Taco Spotting: Santa Barbara Taco Scene

Tacos/ Mexican, West Coast By February 18, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

There is a movement happening in Texas to declare tacos the official state food. I see a good case for that, although brisket is a strong contender as well. In California, I think making the taco the official state food would be nothing short of a slam dunk. Sure, Southern California is the birthplace of the fast food burger and up in San Francisco, a whole style of burrito awaits you. Still, North or South, big city or quiet surf side town, tacos rule in California and the Santa Barbara Taco scene is no exception.

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Recipe: Al Pastor tacos

Recipe, Tacos/ Mexican By February 6, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
recipe: Al Pastor tacos
difficulty: medium
health rating:healthy
time: 1 hour + marinade time

<scroll down for ingredients and instructions>

As much as I love scouring the country for Cheap Eats, I love grilling at home just as much. My preference is to cook over a “live fire”, which for me is hardwood charcoal. These days I have a backyard, so lighting up a grill is pretty easy but back when I lived in a loft, I had to deal with a shared gas grill. And that is where I learned the importance and power of marinades.

If you have ever had Al Pastor, the Mexican cousin to Shawarma and Gyros, you know it is one of the tastiest taco fillings there is. Now traditionally, like Shawarma and Gyros, the meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Like most of you, I don’t have one of those, so the notion of cooking Al Pastor at home seemed like a smokey daydream. Then Cheap Eats went to Las Vegas and I was taught the method marinating and grilling al pastor. And believe me, this Al Pastor taco recipe is worth trying at home.

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Little Big Burger ~ Austin TX

Austin, Burgers By January 28, 2019 Tags: , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Little Big Burger 1630 East 6th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Little Big Burger with double patty, cheddar and bacon
the bucks: $7.50, $4.50 respectively
the full nelson: a burger chain that’s pretty keen on Bang for your Burger Buck

One of my first jobs out of college would occasionally take the staff out for lunch. I naturally liked to steer the ship on where would we go, and fought relentlessly from dining at a chain. That was almost 20 years ago and in the two decades that have since passed, the words “restaurant chain” conjure up a more complex dining scene. Yes, there are some respectable chains out there, especially in the world of burgers. In the case of Little Big Burger, you just might have the best Bang for your Burger Buck chain there is . . .

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Tsubaki Szechuan ~ Oklahoma City

Asian, Midwest By January 18, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

The Vitals:
the spot: Tsubaki Szechuan 1117 NW 25th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73106
the eats: Xiao Long Bao(soup dumplings), fried beef with cumin, pork wonton in chili oil 
the bucks: $8.95, $13.95, $5.95 respectively
the full nelson: dumplings as good as I’ve had in NYC, San Francisco or LA

Growing up in the Midwest and being a 1st generation Bengali American, I know that even the “fly over states” have more diversity than what some might give them credit for. And it being 2019, one should not be too surprised to hear the words “Xiao Long Bao” in a place like Oklahoma City. But even I have to admit I was surprised to find these iconic dumplings and a dim sum staple in the land of the OKC Thunder . . .

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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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