 80% off the price of their certificates, and TODAY if you use the promo code BITE, you can get a $25 certificate for $2. That's a savings of $23!!! So if you do the math right, on a $35 check, you will only pay $2 (for $25 certificate) and $10 for the difference.... a meal for two people worth $35, all for $12!!!
You can still be the savvy Hostess, even when eating out. It just takes 5 minutes on your computer, and you will have reservations and savings at your fingertips. And your friend never has to know your secret!