Thursday, August 30, 2007

When "extra value" is not value enough...

I have a new speciality: I can create delicious mini-meals for almost no money without having to buy in bulk, cook in the heat, or adjust my lifestyle much. Manly men that need to eat super huge amounts will not be satisfied, but for those that like to graze on yummy food...

Here are some of my favorites:

- Bagels are for breakfast. But what's a girl to do when a $7 lox extravaganza is not an option? $1.25 for The Black Onion Bagel and cream cheese at LeBus on 18th.

- When I'm dreaming about the lavish Indian buffet at my friends wedding and I can't even afford the $10 all-you-can-eat buffet, what do I do?
Aloo Samosa, $1.95 (for 2) at Cafe Spice, 2nd Floor Liberty Place Food Court

- When I desperately want a gourmet pizza, but the $20 is just not to be had.
Tomato Foccaccia, $2.49 at DiBruno Brothers, 18th and Chestnut
And if I don't even have two bucks, the pretzel roll is huge and filling for 99 cents or the Olive Roll is only 79 cents. Add a scoop of Gigante Beans for $2.00 and you have a filling vegetarian meal.

- What about when I don't just want one little thing, but I want to feel like I've had a special treat (like on laundry day).
A slice of pizza $2.00 at 15th and Spruce, followed by a kid's cone of custard at Rita's for $2.47, including sprinkles.

-What about when I can't stomach another peanut butter sandwich for lunch?
$2.00 veggie pattie from Mama's Vegetarian, and all the pickled, kosher veggies you can eat for free! (And if you have extra money, the $1.50 french fries are to die for.)

-Dinner for under $3.00? Try No. 1 Chinese place on 7th and South. Order the Vegetable Fried rice! Doctor it up at home if you have stuff to make it more interesting.

- Speaking of Chinese... Try Chinatown. 50 cent buns, Sweets for under $1... the budget lore of that neighborhood is legendary.

- And don't forget Reading Terminal Market. Skip the expensive Amish stands and hit the little guys. Cheap cookies, fresh fruit, free samples. Much beauty for not much money.

Someday I'll convince my equally poor friends to go on my food scavenger hunt with me. We each take a couple dollars and we go out hunting for bargains. We bring back our booty and everyone shares!

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