Thursday August 2, 2007

What's up with Miami Spice?

Miami Spice website

Miami Spice gets way more gushing then it deserves. For $35, you get an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. Drinks and tip (“Base the gratuity on what full price would have been, not on the actual check.”) are extra. It runs August and September. Basically, this is a great deal if you’re a Fat American who (1) always orders appetizer and dessert, (2) likes going to posh restaurants, and (3) doesn’t much care what you eat there.

If you’re the coupon-clipping type, this means that you’ll probably eat out more in the next two months then you do the rest of the year. More power to you, but this is not the approach to life that I’m advocating. Part of the fun of eating out is reading the menu, and eating exactly what you’re in the mood for. That’s out the window. Restaurant portions are generous, and if you’re not full after a regular meal, you need to evaluate your appetite (and probably your waist size). Dessert should be split with a date. Also: you’re not saving money. Even if you drink nothing but tap water, you’ll be spending close to $50 per person (if you followed the tipping rule above). For just a few bucks more, you can eat like a normal person — a menu, a plate of food, and a glass of wine, and not have to check the scheduled days and meals when “the deal” applies.

Basically, this is a cheap (where “cheap = “inexpensive”) stunt by the restaurants to drum up publicity. Take the slowest months of the year, throw together a fancy website, send out some PR, and wham — you get “an event” that gets some traffic. A whole mess of sponsors kick in money and advertising help. Everybody wins.

Sure, some of these restaurants are outrageously expensive, and you could potentially get a great deal. Just weigh that against the possibility that Miami Spice customers have been snubbed in years past. I recommend you to go out and eat at nice places throughout the year, as the mood strikes you. Dress well, order what you want (the more expensive things on the menu are usually worth it), splurge on wine and coffee, tip generously, and generally live large for a night. Put it all on a credit card. When it’s paid off, repeat. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Update: The Herald article hilariously gives the [non-clickable] website as “ilove” — you guys are just messing with me now, right?

Update: Of the great minds please us to be thinking similarly.

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  1. Stephanie    Thu Aug 2, 02:43 PM #  

    You can go to Smith & Wollenskys for lunch during the week and get a regular size portion of their absolutely amazing filet for $20, a price that inclueds salad and dessert. The normal price for the same steak is $38!! And that price includes no sides whatsoever. So excuse me while I disagree with you, and say that I do, in fact, love Miami Spice.

  2. dreaming    Fri Aug 3, 12:01 AM #  

    miami spice reminds me of those ‘special’ ‘mother’s day menus’….a couple of entree choices, not normally on the menu, that one images are sitting in a separate pile out back waiting to be warmed up for the chumps…the prices dont strike me as any bargain…and dessert? like fat americans really need dessert…

  3. alesh    Fri Aug 3, 10:31 AM #  

    Hey Stephanie, don’t let me stand in the way of your steak. If you’re sure it’s the same cut, have fun. I’m suspicious. But then, S&W really isn’t my speed anyhow.

  4. Guv    Fri Aug 3, 12:59 PM #  

    I also have to disagree. M-Spice is a way to try out what area restaurants have to offer, for a bit of a discount. Yes, it gives locals like me the impetus to try a place I’ve been thinking about trying, knowing I am not going to break the bank.

    Conceivably these restaurants are choosing items that highlight some of the best they have to offer, because they want people to come back under normal circumstances.

    Most places offer a choice for at least some of the different courses.

    Also, M-Spice might get me in the door, but if I show up and see something fabulous on the menu, I’ll order it. In fact, these places generally HAND you the regular menu, and then mention: “OBTW, we also have a special M-Spice promotional menu if you are interested.”

    It’s not like you reserve a “M-Spice ONLY” table. Order whatever the hell you want!

    As to the fatness: Nobody is obligated to scrape every crumb of their dessert if they don’t want it/need it.