Cashing in on the gift cards puts us in the Red

My smart and beautiful daughter Elisabeth and her terrific boyfriend George know I like lobster.

My stepson Daryl knows I like lobster.

My sister Dory knows I like lobster.

I squirreled away their presents from my December birthday and Christmas for one big night with my dear wife Karen.

One gift card each from the three kids, and a coupon clipped by MDW Karen.

One gift card each from the three kids, and a coupon clipped by MDW Karen.

I figured the $100 total plus a coupon for four bucks would allow us carte blance for dinner. After our happy waiter Rashard declared himself the best of the joint on Syracuse’s Erie Boulevard and gave us a few moments to decide what we we wanted off the menu, I knew I’d figured right.

We start with a Rita and Wine.

We start with a Rita and Wine.

First up, or so I thought, would be a frozen margarita for Karen and a glass of Beringer’s Cabernet Sauvignon for me.

But the biscuits came first, and the drinks arrived at least five minutes later with the salad. Eh. We lived.

Lobster tacos.

Lobster tacos.

Karen chose something she thought was new on the menu, the grilled taco trio, and picked lobster as her filling. It came with wild rice as a side. Rashard asked if she wanted another, and she said no.

Shrimp, lobster tail and strimp.

Shrimp, lobster tail and strimp.

I went with the combo platter with a rock lobster tail as the centerpiece, flanked with grilled garlic shrimp and shrimp scampi. It also came with wild rice, and I chose a baked potato as my second side.

Karen enjoyed her lobster filling but did not like the sauce that topped her tacos, calling it a mix between mayo and picante. I handed over some of my grilled shrimp and cut off a chunk of my lobster tail because I had plenty.

I liked all three components of my combo just fine, although the areas of my tail closest to the shell was just a tad dry from broiling, I figured. The drawn butter and lemon juice I squeezed from the provided wedge made up for it.

I said no to dessert, but Karen ordered carrot cake to bring home.

After our $4 coupon was deducted but before my cash tip, the check was $59 and change. That means we have $40 in gift cards for another trip. Sweet. Thanks, kids.

Are you a lobster eater? If so, do yo order a tail for ease of eating, or go for a full lobster and get cracking? What would you order in a seafood restaurant?

66 thoughts on “Cashing in on the gift cards puts us in the Red

  1. Phew! I misunderstood your title, and thought at first that you still had to add cash to cover your bill. I was feeling nervous, because unless you got a ton of alcohol, that would have been WAY too expensive! LOL! No, I don’t like any of that. When I go to Red Lobster, I feat on the biscuits and a baked potato. Though occasionally, I don’t actually eat the baked potato, so I can save room for more biscuits! LOL! (Yes, really.) (Of course, I accompany people who actually do eat seafood… I don’t just go there alone and try to score on free bread. I just really love their biscuits.)

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  2. fish tacos are as good as it gets πŸ™‚ Glad you still have $$ left to spend. I don’t have lobster often (or ever), but a delish dish was lobster truffle scrambled eggs at a fancy pants Italian spot in Mpls called Bar La Grassa. Unforgettable.

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  3. Several years ago a friend and I rented a car and for two weeks drove all over “Leaf Peeping” country in the fall. We pretty much ate lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except for one great pizza in Provincetown and the best fish ‘n chips I ever ate in Salem)…. Lobster was pretty cheap considering what we would have paid in LA… never forget that trip and never forget those dear lobsters who gave their lives for my eating enjoyment.

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    • That sounds like a fantastic journey all around, Ros. Provincetown is a pip of a place, isn’t it? MDW Karen and I make it there for a walking up-and-down the strip every annual Cape Cod vacation to enjoy the aura. Last June we brought Ellie B because the whole town is so dog-friendly, and our dog went in the ocean for the first time, not to mention eating in a restaurant courtyard. πŸ™‚

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  4. I love the Red Lobster!!!!! I could make a meal out of the biscuits alone! Have yet to try lobster. What is wrong with me you ask? I don’t know. Just haven’t done it! I will, one day I will!!!!!!!!!

