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Cheap Eats - Seven Dishes under Seven Dollars 

The recession is no reason to stop eating out. these affordable restaurant recommendations, including seven meals under $7, will get you a decent bite in Halifax on any budget. photos Julé Malet-veale

$6.50 - McCoastal breakfast sandwich

Coastal Coffee

The description of the McCoastal, Coastal's breakfast sandwich, comes across as tasty but innocuous: two fried eggs, havarti cheese, maple sausage on an English muffin. But the actual physical presence of this delicacy is something else altogether. It is roughly the size of a small human baby. The havarti oozes out of the sides. The sausage is gigantic and infused with a slight sweetness. It is literally a meal that your body will work to digest the entire day. Those who scarf one down on the way to work---beware. You may pass out before noon. But what a deliciously cheap way to go. —Alison Lang

$3.99 - Cheeseburger and fries

Westcliffe diner

Looking to time travel in search of 1970s food prices and Top 40 styles without going through the overused portal of kitsch? The Westcliffe Diner is your ticket. Owners Beverly Griswold and Tyler Slaunwhite hold the secret to success by “keeping the prices low and the food good.” Low prices for hamburgers usually means low-quality frozen beef in the diner universe, but the Westcliffe uses only local, fresh beef. Anything on the menu meets our $7 budget, but if you’re going to fire up the Delorean, you just have to get the cheeseburger and fries.

—Rebecca Falvey

$5.24 - Burrito

Burrito Jax

Burrito Jax does not make an “authentic” burrito (whatever that means) but regardless, Jax makes a quality product. If you’re going to eat fast food downtown, may as well do it here, where a bit of thought and care is invested in the architecture. The dude abiding behind the counter layers each ingredient modestly; not too much shredded beef, then he chooses some mashed beans, sweet potato, lettuce, peppers, green onion and fresh picante salsa all adding up to a decent burrito that warms the tongue. The small is a perfect size for any late night hollow leg, but at $7.25, the larger size overstuffs.

—Andy Murdoch

$6.99 - Bento box

Rich Forest Cafe

The Rich Forest Cafe’s bento box---it’s not on the menu, you have to ask for it---is cheaper than anything similarly offered downtown. Chicken, stewed in a sweet-black pepper sauce with mushrooms and onions, is accompanied by the conventional rice, miso soup, two crispy cabbage-stuffed dumplings, standard iceberg salad and a pile of shrimp and three veggie tempura. It’s a lot of very pleasant food. But what cinches the value is the atmosphere. Situated in a cozy bunker with dollar-store art on the wall, and a friendly server whose apron says, “Chocolate, coffee and men: things I like rich,” it’s got a priceless sense of fun.

—Andy Murdoch

$5.70 - Rotating lunch

The Cafe

“I want to be full and not have to pay $15, and still have to get a snack afterwards,” explains George Eleftheros on the mandate of his Gottingen Street cafe. Sandwiches your thing? Have a mammoth made-to-order sandwich with fresh vegetables and the thickest slices of bread this side of Texas, $4 (taxes in). Feeling the hunger? Grab a lunch special; a rotating daily menu consisting of several main options accompanied with a salad, rice pilaf and roasted potatoes. From quiches to pastas, this mountain of food will set you back $5.70.

—Loukas Crowther

$5 - A La Mom Lasagna

Joe Tomeh’s kwik-way

Tucked away in a refrigerator near the cash register of Joe Tomeh’s Kwik-Way lies the fruits of Kim Tomeh’s A La Mom recipes. Boasting “the real tastes of Lebanon” you can find container after container of home-cooked lebanese food. Tabouleh, hummus, grape leaves; all the usual suspects are here and are only going to set you back $2.50. Homemade chicken soup? Lebanese rice pilaf with pine nuts? Zucchini and eggplant soup? All of these are available for $2.50. Freshly made lebneh? $3.99. Need something more? Kim also prepares nine-inch pans of pennes and lasagnas ready to take home and pop in your oven for $5.

—Loukas Crowther

$3.92 - Masala dosa

A Taste of India

The masala dosa is a classic South Indian breakfast food---a foot-and a-half-long pancake, thin, dry and crisp; not as heavy as an Ethiopian injera or as greasy as a Czech potato pancake, and far tastier than a French crepe. The trick is the fermented white lentil at the base of the batter, says owner John Nakka. “People like to come here for them because it’s too much work to do at home.” They take 10 to 15 minutes to make, so on weekdays, Nakka warns people to come after 1:30 or call ahead, because his staple, the buffet, keeps him busy.

—Andy Murdoch

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In Print This Week

Vol 24, No 27
December 1, 2016

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