I saw this amazing, adorable, must-do idea for a restaurant passport on The Spotted Fox. It seems the original link is down right now, but you might be able to see what she did on Google's cached version.
Austin has an unreal selection of cheap and tasty food options. We have our favorites, but we're always pointing out ones we've wanted to try. Since R does not have a birthday or Christmas coming up soon, I thought this idea would be wonderful as a pre-versary present. Yes, we're getting married in a year, and yes, I'm celebrating this pre-milestone.
The best part? When I told R I was making a present for him for this momentous occasion, I expected him to roll his eyes and say it was dumb. His response? "I was going to try to surprise you by taking you out to a nice dinner like it was nothing special and then saying 'Hooray! Happy Pre-versary!'". He may not be able to surprise me with dinner, but his similar romantic dorkiness pleasantly surprised me.
I made a list of the restaurants off the top of my head, and added to it over a few weeks. Then, I had credit card points available to use on Amazon like cash, so I was able to "purchase" this Moleskine notebook for free.
I started out drawing the restaurants with cutesy font ideas. However, I couldn't come up with that many cutesy font ideas. And I had over 50 restaurants to list.
So, I started looking at each restaurant's webpage and imitating whatever logo they had. While some look like a third grader drew them, others turned out pretty good. It took longer than I thought it would--about 3 hours spread over two evenings. However, I enjoyed the process. Having a few episodes of Family Guy running in the background didn't hurt, either.
I decided to also code each restaurant by price. Restaurants that are $10 or less per person per entree receive one $, $10-20 receive $$, and greater than $20 receive $$$.
The original poster used colored sticker dots to rank restaurants. We're just using hearts, smiley faces, and slant faces (:-/) to indicate our Love It, Like It, and Meh ratings. Plus, I'm still in shopping ban mode, so I wouldn't purchase stickers anyway.
While we try to limit our dining out (a budget category that can easily get out of control), we do like to go out on occasion. I think this passport will help keep our dining under control because we'll be excited about trying new places. Instead of just defaulting to our favorites when we can't figure out what to eat and don't want to make food, we'll have something to look forward to. It gives us motivation to make dinner at home Monday - Thursday in anticipation of trying something new on Friday.
Edit: The restaurants with an asterisk * are ones that one of us has been to before.