Best Bites of 2018

best of By December 31, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I’ve never done a “best of” post before but after the year I have had in 2018 . . . there was no way I couldn’t. Between finishing Cheap Eats Season 4, shooting all of Season 5, plus numerous excursions to NYC and LA and appearing on Best Thing I Ever Ate, there are a lot of great meals to muse over. So take one long last look at the best bites I had in 2018 . . . my best year of eats yet!

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Tumble 22 ~ Austin TX

Austin, Sandwiches By December 28, 2018 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Tumble 22 7211 Burnett road Austin TX 78757
the eats: The OG Classic Hot Chicken Sandwich
the bucks: $8.50
the full nelson: a perfect fried chicken experience captured in a bun 

Austin really isn’t a fried chicken joint town and that’s OK because these days it’s all about Hot Chicken, or should I say Nashville Hot Chicken. Now I’m sure of you saw Cheap Eats Nashville and know that I did indeed try some real deal Nashville Hot Chicken at Pepperfire, our spot for dinner. While Austin can’t compete with Nashville’s sheer number of fiery Hot Chicken joints, Tumble 22 serves up some hot chicken on a bun that makes me think twice about taking a trip back to Nashvegas. And they do it for a little over $8.

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Bang for your Pho Buck: Lee’s Bakery ~ Atlanta

Asian, The South By December 18, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Lee’s Bakery 4005 Buford Highway NE Ste C Atlanta GA 30345
the eats: Large Combination Pho, Grilled Pork Sandwich
the bucks: $10.25, $3.75 respectively
the full nelson: the definition of why Vietnamese joints are Cheap Eats havens

Upon my initial research into Atlanta for Cheap Eats, I knew I was going to have to make a stop at Buford Highway. The legendary drag is home to tacos, sushi, dumplings. curries, Korean food beyond BBQ and so much more. It got me a little nostalgic for my LA days where an immense diversity of food cultures can be unlocked with the power of the automobile. It was a challenge to single out one cuisine for my inaugural Buford Highway feast, but it had been a minute since I had some good pho and all it takes is a google search to know that Lee’s Bakery Atlanta tops many lists.

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Bang for your Bengali Food Buck: Haat Baazar NYC

Indian, New York City By December 7, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Haat Bazaar 3711 73rd st suite 73 Jackson Heights Queens NY
the eats: Biriyani, beef curry, dal, dimmer chop(fried egg), bhaji – basically get everything you can but fair warning: the fish has a million bones!!
the bucks: $10 a person
the full nelson: legendary Bengali grocer serving authentic home cooked Bengali food in the heart of Jackson Heights Queens

Beyond Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan lies a complex world of regional Indian cuisines, like Bengali cuisine of which I grew up on. Not unlike some 1st generation American kids, I longed for hamburgers and pizza over funky fish curries and lentil stews but as I grew older and Mom’s kitchen grew further and further away, I reminisce for the OG stuff I grew up on.

Fair warning: Bengali food is not for everybody. The curries come off oily for the uninitiated, the fish is loaded with bones and can be dangerous to eat if you’re not careful, and yeah, the kabobs are cooked to a temperature beyond well done. Still the spice profile is distinctly different from the all you can eat Indian buffets where cumin and coriander are made almost irrelevant by copious amounts of heavy cream. The bottom line is that there is a lot more to Indian food than your neighborhood Indian restaurant, and if you are looking for a true foodie adventure, head to Haat Bazaar in Jackson Heights, Queens.

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Bang for your Burrito Buck: Red Mesa Mercado

Tacos/ Mexican, The South By December 2, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Red Mesa Mercado 1100 First Ave N St. Petersburg FL 33705
the eats: Chile Relleno Burrito with Pork Colorado,  
the bucks: $7.95
the full nelson: The best Bang for your Burrito Buck outside of Mexico

Considering this is my third post on the food scene in St. Petersburg FL, I think it is safe to say that I am pretty impressed with the food down there. If you saw Cheap Eats St. Petersburg, you might remember the duck confit quesadilla from Red Mesa Cantina. Well Chef Chris Fernandez makes one mean burrito too, in fact this might be one of the best burritos I have ever had . . . and that includes a burrito bender in San Francisco I went on earlier this year. It one was heck of a deal too, legit Bang for your Burrito Buck. Still you should be a little skeptical . . . bona fide burritos in Florida? Well seeing is believing so scroll down to check out Red Mesa Mercado’s contender for some Bang for your Burrito Buck!

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More Cheap Eats Birmingham

Cheap Eats, The South By November 27, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , 3 Comments

When it came time for Cheap Eats to come down South, Birmingham AL was high on the foodie radar. Forget that Food & Wine magazine moved here(Southern Living is located here as well), Birmingham is home to a James Beard award winning restaurant, a diverse and contemporary food scene and more than a couple places for Cheap Eats. Now if you saw our episode in Birmingham, you already know about one heck of a meatloaf plate and a meaty grilled cheese fit for a Cajun. But in my time in Bham, I found a few more contenders, so let’s take a look at even more Cheap Eats Birmingham!

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