It was never my intent to spend $650 on myself, by myself — at lunch, a credit-card-statement reality made all the more painful by the news, weeks later, that the U.S. economy fell off a cliff and that the reliability of my livelihood had suddenly come into question. I am by all definitions a “foodie,” even though I dislike that term. Yet compared to the foodies who got me into the situation of spending such a lavish and obscene amount of money on a meal for one, I am a but a lightweight, a middling palate, a common snacker.

Yet even if the slight sting of buyer’s remorse would last months — indeed, I still wonder today whether I should have spent that lewd sum — the food high I experienced burned brightly for at least 24 hours and… More…