This being the week between Jazz Fest weekends my taste buds are heightened, making the same-old pretty undesirable, I am ready to party, and while my wallet is thinned, resulting in the Champagne Taste Beer Wallet Syndrome we all dread.

So this week it will be a series of Happy Hours and on-the-cheap fallbacks to the rescue. Here are some of my Best Bets for All Things Good On the Cheap.

When the heat goes up I crave cold and raw foods. Sushi is always near the top of the list and Tsunami (in the Pan American Life Center,  601 Poydras St., 608-3474, one of my go-tos. My favorite bites include the Luscious Lemonfish (lemon fish, thin slices of lemon, jalapeno with ponzu), which, fortuitously, is also on the Happy Hour menu offered on weekdays from 3-6 p.m. (except for Tuesdays when Happy Hour starts at b3 and runs until closing time)  Each day  brings $5 house martinis, Cosmos, apple-tinis, and Lemon Drops, $4 house wines and draft beer; $3 select domestic bottles, well liquors and hot sakes, 25 percent off all rolls $9 and under, $ .99 for select nigiri; and half off of Luscious Lemonfish (hooray!), smoked salt escolar, yuzu albacore and truffle salmon.

If people watching is your jam hustle over to the upstairs bar at Gris Gris (1800 Magazine St., 272.0241, Last summer Chef Eric Cook opened his hot spot restaurant in the triangular-shaped building at Magazine and Felicity streets. It’s a sweet spot for sure but the real estate came with the rare, tantalizing bonus of outdoor seating on the deep, graceful, climate-controlled second floor balcony. If people watching and a long hang with friends on a beautiful day is your preference then this is your spot. Happy Hour is offered every day from 4-7 p.m. with $3 domestics, $5 wines on tap, $6 frozen daiquiris and chicken wings for $1 each.

For a fancy Happy Hour check out Cafe Degas (3127 Esplanade Avenue, 945-5635, Offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m., plates of assorted pates are $6; plump, expertly fried oysters with creamy aioli are also$6; classic escargot are $5; and a hearty portion of Moules au Fenouil & frites  is $8. Glasses of quality French wines, both still and sparkling, a daily house cocktail, and glasses of NOLA Blonde beer are $5.


Hot Bites On The Cheap:

Pagoda Cafe (1430 N. Dorgenois St, 504-644-4178, – If you are looking to fill up and fuel up on the cheap before hitting Jazzfest, this nearby cafe with outdoor seating is your spot. Nothing on the menu tops $8. Check out the sausage roll made with Terranova’s smoked sausage and served with house made tomato relish for $5.

Singleton’s Mini-Market (7446 Garfield St, – The humblest of places, located in an Uptown residential neighborhood where it is joyfully misplaced, in addition to chips, candy, booze and cigarettes, exceptional poor boys (try the Korean BBQ pork) and amazing Vietnamese food are on offer. Try the pork sliders on steamed buns, a killer bargain (4 for 7.99).

Los Catrachos 2 (3001 Tulane Ave., No 4, 504-456-4101) – Order a Honduran a chicken, steak or combination baleada (a large flour tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese, fresh avocado and crema that you fold in half to eat without utensils) and you will be full all day long for under $4. 

New York Pizza (4418 Magazine St, 504-891-2376, – The style here is thin crust New York but the restaurant uses a French style dough for a bit of New Orleans flair. For the ultimate bargain head in for the Pint and a Slice Special: $5 for a slice with one toping and a choice of 6 beers – mainstream, craft and imported – on draft.


Have a great weekend, everyone. Use it to celebrate the people and the community you love.