Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Cheap Eats

James took this photo on our summer trip that year, and I scrapped it.

I love to eat but I don't like to cook. However not cooking becomes a very costly option, even when it is just Jayn and I. So it's nice to know there are a couple of inexpensive yet consistent options outside of the fast food chains.

The first favorite is: Ikea. In the Bistro, the Swedish meatballs, gravy, potatoes and lingonberry sauce is a big, share-able plate and so delicious, while the beef hot dogs are some of the best value ever. Meanwhile upstairs is a second restaurant offering even more gourmet-ish options, including a Chicken Caesar for $4.99, and a couple of vegetarian choices. The good sized scrambled eggs, bacon and spuds breakfast plate is 99cents. Plus the coffee is hot and strong, and there is always that Lingonberry soda drink for something different.

When Jayn was little she loved playing in the rooms all set up in the kid's area. She would decide one was her "office" and there would be all kinds of pretend play. She also loved trying out all their fun furniture. That spinning chair that looks like an egg was her favorite. No one minds how long the kids play, as long as they aren't racing about or climbing over the safety rails.

My next favorite is: Costco. Although you must be a member to access the inside with all the samples (which can make up an eclectic meal if you hit it at the right time - especially the weekend early to mid afternoon), anyone can go to the cash only snack bar outside. The menu is limited but tasty, especially the famous Chicken Bake that can easily feed two. (I usually end up saving half for later). Recently they added some salad items to the several different pizzas by the (enormous) slice. They too have a couple of large hot dog selections. I like the Mocha Latte Frozen Smoothie, which beats the coffee shop version by a country mile. 

As I recall, the new Brass Key porcelain dolls used to come out in Costco each August. They start their holiday toy inventory pretty early, but it's worth buying and putting away. We bought an Aurora porcelain doll for under $20 when Jayn was two and a half. So beautifully painted and dressed. She hauled it everywhere and played constantly, and it made our long road trip that summer so much easier. She was very careful with it too. I think I was the one who eventually chipped its hand or foot by dropping it. 

Where do you find good cheap eats in your neighborhood?

No comments: