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bear Sep 24, 2007 12:52 PM

Having lunched quite happily on the $3 grilled cheese from Formaggio for the first time today, I was thinking what a bargain that crispy, cheesy sandwich was. I guess I expected it to be a mini at that price.

Got me thinking about other steals out there. Okay, hounds, what is your favorite bargain treat?

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  1. finlero RE: bear Sep 24, 2007 12:55 PM

    $2.50 banh mi from any of the small cadre of purveyors in Chinatown. My favorite is the spicy beef from Mei Sum.

    10 Replies
    1. re: finlero
      TheScribe RE: finlero Sep 24, 2007 01:03 PM

      You beat me to it. The Vietnamese sandwich place. Cheap!!!!

      1. re: finlero
        bear RE: finlero Nov 6, 2007 12:11 PM

        Well, I guess I understand why people love banh mi. I had my first today for lunch, a grilled chicken, on a rare mid-week day off. I was in Allston and went to Pho Viet. Yum. It was a whopping $3, but delicious. I expected a small sandwich, not a sub roll. What a deal.

        The mayo gets all melty, the veggies add freshness and crunch, the meat adds substance, and the cilantro the perfect layer of flavor. Crunchy, warm rolls put it over the top. The only down-side was that I didn't realize you had to ask for sriracha. Next time I'll make sure I do. A great deal for $3, and I'm amazed you can get them in Chinatown for even less! Some of the overpriced places around could learn alot from the banh mi.

        1. re: bear
          joestrummer RE: bear Nov 6, 2007 12:39 PM

          You can usually order them "hot" with diced chilies, Thai bird or jalapeno at some places. Another fresh veggie as opposed to the sauce. I love sriracha but prefer the chilies on the banh mi's.

          Another great bargain is the $5 brat and beer deal at Jacob Wirth's. Bottle of Harpoon IPA and a nice grilled brat.

          1. re: joestrummer
            bear RE: joestrummer Nov 6, 2007 01:20 PM

            Mmmm., the fresh chile sounds great.

            Brat's and beer for $5, that sounds pretty good right now, too, especially since grilling season for us charwood lovers is coming to an end.

            1. re: bear
              joestrummer RE: bear Nov 6, 2007 01:36 PM

              Yeah, the chilies are the way to go.
              The brat deal is really a perfect combo for a quick bite and brew.

              Great thread, BTW.

        2. re: finlero
          davis_sq_pro RE: finlero Nov 7, 2007 07:39 PM

          Can you recommend one or two places (w/ address?) I've been working right near Chinatown for several weeks now and have not yet ventured in. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have only ever eaten there a few times, so I don't know my way around at all...

          1. re: davis_sq_pro
            joestrummer RE: davis_sq_pro Nov 7, 2007 07:52 PM

            Mei Sum is at the corner of Beach and Harrison. A board favorite
            I usually go to Saigon Sandwich, as it's more convenient for me. It's on Washington almost at Kneeland.

            1. re: joestrummer
              finlero RE: joestrummer Nov 8, 2007 04:12 AM

              I agree, Mei Sum would be a good place to start. The women who run the place are pretty friendly, and the sandwiches are great. I like the beef and the tofu a lot; I'm less crazy about the pork.

              1. re: finlero
                galleygirl RE: finlero Nov 11, 2007 08:29 AM

                Another MeiSum bargain are the shrimp or beef rolls, if they have them.&2.50 for a styrofoam clam-shell full..Much more flavorful than other chei fun(?) I've had...

              2. re: joestrummer
                davis_sq_pro RE: joestrummer Nov 12, 2007 12:42 PM


          2. lissy RE: bear Sep 24, 2007 01:15 PM

            A couple weeks ago Alcachofa posted looking for a meatball sub. Based on this board, I went to Al's State Street for the $4 (I think) small sub (which is very, very large). For $5.25 or so you can have that with a soda and chips!

            1 Reply
            1. re: lissy
              Bob Dobalina RE: lissy Sep 24, 2007 02:11 PM

              I believe it's now $4.50 and $5.75, respectively. Still a steal.

