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Bargains | America's 75 Best Food Buys

From juicy fried chicken in North Carolina to divine duck confit in L.A., here are 75 great things to eat and cook with for $10 or less.

Huntsville, AL

1 Marshall's Parker House-style yeast rolls, sold frozen, become buttery and pillowy soft when baked ($2.29 at Publix; Piedmont Point Shopping Center, 4851 Whitesburg Dr.; 256-650-2390).

Phoenix, AZ

2 Smothered pork chops plus two sides at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe. The place works on the honor system—you pay for what you say you ate ($8.80; 808 E. Jefferson St.; 602-262-9256).

Berkeley, CA

3 Poori (puffy fried bread) served with perfectly spiced chickpeas at Vik's Chaat Corner ($4; 726 Allston Wy.; 510-644-4412).

Healdsburg, CA

4 An amazing brie and olive spread sandwich from Jimtown Store ($6; 6706 State Hwy. 128; 707-433-1212).

Los Angeles, CA

5 The great pretzel burger at Röckenwagner, with fresh-cut shoestring fries ($7.95; 2435 Main St., Santa Monica; 310-399-6504).

6 Oaxacan mole negro (a sauce with chocolate and chiles) at Monte Alban— so good Spago's Mexican prep cooks order it ($8; 11927 Santa Monica Blvd.; 310-444-7736).

7 A decadent bag of chocolate-covered Tao of Nuts from Comparte's of California ($7; 912 S. Barrington Ave.; 310-826-3380).

8 Luscious duck confit with creamy white beans and sausage at The Den at Opaline ($8; 7450 Beverly Blvd.; 323-857-6725).

9 Happy-hour (5 to 7:30 p.m.) oysters at Globe Venice Beach (50 cents each; 72 Market St.; 310-392-8720).

San Francisco, CA

10 Banh mi at Saigon Sandwiches, stuffed with spiced pork meatballs, cool pickled carrots and jalapeños ($2; 560 Larkin St.; 415-474-5698).

11 Ichiban-Kan in San Francisco's Japantown, for beautifully spare utensils and kitchen gadgets—like the elegant spice holder pictured above ($1; 22 Peace Plaza; 415-409-0472).

12 Ultrafresh masa, for making your own corn tortillas, at La Palma grocery (65 cents a pound; 2884 24th St.; 415-647-1500).

13 "Falafels deluxe" in lavash bread, with silky eggplant and fried potatoes, at Truly Mediterranean ($5.75; 3109 16th St.; 415-252-7482).

Boulder, CO

14 Carnitas (pork) tacos from El Taco Loco—good as any in Mexico ($1.75; 1664 30th St.; 303-247-1562).

Denver, CO

15 Tokyo Joe's rice bowls ($4 to $7; the $2.70 kid's meal includes a cookie; 1360 Grant St.; 303-830-7277).

16 Fried chicken or roasted turkey with real mashed potatoes from Jus Cookin's ($8.99; 10600 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora; 303-696-6789).

Miami, FL

17 The Manchego-and-salami sandwich at Caviar & More, in Dadeland Mall ($1.90; 7535 N. Kendall Dr.; 305-669-9005; there is also a branch in Aventura Mall).

18 A dark chocolate ganache truffle from Ice Box Cafe—a terrific way to spend any extra quarters ($1.25; 1657 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-8448).

19 Free samples of vanilla rum cake, while you wait, at the bakery Sweet Art by Lucila (5734 SW Bird Rd.; 305- 668-0060).

20 Jamaican specialties like saltfish and akee (creamy tropical fruit) at Caribbean Delight ($6.95; 236 NE First Ave.; 305- 381-9254).

St. Marks, FL

21 The spectacular smoked mullet basket at Posey's Oyster Bar ($7.95; 55 Riverside Dr.; 850-925-6172).

Atlanta, GA

22 The prime steak—your choice of filet mignon, New York strip or rib eye—served during happy hour (5 to 6.30 p.m.) at Prime ($10; 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Lenox Sq.; 404-812-0555).

23 The scrumptious potato-filled samosa at Royal Sweets—the best one for miles around, according to discerning Indians and Pakistanis in the area (75 cents; 1766 Lawrenceville Hwy., Decatur; 404-327-5799).

Chicago, IL

24 Savory stewed goat from Vee Vee's Nigerian truck—so popular the city's African cabbies line up for it ($7; on N. Columbus Dr., between Randolph St. and Wacker Dr.; no phone).

25 Expertly fried shrimp, moist and juicy inside, from Goose Island Shrimp House ($8 a pound; 1013 W. Division St.; 312-642-3640).

