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Ok, I'll give you 4 dollars, where are you going to spend it for lunch. And here's the catch- no pizza.

I've stumped myself, so I'll just head over to Christinas for a big ice cream cone.

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  1. Soup from Au Bon Pain. Not that chowish or exciting.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Suze123

      The last time I got a small soup from them, it was a bit over $4 for their small size. :-/

      1. re: kobuta

        Darn! I think you're right. OK. Bon Mi it is!

    2. Still Umberto for me. $2.50 arancini, $1.20 panzarotti, 30 cents change.

      1 Reply
      1. To me, the top choice would be a banh mi, a Vietnamese sub made with a crusty French roll, meat or tofu, shredded carrots, cilantro, and spicy chile peppers. A six-inch sub goes for anywhere between $2.75 and $3.25, depending on the place and the type of banh mi.

        Quick picks (although there are many more): Ba Le in Dorchester, Mei Sum in Chinatown, Pho Viet at the Super 88 food court in Allston.

        6 Replies
        1. re: finlero

          I'm w/you, finlero - when I saw the headline I thought "banh mi, baby!" I want one now, actually.

            1. re: finlero

              Ditto with Ba Le, and I'd add a banh bao (kinda like a massive dry dumpling stuffed with meat veggies and an egg) and it could still be under $4.

              1. re: finlero

                Agreed $4 at 163 Vietnamese Sandwiches in Chinatown gets you banh mi and a coke

                1. re: frankthetank

                  I like 163 a lot. I've also enjoyed their BBQ chicken on lo mein for 3.50.

                2. re: finlero

                  Banh Mi was the first place I thought of too! I'm a huge fan of the New Saigon Shop on Washington Street!

                3. The cafeteria at my kids' High School doesn't even have anything decent for $4.

                  At least that's what they tell me!

                  1. Go to Speeds with a friend in order to split a $7.00 hot dog (loaded of course) and a can of soda. Yumm!

                    1. Yeah, I'd still get a banh mi with money to spare at $2.75. Maybe some fruit to go with that at a local chinese grocey market.

                      I can still buy a lot of Chinatown bakery buns too (usually 2-3 buns is plenty for lunch, which often means well under $4) I like bo lo bau (or "pineapple buns') which usually run about $0.60 each. Even with 3, I can still buy a drink - maybe a Malt Vitasoy for another 60 cents or so.

                      1. Pork and preserved egg porridge at Hong Kong eatery.

                        1. I'd go to Hing Shing Pastry in Ctown and get a spring roll, taro root roll, 1 other item and an egg custard..probably have some change left over.

                          or a bahn mi

                          1. i think you can rock a burger at flat patties with 4 bucks, or the pulled pork sandwich.

                            1. Fecal wonders how much the duck plate costs at Wai Wai in C-town these days...it used to be around 4 bones.

                              1. I ate like a king for that at the Chinese food trucks by the natural history museum at Harvard (similar trucks at MIT and Harvard Medical School).

                                Otherwise, a falafel sandwich at Moody's runs about $4.

                                1. 2 pupusas at Maya Sol in East Somerville ($1.75 each). They come with sauce and coleslaw, so it's easily a whole meal.

                                  1. you can get pasta (changes daily) and a roll at Viga (downtown) for under $4; container looks small but it's plenty filling for lunch. I think an order of 6 crispy-bottomed potstickers at Windsor (CHinatown) is also under $4.

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        The Inman Square nod reminded me, I believe Bukowski's still does a $3 burger. Caveats: (a) while it's not bad, it's not exactly a look-skyward-and-give-thanks-you-have-tastebuds experience either, and (b) good luck not grabbing a $4 beer to go with said $3 burger.

                                        1. re: finlero

                                          Good luck finding a beer as cheap as $4 on their menu...

                                          Though I do agree with the burger call (I think they used to do the same thing with the dogs, but I believe they stopped).