              Tacos Lupita does it for me - Taco combo nets three soft tacos and a huge pile of rice and refried beans for ... $7 I think? Maybe $8?

            2. steinpilz RE: bear Sep 24, 2007 02:10 PM

              Carolina pulled pork sandwich at Soul Fire on Harvard in Alston (around$5, w/beer $10), hot dog at Bukowski's or Lower Depths ($1 at Lower Depths, that's a grilled dog with a toasted roll), $1 sushi at Shino Express on Newbury.

              I tried the new "Sushi" place by Harvard and Comm Ave in Alston, it also has $1 sushi -- sized like Shino, which I like, but not as good quality I'd say (funny colored uni, though it tasted good, thick-feeling nori on the gunkans, hot pink gari, funky glassware -- though they do have a beer licence and that's a plus).

              1. ChickenBrocandZiti RE: bear Sep 24, 2007 02:27 PM

                I would have to say Beef Patties at Pepperpot for $1.50. Empenadas ($1.25) & Papusas ($1.50) at La Papusa Guanaca. Two of my favorites.

                1. p
                  pollystyrene RE: bear Sep 24, 2007 06:26 PM

                  Anything at Zalek's in Wakefield. I love the Caprese sandwich for 4.95. (5.95? Nah, 4.95, I think.) Gorgeous, ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, and big, fresh basil leaves with pesto on a huge, soft, braided oblong roll.

                  1. gini RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 05:34 AM

                    The tacos especiales at Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham. I think it's $4.75 or so for 4 tacos topped with avocado, lime and red onions and your choice of filling - I really like the carnitas.

                    1. s
                      Snowflake RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 06:15 AM

                      At $3 the Pork sandwich from Flat Patties is hard to beat.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Snowflake
                        bear RE: Snowflake Sep 25, 2007 06:17 AM

                        What's it like?

                        1. re: bear
                          Snowflake RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 08:03 AM

                          The last one I had was served on a toasted hamburger bun and contained a good amount of pulled pork with a nice tangy sauce and cole slaw. It is full of flavor. The bun could have been a bit better, but at $3, you won't hear a complaint out of me. It isn’t the easiest neighborhood to find a decent snack in.

                          1. re: bear
                            Prav RE: bear Nov 6, 2007 02:04 PM

                            I second this pork sandwich - it's heaven.

                        2. hiddenboston RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 06:17 AM

                          Great topic! Here are a few of my favorite cheap eats:

                          -- Sicilian slices at Galleria Umberto, North End ($1.00 or so--might be $1.25 now)
                          -- Mulitas at Tacos Lupita (about $3.50 or so)
                          -- Hot dogs at George's Coney Island Hot Dogs, Worcester ($1.00 to $2.00 each)
                          -- Four-cheese tortellini with pesto at Blackjack Pasta Bar, Boston ($8.00)
                          -- Grilled steak and cheese enchilada from Boca Grande, Cambridge ($4.00)

                          1. n
                            nasilemak RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 06:53 AM

                            Wonton noodle soup at Hong Kong Eatery on Harrison Ave. Chinatown.
                            Only five bucks for a generous amount of shrimp in the wontons!

                            Also the lovely array of Carribean items for you to choose in the take out counter at Flames II in Brigham Circle for around 7 or 8 bucks.

                            1. kobuta RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 07:48 AM

                              My favorite Chinatown dive - Wai Wai. A big plate of rice with chicken and a side of soup and veggies is 4.50 (maybe 4.75). With roast duck rather than chicken is normally about $5.

                              I've mentioned the buns before, but 2-3 buns at a bakery will typically run under $3, and often under $2. Depends on what you like, and it's more than enough for a lunch.

                              1. Joanie RE: bear Sep 25, 2007 08:59 AM

                                The $1-2-3-4-5 happy hour at Noir. $.75 shortbread cookies at Canto 6. I got $.69 cookies at the Whole Foods by Govt. Center a couple months ago, and only there, maybe it was a mistake.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Joanie
                                  OLDCHEF RE: Joanie Sep 25, 2007 09:55 AM

                                  I think one of best deals i have had comes from the polish markets on boston street small roast beef on nice roll swiss and horseradish 3.75. small rolls are better than the large.

