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Tanoshii's chicken and dumpling ramen (photography by Kevin Marple)

My Top 10 Cheap Bites of 2013 in Dallas-Fort Worth

Everyone who knows me (especially D Magazine people who observe my snacking habits like a zoo animal. Ahem.) know that I’m not a fine-dining person. I love fine-dining, sure. But in my element, I am a cheap eater. I was born on a budget, I live on a budget, and I like to save money like it’s nobody’s business. Some may even describe it as a fault.

A good meal under $10 can make me the happiest person alive.

(This includes 3 a.m. late-night runs to Waffle House for  hash browns “all the way.” Don’t judge.)

This post is for all you other dining Scrooges and Grinches out there. We penny pinchers need to stick together, right? These are the top 10 bites I’ve eaten this year, all under $10 (or close to it). Happy eating to you all.

The chocoflan (photography by Elizabeth Ygartua)
The chocoflan (photography by Elizabeth Ygartua)

1. The chocoflan from El Corazon de Tejas 

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The honey bread at Caffe Bene. It tastes better than it looks. (photography by Carol Shih)

Nancy and I were meeting the Cuellars for lunch one day, when the chocoflan took my attention away from their interesting family history. Flan, chocolate cake, and caramel sauce. It’s a triple threat made in heaven.

2. Honey bread at Caffe Bene

I don’t know if the cheese that goes on this is actually Cheese Whiz or what. I’m 99.9% sure it’s not real cheese. As skeptical as you may look upon this photo, the honey bread (about 3 to 4-inches tall) is one of the best dang things Carrollton has to offer. I shiz you not. Caffe Bene, a chain coffeeshop based in South Korea, makes this sweet-and-salty, fluffy snack, along with ice cream waffles and really watered-down coffee.

3. The Greek salad at Afrah

This Lebanese restaurant is tucked next to Chinatown, and its offerings are dirt-cheap for the how fresh everything tastes. If you want a great salad with lettuce, green onions, feta, and tomatoes that taste like they’ve been plucked right from the ground, you’ll get the Greek salad. It’s only $4.99. Whatta steal.

Beef noodle soup (photography by Desiree Espada)
Beef noodle soup (photography by Desiree Espada)

4. Beef noodle soup at Monkey King Noodle Company

This soup is only $7, and it sure beats the heck out of most noodle soups in Dallas. Perfect on cold weather/rainy days.

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Magnolia Cheese Company’s prosciutto sandwich (photography by Carol Shih)

5. The prosciutto sandwich at Magnolia Cheese Company

I don’t think they offer this sandwich anymore, but I’m sure the menu (which changes) still has great options. Magnolia Cheese Company reminds me of Scardello’s, except its sandwiches are slightly heartier. Really good melted cheese is always… well, good.

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Quoc bao’s banh mi (photography by Carol Shih)

6. The banh mi sandwich at Quoc Bao

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Hainanese chicken at Lion City Cafe (photography by Carol Shih)

I can never resist a good deal, and the buy-three-get-one-free banh mis at Quoc Bao are fantastic. At $3.50 each, they’ve got a perfectly thin and crunchy bread that surrounds a slew of veggies and (your choice of) meat.

7. My customized salad at Crisp Salad Co.

I mean, when you customize your own salad, it usually turns out pretty good. But the options at Crisp (which opened in November) are high-end and not high-priced. The cheese options (fresh mozz!) make this place a real winner.

 

8. Hainanese chicken at Lion City Chinese Cafe

Every time I brave the terrible service at this Singaporean/Malaysian restaurant, I do it for the Hainanese chicken. It comes with a few cucumber slices and this soy sauce/sesame oil mixture that goes incredibly well over fragrant rice. If you arrive early (before the lunch rush starts), you can be in-and-out of this establishment within 30 minutes. It’s been magically done before.

Fortworth_roastbeef
The biggest, baddest reuben in Fort Worth. Now it is no more. (photography by Carol Shih)

9. The reuben sandwich at Ryan’s Fine Grocer and Delicatessen

For the brief period of life when Ryan’s Fine Grocer and Delicatessen existed, Fort Worth was lucky enough to experience one of the biggest, baddest beef sandwiches its town had ever seen. I can’t even tell you how many meat layers went into that ginormous food baby. RIP Ryan’s. I’m sorry you didn’t survive Magnolia Street.

The Hospitality Sweet's croissant (photography by Carol Shih)
The Hospitality Sweet’s croissant (photography by Carol Shih)

10. The croissants at The Hospitality Sweet

On bad days, these croissants keep me alive. I told you why during our croissant taste test.