26 Kalles Kaviar (codfish roe in a tube), for squeezing onto crackers, at Wikstrom's ($3.89; 5247 N. Clark St.; 773-275-6100).

27 Polish comfort food (pierogi, kielbasa) from the all-you-can-eat buffet at Bobak Sausage Company restaurant ($8; 5275 S. Archer Ave.; 773-735-5334).

28 For late-night cravings, the grilled chicken on a pita with feta at Lincolntown Gyros ($5; 2500 N. Halsted St.; 773-929-9411).

29 Carol's Cookies, in Chicago, for slightly underbaked (in a good way) cookies, each enormous enough to share ($1.99 at Whole Foods Market; 1000 W. North Ave.; 312-587-0648).

30 The hot Italian sandwich (provolone, pepperoni, salami, capocollo, mortadella) at Potbelly Sandwich Works ($3.59; 2264 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-528-1405).

31 Garlicky deep-fried yuca from the popular Costa Rican restaurant Irazu ($2.50; 1865 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-252-5687).

Solon, IA

32 The pork tenderloin sandwich at Joensy's Restaurant, with meat pounded as big as a pizza pie ($5; 101 W. Main St.; 319-624-2914).

Louisville, KY

33 Weisenberger grits, stone-ground the old-fashioned way, at Lilly's ($3 for a side order; 1147 Bardstown Rd.; 502-451-0447).

New Orleans, LA

34 The humongous Cuban sandwich at Meme's Market Lakefront ($4.69; 7041 Canal Blvd.; 504-282-0317).

35 Boiled crawfish at Franky & Johnny's; the place may be a dive, but celebs can't get enough ($8; 321 Arabella St.; 504-899-9146).

Georgetown, ME

36 Fresh and succulent steamers from Five Islands Lobster Co. ($5 a pound; 1447 Five Islands Rd.; 207-371-2990).

Boston, MA

37 Chocolate cake spiked with seven North African spices at Baraka Café ($5.50; 80 1/2 Pearl St., Cambridge; 617-868-3951).

38 Tender calamari meatballs in red sauce at Daily Catch ($4.75; 441 Harvard St., Brookline; 617-734-5696).

39 Pho ga (chicken noodle soup) at Pho Pasteur ($5.25; 36 Dunster St., Cambridge; 617-864-4100).

Ann Arbor, MI

40 A cup of rich, creamy lobster bisque and a peasant roll at Le Dog ($5; 410 E. Liberty St.; 734-665-2114).

Minneapolis, MN

41 Egg salad sandwich on house-baked bread at the Walker Art Center's Gallery 8 Restaurant ($1.95; 725 Vineland Pl.; 612-374-3701).

Oxford, MS

42 The fried pies at Deke's Barbecue, sublime crescents of dough stuffed with sweet peaches or apples ($2; 107 County Rd. 207; 662-236-9141).

Missoula, MT

43 Seasonal flavors (pumpkin, eggnog) and specialty sorbets and ice creams (cardamom, Marsala) in cones or cups from Big Dipper Ice Cream ($1.75; 631 S. Higgins Ave.; 406-543-5722).

Clifton, NJ

44 The fried hot dogs at Rutt's Hut; the relish could best any in the U.S. ($1.80; 417 River Rd.; 973-779-8615).

River Edge, NJ

45 An enormous, hot, messy and delicious cheese steak sandwich from Fink's Funky Chicken & Ribs ($6; 626 Kinderkamack Rd.; 201-634-1319).

Santa Fe, NM

46 Santa Fe's favorite street food, Frito Pie (Fritos and chili with shredded cheese on top) at the Five and Dime General Store ($3.75; 58 E. San Francisco St.; 505-992-1800).

47 Killer breakfast burritos from Chicago Dog Express, a spiffy hot dog stand on a busy corner ($3; 600 Cerrillos Rd.; 505-984-2798. Also, 5741 Airport Rd.; 505-471-5771).

New York, NY

48 A coconut patty—a flaky golden crust filled with coconut—at Christy's Jamaican Patties ($1.75; 334 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn; 718-636-9746).

49 The fabulous panelle sandwich—a chickpea fritter with ricotta—at Ferdinando's Focacceria, a real Sicilian find in Italian American Carroll Gardens ($4; 151 Union St., Brooklyn; 718-855-1545).

50 A slice of the baby-artichoke pie at DiFara: one of the reasons this pizzeria is said to be the city's best ($4; 1424 Ave. J, Brooklyn; 718-258-1367).

