The menu at Cafe Eclectic isn't always the most affordable, but there are some secret - and surprising - deals to be found.
Take their grilled cheese, for example. For a mere $3.95, you get an exceptional sandwich (truly one of my favorites) and a side item. The Eclectic hot dog offers the same, also for $3.95.
For a few extra bucks, the grilled cheese also complements their wide range of soups very well - my favorite, the Greek lemon soup, is always spot-on.
Not a bad four-dollar meal, if you ask me.
For this weekend's cheapest must-dos, I'll have to refer you to two of my colleagues:
As Chris Herrington reports for Sing All Kinds, there'll be a free screening of Stingray Sam, a favorite from the 2009 Indie Memphis Film Festival, at tonight's South Main Trolley Tour. Add to that the also-free art, music, and hors d'oeuvres that make up the monthly tour, and you've got a great night on your hands.
And tomorrow, India Fest 2010 takes over the Agricenter for a day filled with food, music, and cultural activities. While most of us, myself included, will be there merely soaking in the atmosphere (and yummy treats), our own Hannah Sayle will take it one step further. She'll be live blogging for Hungry Memphis all day, letting you in on the best and the most outrageous of the day's cuisine.
The best part? Admission to India Fest is just $2 for adults, $1 for kids age 5 and up. Anyone younger than 5 gets in free, and the event promises to be kid-friendly as well as delicious.
Today's budget meal is brought to you by Madison Avenue's delicious Bayou Bar & Grill. While the menu is bursting with great Cajun dishes at reasonable (though a bit on the hefty side) prices, the real steal can be found at lunchtime - each day, there's a different combo special for $6.95.
Monday's is red beans and rice with a side salad. I can personally vouch for its quality, having taken advantage of this nicely-sized meal many times, including this very afternoon.
Other lunch specials:
Tuesdays: chicken po-boy and cup of gumbo
Wednesdays: half-order of jambalaya and side salad
Thursdays: half-Muffaletta and cup of gumbo
Fridays: half-order of blackened chicken and shrimp fettucine and side salad
Again, each of these meals is only $6.95, making this excellent Cajun food an affordable luxury for those of us looking to save.
And now, I bring you the first in a series of weekly installments chronicling the city's best - and cheapest - food.
This one's no secret, at least not for Midtowners - every weekday finds Pho Hoa Binh's lunch buffet swarming with vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike. Though tastes may vary, what brings them to the same place at the same time is simple: consistently delicious, traditional Vietnamese and Chinese food, and the all-you-can-eat price tag, just $4.99.
Though I'm a big fan of the house special fried rice, I frequent the lunch buffet because it's a great way to try a variety of dishes without spoiling your dinner. Case in point:
Got two Friday the thirteenth events for you guys:
First, Maggie Exner's new show "Heat Wave" opens tonight at the P&H. As Hannah points out on her blog, the opening features live exhibitions, so the comprehensive collection can only be experienced tonight. Stop by between 8 and 10 for a real treat - I'm a longtime fan of Maggie's work, and this exhibit looks to be particularly interesting.
Second, the Decleyre Cooperative is hosting Stirfriday, a free show featuring the local (and dreamy) band Bake Sale, along with MC Homeless, Richard Benjamin, and Greenlander. The show starts at seven, and - as the name suggests - there's the added bonus of a $5 bowl of stirfry. Show up early, kids.
For this week's Flyer I interviewed MIFA's new thrift store director, Amy Hoyt. While the article does mention her extensive work to overhaul the store, I haven't given her enough props for the best thing she adds to MIFA - personal shopping! When I stopped by to take her picture, not only was she wearing a great outfit she found entirely in the store, she had pulled a few things for me to try on.
I ended up buying a big bagful of clothes - pants, a denim jacket, a few belts, a shirt, a purse, and a huge framed photograph - all for $20. Then Amy pulled out the big guns: the MIFA store coupons.
And don't forget the best part about MIFA - the money you spend in the store goes directly to benefit Memphis through MIFA's programs.
From their website:
Proceeds from your purchases benefit MIFA programs. A purchase of:
$1 helps provide a well-balanced meal for a homebound senior;
$5 helps provide transportation for a senior to pharmacies and doctors' appointments;
$7.50 helps provide a companion to help a senior with tasks and activities;
$10 helps restore utilities for a family in crisis;
$15 helps volunteers build a ramp for a disabled senior;
$20 helps provide an at-risk teen with job training, mentoring, and higher education; and
$25 helps shelter, counsel, and train a homeless family so they can live productively.
After the jump: the three outfits Amy pulled for me with a rundown of their prices. Not one exceeds $11! That is exactly what I'm talking about.
In the grand Memphis tradition, there are two $5 cover shows this weekend worth checking out.
And tomorrow, Crossroads Bar & Grill will host the Miss Gay America pageant, which promises to be a great time. It starts at 7:30, and an appearance from Anita Cocktail, 2009's Miss Gay Tennessee America (pictured below), is scheduled to appear.
I was looking for chairs in the maze of incredible home furnishings that is Bojo's Antique Mall yesterday when I stumbled across this table:
A whole mess of lamps, and all for just $5 each. Minus the lampshades, but that's not a huge setback - and these are beautiful lamps, not just a bunch of castoffs they're having trouble selling.
Check out more photos after the jump, and head down to 3400 Summer to see for yourself!