Category Archives: food

Five Guys Fries; Washingtonion’s Best Burger

Five Guys was completely a phenomenon to me when I first moved here. In North Carolina, there were similar cheap but delicious burger joints but nothing quite compares to this.

How many fries can you stuff into a lunch bag-sized paper bag? A lot! Five Guys serves up a whopping serving of fries for under $3. Though I’ll be honest, I don’t eat beef, I’ve heard really good things about Five Guys. I go with my friends for the fries though and they’re a great deal!

Check out the store locator for a Five Guys in the D.C. area closest to you.
Read a review of Five Guys. 

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Cheap Ethiopian Cuisine in Adam’s Morgan

Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant located on popular 18th Street in Adam’s Morgan, is a great steal. It was my first experience with Ethiopian food ever and one of the first places I ate out in D.C. Ethiopian is suitable for many tastes and offers sampler platters, tons of vegetarian options and large portions!

Many of the tasty entrees at at Meskerem are less than $10 and they also offer cheap Ethiopian wines by the glass. Often you have to pay for entertainment and atmosphere in D.C. restaurants but Meskerem includes that in their affordable price. Get to know the Ethiopian tradition while you eat on low stools surrounding a bowl-shaped table.

Fa, Fa, Falafel! For Less…

Falafel, those delicious little balls of fried chickpeas often thrown in a pita for a delicous sandwich, is something other than tasty: cheap. Listed on Epicurous.com’s budget site, Amsterdam Falafel is an extremely tasty, yet inexpensive treat. Adam’s Morgan boasts tons of bars and restuarants and this one will assure your wallet won’t be empty when you want a filling dinner before, or after, visting a few bars.

Amsterdam Falafel serves the simple sandwich up in wax paper but the fun is that you get to put on whatever fixin’s you wanna. Customizable sandwiches can be topped with hummos, lettuce, tomato and a variety of unique sauces. For a couple bucks more, you can get some Dutch-style fries that’ll complement the falafel nicely.

Because this great place is open till 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays visiting before or after the bar is an option. Beware: plan on waiting in a long line if you visit Amsterdam Falafel after a few drinks at night, especially on weekends. It’s a really popular late night snack in Adam’s Morgan!

Sushi for Less: Cafe Asia Happy Hour

Cafe Asia, with locations downtown and in Rosslyn, Va., has the cheapest quality sushi I’ve found in the D.C. area.

Try their happy hour Monday through Saturday, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. for $1 Nigiri sushi and $2 select draft beers. Get there as early as possible because in my experience (I’ve only been to the Rosslyn location) lines get pretty heavy after 5 p.m. because of the work crowd.

Non-happy hour menus are relatively cheap at Cafe Asia too. They’ve got a reasonable selection of delicious and unique salads that are huge; definately enough for a meal.

Grilled Cheese for $2.50: It’s a Perfect World

YumGrilled cheese sandwiches…ah…delicious and simple. Who doesn’t love one? Who doesn’t love one for $2.50 or TWO for $5? Take part in this cheapo delicacy at Toledo Lounge in Adam’s Morgan on Wednesday nights. Swig back a $2.50 draft beer as well till 7:30 p.m. on weeknights.

Adam’s Morgan is tons of fun. The infamous 18th Street is packed with bars of every sort and a night on the town in AM can set you back quite a few if you’re not careful. Toledo Lounge is one of those places you can just go to “have a beer,” no strings attached, and grab some cheap bar food while you’re at it. It’s been called “unpretentious,” “laid-back,” and more but whatever it may be: it’s cheap!

Adam’s Morgan is accesible via Metro, sort of. Don’t be fooled: It’s a good 10-15 minute walk from the Adam’s Morgan Metro stop.

Read the Washington Post review on the Toledo Lounge.

Eating In Fattens Wallet, Slims Body

Before moving to D.C., I worked in the service industry: hostess, server, cocktail waitress, you name it! While I loved working with people and running my tail off in a fun environment for extra cash while in undergrad, it instilled in me a nasty habit.

Dining out many times per week in Wilmington, N.C. (where I went to undergrad) was easier when I “knew people.” In D.C., I don’t know any people, well, any that work in restuarants plus it’s not so affordable to grab a nice dinner around here very often.

How did I make it by after moving here? Well, first I got into a little credit card debt feeding my habit. After that, I realized some serious reconsideration of my dining habits would need to take place.

But wait! Grocery stores can be pricey too. Another hard-learned lesson came down the pike when I decided to begin my grocery shopping at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is an excellent high-end grocery store with a special focus on organic and vegetarian food (near and dear to my heart) but it should only be visit on special occasions if you’re watching the spending.

Cheap alternative in the D.C. area? Trader Joes. Trader Joes is smaller than Whole Foods but if you look hard enough, you can find many of the same things for less.

If eclectic, vegetarian or organic foods aren’t your thing, stick with Safeway in the D.C. area for the cheapest groceries (at least that I’ve found). Living in Northern Virginia, you can find two really nice Safeway stores in Arlington: one on Lee Highway and one off of Old Dominion.

Ben’s Chili Bowl Pops More Flavor for Less

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a D.C. landmark. It took living here for more than a year before one of my new D.C. companions dragged me to Ben’s and though I’ve not been back since, it’s only because my bad sense of direction leaves me afraid to venture into parts of the city unknown.

The food is great American fare: burgers, fries, hot dogs, etc. but something about it is so authentic it tastes better. Sit at the stools and watch as the animated cooks prepare your cheap eats; they even cook veggie burgers on a separate grill!

Ben’s famous Chili dogs can be had for less than $4, turkey burgers for less than $5 and beef burgers and dogs are just a bit more. Once again, this is one of the few joints in D.C. that offers sweet tea.

Take a look at their menu.