                                      2. Well mrwhiskers you asked for it so, Fife & Drum, open to the public, at the Concord State Prison, a complete lunch is $1.75, no tip necessary. Your tax dollars at work, or should I say, what's left of you check after paying taxes in MA, enjoy!

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: treb

                                          Right, but it may be hard for some to get past the anchor tattoo on the "pernil," or the shanked shanks.

                                          1. re: nsenada

                                            It's not in the prison, it's in the building next to it on the grounds. There's a thread about it on CH.

                                          2. re: treb

                                            i'd guess there is no silverware

                                            1. re: mrwhiskers

                                              Metal dectors and a frisk before you order. As I said to nsenada, there's a CH thread on this place.

                                            2. re: treb

                                              The original Fife & Drum at Minuteman Regional Technical High School (or whatever it's calling itself this year) also has a very good lunch, but I think it's more like $7.00 (comes with appetizer, though).

                                            3. Felipe's in Harvard Square for a tostada (any type but steak) with guacamole for $3.89. Lots of yummy extras at the condiment bar too.

                                              1. I forget what I was doing in Inman Square in the middle of the day, but I must admit I made a lunch of a double-scoop Christina's cone a few weeks ago. Not the proudest moment in my personal nutrition, but it's my favorite ice cream shop in town.


                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    I consider ice cream to be one of the major food groups. It's definitely tops in MY food pyramid.

                                                  2. A couple veggie tacos from Burrito Express.

                                                    1. one of the small size quiches at Canto 6 in JP ($3.25) plus a cannele ($.50) for dessert!

                                                      1. I'd probably grab a hot dog at Simco's in Mattapan.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                          Four Kayem dogs at Sully's in March or November.

                                                          I can also grab three tamals at Taq La Maxicana.

                                                          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                            Actually, it would be 5 dogs at Sully's (they are 75 cents each during those months). :-)

                                                            A friend of mine and I were heading to Sullivan's a couple of Novembers ago to grab some cheap dogs, and when we stepped out of the car, we saw $8.00 lying in the street. Now I don't even have to tell you what that was used for ($8.00 divided by $0.75 equals hot dog heaven).

                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                Please don't tell me you each had 5 dogs...

                                                            1. Sevans in Watertown has an unbelievable group of baked wraps one with cheese,tomato,and salami like meat for 2.95-you will have enough left over for their desserts!

                                                              1. Fired Catfish and chips
                                                                Chicken Parm with Pasta
                                                                Chicken Salad Sandwich
                                                                Tuna Sandwich
                                                                1/2 sandwich & soup

                                                                all under $4, and a complimentary bread basket is included.

                                                                The Breakheart Inn, at Northeastern Metro Vocational School, right next to Breakheart Reservation in Wakefield and just up the road from J. Pace & Son.

                                                                Hours, days of operation and basic menu listed at:

                                                                They have daily specials which they'll give to you over the phone. I don't think those cost more than $7 at the most and I think those tend to be a better bet.

                                                                I've had a few lunches and the food has ranged from fairly decent to pretty darn good. The breads trend more towards darn good to some truly excellent cinnamon rolls.

                                                                You go to the main entrance of the school, sign in and get a visitor pass and head down through the school hallways to the dining room. It's nothing fancy and you can tell there's a lot to learn, but you absolutely can't beat the price.

                                                                1. 1 snap dog with mustard and onions + 1 small fries + 1 soda at Sullivan's, Castle Island.

                                                                  1. Five Dollar Foot Long...shared with a friend...

                                                                    1. 2 empanadas from the Columbian place down the street.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                        $1 taco Tuesday at La Verdad on Landsdowne Street

                                                                        1. re: Allston78

                                                                          whoah mama, I could do that every week.

                                                                      2. Banh Mi at 163 Vietnamese Sandwiches in Chinatown.

                                                                        With one more dollar, I could get an iced coffee as well.

                                                                        1. Two Jamaican patties from Jamiaca's in downtown lynn. $1.50 each, I have a dollar left over for a drink. Love the patties!

