As a rule, I don’t like to spend much money. The deciding factor between two meals at restaurants is always price, and I never spend more than $20 on a dish (and even more than $15 is pushing it). Being fancy for the sake of it has just never appealed to me when you could save that money for something more important down the line.

For example, saving those $30 dinners for holidays or vacations.

But last night my friends wanted to go for sushi, and one particularly picky friend insisted we go to one of the more expensive, fancier sushi places in the area. Now, we live right by Chinatown, which is positively flooded with delicious, cheap sushi, but here I was stuck at fancy-shmancy-sushi-ville.

Well, everyone began looking through the lengthy menu, listening to light jazz and enjoying the indoor waterfall and non-wooden (!) chopsticks. There were some cheaper options, if I wanted, but something about the jazz, the gentle snowfall, the black longsleeve I was wearing, made me want to be a bit fancy.

Even so, my separate check was the cheapest out of everyone, but what could you expect with everyone ordering $3 miso soup?! I fancied up, but couldn’t help a little sensibility sneak in.

Anyhow, I’m very glad I treated myself a bit. The sushi was delicious, truly, and the mocha ice cream was the best I’ve ever had. Not that my cheap hole-in-the-walls aren’t good too, but some frankly lacked the balance that this place had. Presentation does, after all, make the dish.

It’s good to treat yourself now and then. I’m not about to go there again tomorrow, but once in awhile won’t kill me (or my wallet). I was a much happier person last night at FancySushiVille than I would have been eating college dining hall food like I usually do. It was a great start to the week.

Part of it was also the relaxed way this particular group of friends approached eating. My family, always in a rush, doesn’t get appetizers because they believe it makes your entrées take longer to get out. We always skip dessert, and my parents never get drinks or after-dinner coffee. This group got all the courses possible, shared and traded rolls, and even stayed an extra fifteen minutes for dessert, something I’ve definitely done less than 20 times in my memory.

My boyfriend’s family operates similarly. Often when ordering around the table with them, I realize I am the only person without an appetizer ready to go.

It’s a lesson in slowing down and allowing yourself to enjoy the moment. Getting a coffee, spending that extra few dollars on the meal you really want. Not always, but not never, either. After all, we deserve it.

Out the window, the snow fell. The food was delicious, the friends were laughing, and with the light jazz playing it felt like Christmastime.



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