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      • πŸ™‚ I went to read his comment, and laughed. I have often looked at my husband and said “who in the world was the first person who thought THAT was a good thing to eat?” So lobster is now on that list. πŸ™‚

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  5. i am a huge fan of lobster and this really made me yearn for a taste. glad you enjoyed most of your meal and have some leftover dollars to spend on another visit. i used to work at a restaurant where we had to crack and serve lobsters, but would probably go for tail now for easy eating. yum!

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  6. One would think with your situation, that going double carb (wild rice and baked pot) would be a poor decision, but live it up ,Mark! No veggies for you! My hub has the lobster allergy, so I haven’t had it since the 90s, and I have had to make myself believe I do not want it. It was enough to order shrimp, grits, and eggs for lunch today, seizing my opportunity to eat shrimp, since he’s allergic to that as well. Her tacos did look circumspect. Not full enough, too dry. I like my fish tacos to be so full, I have to pull stuff to the side to be able to lift them. I don’t know how you do just one glass of wine, but I applaud your discipline. I do like the cheddar biscuits and will always remember RL as my pre-Prom meal back in the day.

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    • How I did the carb situation was eat about one quarter of the wild rice, Kerbey. I was jonesing for a baked, and did not eat the skin, which I would have if not for the rice. Thanks for looking out for me, my friend. I considered the salad as my veggie for the meal. The one wine was enough this evening as it was a food-oriented occasion.

      Now, me looking out for you. Is your hubby allergic to being in the same room as lobster and shrimp? Can’t you order it at a restaurant once a year?

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  7. I like going there, we have been lately giving each other Darden gift cards, some of us like the Red, some of us like the Olive and others the Longhorn steaks… fun post and enjoy! Smiles, Robin
    P.S. I would go with the shrimp combos, since I love Shrimp Scampi and the second choice is Walt’s favorite shrimp. xo

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    • Yes, I like Walt’s Favorite and the Coconut Shrimp, too, Robin. πŸ™‚ The Darden cards are good for the Olive Garden option. We just got a Longhorn on the other side of Syracuse, and have yet to try it. I love steak … πŸ™‚

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  8. Like Silver in the Barn, I like the whole lobster: claws, legs, tail. It’s the experience. Of course, if I had my choice between Maine lobster and Maryland blue crabs, I’d take the blues every time. A dozen hard shell crabs, a wooden mallet and a nutcracker on a table covered with brown paper, a roll of paper towels, a pitcher of beer. Now that, to me, is heaven.

    My meal of choice in a regular sea food restaurant is Chilean sea bass. Or, if they prepare it right, black cod.

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  9. I’m not much for lobster, but love shrimp and scallops. I haven’t been to a Red Lobster in years. Our town keeps teasing us that one is coming in, but hasn’t happened yet. It seems we are too small.

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  10. I like to enshroud myself in a huge bib and get out those big nutcrackers and burn my fingers on the hot shell and have butter dripping off my chin from when I dip the giant hunk of claw meat into it and then make my husband dig out the icky green stuff. Yah! (How’s that for a run-on lobster-loving sentence?)

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  11. Ok Mark, so no, no and no. I know, I know. I’m one of those weirdos who don’t like seafood! Glad you have money left on gift cards for a 2nd trip to indulge your Lobster Love! ❀
    Diana xo

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  12. I don’t care too much for lobster or crab, but M of course loves them. I prefer shrimp, scallops and just good ol’ fish.

    I can eat my weight in those cheese biscuits. Which is a lot of cheese biscuits! πŸ˜€

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  13. I’m so glad you enjoyed your lobster Mark. They can leave mine in the ocean. I’ll happily eat all the shrimp though. they can keep the crab also. Just don’t like sweet tasting sea food. I’ll take my catfish any day of the year, or I’ll take a King Salmon as long as it’s caught and processed in Alaska. Or at Pike’s Market in WA. I’m having a “discussion” with Kroger lately about the way they send their fish overseas to be processed while there are people in the USA capable of doing the job. I try to support American Made products, and the only way to bring the jobs home is to let the managers of the stores know why you are not buying their products. Climbing down off the soap box now.

    Just wondering, how do you feel about snails? Eat ’em or squish ’em with the tires?

