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$30 Challenge - Any suggestions?

Hi Chowhounders!

I'm doing a special article for my blog and I want to do 3 meals in DC for $30 - $10 per meal. Area is not an issue, but I want to get some bang for my bucks and keep my readers interested. Any suggestions? Looking for a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner - preferably Metro accessible, but am willing to get my car if need be.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You can certainly get a great lunch at El Pollo Rico in Clarendon or Wheaton for that price, and probably many other Peruvian chicken joints. El Pollo Rico is my favorite chicken, but I like sides better elsewhere, but the chicken is worth the bland sides actually.

    What about Tortilla Cafe at the Eastern Market or Market Lunch itself? Mexican food, or even breakfast at the Market.

    Pho75 in Rosslyn would do the trick too.

    You might be able to do this at Eatbar too.

    Market Lunch
    225 7th St SE Ste 12, Washington, DC 20003

    Pollo Rico
    7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Good ideas, but I want to be a little out-the-box with this challenge. El Pollo Rico is something you would expect to see done in a challenge like this.

      Pollo Rico
      7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

    2. Suburbs ok?
      Tax and tip included?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        Suburbs ok...Tax included, tip doesn't count towards total (I like to reward good food and good service!) Carryout is fine, especially since I want to visit the Newseum and either the Spy Museum or the Museum of Crime and Punishment.

      2. Lunch special at Ray's Hell Burger - burger, side, and drink for $10.

        Ray's Hell Burger
        1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

        3 Replies
        1. re: DanielK

          That's bang for your buck right there! Is the special offered on the weekend? I'm attempting to do this adventure tomorrow.

            1. re: thefabfoodie

              I got the special for a Saturday lunch one time.

          1. Amsterdam Falafel and So's Your Mom - both in Adams Morgan and both come in easily under $10 for a good lunch.

            So's Your Mom
            1831 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

            Amsterdam Falafelshop
            2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            3 Replies
            1. re: woodleyparkhound

              I've never heard of So's Your Mom - I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

              So's Your Mom
              1831 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

              1. re: thefabfoodie

                It's a take-out sandwich place. They also have pastries, but I've never tried them. Excellent egg/cheese/bacon on a bagel.

              2. re: woodleyparkhound

                Would go for Max's ahead of Amsterdam, though I like Amsterdam.

                El Charritto Caminante.

                The Halal Cart in Ballston. $5 for a lot of good food.

                Ballston Cafe
                4601 Fairfax Dr Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22203

              3. The greek deli on 19th street between L and M. Portions are HUGE and must still be under $10 (haven't eaten there in ages so needs others to verify)

                1. You can get a Vietnamese sandwich, bubble tea, and dessert for $10 at Song Que deli in Eden Center.

                  You can get three tacos, or two tacos and a tamale, plus a drink; at Pico Taco for under $10 (14th and Florida, NW; just tried it for the first time last night and thought it was pretty good for DC). I'm sure there are better tacos in the burbs though.

                  12 inch sandwich at Taylor Gourmet is under $10 and super tasty and filling. Mount Vernon Square or H Street locations, and soon in Bethesda I understand...

                  Don't they have a lunch special at Pete's Apizza? Oops, weekdays only. Good for future reference though.
                  From website, http://petesapizza.com/columbia_heigh...
                  LUNCH SPECIALS
                  11AM-4PM Monday-Friday

                  Two Slices of Cheese Pizza
                  or One Slice of Cheese Pizza
                  and a Side Salad
                  plus a Fountain Drink or Tea
                  $5.99 +tax
                  (toppings $0.25 each


                  Eden Center
                  Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                  Taylor Gourmet
                  1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                  Pete's Apizza
                  , Washington, DC 20001

                  1. Kora in Crystal City on Crystal Drive has a $5 lunch deal for their pizza or pasta dishes or a $7 sandwich selection which includes a salad and fries. I was really content with the tuna nicoise sandwich which was cooked to order. I believe the deal is not available on weekends. Kora is ran by Chef Morou.

                    I would also recommend the Cafe Asia happy hour sushi deal for dinner.

                    Cafe Asia
                    1720 I St NW Unit Frnt, Washington, DC 20006

                    1. What about Horace and Dickies for fish or Levi's Port Cafe? Not quite as easy by public transportation, but not too bad.

                      You could have a million meals at the Eden Center for under $10.

                      Oh! At the Delhi Club in Clarendon has a very good Indian lunch buffet for $8.95 I think it is.

                      Eden Center
                      Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                      Delhi Club
                      1135 N Highland St, Arlington, VA 22201

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        Agreed on the lunch buffet. I really enjoyed it. It's only on weekends, which works for the OP.

                      2. My top three are:

                        El Charrito Caminante in Arlington for their goat or chorizo tacos. Two bucks a pop. Order five and share them with a couple of friends.

                        Pimento Grill in East River, DC for their oxtail brown stew - MUST ORDER the cabbage on the side, also get the peas and rice. Everything here tastes and looks like they prepared it just for you.

                        Joe's Noodle House, Sichuan in Rockville: Wontons in Red Hot Sauce, scallion pancake, and spicy and sour pickled vegetables, all together for less than $10.

                        El Charrito Caminante
                        2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                        Joe's Noodle House
                        1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

                        Pimento Grill Restaurant
                        4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019

                        1 Reply
                        1. Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions! I'll post the link to my blog with the challenge results. I work in Arlington, so I'll have to hit some of these places on my lunch hour! Thanks for getting me out of Shirlington!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: thefabfoodie

                            Ooh and according to my Husband there is a guy with a grill by the David's car wash in Shirlington sometimes and his stuff is pretty good. Don't know dates or time, I guess look for smoke.

                            You are also near Ravi Kabob it might work.

                            1. re: thefabfoodie

                              Tigris grill in Oakton has an amazing 6.95 lunch special, Soup, salad(which I put on the kabob), choice of kabob, rice and amazing bread! Whenever I WFH it's my choice.

                              1. re: thefabfoodie

                                Oh, if you're in Shirlington, try the wings with the 3 mile island tour at Bungalow. For Buffalo style like wings, I think these are the best in the area.

                                1. re: Dennis S

                                  Bungalow is one of my go-to spots - I work across the street from Shirlington Village. I LOVE their fried pickles. They are addictive!

                                  1. re: thefabfoodie

                                    The frickles at Del Merei Grille should change your mind.

                                    Furthermore if you want to know what great bar food is all about, go to Churchkey on 14th St., NW and get the shrimp corn dogs. After that, going back to Bungalow may be depressing.

                                    Del Merei Grille
                                    3106 Mt.Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305

                                    1. re: Steve

                                      The frickles at Del Merei are much better. Only last week in Chicago did I finally find comparable frickles (at David Burke's Primehouse).

                                      I need to try Churchkey, but the wings at Bungalow with the 3 Mile Island sauce have been the best I've had in the traditional hot wing style.

                              2. zola wine and kitchen has a daily $10 lunch special.

                                I never eat anything at busboys over $10 and we often go there for dinner.

                                1. I haven't been in over a year but Etete had some good vegetarian dishes for under $10.

                                  1. korean food cart at the intersection of vermont nw and k street nw. A really great lunch for $5.don't get it confused with the korean food cart at 14th and L (yuck.)