Mortensen in "Pictorial Lighting" says you can do everything with a flat reflector and two hot lights in aluminum bowls. He used 500w lights, but with faster contemporary films, I bet 150w would be plenty. And he did some nice portraits. There's no one-way to do this stuff.

Still I like strobes. I have some old White lightning (2), a couple different styles of umbrellas. You can get a good setup for under $1k. The newer monolights you mention have a lot of excellent control in terms of power output. You don't need them that powerful either unless you are shooting whole wedding parties or sports team photos. You could step down in power to save some money. Get a softbox and a few different cheap umbrellas. Ebay has quite a variety of photo umbrellas. I think the einsteins have more control options or gadgetry than the normal alienbees.

Reflector is important. I used a piece of foamcore with aluminum foil taped to it for a couple years and eventually upgraded to one of the flexible ones that folds up into a small circle. But these are pretty affordable too. I have a minolta flashmeter IV, but many people use DSLRs for the purpose.