That extra day on a long weekend affords the perfect excuse for taking a food adventure. If you're interested in great food at a bargain and these days who isn't? we've narrowed down your choices and sourced some of the tastiest items around. They also happen to be cheap. Here's our take on the best food for $10 or less.
1. $10 steak frites at Les Baux, 5090 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento.
Everything on the bistro-style dinner menu is $10 or less, but it's the steak and french fries, a.k.a. steak frites, that made our head spin. This dish would be good at twice the price. Tasty, tender beef, a nice sauce and excellent fries, crisp and full of flavor.
2. $9.75 banh mi
at Juno's Kitchen, 3675 J St., Sacramento.
OK, so this Vietnamese-style sandwich, with equal parts crunch, meat and tangy pickled vegetables, is supposed to be really, really cheap. Sure, you can find plenty of those in Little Saigon for $3 or so. But this high-end, farm-to-table version by chef Mark Helms is so good you won't complain about the price.
3. $5.50 pork adobado burrito
at Chando's Tacos, two Sacramento locations: 863 Arden Way and 5665 Power Inn Road
Everything on the menu is under $10, so you may have a hard time narrowing down your choices. Your best bet is to try everything once. We've settled on the adobado and the fish tacos as our favorites. Great authentic flavors and we mean lots of flavor.
4. $7.90 large bowl of tan tan men ramen, extra hot,
at Shoki Ramen House
two Sacramento locations, 2675 24th St. and 1201 R St.
This is a feel-good meal in a bowl, full of deeply flavored broth, tender ramen noodles and just the right amount of heat. Choose your spiciness wisely. If you opt for super-hot, prepare to suffer. When you dial in your heat preference, this bowl of greatness is a tremendous eating experience.
5. $9 clam chowder at Blackbird Kitchen + Bar
1015 9th St., Sacramento.
Sure, it sounds expensive for a bowl of soup, but think of this as a soup you'll long remember. Unless you're famished, it's a meal in itself. It's thick and loaded with ingredients, including excellent house-smoked clams. I've been quoted as saying it's the best chowder in town, but I'm tempted to expand those boundaries significantly.
6. $3.50 hot chocolate
at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, 1801 L St. Suite 60, Sacramento
If you encounter a winter chill or, worse, it's cold and wet, you'll appreciate this wonderful and rich treat. It's pure luxury in an 8-ounce cup, complete with superb house-made marshmallows. Our favorite of the three hot chocolates is the more exotic Oaxacan, with semisweet chocolate infused with cinnamon, chilies, vanilla and ginger.
7. $5.50 egg salad sandwich
at Dad's Sandwich Shop, two Sacramento locations: 1310 S St. and 1004 J St.
This is the tastiest version going of this old-time blue-collar standard because Dad's does all the little extras to ramp up flavor and texture, including roasted bell peppers, jack cheese, sprouts, lettuce and mustard on organic whole wheat.
8. $7.99 per pound buffet
at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 1900 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento
This may be an odd choice, but we find ourselves eating here more often than not. The menu changes daily, but everything is tasty, healthy and sourced from the best and most ethical farms going. It's an old reliable place to get collard greens and kale, excellent tofu and tempeh dishes and several appealing meat options.
9. $7.99 steak and eggs breakfast,
at Isabel's Taqueria & Pupuseria, 3071 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento
Everything here is a good bargain for the quality of the food (including the carne) and the sincerity behind the concept. Also, don't miss the pupusas, a staple of casual eating in El Salvador. The al pastor burrito, wonderfully hot and spicy, is another great meal that won't break the bank.
10. $8.95 two pancakes, hash browns and two eggs
at Harry's Cafe, 2026 16th St., Sacramento
This is the most efficient and consistent kitchen in the city. Place your order, take a sip of your coffee and boom! Here comes your food. The pancakes are superb. So are the waffles. If you want an Asian-style breakfast (think a spicy fried rice with eggs), it's a bargain here, too.