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Broke, broke, broke, and more broke...

That's me for the next two weeks --taxes are evil and while Mr. BLB will gladly hand over cash and buy dinner when I ask, I'd prefer to keep that to a minimum.

I'm also have a lousy day, lousy week, lousy month and lousy quarter.

My cooking can only cheer me up so far...

SO....

Where to get a decent meal when the bank is looking at you cross-eyed?

In college, the classic was getting my last $5 out of the ATM machine and getting an Armands Steak and Cheese sub, heavy on the mayo. (I'm from the midwest, I didn't know any better....) Although now that I think about it, a slice of the spinach garlic pizza would be pretty darn good about now.

Expand my horizons. I'm in the District but I have a car with a mostly full tank of gas and I Metro to work during the week..

Thanks!

Jennifer

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Any number of cheap ethnic places in the city.

Happy Hour -- Filipino Spring Rolls, $4, need I say more?

But since this should be our last bout of bad weather the following equation works great for me when my wallet is light.

(1 Sandwich of your choice + 1 beer in brown paper bag+ 1 picnic bench in the shade) x people watching = great meal

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For low-buck.gif places, my favorite is...

I adore Kopitiam on M St., a little Malaysian joint in the basement next to all the gems like Camelot. If you get a sampler plate of appetizers and a soup, that should fill you up with delicious, flavorful food. Makes me wanna go RIGHT NOW.

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For my money, El Polo Rico in Clarendon is the best. You get a quarter of a delicious chicken, huge fries, cole slaw, and green (chopped jalepeno) and white (some mayo concoction) sauces for something around 3.75 plus tax. Not bad if you ask me.

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In case you need liquid sustenance, check out the Jefferson Hotel's special martini honoring the new nickel--it's only 5 cents (must be paid with a new nickel) and has Grey Goose vodka, riesling, and a lemon twist. It's quite tasty and potent. I think it's available weeknights from 5 to 5:55 pm for the next few weeks.

I followed it up Wednesday night with a trip to Oohs and Aahs at 10th and U, where I enjoyed fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread (a nice, light supper!) for about $13. It's great comfort food. Right now they've just got a few stools at the counter (which allows you to chat with the very nice people who work there) but next week they'll have a new upstairs space open with tables.

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anything in the eden center. we like dragon star? The one chinese joint tucked in one of the corners.

second taqueria poblano followed by del ray dreamery ( full disclosure, i'm a good friend of Liz the owner, but to be fair the friendship came as a result of the custard and sorbets).

minvera for lunch for the buffet or dinner with leftovers that will give you at least another meal.

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Second on the Ethiopian. My current pick is Sodere, at 9th and T NW. I went there last weekend with four other people and we had a huge dinner for $50.

I also like the bar at Indique. Not the cheapest, but get the samosa chaat and another appetizer and you'll be set back less than $20. The samosa is massive, and a delicious re-imagining of what a samosa can be.

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I know where you're coming from! Thanks to some bad (BAD!) tax advice last year, I'm taking a serious hit this year. Sigh. We like Mexicali Blues in Arlington. The food is good, the service friendly, and during happy hour (until 7 p.m.) you get one appetizer free for every one you order. Plus, on Thursdays, you get a live mariachi band :-)

The one downside is that the food can be inconstent -- some days so good you do a little chair dance, some days just acceptable food to fill an empty stomach. Happy hour seems to increase your chances of good food -- I guess because it's busier?

Enjoy! Now I wish I were going there for dinner ;-)

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• 1/2 price appetizer happy hour until 7pm weekdays at Heritage India Dupont. The golgapas, papri chaat, and curried chicken w/ polenta (much improved since they opened) in particular are excellent.

• The Osteria at Galileo - $5 and $6 dollar appetizers (beef carpaccio, veal tonnato, etc.) with $16 bottles of wine.

• Charlie Palmer Steak. For serious. Go in after dinner one night, sit in the lounge, and order an unreasonably large cheese plate for $10. Bring your own bottle of American wine and there's no corkage fee. Amazing environment and good cheese for less than the price of a cocktail at Oya.

• Café Asia, but for the entrees rather than the $1 sushi happy hour. For that you want...

