Hello all and happy spring :) I have to say – spring is definitely my favorite season. It’s just warm enough where you can wear jeans, a shirt and sandals, but not too hot where I’m embarrassingly suffering from some serious swampass and thunder & lightning (aka my thighs) are chaffing from me wearing shorts (was that TMI?? sowwy :X).
Spring is also when I start to get out and adventure more, especially around New York City after work. There’s so much to do outdoors in the spring and summer, from markets, to concerts in the park, to random street fairs. One thing I love to do is get out and hit up a nice happy hour at an outdoor bar, preferably with food involved. I love to eat! (Did the nicknames I’ve given my own legs because of their mass from food not imply that already? ;) ) Unfortunately, eating out in NYC can be a pain for a few reasons (yes, I’m going to list them):
- Crowds – New York City’s population grows every year, but guess what, it’s a friggin island – the area is not getting any bigger here people. In fact, Mother Nature has given a big evil ha-ha laugh in our faces, and throws natural disasters at us like global warming and Hurricane Sandy to eventually decrease the size of NYC. Growing Populations + Steady/Decreasing Land = every single one of the 50,000+ restaurants have a wait time when it turns 7pm and you’re turning hangry.
- Prices – Because the demand is so high (since you know it’s an island, you’re kinda stuck sometimes), and because it’s NYC, so everything has to cost more anyways, the prices of eating out can suck.
- There’s more…didn’t pass health inspectors, rats in the basement, sketchy cook adding some “spices” you didn’t request when you simply asked if the food would be out soon…but the focus of this post is only points #1 and #2, and since it’s my blog, I do what I want :P
Now, people who know me in real life (yes, I have friends) know I absolutely hate waiting. Especially if I’m hangry, when you better have more than just a snickers to hold me over! My friends…and family…and co-workers…well and anyone who’s ever met me also knows I’m a planner. I want the time, place, dress code, longitude/latitude coordinates in advance. Additionally, as much as I try to budget my life out (wait, isn’t that what my whole blog is about?? eek), sometimes, it fails. So that’s why I’m always on the hunt for a deal, some way to make the things I love to do just cost less.
And this my readers (??) is where we come to the point: OpenTable.com baby! I used to make fun of my dad for always using this website, but as dumb as the man is, he’s actually kind of right on with this system (just don’t tell him I admitted to that!). With OpenTable.com, I can make a reservation for my meal outing, which helps calm my nerves about point #1. Every reservation that I keep I earn points. I can then trade those points in for what’s called a “Dining Cheque“. This is a fancy way of saying I can trade in my points for free money to use towards a restaurant that participates with OpenTable!
Most reservations are only 100 points – minimum trade in is 2,000 points for a $20 Dining Cheque. You do that math…ok, I don’t expect you to think here, I’ll do it for you: that means I’d have to visit 20 restaurants to earn enough points for a silly $20 savings. Not really worth it, right?
No, no…come back here! I didn’t lie to you – calm down, breathe, namaste…you good? Ok, here’s the cherry-on-top moment of epiphany: OpenTable has what’s called 1,000-point reservations. Each day, certain restaurants offer 1,000-point times. This means, if you choose a reservation time that the restaurant has designated as 1,000-points, you earn 10x the points in 1 trip, so you only have to visit 2 restaurants (each at 1,000-point times) to earn your reward!
See! There’s always a way to work the system, and I did not lead you astray with that false hope there (if I did, I apologize…ish). Plus, you can use as many Dining Cheques as you like in a visit, which if you hoard them oculd mean a free meal! It also helps when part of your job is schmoozing people on the company’s tab: they foot the bill, you get the points and Dining Cheques! Not that I do that….hiya boss! ;D That’s getting off point though…back on track…in the end, a little bit of planning can go a long way! So log on, decide ahead of time where to go, pick a place with a 1,000-point time, and take your swampass out this sunny springy weekend!