Monday, July 20, 2009

Eating out budget style

Check out pictures of a few places we went this weekend - and then read about how we didn't spend that much money going there!

Friday night took us to Kooky Canuck - known for its 4lb burger known as the Kookamonga Burger. No, we didn't get that, but the burgers and fries were great nonetheless.

Flying Fish, known for their Billy Bass adoption center (yes, the mounted singing plastic fish) - I don't even like fish and I'm definitely going back to this place!

I've gone to Bryant's since I was little, since it is across the street from my elementary school. I have fond memories of eating sausage biscuits with my dad before scurring across the street.

Garabaldi's pizza is our favorite casual pizza place - we go to the one on U of M's campus. This is a pic of the BBQ pizza, one of their signature pizzas!

This weekend we had various social functions that called for going out. As you all know, we're trying to spend less money since Jake quit his job to go back to school. Yet we're social creatures and enjoy hanging out with our friends so we have to get a little creative. I'm sure this is something that people encounter in other situations as well - whether it is trying to save for a house/car/vacation, having a baby, or a pay cut at work. We managed to eat out a fair amount this weekend and not break the bank. Here's how:

1) Friday night: I'm a faithful shopper. The way it works (for those who are in the dark) is that for example, you'll buy a certificate for $25 (they come in various increments) and to get it, you must spend $35. Gratuity is factored pre-discount and some places don't include alcohol but you'll get the certificate for a discounted rate. I bought one for Kooky Canuck (the restaurant formally known as Big Foot) for $4 (I always buy when they're having some promotion where their certificates are seventy percent off). You enter your zip code and all these restaurants pop up - like sushi? Seukisui is on there. Fine dining? Cafe Society. Casual? Ubees. So many options!

We went to Kooky Canuck with Rachael, making it easier to consume 35$ worth of food at a place known for big portions and good prices. We got the fried pickles appetizer (a must), Jake and I got burgers (I really like their burgers - better than most places out, Jake got blue cheese and bacon on his), Rachael got bbq nachos (really different and good, not like other places.. they have baked beans too and a guacamole ranch sauce), and we still hadn't spent 35$ so we got the s'mores dessert. It was hilariously good. They give you a real fire (in a fondue looking pot), skewers, and all the supplies to make s'mores. They were good and put us right at 36$, which is a dollar over what we needed to spend. With original tip included (and our waitress was fabulous so that is fair), we ended up spending 15$ for both Jake and I and Rachael got by with $7. I'd say that is budget eating!

2) Saturday lunch: It was one of my friend's birthday (Yay for Julie!) and her dear husband organized a get together since they were in town from the ATL. I obviously wanted to go since it was going to be with people I LOVE to see but there were two problems - one being that I didn't have much dough and two being that I don't eat fish! I checked out the menu online and instantly knew I'd be ok. I went to the counter and got a bowl of red beans and rice, fried okra, green beans, and a lemonade all for $8.74. This was so much food I couldn't carry it - they gave me a tray! I could have just had the red beans and rice and a drink and been full (that probably would have been about 4$.) I took more than half of the leftovers to Jake who was studying and he was very happy. I think the food there is delicious and you can eat pretty cheap - plus anyone who gets those envelopes with coupons in the mail (we do monthly... I'm not sure why but keep 'em coming), there is usually one for Flying Fish so when we go back, we'll get one entree free with the purchase of another and 2 drinks. You can eat pretty healthy too - grilled grouper, grilled zucchini and squach, green beans, and a drink for cheap and good for the waistline.

3) Saturday breakfast: While I was off downtown at Flying Fish with friends, Jake met some guys at Bryant's for breakfast, a Saturday routine. Bryant's is on Summer and seems a bit shady - it is in the parking lot of a strip mall, next to a gas station. But the parking lot is ALWAYS packed with a line out the door - a sign of a good place. I usually get 2 sausage biscuits and a Coke. Jake varies between a bacon omelette (huge amount of omelette), sausage egg and cheese biscuits, and the full meal. This place only takes cash but you won't spend much of it there. My breakfast usually costs me $5 and keeps me full way past lunch. It is a local favorite!

4) By Saturday night, we only had 12$ left in the weekly budget, after several fun outings with friends, a petco stop (for the kitty), groceries, and gas. What to do with 12$ when you want to do something fun since it is a Saturday night? Jake had to study for a test and I was just loafing around so we decided to see if we could find a good pizza for under 12$. Our favorite, Garabaldi's, was perfect! Their 14 inch pepperoni was 11.74$ with tax - we got carryout so we didn't pay a delivery fee and used drinks we had here to avoid paying for drinks. Garabaldi's is very reasonably priced and they have a great buffet during the week at lunch. Their pizza has a distinct taste, I think due to the tomato sauce and combination of cheeses they use, and it is really laid back there.

Check back for more adventures of being married, on a budget, and hungry...

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