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Sorta Random Sunday: My Most Expensive Meal Ever

The other day, Selenid and I got to talking about one of our favorite meals ever. It was in New York City during my residency and her PhD. It also just so happened to be the most expensive meal that we ever had.

While we reminisced about the food and wine and atmosphere itself, we then started talking about it in the context of our new passion for FIRE.

We started asking the hard questions:

  • Was this most expensive meal worth it?
  • Would we do it again?
  • Would this meal qualify as intentional?

First, more about the restaurant…

most expensive meal
Momofuku Ko

Momofuku started out in NYC as a single restaurant by chef David Chang. It’s now grown into a national and international brand with David opening restaurants throughout the world and being featured on Netflix and throughout the media.

Our first experience with Momofuku came from their original noodle ship in the East Village. We loved it and got excited to explore other David Chang restaurants in the city.

We text tried Ssam Bar which is a bit more of a traditional restaurant. And a bit more expensive. But overall very reasonable for NYC.

But we really wanted to try his tasting menu, limited seating, Michelin starred restaurant Ko.

Our goal was to try it before we left the city.

How it went down…

It was my third year of residency. I was in the midst of sticking my head in the financial sand. And our anniversary was coming up.

Reservations at Ko are tough to come by and only got released 2 weeks ahead. So, at 12:01 AM I sat online and scored a reservation.

And then surprised Selenid by taking her to Ko.

We sat at the bar and got a drink while we waited for our table. Then we were seated at the tasing menu bar.

We ordered the tasting menus for each of us with the wine pairing.

And it was…amazing!

What did we get? I hate to say it but I forget. We saved the menu and I’m sure it’s around somewhere but I cannot find it. But that doesn’t take away from the memory!

Then the bill came. I forget specifics but in total it was about $1,000.

We have not come close to equalling that total in a meal ever since.

Our mistakes

At the time, we were massively in debt with only my resident salary as income. But we did have enough money to cover the meal in a savings account. But we instead used a credit card to pay for the meal.

That in itself is not necessarily a mistake.

The mistake is that we didn’t just pay off that amount on the credit card immediately with our cash savings.

We instead kept paying the minimum amount and our most expensive meal kept getting more expensive.

And we didn’t use those savings to do something like pay off other debt or invest. We spent it. On what? I honestly can’t remember.

Those were the mistakes.

Was the meal worth it and was it intentional?

The conclusion that Selenid and I came to is a resounding yes!

The meal was very expensive. But it was an experience and memory that we have treasured since. It is also something we had limited immediate access to being in NYC at the time.

Sure, we can go again. But it’s not as easy as getting in a cab and being there in 10 minutes.

In terms of intentional spending, we didn’t know anything about this term or concept at the time (here’s a refresher). But, in retrospect, I do think we were really intentional about it.

We didn’t do this as an impulse. We thought about it for a long time and talked about the price and if it would be worth it to us. And we waited. While not consciously, we did add up that the joy was greater than the price tag. And that’s the key.

So, would we do it again?

Yes!

And we do hope to go back sometime in the near future. We made A TON of mistakes financially in our past, but this was not a major one.

Lastly, for those of you who made it to the end, as an insider tip, for a lot of these expensive tasting menu restaurants in NYC, you can go sit and the bar and order the food a la carte for a lot less expensive. We did that at Eleven Madison Park and some other great restaurants!

What do you think? What was your most expensive meal? Was it worth it? Would you do it again? Where was it?! Let us know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected]

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