• Uni, which is much tastier

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Come over to Capitol Hill and wander around Eastern Market on the weekend...farmers market, indoor pavilion, flea market...

Places to eat:

Tortilla Cafe/Grill. The papusa platter will set you back $5 (across the street from the market)

Canales Deli: Huge sandwiches, soda, bag of chips also under $5 (inside the Market)

Market Lunch: All sorts of good cheap stuff here. (inside the Market)

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Come over to Capitol Hill and wander around Eastern Market on the weekend...farmers market, indoor pavilion, flea market...

Places to eat:

Tortilla Cafe/Grill.  The papusa platter will set you back $5 (across the street from the market)

Canales Deli: Huge sandwiches, soda, bag of chips also under $5 (inside the Market)

Market Lunch:  All sorts of good cheap stuff here. (inside the Market)

Also at Tortilla Grill are the delicious Beef Tacos al Carbon for $3.95 (they're on the appetizer section of the menu but it's enough for a good lunch)! 2 soft tacos with wonderfully seasoned and seared hunks of steak. Cough up an extra quarter for some additional salsa. Canales' tamales are also a good filling deal-- I think they're a buck-fifty each or so.

Nearby, on Pennsylvania Ave, is Meyhane with their cheap and tasty Turkish fare. You could fill up on mezes, a grilled lamb, chicken or beef entree, and a couple of glasses of (more or less mediocre) wine for $25 a head. And on Saturday nights a belly dancer will make your turban turn!

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Those tacos sound GREAT!

Palena can be inexpensive if you are disciplined (and don't drink - boo, I know).

I too had an awful day, at the end of a bad week in a crummy month so on my way home tonight, I hopped off the metro at Cleveland Park, spur of the moment, intending to get a burger. But to my dismay, I found Palena closed (again!!!) for a private event.

;):lol:

I'm surprised they'd give a prime time like Friday night for a private event. Must be some sorta really big big cheese.

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Those tacos sound GREAT!

Palena can be inexpensive if you are disciplined (and don't drink - boo, I know). 

I too had an awful day, at the end of a bad week in a crummy month so on my way home tonight, I hopped off the metro at Cleveland Park, spur of the moment, intending to get a burger.  But to my dismay, I found Palena closed (again!!!) for a private event.

;)   :lol:

I'm surprised they'd give a prime time like Friday night for a private event.  Must be some sorta really big big cheese.

We've only run in to Palena closing for an event once--Derek said one of the investors was getting married and having a rehersal dinner there. (At the time I was in high wedding planning mode and was deeply bummed we hadn't thought of that. Not that we could have afforded it...)

I'm a big fan of the Cafe and on a good night we can get out for under $50. Not quite as cheap as I'm aiming these days though we're going on Monday night...

Jennifer

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For $10, not including tax and tip, you can get a perfectly acceptable burger that comes with fries TO DIE FOR at the bar at Corduroy.

In Adams Morgan, in the 1800 block of Columbia Road, there is a little take-out place (they do have some tables) called the "Astor". The Astor burger, which is made with lamb dressed with lettuce and a yoghurt sauce will set you back $3.77 and comes on a Kaiser roll--not one of the flabby burger buns. This is the saving grace when the person whose turn it is to cook doesn't feel like it at our home. The most expensive item is the lamb shank (which comes with rice and veggies) for $8 and change. Tax, but no tip. They also have falafel which I much prefer to the falafel (either as a "sandwich on pita" or as a platter with some other salad/veggie stuff) to Falafel Amsterdam on 18th St. Good eats for very little money. You won't feel deprived. Just up the street at Todito's, they have the Black Swan wine (in various flavors) on sale for $4.99.

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My suggestion is banh mi, either at one of the many bakeries in the Eden Center (I've tried the one next to Four Sisters and the one next door), or go out a little bit farther on 50 West to hit DC Banh Mi (it's in the plaza that Pho 75 is in). IIRC, the combo (sandwich and a can of soda) was $3.00. I like the sandwiches at DC Banh Mi because they use a thinner, longer baguette. The combo sandwich is good, and I like the grilled pork, too. The downside is that they have no where to sit--last time hubby and I ate in the car.

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One other great cheap eat that I recently sampled was Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan. Great little place where the falafel is fresh and $5 for a large and $2-3 for great fries. They have a nice salad bar (think mezze toppings and sauces) to top your pita too. Can't beat that price.

