Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory

When I read the agenda of my investment club's Saturday workshop and saw we were scheduled for lunch at the Spaghetti Factory, I could almost taste my old favorite dish there.  The Manager's Favorite is a big plate of spaghetti covered half and half with two choices of sauce - I definitely recommend the white clam sauce and brown butter with mizithra cheese!!  Uh oh, I thought, maybe we'd better skip the lunch - I know that's not something I should eat, especially not this year with a blog audience watching.  (See, you all are helping keep me accountable - thanks!)

Realistically, I know an eating plan that requires me to skip an outing with friends is not going to work.  I knew there would be healthier options available, just wasn't sure how I would order at the moment of choice.  Well, you can be proud.  Here's my lunch:

It looked even prettier before I dug in.  I almost forgot to take a photo.

This item was tucked away at the bottom corner of the menu:  Baked Chicken,  served with pasta with brown butter mizithra cheese sauce and marinara sauce.  In other fine print I saw an option to substitute broccoli for pasta in any recipe for $1.50.  Perhaps a bit nickel-and-dimey but hey, this is my health we're talking about!  And I asked for only the brown butter mizithra cheese sauce, which sounded lovely on the broccoli ( and it was).  I also noticed the Spaghetti Factory offers gluten-free pasta, which is good to know.

A few other factors went into my good choice.  First, at our prior meeting, someone had mentioned she would bring cookies to the workshop.  I immediately counter-offered to bring a fruit plate.  So, both goodies were appreciated by everyone and I had a nice fruit snack - I especially love fresh pineapple - so I wasn't starving when we got to the restaurant around 1:30 PM.  A guy in our club ordered a small carafe of wine as his beverage, and then so did Stan.  I'm lucky my desire for wine doesn't kick in that early in the day - I wanted a cup of coffee -  no problem.  I also ordered the salad that came with my meal, with Thousand Island dressing.  Not exactly low-cal, but I knew I wouldn't have to sit there hungry while others ate their salads.  I also knew I wouldn't be able to finish my main course, but the chicken and broccoli would travel home just fine for another meal.

So, I ate half a salad, half a healthy dinner - very tasty - and oops - half a serving of spumoni ice cream...  Okay, maybe not perfect, but a much better choice than I would have made last year.

A side note about my investment club - I actually participate in two clubs at the moment, and both are part of the Better Investing national non-profit organization.  The mission of Better Investing is to educate people about investing for their futures.  At the national level there are many programs and online tools, either free or reasonably priced, for members' education.  There are geographical chapters and both my clubs are part of the Puget Sound chapter, which also has a schedule of educational opportunities, including a yearly Investor Education Conference.  It was during my first attendance at this conference, in 2008, that I realized what a powerful investing methodology I was being introduced to.  While a large focus is on investing in individual companies' stocks, there is also education about retirement planning and investing for folks who don't want to spend the time researching individual companies.

My two clubs are very different.  The Puget Sound Chapter Model Club was formed to be a working club that would provide a model of how to start and run an investment club.  We meet online most of the time, in person three times a year, and our meetings are open to the public via GoToWebinar or in person.  We have guests at every meeting and someone in the chapter follows up with them to offer more information.  In this club are some very experienced members of the chapter board and I'm learning a lot from them.  If you're interesting in listening in, we meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 7 - 8:30 PM and links to the meetings are on our chapter website.

 Stan and I are both new members of my other club, Pacific Investors.  It also has some members who are experienced investors, and who are developing a methodology for investing in long call stock options.  This is still in the experimental phase, not having been ongoing for more than a few years, and Stan and I are still learning about it.  We meet in person at the Mercer Island Community Center on the Tuesday evening before the third Saturday of each month, from 7 - 8:30 and guests are always welcome.  There is a lot more info on our website.  I'm very glad I learned about Better Investing and decided to participate.

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