Monday, March 26, 2007

Cheap Outs: Tallahassee's Best Under $15

Summer is America’s vacation time. With all the cashflow going to airline tickets, cruises, or hotel stays, eating out on a budget can be difficult when you’re looking for more than a burger and fries. But it can be done! You can eat great food for a great price here in Tallahassee. Here are five fantastic finds for under $15 that will appease your appetite without breaking the bank.

Po’ Boys –

Unpretentious and comfortable, Po’ Boys has perfected the art of the Big Sandwich from the Big Easy. The fried pickles are not to be missed, and check out the Buffalo Chicken Po’ Boy sandwich, a great option for those opposed to the classic oyster or shrimp versions. Expect a crowd during lunch, but make an effort to visit during a Sunday brunch on a lazy mid-morning. $8-$12, three locations, call (850) 224-5400 for information.

Fusion: Lunch –

Lunch at Fusion on N. Monroe and Sixth is an upscale choice without the upscale price. Flavors are sophisticated but forward and the dishes are expertly prepared. Favorites like the smoked tomato and vanilla bisque and roasted vegetable pita make Fusion lunches a refined alternative to fast food. $10-$15, call (850) 222-4956 for more information.

The Main Ingredient –

There is no dearth of choices at The Main Ingredient, located at the intersection of Tharpe and High, where patrons build their own meal from a flow chart of decisions, starting with the selection of “the main ingredient” (ranging from eggplant to chicken breast), and ending with accoutrements. All of the steps put together can end up being pretty pricy, but it’s guaranteed that you will not leave hungry. The ability to personalize your meal and the virtual inability to order the exact same thing twice makes The Main Ingredient a fun and innovative dining experience. $10-$15, call (850) 383-8333 for more information.

Gordo’s –

Hot, pressed sweet bread, smoky ham, melty Swiss cheese, tangy pickles and mustard – the Media Noche at Gordo’s Cuban Café is a mouthful of flavor. Start with the unbelievable croquetas, hot and filled with ham. Add a side of spicy French fries with Cuban sauce and you’ll end up very happy. Cuban food is a way of life at Gordos on Pensacola. Finish your meal with a steamy café con leche (coffee with sweetened condensed milk) and a creamy flan. $6-$10, call (850) 576-5767 for more information.

Pitaria –

Don’t be put off by the spit of roasting, revolving meat through the kitchen window – it’s only gyro, packing a fantastic roasty-meat flavor and stuffed into a pita. Eating at Pitaria calls back memories of European street food, but for Tallahassee residents, Pitaria is a healthy option for Mediterranean food lovers. The casual atmosphere (Pitaria is most frequented by between-classes students and faculty) and affordable prices puts Pitaria high on the Tallahassee foodie’s guilty pleasures list. Don’t pass up the stellar Fozi’s Falafel pita and the homemade baklava. $5-$9, call (850) 412-7482 for more information.

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