Food Diary: How a 37-Year-Old Attorney Eats on $330,000 in Dallas, Texas

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9:00 p.m. Our dinner runs long and we are 15 minutes late to our reservation at Isabelle’s, the cozy hotel bar downstairs. I hate being late, but luckily, we are still able to get prime seats by the fireplace. It’s truly insane that the fireplace is on in July, but it makes for a fantastic atmosphere. I order the “Breakfast of Champions” ($20), which looks and tastes exactly like an espresso martini. Even though I’m not hungry at all, I can’t resist eating all of the potato chips out of the trio of bar snacks (which also included mixed nuts and olives) that arrive with our drinks. We call it a night after one drink because after all, I’m turning 38, and three drinks is my limit. ($52.30 for two drinks)

Friday total: $509.34


8:03 a.m. It’s the weekend, so I actually have time to make myself breakfast with my Portrait Coffee and almond milk. I make soft scrambled eggs in butter on toast with a side of bacon.

12:00 p.m. We want to see Oppenheimer and the only option with decent seats available is the noon showing at the Cinépolis theater in Victory Park, which is one of the theaters with recliners and a full menu. I skip popcorn in favor of eating a real meal and order an avocado caesar salad with grilled chicken ($16.50) and a bottomless Diet Coke ($8.00). ($24.50 total) The salad is decent, but it’s weird to eat something I’ve never had before in the dark because I can’t see what I’m putting in my mouth at all. I also can’t enjoy my “bottomless” Diet Coke because I know Oppenheimer is almost three hours and I don’t want to be making multiple trips to the bathroom. I only have about three sips total but make it through the movie without getting up!

6:45 p.m. We have dinner tonight at Barsotti’s, which was previously known as Carbone’s until the NYC-based Carbone opened in Dallas. After a legal battle, the restaurants reached a settlement in which Barsotti’s agreed to change its name. Barsotti’s is much more low-key than Carbone (which offers some of the best people watching in Dallas), and it’s a great place to get classic Italian. We order two negronis each ($17), fried ravioli ($18), the chopped antipasti salad ($15), linguine w/ clams ($24), and spicy broccolini ($12). No complaints here. ($175.14 for two)

8:30 p.m. During a post-dinner Target run, I impulse-buy a pint of Dr Pepper Float Blue Bell Ice Cream ($3.97). I have tried all the fancy gourmet ice creams out there, but nothing is better than Blue Bell. I don’t even care that it had a listeria outbreak a few years ago—it’s worth the risk. This special-edition flavor is a real feat of food science—the Dr Pepper swirl perfectly captures the frothy texture that results when the soda and ice cream mix.

Saturday total: $203.61


8:10 a.m. I make a light breakfast before we head to the tennis courts. I heat two Pederson’s Natural Farms spicy sausage links ($6.99) in a skillet, slice a banana, and get a scoop of Fix & Fogg Almond Butter ($8.29). I sprinkle the whole plate with flaky salt (even the banana). I started eating this breakfast a couple years ago when I did the Whole30 program, but I like it so much that I eat it even when I’m not doing the program.

1:00 p.m. We have brunch with my parents for my second birthday celebration of the weekend at Hudson House, which serves what it calls East Coast-inspired comfort food. I order a frozen bellini ($14), a breakfast wrap with egg, kielbasa sausage, hash browns, cheese, and avocado ($13), and pancakes for the table ($16). I don’t know when ordering pancakes for the table became a thing, but what a game changer. I never want a full order for myself, but three to four bites is perfect. These are light and fluffy and lightly lemon-poppy seedy. My parents pick up the check for my birthday, which I estimate to be about $150.

2:56 p.m. We make a trip to Central Market to buy ingredients for dinner tonight, including lamb, pita, and Yukon gold potatoes, as well as some of our weekly staples like bananas, yogurt, potato chips, and sourdough bread. ($75.14 total) It’s a light trip for us because I’m going to be out of town for most of the week on a business trip, so I haven’t planned many meals.

7:05 p.m. We pull out the grill again tonight. I make lamb skewers (inspired by an Alison Roman recipe) spiced with turmeric and cumin with grilled pita, quick pickled red onions, cilantro, and a yogurt sauce. My husband is the designated saucier in our household, so while I prepare the lamb, he mixes up Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and cilantro stems. I have a glass of Las Jaras rosé while I man the grill.

Sunday total: $75.14 excluding birthday brunch check