Well, with Kat and I both being commuters and both working jobs which don't pay comparitively all that much, we have been forced to discover the blessing of cheap eateries. Or, as I like to call them, cheaperies (cheateries sounded like a place where liars were spawning on the floor). I hope in this continuing quest to uncover a wealth of good deals and great food, but here are a few gems I've come across so far.
Oscar's Fine Italian Restaurant
Located in the heart of Cumberland Street, otherwise known as 'The Strip', Oscar's has a laundry list of European originals twisted with modernity for the vegan, vegetarian, or cosmopolitan carnivore in you. Andy introduced me to this place recently. We had the luck to happen in on a Tuesday, which as we discovered, is half-price sandwich day. Two things I've tried so far are as follows: the Kafte Burger; Angus steak, lettuce, tomatoes, and spices, with a Greek dipping sauce that I can't remember the name of, all stuffed into a large pita pocket. And the Hudson & Hummus; a grilled chicken and hummus sandwich with spices also in a pita pocket, served with an Italian dressing on the side. I got my Kafte for $3.82 on Tuesday. That's the price of a Grande Mocha from Starbucks.
This bar, which happens to be on a quaint corner of the wonderful Market Square, always has a lunch special that goes for $3.99 on weekdays, as I recall. It's usually a homecookin' sort of sandwich or meat served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Mama's kitchen downtown. And of course, being a bar with a Scottish name, they have a great selection of fine brews.
The lighting's a bit low for a deli, and this place is more of a bar, but that's the name. Kat and I, in a between-paychecks sort of bind, were deciding if we could afford to eat out today while we were driving down Sutherland, just uptown from Knoxville River Sports. Lo and behold, we both spot a sign that boasts two hot dogs for $1. Yep, that's right, one dollar. So, I 180-ed the car like the A-team van, and we pulled in to see the sights. It's a little hole in the wall about as wide as my bed, but we got FOUR, count 'em, FOUR fully loaded chili dogs for $2.19. That's good eatin'.
The Fresh Market
Situated just past the majestic houses of Sequoia Hills (since we have a great many Sequoias in Knoxville) on Kingston Pike is the finest grocery store this side of the tracks. The name Fresh Market ain't fooling you. Their food, from the meat down to the spices, is fresh from......wherever it comes from. I was on a sushi kick for a bit, and once I found out that this place had better prices, and better sushi, than Kroger, I was hooked. I got a seaweed salad for $3.26 or something like that. But I was going vegetarian that day. They have plenty of rainbow roll, california roll, eel, and so forth. They also have one of those places where you get deli meats and pre-fixed food like potato salad. Except they have more. Fresh Market comes highly recommended.
Now, I know what you're thinking. But before you cart me off to the sold-out farm let me tell you a couple things. The folks at their deli pile the plates HIGH. For a few bucks you get twice the chicken that you'd get from the Colonel. And it's good stuff too. Comes with side items and so on. I'm never disappointed by their potato salad, mayo or mustard flavor.
The culmination of this little culinary trip happens down in the Old City. Across from Knoxville Cigar Co., this little place gets my vote hands down for the best take-out in Knoxville. Twenty bucks bought dinner for two with salads (that come with awesome vinegarette), wonderful garlic bread, and even better pasta. Kat got the fetuccini alfredo, I got tortellini, and we dined like royalty. I've never dined in, but the take-out is quick, pretty cheap, and fantastically good.
And with that, I retreat further into the inner recesses of cheapskatedness. But I still eat like a pig.