Let’s talk about dining. Unfortunately there is no ecologically responsible reason to not eat, and if you push the issue too much you will end up eating wheat grass and fungus for the rest of your life. At some point you will actually have to eat a meal in a restaurant with your date. How, then, to do so without breaking your bank?
There is really only one real answer: ethnic food. And by ethnic, I mean it needs to be as authentic as possible. The best places for ethnic food will make you feel like you just walked in off a street in Ho Chi Min city. Also, the fact is the more authentic the food, the less burden it will be on youe budget.
This is not a free pass, however. You still have to sell it to your date. Start off by telling her you know the most amazing Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai/Ethiopian/Mexican/random Third World restaurant that is totally authentic. Try to pick one that has ethnic decorations, a staff that speaks little to no English, and a $2.99 all you can eat buffet or something equivalent. Make sure you know something about the menu (a certain amount of research may be required) as you cannot expect any good advice from the wait staff (as a matter of fact, if they can give you good advice you are in the wrong place). These things will most definitely help to convince her that you are a world traveler, open to new experiences, and not trying to steer her towards a meal that runs $12 for the two of you.
Of course, after the fourth or fifth cheap ethnic meal she may well start to catch on, but the point is by that time you’ve had four or five meals with her and with any luck have made some progress towards actually forming a relationship (and honestly, if you haven’t made any progress by the fifth date it’s time to lose her number. Never forget that your time is valuable too).
Another thing to keep in mind when picking your restaurant of choice is dietary considerations your date might have. Chinese food has a ton of MSG, Vietnamese is relatively healthy but tends to have a lot of salt, etc. If your date is vegetarian or vegan than this whole plan could easily backfire, as a lot of ethnic places tend to not bother with that sort of thing, or do things like call vegetable soup vegetarian even though they cook it in the same chicken broth. In fact if your date is vegan really the only place to take her would be an Ethiopian place, as they generally have great vegetation dishes and know to keep the meat separate. Also, it is delicious and fun to eat (finger food at it’s sloppy best).
(Chinese kung fu shirt (I know. I just couldn’t think of anything else appropriate) courtesy of the movie t shirt category).
Anyway, while this may sound like you are trying to trick your date, remember what I said about women actually being pretty perceptive when it comes to stuff like this and just treat it like a delicious dinner for only a few bucks at a fun place to eat, which is what it is. I love all sorts of ethnic food and if you haven’t tried any you should make the effort.