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Q&A: Dallas Food Snob Challenged To Eat Cheap

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Abacus, one of Rob's favorites.
Abacus, one of Rob's favorites.
Photo: Abacus/Official

As London burns, the stock market collapses and people the world over struggle in abject poverty, one Dallas man faces the biggest challenge of his life: eating three meals a day for less than $12.50 per meal for an entire month. That's right, thirty whole days--including booze. His name is Rob, his blog is called 30 @ $12.50, and its tagline reads: "A snob's account of eating meals for $12.50 or less for 30 days. Not a blog for poor people." The origin of this challenge is Rob's wife, who thought her lawyer husband needed to be taken down a few notches.

A representative sample of Rob's delicate prose, after a trip to Freebirds World Burrito ("Treeturds"): "It looked like fucking slop. That's right, I had fucking slop for dinner. I imagine this is what Bernie Madoff's prison food resembles." And he's only on day five.

Because no one deserves more airtime than folks like Rob, Eater Dallas did a Q&A to find out more about the man behind the blog.

Q. Who are you? Where do you live and what do you like/love/hate/do? Pets? Sexual fetishes, that kind of thing?

I'm Rob. Think of me as that asshole you generally like being around, but afterwards you comment to your friend, "He's cool, but for god's sake, he's a real dick." I live in Dallas proper, of course (south of 635, north of 30). I love fine menswear, FIJI® artesian water, and Jay-Z. I dislike dining establishments that serve a "steak" entree for $11.95 or less.

Q. How did you come to be an admitted food snob?

It came with my evolving, refined taste. I once was lost like so many others and thought an Outback Steakhouse® steak was good; when I finally saw the light and ate a proper meal, there was no going back. Disdain of lesser meals is a byproduct of this evolution.

Q. Where did you like to eat before these draconian restrictions were put on your spending?

While I may have sampled the more common establishments every now and again, I fancied fine dining at Dakota's, Fearing's, Al Biernat's, Ocean Prime, Bob's Steak & Chop, Alma, Stephan Pyles, Steel, Craft Dallas, Dallas Fish Market, Oceannaire, Eddie V's, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Taco Diner, Abacus...the list goes on and on. I will say that I do enjoy In-N-Out and Chick-Fil-A now and again, but that's kind of a secret.

Q. You kind of come off like a privileged jerk. I mean, "Oh, and this blog is not for poor people. Please leave ASAP" Is a pretty strong statement. Are you joking? If so, what percentage of this is a joke?

Jerk? Probably. Privileged? Nah. I'm joking sometimes, but not all the time. I'd say the blog is a joke over 44% of the time.

Q. No, really, you're still spending close to $40 a day on food. That's something like $260 per week. There are entire families who don't have that in their budget for a month, and this is kind of a lark for you? Related: how do you sleep at night?

What's a lark? A small, ground-dwelling songbird?

As for my nightly respite, I sleep wonderfully on a Stearns & Foster® king mattress. Stearns & Foster® mattresses redefine luxury; they're built by hand by certified craftsmen using only the finest materials. I suggest you try one.

Q. What's the best thing you've eaten so far? The worst?

I'm only a few days deep, so I'd have to say Anamia's was the best. The worst has been my rendezvous with the food court; I still can't scrub the scent off.

Q. Have you done any high-end sneaking around?

No, because all of my friends are assholes and they'd rat me out in a second.

Q. Do you think you'll make it the whole 30 days?

You'll have to ask me that again when the "steakhouse shakes" set in. I've been doing OK so far, but I know that's going to be a rough night. It's a lot like weaning yourself off heroin, so you can imagine the shit show.

Q. What'll you eat when your 30 days is up, assuming you make it?

As the Ying-Yang Twins so eloquently put it, ? Just wait til you see ? [it on the blog]...the rest of that song really isn't applicable, but I wanted to use the ? symbol and that was the only song I could think of.