                                  1. re: OLDCHEF
                                    phatchris RE: OLDCHEF Nov 6, 2007 01:14 PM

                                    Any of the pasta specials at J.pace in the North End 5.75.

                                2. t
                                  taxi RE: bear Nov 7, 2007 04:20 PM

                                  Bukowski's in Inman Square in Camb. has hamburgers for - get this - $1.69 during certain hours. Also, Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street has $2 apps from 3:30 to 6 Sun. to Thurs. Just saw that on Chronicle or Phantom the other night.

                                  1. j
                                    joestrummer RE: bear Nov 7, 2007 07:27 PM

                                    A question rather than a rec-

                                    Has anyone eaten at the Irish Pub on Billings Road in north quincy.
                                    I had a beer in there the other day and the menu is very cheaply priced.

                                    Sandwiches for 3 or 4 bucks. Dinners for 6 or 7.


                                    1. h
                                      heWho RE: bear Nov 7, 2007 08:36 PM

                                      Masa's tapas at the bar. $5 for a plate of 10 tapas some nights (can't remember which). Either way, they're never more than $10 for the plate of 10.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: heWho
                                        foolishmortal RE: heWho Nov 7, 2007 09:44 PM

                                        Bob's in Medford, S of the river. 6.75-7.50 for a Jumbo (impossible to finish) sub of good quality.
                                        Also, Punjabi Dhaba at Inman, the Chatt and Dosas in particular. Light meal for <5, 3.50 or so for the Chatt.
                                        Taqueria la Mexicana at Union: Tamales for $1.25

                                        1. re: heWho
                                          heWho RE: heWho Nov 11, 2007 07:55 AM

                                          I'll throw another Masa bargain in there. On Saturdays all morning and Sundays before 11:30 they have a Prix Fixe brunch for $7.95. I got a great bowl of homemade granola with fresh fruit and yogurt, then their version of eggs bene, and was pleased with both. Even better where my DC's Plantain Empanada and Huevos Rancheros.

                                          Good stuff!

                                          1. re: heWho
                                            bear RE: heWho Nov 11, 2007 09:12 AM

                                            We did that last week. It was very good, and definitely a bargain. I got the empanada and southwestern benedict. My husband got the chocolate chip pancakes, which he really enjoyed. Around $20 total.

                                        2. c
                                          chowfamily RE: bear Nov 11, 2007 08:39 AM

                                          If you can get to Little Q on Hancock Street in Quincy on a week day and ask for the $7.50 lunch special you will be amply rewarded.

                                          1. j
                                            joth68 RE: bear Nov 16, 2007 08:56 AM

                                            75 cent hotdogs at sullivans on castle island for the month of November

                                            1. m
                                              margareteats RE: bear Nov 16, 2007 10:51 AM

                                              Are there falafel sandwiches to be had anywhere in Beantown or around? Falafel is always a great deal . . .

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: margareteats
                                                devilham RE: margareteats Nov 19, 2007 01:13 PM

                                                I think it's called Sami's in West Roxbury on Center St., right by the Roche Bros. Market, they make a falafal sandwich for like $5 that's as long as your forearm. It's fracking delicous, and almost impossible to eat in one sitting. I am by no means a vegetarian, but would choose this sandwich over a steak and chease any day, it's that good.

                                                1. re: margareteats
                                                  MB fka MB RE: margareteats Nov 19, 2007 04:31 PM

                                                  $3.25 falafel wraps from the truck at MIT - parked at 77 Mass Ave, right near the Mass Ave bridge. There is one in Kendall, too, but it's not that good.

                                                  1. re: margareteats
                                                    Bob Dobalina RE: margareteats Nov 21, 2007 07:39 AM

                                                    Falafel King on Winter Street is my falafel of choice -

                                                    BTW, I was speaking with the king the other day and apparently he is getting a new grill and will be expanding the menu to include other meats, kebobs, etc. (I think).

                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                      chowfamily RE: Bob Dobalina Nov 21, 2007 09:12 AM

                                                      Another vote for Falafel King. Its take-out, but its hard to take it very far without eating it.

