I found this little forum post about how to cheese the cooking system and basically print money.
So that's one problem solved. I can now buy all of the restorative items I can find and not stress about staying in inns. Which is definitely helpful.
I've so far not stumbled across anyone selling items that restore EP so even that is a little limited.
Which is a shame because I'm increasingly running across enemies that demand to be fought with Arts. So I just watch my EP meter drain fight-by-fight.
Beyond just that, the balance in this game is completely weird. Encounters are either a literal walk in the park where I defeat everything before the enemies even get a turn or I very nearly die.
There is no middle-ground where a fight is interesting enough to hold your attention without necessarily being a huge risk. It's either a white-knuckled fight to the death or a giant nothingburger.
I wonder if the entire series will be like this or if it's just because this was the first and they were getting the hang of game balance.