Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for May, 2006

[ Currently Eating: English Muffins ]

Warning: Long post about “lunchmeat” ahead.

I had previously “threatened” to make a post about Spam. Well, since Memorial Day Holiday is one of the biggest processed meats weekends in the year, I thought it was about time I gave Mr. Spam it’s due.

I think he looks much more imposing and stately when you leave him as an unsliced, pale pink, immovable tower of meat, don’t you?

This is actually Spam Lite which is supposed to have 50% Less Fat, 33% Fewer Calories and 25% Less Sodium. As if this is going to do you a whole lot better.

A ton has already been said about it, so I don’t really need to go into details about its history and (un) popularity. Anyhow, I pretty much just need to show the pictures… it sells itself! But for those who are unfamiliar with our solid fatty friend, just know that there ARE Spam Festivals, Spam Cookoff Contests, and Spam Carving Competitions. I think Hormel even has a Spam Museum.

Oh, when I was a kid I tried to make Spam Dice. Cut spam into cubes and use peppercorns for the dice divots. Fun.

A disclaimer before you launch into a diatribe on the un-merits of Spam Lite. I ate an inordinate amount of Spam growing up, especially considering I had health-conscious parents. The keys to this mystery are that I have a Hawaiian influenced background and I used to go camping a lot.

The Hawaii-Spam connection: I was always told that its popularity increased in the “old days” because in Hawaii’s humid weather, everything spoils quicker. So canned, preserved or salted food was very popular. I’m not sure how true this is. Needless to say, you can walk into most any Hawaiian BBQ restaurant and there will be Spam on the menu.

The Camping Issue: Because of it’s portability and sliceable demeanor, Spam was popular whenever we decided to hit the road. Fried Spam and Spam Musubi (more on this later) were old standbys. The important thing is that we tended to travel in large groups. So on any trip, even if my parents didn’t bring it along SOMEONE was bound to bring some.

Continue reading “Delicious Spam Lite” …

[ Currently Eating: Plain Tortillas ]

Here’s a quickie little post that I felt obliged to make. I have to admit that I’ve had this one tucked away in my drafts for months, but I was just reminded the other day about it from an item on a Food Network show about the $1000 (One Farking Thousand dollars, that is right) Grand Opulence Sundae from New York’s Serendipity Restaurant. The reason this sundae is not the subject of the post, is that it’s so far off the stupid-scale that it doesn’t even register on the Hall of Shame meter. Starving children in third world countries, etc..

Instead, here for your enjoyment is the World’s Most Expensive Sandwich from Selfridges. This sando definitely has the good ‘ol Earl spinning in his grave. Granted, you can no longer get the sandwich and it was only available for a few days during the Easter weekend. But still it cost £100… per person! Which I guess means that everyone getting one bite was out of the question.

Hello. I believe this definitely qualifies for Hall of Shame induction. However, because you would probably only ever order this once in your life and I didn’t give it a zero score. Kind of like a once in a lifetime, skydiving / bungee-jumping equivalent. However, it does contain foie gras, which I despise.

So here’s what’s in it that costs so much:

Rare Wagyu beef, the finest fresh duck foie gras, black truffle mayonnaise, brie de meaux, rocket, red pepper and mustard confit with English plum tomatoes in a sour dough bread.

Comes with spice dusted tortilla wedges and a mini bottle of Moet.

Now for the commentary: Uh, what the hell is “ROCKET”? They put a farking rocket in your sandwich and light it? Also, what is up with the black truffle mayonnaise. Hold the mayo and just layer those truffles on, jesus. And a “mini” bottle of Moet… the stingy bastards. If I’m going to waste £100 then I’d like to get good and drunk at the same time, please. Actually, I’m surprised there’s no edible golf leaf in this sandwich, as there is in the $1000 sundae. The rest of the items (beef is beef dangit) are not so special and overall this sandwich is extremely disappointing.

I’m going to Subway…

Cheap Eats Score: 1/10

5/22/06 | Chicken Adobo

[ Currently Eating: Jalapeno Kettle Chips ]


I grew up eating a lot of ethnic foods like Adobo, a very popular Filipino dish. The versions I had were mostly Pork Adobo, though often times chicken made an appearance.

According to Wikipedia, the main ingredients for Adobo are some type of meat, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and bay leaf. It’s really easy to make; I’d suspect that it’s sort of like the American equivalent of learning to make Spaghetti. I like one dish meals, and this is definitely one that makes a regular appearance at Cheap Eats because it is inexpensive and tastes great.

I feel like this dish works better with either pork or dark meat chicken because you’re just throwing it in the pot and cooking it for a long time. Chicken breast would probably get dry and tough, and the same might be true with non-fatty cuts of beef.

Continue reading “Chicken Adobo” …

[ Currently Eating: Plain Old Triscuits ]

motts applesauce“I Got The Mott’s!”

I used to hear this refrain on a daily basis in high school. Cribbed from one of their commercials, this line was a favorite of a friend who used to have little cups of Mott’s Applesauce in his brown bag lunches. Yeah, remember when people used to actually bring lunch to school? I did it all through grade school, high school, and even in college (though by that time, the actual brown bag was a reusable rucksack.)

I remember that people with the right types of desirable snacks did some pretty brisk business in the School Yard Lunch Index. But I don’t think applesauce was one of those desireables…

Anyhow, for some reason or another, I felt nostalgic for those brown bag days so I decided to pick up some applesauce. Interestingly, I was going to shoot for generic store brand but it turns out that the Mott’s name brand Applesauce was cheaper!