                                                      1. re: chowfamily
                                                        SeaSide Tomato RE: chowfamily Nov 23, 2007 09:43 AM

                                                        Ah--if you like Felafel King, his brother is making terrific felafel at the "Middle Eastern Grocery and Halal Meat" store on Hancock street in Quincy. Tasty fresh felafel with great ingredients, it's huge--two could split one and be happy--and a bargain at I think under $5. He wants to expand intot the next door shop to increase the space from a shop with a small kitchen to a sit down spot. Very tasty. Hmm...It's lunch time, I may need to go get one now!!

                                                        1. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                                          chowfamily RE: SeaSide Tomato Nov 23, 2007 10:33 AM

                                                          That is great news!!! Thanks so much for the tip!

                                                          1. re: chowfamily
                                                            SeaSide Tomato RE: chowfamily Nov 23, 2007 03:58 PM

                                                            So welcome-I hope you get to try it soon--it's wonderful--and the owner seems really, really nice!

                                                            1. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                                              chowfamily RE: SeaSide Tomato Dec 2, 2007 03:59 PM

                                                              I tried it last Saturday and it was outstanding. The felafel was deliciously crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I had it with hummus, delicious tahini, lettuce and tomato. The price was just under $5.00.

                                                              I agree, the owner is very nice. Thanks again for the recommendation.

                                                          2. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                                            joestrummer RE: SeaSide Tomato Nov 23, 2007 11:02 AM

                                                            Yes, good to know. I've driven by and been curious but assumed it was merely a grocery store.

                                                    2. e
                                                      EllenMM RE: bear Nov 19, 2007 03:35 PM

                                                      Not very "gourmet", but I'm blissfully happy ordering the large Hebrew National hot dog with sauerkraut, onions, mustard and a refillable soda for $1.50 at COSTCO.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: EllenMM
                                                        phatchris RE: EllenMM Nov 20, 2007 01:25 PM

                                                        Ate last night at Red Rock Bistro, Monday night is dollar night.

                                                        1$ oysters- super fresh seven varieties last night, I had the blue points.
                                                        1$ grilled shrimp- two grilled shrimp on a skewer, simple grilled shrimp
                                                        1$ sliders, mini burgers topped with carmelized onions.
                                                        1$ corn dogs, served with spicy mustard

                                                        Great deal, I also had the fried clam app, which were some of the best I've had in a while though not a bargain at 11.50 for a small brown bag.

                                                      2. s
                                                        savedlatin RE: bear Dec 4, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                        Tanjore in Harvard Square is my starving-student standby. $8 gets you access to an all-you-can eat buffet (normally not my thing, but this place makes some great Indian food) that you can also dispatch with in a good-sized takeout container. If you have a small appetite, like I do, this can easily get you through 3 meals.

                                                        Also, Rendang, the Malaysian place nearby, offers a $6.25 lunch special. The food isn't super, but there's a ton of it and the atmosphere is nice. I'd recommend the beef Rendang.

                                                        It's less of a bargain, but the $10 Saturday brunch at Aquitaine has always seemed like a steal for such a nice place. A homemade cinnamon roll, eggs, coffee, juice.

                                                        Brunch at the Neighborhood in Somerville is also a steal, in my opinion.

                                                        And of course, there's Grendel's Den, patron organization of starving Harvard students. The $5 lunch specials, the $1 "Sunday Seven" entrees, the half-price eats during happy hour...it's hard to find a time when the food here isn't on sale. Nothing to write home about, but a meal and a draft for under $10 is always pleasurable.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: savedlatin
                                                          MB fka MB RE: savedlatin Dec 6, 2007 08:44 AM

                                                          How is the brunch at the Neighborhood a steal - most people go for that page of specials and isn't it running about 13 bucks these days? a lot of food yes, worth the calories, no.

                                                          1. re: MB fka MB
                                                            treb RE: MB fka MB Dec 8, 2007 03:15 PM

                                                            How about the bar menu at Flemmings from 3-6pm. $1.95 burgers with all the sides. They always have about 6 selections for $1.95.

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