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Go to Singapore Bistro on 19th in between M and L. They have a good HH special going on there - selected apps fro 1.95 and nigiri sushi under $1.

If you're ever in Rockville go to Maria's Bakery (I talk about them alot, I know. I swear I don't work there or own the joint!) - it's definitely cheap, filling eats. Yesterday I got 3 drinks - HK milk tea, iced lemon tea - tastes like a B'more 1/2 and 1/2, milk bubble tea, wonton lo mein (enough for 2 people) and a pineapple bun for 14 bucks w/ tax.

I'd also go to the prepared section of ethnic markets - Han Ah Reum, Lotte, Maxim, Kam San - and get some food there.

Funny, it's always the ethnic eats that are reasonable on the wallet! (Well, almost always...)

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One other great cheap eat that I recently sampled was Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan.  Great little place where the falafel is fresh and $5 for a large and $2-3 for great fries. They have a nice salad bar (think mezze toppings and sauces) to top your pita too.  Can't beat that price.

I strongly second that recommendation!

If you're interested:

http://www.falafelshop.com/

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My current cheap eats favorite is Pacific Cafe & Grill , a Vietnamese place at 11th and Penn SE. It's the perfect take out solution in a seriously under-served area. My regular order is pork w/ vermicelli, but the chicken and shrimp are good too.

The Pho, while not as good as what can be found in the suburbs, is passable and the perfect cure for a case of the sniffles.

Edited by aero
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It's cold, you're both broke and you want something warm and soothing. Where do you go?

Pho 75

For about $15, including tax and tip, I had a bowl of rib eye and flank and my friend had the meatballs (which he said are nothing like what he had in Vietnam, but that's another story), and he split a salty lemonade. We both left full and happy.

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For $10, not including tax and tip, you can get a perfectly acceptable burger that comes with fries TO DIE FOR at the bar at Corduroy.

Can you still get this at Corduroy and is it a HH special only?

Crisp and Juicy is a great place to get cheap eats, too. And a beef pattie from Negril will definitely fill you up for under 2 bucks. But that's just me - those things fill me up quite easily.

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I head to Malaysia Kopitiam for stellar, cheap food. Their menu is huge, the cooking is good, and everything's cheap. I order the roti canai, which is a thick, buttery, flaky flatbread served with a chicken curry stew as a dip, and the achar salad, which has a bunch of pickled veggies and some pineapple tossed in a sweet sauce and covered with crushed peanuts. Two appetizers, $7.50 in total, and I'm usually satisfied. If not, I can order two samosa for another $2.50!

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I missed this thread, first time around. I'm surprised that no one mentioned Amma Vegetarian Kitchen on M Street in Georgetown (much better than the Vienna branch). For $5 or $6 you can get a totally satisfying masala dosa, with sambar and coconut chutney. This is one of the two great cheap eats places in Georgetown, the other one being Moby Dick, the anachronistically named kebab joint that also has branches in Bethesda, McLean and elsewhere.

I tried Oohs and Ahhs for the first time, at lunchtime a couple of days ago. Sweet people, seriously funky atmosphere. I had the lunch serving of wings, which was HUGE for $7.99, hot crunchy wing segments with a sticky, salty, sweet- spicy bbq sauce. It came with one side, and I asked nicely for two half-portions, so that I could taste the mac 'n cheese and collard greens. Both really good, and I loved the greens. No hot sauce needed, they had enough cayenne and vinegar going on just as dished up.

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I missed this thread, first time around. I'm surprised that no one mentioned Amma Vegetarian Kitchen on M Street in Georgetown (much better than the Vienna  branch). For $5 or $6 you can get a totally satisfying masala dosa, with sambar and coconut chutney.

For that matter, Woodlands in Fairfax (and Arlington, I believe) is an excellent source of dosas.

You know, I think someone could make a fair bit of doss by starting a chain of dosa joints along the lines of falafel shops.

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When I'm flush, I want good food. When I'm broke, I want gentility to make me forget I'm broke. A bowl of french onion soup and a glass of cheap-ass wine at adams morgan's la forchette has done wonders for many a dispirited sunday afternoon. $10 plus tip. Similar concept with mussels at BdC, though the tab creeps closer to $15, and oysters at old ebbitt during happy hour, where the bill hits $20.