                                                                          1. If I'm not particularly hungry, I could probably get it done at Hot Dog Annie's on Wednesday with four hot dogs for $4.

                                                                            Otherwise, I'll need to go to Taco Bell's $.89 Cheesy Double Beef Burrito, which is the most hefty serving you'll find for the price. I could probably get 3 of them with a small soda and be full (as well as dead from acid reflux).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: theholycow

                                                                              I'd go with Galleria Umberto's in the North End, too. We love it -- they gave our out of town guest two free slices once because he told the counter guy how much he loved the pizza and how he can't get anything like it out west...super cheap eats when they throw in free stuff!

                                                                            2. Well, based on what I had yesterday as part of a food-based road trip, now I'm thinking that I'll have half a steak stick at Suppa's in Lowell. Delicious, and very filling!

                                                                              1. I believe an order of 3 goi cuon is still $4 at the asian truck at MIT ("Goosebeary's")-- I dislike most of their offerings, but the goi cuon and the ga nuong are both solid. (They also have banh mi, or at least they used to, but it is/was pretty bad-- I'd stick with Pho Viet or one of the Chinatown options...)

                                                                                1. Two fried chicken thighs and a house made beef patty at Lennie's Bakery on Blue Hill Avenue ($3.75).

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: jgleeche

                                                                                    1. a bowl of tortellini soup w/ warm bread at Alia in Winthrop
                                                                                    2. two egg rolls at Billy Tse in Revere
                                                                                    3. one panzarotti and one arancini at Umberto's in the North End

                                                                                  2. I'll have two tacos from Taqueria El Amigo in waltham. One Carne asada and one Al pastor. I'm getting hungry.

                                                                                    1. Chicken taco at Tacos Lupita--just $2.50 & quasi-healthy. Chunks of carmelized chicken stand up to raw, rough-chopped onion, & there's plenty of tomato & cilantro. Usually, taco is served with a lime wedge & jalapeno hot sauce, both of which are essential, so ask if one of the hard-working servers forgets.

                                                                                      Also, know that this is the kind of place that rewards regulars. The more I go there--even for a measly single-taco order--the bigger my taco gets. Heaven!

                                                                                      1. Pretty easy ... there is afood court near Macys in the financial distrtict. Many items for around 4 - the jamaican stall has Jamaican patties, ginger beer, fried chicken. Most any bakery in chinatown and you can get stuffed for 4. Falafels from the falafel king. Any of the cafeterias in the offices (except for pricy places like sebastians).... I rarely eat pizza - but sometimes the pizza regina in south station is a quick drop of a couple fo dollars for lunch. Then during the summertime, the "Farmers markets" allow for individual selection with many opportunities for spending less than 4!

                                                                                        1. Go to Anna's Taqueria, get an Al Pastor quesadilla, enjoy. If you don't like pork, their steak quesadilla is also superb. The problem is that they're so tasty I'm licking my chops after eating one and wondering if I can eat another. As a couple of people mentioned, there are several Chinese food trucks at MIT that will stuff you for $4, but it's been a while since I've been there, so no specific recs.

                                                                                          1. A small ice cream at Bedford Farms is big enough to last me all day.... nothing wrong with ice cream for lunch in the summer time. I can't remember how much it is though, so I may be over the limit.

                                                                                            1. $1 sushi at Shino Express on Newbury Street.

                                                                                              $1 Fenway dog at Lower Depths in Kenmore Square.

                                                                                              Chips and great homemade salsa at Shay's in Harvard Square.

                                                                                              In cooler weather, clam chowder at Legal or Jacob Wirth or John Harvard.

                                                                                              1. One of my favorite falafel places - I think it's called International Falafel - is in Haymarket, under one of the butchers. You can do that for $4. It's like stepping into the middle east in there, with a table under the Arabic TV and a few guys reading newspapers and talking and a counter on the side for falafel.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                  But unlike stepping into the Middle East, you won't get a good falafel!

                                                                                                2. 2 salads at the Clover food truck @ MIT. Local, organic & in season.