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10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus


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Gourmet Hamburgers

If you're familiar with comic strips, you know Popeye, the spinach-eating sailorman. One of Popeye's friends, Wimpy, was a bit of a mooch with an insatiable appetite for hamburgers. Today's restaurant patrons are no different. However, the new gourmet burgers are enough to make anyone, including Wimpy, reconsider his options.

Most diners have a price point in mind when they order a hamburger, usually under $10. Extras like cheese, bacon, and mushrooms may cost 50 cents to $1 extra. But, today's restaurants have found ways to spice up the standard hamburger, and in doing so, command a higher price tag.

Chefs add unique burger toppings like foie gras, special mushrooms or truffles; stuff patties with lobster or gruyere cheese or make them with Kobe beef, ostrich, or salmon. Spices and spreads like pesto, curry or wasabi are other ways to jazz up this standard fare. In the minds of customers, this also elevates the burger from the sandwich category into fine dining.

But, with these sophisticated ingredients, you get a very small portion relative to the price. How many truffles fit on a burger? How much wasabi do you need on the bun? Do a few lobster pieces justify the cost? To avoid this budget buster, stick to your good, old-fashioned burger. You may not feel as classy, but you'll get a better bang for your buck and still love the taste.


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