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Here are some of my picks for cheap eats:

2 Saltenas from El Pike in 7 Corners ($2.50/ea.)

2 Banh Mi from Song Que in Eden Center ($2.50/ea.)

Regular #12, Pho 75 (Rosslyn) ($5.50 or so)

Anything from Ravi Kabab on Glebe Rd. just south of Ballston, cheap food, good size portions ($7.50 or so)

1/4 Chicken w/ fries and cole slaw, El Pollo Rico (Ballston) ($3.50)

Taco El Pastor or a fish Taco from Taqueria el Poblano

Nice fat Cheesesteak from Al's Steaks in Del Ray, the best around...

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although some might say that a large Steak and Cheese is somewhat pricey at 11.95, Al's large Steak and Cheese lasts for 2 days. And with fried onions and hot peppers, the drooling can start right now.....!

I enjoy Al's, but I wish the bread was better.

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I enjoy Al's, but I wish the bread was better.

I used to live a block away from Al's and thought it was good, but they really underseason the meat and onions. I would have to dump a load of salt and pepper on my cheesesteak when I got it home. It really tastes like they don't use salt at all.

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I enjoy Al's, but I wish the bread was better.

I've never been to Al's, but the picture of the Philly Cheesesteak has lettuce, tomato, mayo, and hot peppers on the sub. I don't think that Pat's, whom he cites for inspiration, even has those items in the shop, much less on the steak...

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Minh's is cheap-I think the most expensive entree is in the $12 range. You just have to remind yourself that there's no need to get schwilly at the Vietnamese joint, so that you don't order beer that your could get six of for two dollars more.

We just had a very nice dinner at Minh's. dinner for 3 (2 appetizers-- excellent shrimp cakes and spring rolles; 3 entrees) was about $48. It also has an elegant feel-- unlike some "cheap eats" kinds of places. I'd definitely go back-- in fact, I left wondering why I hadn't ever been.

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I've never been to Al's, but the picture of the Philly Cheesesteak has lettuce, tomato, mayo, and hot peppers on the sub. I don't think that Pat's, whom he cites for inspiration, even has those items in the shop, much less on the steak...

Just to create more work for Rocks....

I liked Al's when I, too, lived a block away. Overall, I prefer Philly Mike's (Reston and Bethesda).

Now that I have the hankerin', are there any good cheese steaks in Rockville?

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D.C. lacks, unfortunately, a "signature" cheap cuisine. Chicago has hot dogs (and, as it seemed to me when I lived there, burritos). New York has pizza-by-the-slice (and, one could argue, falafel or any of a number of other ethnic foods). Philadelphia has cheesesteaks. My hometown of Kansas City has barbecue. In each of these cities, the signature cuisine is ubiquitous and cheap. It's a go-to food, usually available at all hours in many places. And it becomes a source of civic pride. (Witness the football-related bet between Tony Williams and the Philly mayor, in which Williams embarrassingly could offer only half-smokes.)

The half-smoke is hardly ubiquitous. Pho, maybe? In certain pockets perhaps, but again, not ubiquitous. Anything other candidates?

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D.C. lacks, unfortunately, a "signature" cheap cuisine.  Chicago has hot dogs (and, as it seemed to me when I lived there, burritos).  New York has pizza-by-the-slice (and, one could argue, falafel or any of a number of other ethnic foods).  Philadelphia has cheesesteaks.  My hometown of Kansas City has barbecue.  In each of these cities, the signature cuisine is ubiquitous and cheap.  It's a go-to food, usually available at all hours in many places.  And it becomes a source of civic pride.  (Witness the football-related bet between Tony Williams and the Philly mayor, in which Williams embarrassingly could offer only half-smokes.)

The half-smoke is hardly ubiquitous.  Pho, maybe?  In certain pockets perhaps, but again, not ubiquitous.  Anything other candidates?

The issue of whether DC has any sort of signature dish in the same way that Kansas City has barbeque, Philly has cheesesteaks, etc, has been thoroughy ventilated. The conclusion seems to be that there is no such thing as a signature DC dish. But I will nominate the mini burger.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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