There ain’t much “sexy” in applesauce (unless your bedroom habits are weirder than fiction). I don’t know too many people who come home from work and go, “All RIGHT! I got that job promotion! Now, I’m going to have me a bowl of applesauce.”

motts applesauce

Still, it was sort of pleasant to just have a bowl of the stuff. At the below price of $2.50 for 3 friggin pounds of it, I would wager it’d last for quite awhile. Unless, of course, you ARE the type of person to come home every day and eat a bowl of it.

As far as taste goes, it’s pretty much just like eating an apple that’s been peeled and pureed in a blender. The Mott’s version tastes pretty decent, sort of like drinking plain old apple juice with a ton of pulp in it. Hm… that’s got me thinking if it isn’t possible to make your own applesauce. Anybody try it?

I haven’t done this myself, but I know you can use applesauce in all sorts of other applications: dessert topping, baking addititive, and of course the ever-popular Porkchops and Applesauce made famous by an utterance in The Brady Bunch.

Price: $2.50 for 3 lb. jar
Found At: Albertson’s
Cheap Eats Score: 6/10

[ Currently Eating: ]

tommyslogoA quickie post for today regarding a culinary tidbit I saw on A Hamburger Today. Well, depending on your gastronomical fortitude, you may or may not be happy with me posting this news. The Original Tommy’s, whose hamburgers are a guilty pleasure of many an insomniacal Southlander, officially turns 60 years old today.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, they’re offering 60 Cent Burgers all day May 15, 2006, which happens to be today. Getting this news too late in the day? Never fear, the offer is good from noon until midnight today.

Actually, the offer is even more generous than just a standard hamburger for 60 cents. It is actually good for a cheeseburger topped with their heart-shuddering chili AND a soda.

The catch: the 60 cent deal is only good at one location:

Tommy’s at Beverly and Rampart
2575 W. Beverly Blvd.
(213) 389-9060

If you’re in the area, head over there now and get your chili burger fix for the next year or so. I can’t guarantee you’ll see me there, but please feel to eat one on my behalf. Tommy’s has been a favorite high school hamburger hangout since near forever…

[ Currently Eating: Green Salad with Italian Dressing ]


Anybody up for a Cabbage Burrito?

Because that’s pretty much what I got when I ordered the Del Taco Crispy Fish Burrito the other day. We haven’t had too much luck with Del Taco items here at Cheap Eats. If you recall, their Four dollar combo meals were somewhat of a bust. But I’m always willing to hand over my quarters and dimes in the name of cheap eats experimentation. So I decided to give them another try in the form of their fish burrito.

Sorry, I know that this promotion is pretty much history. I have a ton of old pictures (maybe 40-50) of cheap eats food items that I just haven’t got to. This is one of them. You might recall the “Secret Fishing Spot” ad where their geeky rain-slickered spokesperson pulls up at a DT drivethrough in a boat to order the fish burrito. I saw that commercial so many times that I decided to try it out. Look Ma – advertising to dummies works!

Anyhow, the first inkling of trouble came when I was handed my order at the drivethrough window. I always take a quick peek in the bag to make sure they’ve got it right. Many times, I’ve been gyped for an item or given someone else’s order. Somehow, they never seem to ADD any extra items. =)

Anyhow, to my surprise, I pulled out something in a foil wrapper that said “Macho Bacon and Egg Burrito” among other things. I was about to hand it back when I saw the TINY sticker on it that said “Crispy Fish Burrito”.

Now, I KNOW that every restaurant has multiple-use wrappers. But there was such a huge push in advertising this item that I would have thought they’d give it a different special wrapper, or at least a bigger sticker! I had to look all over the foil in order to find it. Something seemed fishy, and it wasn’t the burrito.

My fears were realized when I got home and unwrapped the burrito. Where’s the Beef … er, Fish?!

I had to search a bit inside before the first piece of fried fish was revealed. I pulled it out of hiding and took the main picture at the top of this post. It’s like the fish was shy or something, preferring to nestle in an underwater cave of cabbage. I realize that this is fairly common with specialty items, but geez, I expected a little more of the main ingredient. At least with a Filet-o-Fish, the fish isn’t hiding.

Continue reading “Del Taco Crispy Fish Burrito” …

5/1/06 | Kiwi Fruit

[ Currently Eating: Spicy Fish With Basil ]


Sorry folks, my plans for Cheap Eats World Domination have been left by the wayside lately. I’ve been meaning to make a lot more posts per week, but I’ve been sidelined by some serious illness the past 2 weeks.

Anyhow, here today for your enjoyment are a picture of a Kiwi Fruit cut in half that I took about 2 months ago. Yes, I know that Kiwis aren’t what you’d normally consider Cheap Eats. But I actually got these for free. Ah.. nothing quite beats free food.

So anyhow, kiwifruit shouldn’t be confused with those wingless birds in New Zealand, nor the ton of other New Zealand – centric things it can stand for (I think New Zealanders are probably rather pissed about it being called simply “Kiwi” here in the States). This is a fruit that looks like a brown fuzzy egg on the outside with green fruit on the inside with rows of black seeds.

Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia the kiwi fruit is actually native to China although it is much less popular there. Though the one shown is a standard brown on the outside, green on the inside kiwifruit, I’ve had ones from the Chinese supermarket that are yellow on the inside which are called Golden Kiwifruit. I’m not too fond of these as they are much more sugary sweet… the tartness of the green kiwifruit is what attracts me to it in the first place.

I also LIKE those edible tiny black crunchy seeds on the inside… sort of reminds me of strawberry seeds but more crunchy. I used to peel the kiwifruit completely, and then slice, but if I’m in a hurry and the fruit is ripe enough, I just take a spoon and scoop it out.

Kiwifruit isn’t exactly cheap… you sort of just have to watch for sales. Or visit ethnic supermarkets where they’re much cheaper. But I think it’s a great alternative to getting your standard supermarket fruits, so I’m always looking out for it.

Price: Free
Cheap Eats Score: 6/10



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