In praise of cheap eats
So King Daddy and I were having our more-than-monthly lunch at Costco today, enjoying our Polish dog and combo pizza, when it struck both of us – how stinkin’ good both of these bad-for-you things are. Like they’re not “just good for Costco.” They’re good for any dog and any slice of pizza in comparison. And, with two drinks, all for $4.49.
King Daddy and I have pretty sophisticated palates. We swooned over the fried chicken with secret spices at Sean Brock’s Husk. We did not bat an eye at paying $300 for a Southern Foodways Alliance dinner at City House. I happily spend another $300 every year to graze on the wonder that is the Grand Tasting and Chef’s Showcase at the Music City Food and Wine Festival (and, yes, I keep the plastic wine tasting cups after the festival and use them all year long but that’s another facet of cheap).
But Sean Brock cannot make a better Polish dog than Costco. And it is worth noting that while getting Husk ready to open in Nashville, Brock regularly ate at the Hermitage Cafe, one of Nashville’s shrines of greasy and cheap food.
I am somewhat a student of the cheap eats because I appreciate the fact that good food – really good food – can be cheap. Let’s just call up a few of my greatest hits.
- The Senior Breakfast at Krystal. Granted you have to be a member of a certain exclusive club, but you get eggs cooked to order, homemade grits, crispy bacon or sausage and buttered toast for two bucks and change.
- The pupusas and beef cheek tacos at Los Americas on Nolensville Road. KD and I tried hard to finish our plates and the bill was less than $5. Everything homemade.
- The chicken on a stick at the East Chinese Buffet on Harding Road. Granted the health score might not quite hit 50 percent, but those chicken sticks are worth the gamble and I have a hard time getting out of there for more than $5.
- The cheeseburger at Brown’s Diner, love on a bun for $4.50.
- Any taco – any one at all – at La Hacienda on Nolensville Road for $1.79 each.
I wouldn’t kick Sean Brock out of bed for showing up with some of his miraculous high dollar fried chicken (King Daddy might have a thing or two to say about that), but often as not low brow beats high brow.
That said, I’m hoping that the popcorn (low brow) and lobster butter (high brow) makes a return appearance at the food festival. I think I went back six times for that.