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Best Deals for $5.00 in SD (Blatantly Stealing a Topic)

Hi, there is an active thread on the Los Angeles board that I would like to start on the California board.

Fire Away!

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  1. You should edit the topic to say, not including pizza. How about fish tacos and a soft drink at Marisco's German truck #3.

    1. Also edit out $5 Friday meals at Vons.

      Do you want to include coupons?

      How about the Tuesday only specials everyone seems to have? (Del Taco, Ruoio's Popeyes come to mind)

      Whopper Wednesdays?

      Arbys giving away a free something with putchase every Wednesday since May...

      Filet O Fish Friday?

      Jack in the Box and Carls Jr have lunch combos for under $5.

      Subway, Quizno and Submarina have sandwiches under $5.

      Convoy Sushi and Fish Market ( on Engineer Road) has $5 take aways.
      The rotissiere chicken at Costco is $5 and will make two meals for two people.

      You can buy anything anywhere for $5 if you pay attention. It will taste good and be a good deal in your own mind. That is what value menus are all about. All are good deals if that is what you want to eat. A taco and beverage at any taco shop. Two tacos and a glass of water if you are really hungry...

      15 Replies
      1. re: Cathy

        I suspect that Gypsy Jan was asking for "real good food for $5 or under." I think cstr's response is in line with her question. Other than Convoy Sushi, I don't think that your suggestions were what she was looking for.

        But I could be wrong about that...

        1. re: RB Hound

          Yah, I think you on the right track RB. I did some snooping and this topic is also on the Boston board, with what appears to be some interesting suggestions. I've had the pleasure of being in BOS many times and have tried some of the mentioned places. I believe Gypsy Jan maybe referring to food of quality and that are chow worthy, ie. a 'real deal' for a fiver.

          1. re: cstr

            And when I looked at the referred to LA post, there were 13 responses, which included ten referrals to taco shops, 5 mentioned falafel sandwiches, two also mentioned a slice of pizza and a drink and so none of it was really anything unique. There are times when I have a craving for fried chicken and two pieces for $1.29 at Popeyes on Tuesday makes that a great meal and a great deal- to me. I don't get it all the time and I don't want to sit down somewhere and pay $8 for a two piece meal.

            Interesting that so many locations on CH all started this topic.

            1. re: Cathy

              Have to agree, Popeyes (on Tues) is a good deal.

        2. re: Cathy

          But all the stuff you suggestion is highly processed food nobody who is seriously interested in food should think about eating.

          1. re: Cathy

            "You can buy anything anywhere for $5 if you pay attention."


            Can I get a mansion filled with Model girls and beluga caviar for $5?

            1. re: Cathy

              Just had to laugh out loud and respond to you Cathy, as I just made this same comment to my brother and sister about Costco's roasted Foster Farms whole chicken. It is the best kept secret here in Southern Ca. I love this bird and it is roasted to perfection. Most times I have it without any type of side dish because the aroma was driven me crazy before I could get it home. And you are most correct. It is $4.99 and I get at least three meals out of it. So that is about $1.66 per meal. (watch to see someone with to much time check my math). Rb hound??? down boy.

              1. re: BEN92555

                The Costco rotisserie chicken is pretty good suggestion, but I've had reliability issues recently with the Morena Ave. Costco. It seems that when I pick up a bird on the weekend, it often ends up a bit dry / overroasted. I cannot go by color, as even a light brown skin can taste burned, it seems (maybe junk in the oven)?

                1. re: RB Hound

                  Or artifical color.

                  The Costco birds are a good value but I'm probably the only one in the world that doesn't like them. I think - but can not prove - they are pumped, they sure act like they're pumped with excess water (to make them heavier) and I don't like the seasoning they use. Is it me, my imagination or just bad luck but once cold, Costco chickens seem ultra greasy to me.

                  At $4.99 they are a very good value...just not for me :-)

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Costco chickens are injected with salt/water brine. Interesting sidenote, the SF Chronicle did a roast chicken taste comparison a few years ago and Costco beat all the local SF bistros and other restaurants for takeout, roast chicken based on flavor alone.

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Salt helps everything. We have, unfortunately, been brainwashed to believe all salt is all bad. Not necessarily the case. Use an apporpriate amount of salt in almost anything to enhance the flavor and it will taste good. Be willing to bet that the restaurants in the Chron test undersalted their birds.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        So the Costco one was salted correctly because of the brine solution? That makes sense, but shouldn't it be up to other restaurants to flavor the birds properly themselves? That shouldn't be on the diner. I'm also not exactly sure how you jumped to the conclusion that they were undersalted. Unless you were part of the test?

                        1. re: DougOLis

                          No, to all questions. I type almost as fast as I can think, and I think my response was more a matter of me typing what I was thinking. Perhaps there were some gaps ;-).

                          Salt is a flavor enhancer, my thought was that a Costco chicken probably had a higher salt content than the others in the Chron comparison, ergo it probably rated higher because the salt had ramped up the flavors.

                    2. re: DiningDiva

                      You are not alone, DD. I never liked the Costco chickens when I lived in San Diego and I never liked them in Guadalajara and I still don't like them in Morelia. Fortunately, a new pollo al carbón place opened just around the corner from me and oh boy, it is out of this world. Juicy, tender, delicious chicken, with the flavor of charcoal. A whole chicken, two sides, chiles toreados, grilled onions, and a big stack of fresh tortillas: 75 pesos, or just about $5.00 at today's exchange rate. Too bad it's not in San Diego...

                      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                      1. re: cristina

                        No, too bad I'm not in Morelia ;-)

              2. K's Sandwiches - lots of delicious options for under $5.00!

                1. OK, Suggestions and criticisms of my topic are duly noted, but I can't change/edit the topic now, since the edit time has expired.

