The Travelin Man
As for the critics -- If you're a snob who can afford to eat at a steak house, well, good for you. Some of us are on a budget and looking for the best we can afford !
Here is the logic that I could never understand. Besides the fact that anyone who disagrees with your point of view being wrong, of course. I, too, am on a budget - but, I choose to spend my money on things that I can appreciate. My condo is small, my car is paid for, and I have a roommate that splits the bills. This allows me the opportunity to spend my money on the things that I care about - some of which include travel and dining out.
If you appreciate Golden Corral - knock yourself out. But, if you are saying that the only reason you eat there is monetary, I guess I would question why you would spend your obviously hard-earned money on something inferior. I eat in restaurants all the time - so, if I have one clunker of a meal, I shake it off and figure that I will be eating again soon enough. But, if someone on a limited budget who can only dine out once in awhile has an inferior meal, that could be a problem.
I have yet to find a city in the United States where I couldn't find a reasonably priced, good quality, locally produced meal in a restaurant - including some of the most expensive cities in the country (NYC, San Francisco, San Diego, etc.). If, for some reason, you cannot, then it is simply because you choose NOT to.
I am sorry, Travelin Man, but I cannot agree with you that it is necessarily a choice.
I live alone (with no one to split the bills) in my own home on a pension and Social Security and normally spend $25 or less per week
for food by cooking my own meals. For me to spend even $15 to $20 on a single meal is something that I cannot even think of doing more than once a month, if even that, and to spend $25 or more on a meal is something that possibly
can be done once a year if I save up for it. The only Golden Corral in this area (which I did like) suddenly closed several months ago, leaving a Home Town Buffet (not acceptable to me) as the only American buffet locally. There are a couple of Chinese buffets which are pretty good, however (along with several which are not). I do like the idea of a buffet (even though many Roadfooders can't stand them) since I get to sample a wide variety of foods at a given time for the money, and if eating out is going to be such a rare occasion, I want to take advantage of having the largest number of possibilities to eat dishes I don't normally cook.
I too, love traveling and have been all over North America, but on my travels I camp (to save money) and don't ever even think of eating in a fancy restaurant. A few years ago I joined the other Roadfooders at the Moonlight BBQ (buffet), and enjoyed every minute of it, but for me to spend a minimum of $500 including fees, travel and housing for just two days in New Orleans this last year or next year is something I can't see happening in my lifetime. The whole 11-day trip
with our Boy Scout troop three years ago to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where we saw and did 40 different things, cost less than $500 per person including everything (admissions, activities, camping, restaurant food & gas).