Food takes a big bite out of our budgets. The average Canadian family spends more than $7,000 a year on food, according to a 2009 Statistics Canada survey. And most aren't spending $80 on a hot dog. But that isn't stopping chefs around the world from turning cheap eats into haute cuisine.
The trend of making blue-collar food with luxury ingredients - like caviar, truffles and Kobe beef - has created some uber-pricey class-bending pairings.
Here is a list of five foods that will make your jaw drop and mouth salivate all at once:
A record for the most expensive hot dog was set last week in Brockton, Mass., when a Can-Am League baseball team, the Brockton Rox, sold two $80 "K-O Dogs," named in honour of the club's mascot, during a game. The sausage in these half-pound, all-beef, foot-long hot dogs was rolled in truffle oil and coated with finely crushed porcini mushrooms before a sprinkle of white truffle shavings was added. It was then nestled in a buckwheat blini roll from one of Cape Cod's most exclusive bakeries.
There seems to be an extreme-burger competition happening in Las Vegas. Le Burger Brasserie, which is housed in the Paris Las Vegas casino, threw down the gauntlet by offering the 777 Burger, which comes with Dom Pérignon Rosé Champagne and costs $777. The burger is more of a surf-and-turf smorgasbord of Kobe beef, Maine lobster, imported brie and prosciutto than a burger. But it pales in comparison with the luxe burger served at Fleur de Lys restaurant at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. This Wagyu beef burger is garnished with foie gras and black truffles and is served with a bottle of 1995 Château Petrus in a pair of Ichendorf Brunello glasses, which the customers get to keep. It costs $5,000.
What could make breakfast expensive, beyond chowing down on hundred-dollar bills? A mountain of caviar served on top of an omelette, that's what. For $1,000, guests of Norma's, the restaurant in New York's Le Parker Meridien hotel, can order a Spanish-style omelette that includes lobster meat and 10 ounces of sevruga caviar, totalling more than 3,000 calories, making it one impressive petit déjeuner.
And everyone thought that bird's nest soup, the infamous Chinese delicacy, was expensive, with its usual price of $100. Well, it has nothing on a bowl of pho sold at House of An restaurants in California. At $5,000, this is no ordinary noodle soup. In fact, the noodles aren't really noodles at all but blue lobster flesh crafted into a noodle shape. Throw some A5 Wagyu beef, white Alba truffles and hand-raised bean sprouts into a foie gras broth and you've got yourself the legendary AnQi Pho. The one thing that helps a foodie swallow the price is that proceeds from the dish benefit the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Not to be outdone by chefs, bartenders are pouring cocktails with outrageous price tags. One such drink is the mai tai served at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Ireland. A collective cheers is certainly in order when guests request it since the drink costs £750 (about $1,100). The special ingredient is 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew Jamaican rum. It is alleged to come from the last remaining bottle of the kind of rum Victor J. (Trader Vic) Bergeron used when he created the mai tai in the mid-1940s.