                  So, please continue to contribute. Chow worthy food can be found in all kinds of places; even in chains and grocery stores if it is fresh and carefully prepared, so I don't see setting a limitation on the conversation.

                  Thanks for any and all input, Chow Hounders!

                  1. Mona lisa has $1 mini sandwiches at lunchtime. (99% sure that is the price)

                    Not amazing, but you cannot expect the world for $1. They are pretty good.

                    And if you are down on your luck and starving, I am sure it would taste like angels crying on your tounge.

                    1. The Lindsey special sandwich at Windmill Farms in Del Cerro is $3.99. It's a very good, made-to-order, turkey sandwich with lots of veggies. It's big enough to fill up the college guys that come over from SDSU and order it.

                      1. Sam Woo BBQ or the Ranch 99 hot deli counter for Chinese, better than Panda Express.

                        Yum Cha Cafe in Linda Vista for inexpensive counter-service dim sum.

                        Wonton soup (with or without noodles) at Sieu Sieu BBQ on Clairemont Mesa (one block over from Ranch 99, behind Carls Jr).

                        1. The 1/2 lb cheeseburger and fries for $2.95 at McCormick & Schmick's happy hour. Mussels for $4.95 at the same happy hour. The papas or barbacoa rolled tacos for $4.99 at Aqui es Texcoco.

                          1. Both of these have bahn mi for less than a fiver, and I can vouch for both.

                            Cali Baguette Express
                            5125 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

                            Vo's Cafe
                            2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Fake Name

                              banh mi is a good way to go for a good meal (of questionable meat?) under $5. I'd throw in Cafe Dore (my fav) and K Sandwiches as well.

                            2. bean, rice and cheese burrito at El Cuervo

                              1. Any of the chaat at Surati Farsan.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Josh

                                  that's what I was going to suggest. If you stretch it to $5.50 you can get the maysore masala dosa too

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    oh yeah, I was thinking about all the chaat too!

                                  2. I'm going with what I can get for lunch by themselves at $5 that I really enjoy.
                                    Tacos El Gordo: Two Adobado tacos-$1.85 each
                                    Lucky Pho: Regular size pho-$4.25
                                    Super Cocina: One item w/ rice and beans- $4.99

                                    1. You could have a healthy, good-sized salad at Tender Greens in Liberty Station for $5.00. At the other end of the "healthy" spectrum would be a HUGE burrito at Los Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan for $4.50 (or three well-filled tacos at $1.50 apiece). I'm happy with either choice.

                                      1. Venissimo Cheese shop used to do a lunch special of Bread & Cie bread, any cheese, and a piece of fruit for $5 but they raised the price to $6 recently.

                                        1. You can find good obento at Nijiya or Mitsuwa around $5.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mayuchico

                                            Go at 11 am if you can, because the croquettes have just been put out and some of the bento are still a little warm at that hour. Sometimes the ladies will hand you one with fresh, hot rice from behind the counter.

                                          2. The back of Jasmine's has a take-out counter with steam-table options. A combo plate is $5-6 I think.

                                            1. Take out at El Indio (maybe more than $5.00 ), sunset from Presidio Park-free,-priceless!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ouchycactus

                                                El Indio is nowhere anybody should eat. Go to El Cuervo up the hill, it's cheaper and better.

                                              2. A ton of choices at Trader Joes in the prepared meals section can be found under at or around 5 bucks.

                                                1. 2 slices of luigis pizza in north park

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: lovesfood11

                                                    A Sicilian Thing on 30th in North Park has $1 slices for "happy hour" during the week in the afternoons. Website didn't have exact days/times.

                                                    1. re: JRSD

                                                      Tried "Sicilian" a few times and didn't care for the pizza nor the customer service. I won't return, especially since I live equidistant to that and Lefty's, and I prefer the latter so much more. I found Sicilian's pizza to be doughy and lackluster. At this point, I don't care what kind of "happy hour" specials they have, my money will be spent elsewhere.


                                                      1. re: ginael

                                                        I thought the thin crust was better than the Sicilian (although not as good as Luigis's or Lefty's.) They have always been very and friendly and cheerful service-wise when I have been there but it stinks that you got bad service there.

                                                        1. re: ginael

                                                          Sorry you had a bad experience at Sicilian thing, but I have to stick up for the place a bit. I've always had good pizza and quick, friendly service there. I enjoy the thick crust, and the thin crust is tasty but not quite as good as Luigi's IMO.

                                                          1. re: juantanamera

                                                            Is that the place that's near Toronado?

                                                            1. re: DougOLis

                                                              Yes, a little bit up 30th from Toronado.

                                                    2. 2 Fish tacos from Mariscos German truck on University.

                                                      1. Brie and turkey sandwitch at Nordstrom Cafe in UTC. Cobb salad at Nordstrom's. We get this every other week.

                                                        2 slices of Z Pizza for $5. They have great Napoli pizza, thin crispy crust and fresh tomatoes. There's one in UTC next to Ralphs/Whole Foods.

                                                        Cheese and fruit salad: Buy Asiago cheese, apples, seedless grapes, cut the cheese and apples and eat. You'll have money left over for some cheap half bottle wine to split.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: royaljester

                                                          To be pedantic, Whole Foods and Ralph's are not next to each other, but in two separate shopping complexes separated by Nobel Drive. Z Pizza is in the south (Ralph's and the movie theater) complex, on the east side near a Fin's, Jamba Juice, and a Daphne's.

                                                          Yummy pizza.

                                                        2. For lunch, there's a new place in Sorrento Valley open 10am to 4pm in the food court called Eggstra. Great quiche sandwitches for under $4, in an otherwise culinary desert.