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    • The one time I ate escargot, Angie, was when I visited my college roommate in New York City. His father was a chef at a French restaurant, and he prepared a special meal to welcome me to their apartment in Brooklyn. Snails was the appetizer. Being a good guest, I ate mine. Swallowed the little boogers whole, and didn’t gag. My roommate’s smiling father chef put three more on my plate. Taste? Not so much. Squish ’em.

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  14. Let me wipe the drool off my chin. Okay, all set now. What a great gift for a lobster lover. Too bad Mrs. B’s was not to her liking but hopefully the Rita and carrot cake made up for it. Now we need to get our families to get us gift cards to Sesuit Harbor! πŸ™‚

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  15. I’m okay with lobster tail but you can have the rest of it. Whole lobster is a giant hassle to eat. Plus, they’re ugly. They look like something that crawled off a spaceship in “Men In Black.” It must have been a matter of life and death for the first guy who laid eyes on one and said, “I wonder what that tastes like?”

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  16. I haven’t eaten at a Red Lobster since I was a kid. Living in Florida we are surrounded by great seafood places and the Red Lobsters down here are usually in the ghettos. I would have been more pc, but I am just speaking the truth. πŸ™‚

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  17. I can make a meal off Red Lobster’s cheese biscuits and salad. The last time we ate there I had king crab legs and they were dehydrated. I had to send the back and wait nearly forty-five minutes for replacements, so I wasn’t too happy with the service. Can’t say I’ll never go back though. I love seafood!!!

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  18. You were so lucky..all our great ones get caught, iced & flown straight to asia….for the ‘rich’ its bit potluck to get one anywhere in australia ….sounded scrumptious…*sigh*(of envy)
    .

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  19. LOVE lobster! Unfortunately, we rarely get a good one in the middle of the country. Just last night, I was just talking about the lobster bisque I had in Maryland once…it was so good I almost cried.
    Yep. I get emotional about food πŸ™‚

    *makes note to remember that Red Lobster is only 30 minutes away

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    • I love it that food makes you cry, Michelle. πŸ™‚ That’s a bond, all right. Maryland is noted for crab, so lobster also. I’m not a crab guy, so I spent the six years I lived in Maryland ordering an alternative and watchng all my friends crack and eat the little cousins of the lobster. At our rented house, George, the native of Dundalk, Md., would spread newspaper across the dining room table and show all the rest of the house mates how to do it properly. I’d eat a sub sandwich or something but get a big kick out the whole thing anyway. πŸ˜‰ Out there in the country, I bet Red Lobster still gets their little buddies shipped in as fresh. Go for it, my friend!

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  20. Born and raised by the ocean, I love lobster Mark. I used to go down to the docks and buy them from the fishermen or from the Fish market and boil them myself. Yum, Yum. I actually haven’t had lobster in a restaurant very often but when I do I prefer the whole lobster and do the cracking myself (with a bib – I get excited and pieces fly everywhere). I used to haul lobster as well, and some of the lower quality little ones can be quite rubbery and are used in tinned products and as fillers in tacos, etc. I prefer to see the whole critter and then dig in. My best friend, David, lives in Prince Edward Island and his brother owns and operates a lobster/crab boat. The two of them live together and David often helps his brother during busy season (lobsters and crabs both have short seasons with special licences and use similar equipment, so many fishermen that catch one also catch the other). They have freezers full of lobsters and crab at home and when they forget to go out for groceries, they are forced to eat their catch. David, being the trouble maker he is, will mention during a phone conversation, that he forgot to get hotdogs so he was going to have to have lobster again for supper. *Big Sigh*

    Fun post Mark, your visit to Red lobster sounds like it was enjoyable.

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    • It wasn’t until several years ago and my dear wife Karen and I’s regular summer vacation to Cape Cod that I became sufficiently confident with my cracking skills to order the whole lobster out, Paul. Tail-only isn’t even a menu choice there. The bib is a good idea for the butter spillage, too! And with your friend David, I get the feeling he may tell you tall lobster tails even when he has hotdogs just to get you sighng. Have a great Sunday in Ottawa, my friend.

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