The Best Cheap Eats to Check Out This Weekend
Whether you have a hole in your pocket the size of 1. The job you used to have before COVID; 2. The federally enhanced unemployment check you used to get before the system went off of the rails; 3. You are just always broke; or 4. You simply like a good deal, it is easy to dine rather lavishly in any neighborhood in New Orleans for $10 or less per person.
Following are a few of my favorite picks for cheap eats around town. Some are open for dine in, others for takeout/delivery only:
Juan’s Flying Burrito – Juan’s first “lit up” on a really funky stretch of Lower Magazine Street in early 1997. Today Juan’s is a local empire with four locations (juansflyingburrito.com). If the trippy menu, heavy ink, and fun-house-meets-punker-music-club environment are any indication they’ve been lightin’ up ever since and attracting a clientele inspired to do the same. Most items on the menu (fresh, inventive salads, tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas in a Creole Taqueria style) ring in under $10 and a variety of excellent Margaritas are currently available to go in both pitcher and half-gallon sizes, currently to go and via delivery service.
Manchu Kitchen (1782 N Dorgenois St., 504-948-2556, manchuchicken.com) – Housed in a low-slung purple building in Treme, you are obliged to place your order at a bullet-proof glass window within. No worries, you will have plenty of company and even massive catering-sized orders roll up magically fast. The addictive fried wings come in a variety of styles starting at $6.50 for 9 plus a side of fries or shrimp fried rice and a side salad). Loaded with goodness, the Egg Foo Yong (starting at 10.50 for a mammoth portion) is spot on, too. As always, only open for take-out.
Tacqueria Corona – Order a Numero Tres and two can eat abundantly for $16.75. Selections allow for customizing the platter—which comes with rice, beans and a grilled chicken salad—but the combination of a shrimp flauta, bean burrito, and shrimp, fried fish, and chorizo tacos delivers the best of the best. Three locations throughout New Orleans, all of them are open for dine- in, take out, and delivery, taqueriacorona.com
Rocky & Carlos (613 W. St. Bernard Hwy., Chalmette, 504-279-8323, rockyandcarlosrestaurant.com) – On a recent visit for $23 two of us had a meal that was packed home to easily feed 6. There is a 20 minute wait for a four-piece order of perfectly executed fried chicken. It is worth the wait and comes with a side of whatever “vegetable” you choose. Go for the eggplant dressing, which is really more about meat. If you are seriously broke get the “small” (ha, ha) macaroni and cheese and ask them to ladle it over with red gravy for $4. Currently open for dine-in and takeout and offering a full menu so get on down to Chalmette for some cul’cha.
Sweet Soulfood (1016 N Broad St., 504-821-2669, sweetvegansoulfood.com) – The first to cater to the emerging trend of vegan soul food, carnivores will not miss a thing at this Treme hotspot. The colorful cafeteria-style joint turns out fresh takes on New Orleans classics like red beans and rice on Mondays and crispy fried chickpea cakes instead of fried catfish on Fridays. The menu changes daily and the portions are hefty so sharing is the way to go. Currently open for take-out.
What’s that? Too, broke/scared/hot/lazy to leave the house, you say? TABASCO Brand hot sauce is inviting New Orleans chefs and home cooks across the country to the virtual table for a Family Meal in celebration of the voices and flavors of our fair city by partnering with NOLA chefs to share recipes for their favorite comfort foods.
Check out this thrifty deliciousness you can whip up at home for your own bad self and three others if you care to share.
Hot Honey Butter Roasted Chicken with Corn and Tomato Salad
Courtesy of Chef Nina Compton (Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro)
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
- 5 sprigs of rosemary (chop half, reserve rest for roasting)
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 rounds
- 1 tablespoon garlic, roasted and chopped
- 5 tablespoons original Tabasco Sauce
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Corn and Tomato Salad
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
- 1/8 cup finely chopped basil leaves
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
- 6 – 8 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely sliced onion (smoke the onion before for more flavor)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup toasted panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing powder (seasoning mix)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Make the chicken. Vigorously whisk butter, honey, Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce, rosemary, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Rub some of the butter underneath the chicken skin and place lemon rounds on the base of the roasting pan. Place chicken on top and rub the skin with more butter. Roast at 375 ºF degrees until golden brown and has an internal temp of 165 degrees, 25 minutes per pound.
- While the chicken roasts make the dressing for the salad. Place egg yolks and sliced onion in a bowl. Add mustard and lemon juice until well combined, then add oil in a slow, steady stream (mixture should become thick and emulsified). Add buttermilk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Make the ranch breadcrumbs. Combine the toasted panko bread crumbs and ranch powder in a bowl. Set aside.
- Make the spiced butter. In a large bowl combine the garlic, Tabasco and all dry ingredients. Fold in the softened butter.
Remove the corn from the cob and sauté corn in 4 tablespoons of spiced butter. Place on a sheet tray and let cool. Add the corn to a large mixing bowl and combine with whole cherry tomatoes. Toss onion dressing and top with ranch breadcrumbs. Serve with roast chicken.