51 The fried chicken in the all-you-can-eat buffet at Charles' Southern Style Kitchen makes the trip to Harlem more than worth it ($10 at lunch; 2837-41 8th Ave.; 212-926-4313).

52 Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan for one delectable square of thin, dimpled pizza bianca garnished with olive oil and rosemary ($1; 73 Sullivan St.; 212-334-9435).

53 Deep-fried skewered meats like panko-crusted pork at Win49, a spare Japanese take-out shop ($1.75; 205 Allen St.; 212-353-9494).

54 A flourless chocolate walnut cookie, a steal at the lovely Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro ($1.50; 1032 Lexington Ave.; 212-717-5252).

55 Roasted corn on a stick with cotija cheese and chili powder at the cozy Café Habana ($3.75; 17 Prince St.; 212-625-2001).

56 Granny-made soon-dae (Korean blood sausage) behind Han Yang Market ($5; 150-51 Northern Blvd., Queens; no phone).

Chapel Hill, NC

57 Juicy Southern-fried chicken, along with collards or turnip greens and fresh-baked biscuits or corn bread, from Mama Dip's Kitchen ($7.95; 408 W. Rosemary St.; 919-942-5837).

Mebane, NC

58 At A&M Grill, a plate of chopped pork barbecue with sweet slaw, hush puppies and all the iced tea you can drink ($7; 401 E. Center St.; 919-563-3721).

Akron, OH

59 The brown sugar—stoked hamburger at Sky-Way Drive-In, served at your car door with a smile ($1.89; W. Market St., Fairlawn; 330-836-2806).

Oklahoma City, OK

60 A "split-level" banana cake, a sweet way to finish off a meaty meal at Leo's BBQ ($2.72; 3631 NE Kelly St.; 405-424-5367).

61 Crisp links of Polish sausage from the Crescent Market ($3.63 a pound; 6409 Avondale Dr., Nichols Hills; 405-842-2000).

62 Tart rhubarb bread pudding at Queen Anne Cafeteria ($1.49; 5900 Mosteller Dr.; 405-842-8610).

Portland, OR

63 Homemade noodle of the day with Bolognese sauce at Justa Pasta Co. ($6; 1336 NW 19th Ave.; 503-243-2249).

Providence, RI

64 Portuguese-style steak (with a fried egg) and thin-cut round fries at Solmar Restaurant ($9 for lunch; 497 Warren Ave., E. Providence; 401-431-1122).

Memphis, TN

65 A top shoulder pork barbecue sandwich at Payne's BBQ ($3; 1762 Lamar Ave; 901-272-1523).

66 Bargains like a bacon press and a Memphis cookbook at funky general store A. Schwab ($3 to $6.98; 163 Beale St.; 901-523-9782).

Nashville, TN

67 Vandyland ($2.40; 2916 W. End Ave.; 615-327-3868) and Elliston Place Soda Shop ($3.11; 2111 Elliston Pl.; 615-327-1090) vie for top honors in the ongoing milkshake war.

68 A hamburger at ancient dive Rotier's Restaurant, with atmosphere to match ($3.65; 2413 Elliston Pl.; 615-327-9892).

Dallas, TX

69 A hefty plate of 12- hour-cooked brisket from Sammy Walker's Barbecue, owned by the Olympic weight-lifting and shot-put star ($8.25 a pound; 6201 Dalrock Rd., Rowlett; 972-463-6595).

Montpelier, VT

70 Maple Creemee (soft ice cream) from Morse Farm Sugar Works, made with the farm's own maple syrup ($1.40 for a medium cone; 1168 County Rd.; 802-223-2740).

Lynchburg, VA

71 "Cheesy Westerns" (hamburgers with egg, relish and cheese) at the Texas Inn, familiarly known as the T-Room ($2.04; 422 Main St.; 434-846-3823).

Seattle, WA

72 "Bronzed salmon" sandwich with a big pile of bistro fries—all that and a view overlooking a canal and bridge at Ponti Seafood Grill ($10; 3014 3rd Ave. N.; 206-284-3000).

73 The Niman Ranch bacon cheeseburger, also at Ponti—and if you're really broke, it's half price in the bar at happy hour, 4 to 6:30 p.m. ($4.50; address above).


74 The momo cha (vegetarian dumplings) from Nepalese restaurant Himal Chuli ($6; 318 State St.; 608-251-9225).

Milwaukee, WI

75 Thick, meaty, subtly sweet applewood-smoked bacon at Usinger's ($5.28 a pound; 1030 N. Old World Third St.; 414-276-9100).

Published March 2003


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