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Let’s call camping what it is: an excuse to eat s’mores. So why not skip the tent and go straight for the good stuff? Here’s where to find that trifecta of summertime flavors, minus the bug bites. And these s’mores desserts aren’t the kind you can make ’round the campfire.

1927Smores' eponymous s'mores desserts.

1927Smores | Photo courtesy of Kris Leboeuf

Nineteen27 S’moresPortland, OR As the legend goes, the first documented s’mores recipe appeared in a Girl Scouts handbook in the year 1927. The troops would be proud of this new-millenium update: a s’mores food truck (yassss) serving handmade graham crackers with filling options like chai-spiced marshmallows, lemon curd spread and chocolate fudge. At $4 per s’more, you should be able to try them all. Scout’s honor.

Burger Tap and Shake — Washington, DC Your inner child will feel naughty indulging in the Bad Cubmaster ($8.50), a boozy milkshake of Smirnoff marshmallow-flavored vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, vanilla ice cream and graham crackers in a frosty glass. Adulthood has its privileges.

Beavers Donuts' version of s'mores desserts: tiny donuts covered in marshmallow, chocolate sauce and graham cracker dust.

S’mores mini donut | Photo courtesy of Beavers Donuts

Beaver’s Coffee and Donuts — Chicago, IL Your mom probably won’t cosign on this breakfast idea, but we can’t think of a better way to start the day: fried-to-order mini donuts topped with chocolate sauce, marshmallow sauce and a dusting of graham cracker crumbs. Pricing starts at $2 for four mini-donuts, plus $1 for toppings.

Trophy Cupcakes — Seattle, WA Martha Stewart called these Chocolate Graham Cracker cupcakes “utterly delicious,” so who are we to disagree? Sink your teeth into a bittersweet chocolate and graham cracker crust, chocolate cake and marshmallowy meringue icing. We’d give it a trophy.

Beckett's Table

Bacon Dipped S’mores | Photo courtesy of Beckett’s Table

Beckett’s TablePhoenix, AZ Your arteries may beg for mercy, but your tastebuds will thank you as you dive into the restaurant’s signature Chocolate Dipped Bacon S’mores. This s’mores dessert is just what it sounds like, with an added sinful element: peanut butter.

Bryan Street Tavern — Dallas, TX This hangout spot is the place for live music, poker and unfussy food. If your appetite is the size of Texas, finish your meal with the S’mores Pizza ($6)— a 9-inch pie of  marshmallow, graham cracker and warm chocolatey goodness baked in a stone fired pizza oven.

Paris Creperie's crepe-style s'mores desserts have all the good stuff packed inside.

Photo courtesy of The Paris Creperie

The Paris Creperie — Boston, MA Everything’s classier in French, so s’mores get a Parisian twist at this East Coast eatery: a “graham cracker infused crepe” (how do they do it?) stuffed with Nutella and marshmallows, plus more marshmallows on the outside. The treat comes in petite ($4.29) and regular ($7.99) sizes.

Frozen S’mores

Frozen S’mores at Dominique Ansel Bakery| Photo courtesy of Thomas Schauer

Dominique Ansel BakeryNew York, NY The mastermind behind the Cronut has found another way to attract droves of customers to his SoHo bakery: The Frozen S’more. It’s a honey marshmallow wrapped around homemade, Tahitian vanilla ice cream (how is that even possible?), and covered with cripsy chocolate feuilletine wafers—all torched and served on a smoked willow branch, natch.

S'mores mochi

S’mores mochi | Photo courtesy of Simply Mochi

Simply MochiSan Francisco, CA These bite-sized Japanese s’mores desserts get an all-American twist: mini marshmallows covered in chocolate and dusted with graham cracker crumbles. At just $1.40 to $2 a pop, you might as well order a bunch. Local delivery is available.


Tagged: Cheap Tips, City, Food & drink, New York City

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Oh the humble diner, where comforting, hardy breakfasts and hot coffee are always on special. The perfect throwback to a mostly bygone era. Here are some of the best diners in America, by region, in no particular order.

Vintage diner photo

The best diners in the west

Bertie Lou’s Cafe — Portland, Oregon

From its menu to its walls, Bertie Lou’s shows its funky, Portland-esque style without losing that classic diner vibe. Specifically, by proudly displaying napkin drawings as fine art and offering tasty concoctions like the Bertie Crisco, an incredibly hearty sandwich of spicy chicken sausage and pepper jack between two layers of french toast. Unsurprisingly, this place is known for its delicious breakfast dishes, which also happen to be cheap—breakfast or lunch can cost you anywhere between $5 to $10.

Steuben’s — Denver, Colorado

A little bit more of an upscale and modernized take on the classic diner, Steuben’s has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives for its recreations of American regional classics. Unlike some diners on this list, Steuben’s is notable for more than just its breakfast fare. Early risers can indulge in treats like from-scratch biscuits and gravy and all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes. But the lunch and dinner menus also shine, thanks to updated takes on classic dishes, including pot roast, cayenne étouffée and meatloaf. This one’s a bit more of a splurge than the other diners on this list, but the green chili cheeseburger is well worth it.

Golden Coffee Shop – San Francisco, California

It’s not often that you can find a good meal for under $10 in San Francisco. Enter the Golden Coffee Shop: a haven for old-school classics like corned-beef hash and short stacks of buttermilk pancakes, which you can enjoy at its perfectly old-school wrap-around counter. But what really sets this apart are the Chinese essentials you’ll also find on the menu—tuck into some fried rice or chow mein if you’re not in the mood for hash browns. But we’ve got bad news for the night owls: This may sound like the perfect late-night hangout, but it closes mid afternoon. We’ve got a solid silver lining for you, though. Most dishes cost between $6 and $8.

Eggs and hash are a staple at the best diners.

True Midwestern diners

Diner Grill – Chicago, Illinois

This is what it’s all about—the diner’s diner. The diner your great-grandfather would love. The bare-bones, vintage variety that’s been slinging burgers since the 1930’s. Enter Diner Grill’s the Slinger: two hamburger patties on top of hash browns, with two slices of American cheese and two runny eggs, all of which is covered in chili. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s served with a side of toast. But if you’re not in the competitive-eating business, there’s also patty melts and egg sandwiches. You will not have a hard time keeping your check under $10 in this 24/7 former railway car diner, since most of its dishes are around $6.

Fleetwood Diner – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Open since 1949, Fleetwood Diner is known for its hip vibes and its famous Hippie Hash. What is this, you ask? Why, a mixture of homemade hash browns, grilled tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli topped with feta cheese, of course. And this dish is the perfect start—or end—to your day, thanks to the diner’s 24-hour schedule. The menu also boasts the classics, including burgers, milkshakes and omelets, as well as traditional Greek foods and salads. All reasonably priced, so you have no reason not to add that hippie hash onto your meal.

Vintage diner photos

Diners with Southern flair

Danny’s All American Diner & Dairy Bar – Tampa, Florida

Don’tdrive too fast, or you might miss this small, humble diner—which happens to serve up sandwiches that are anything but small and humble. And if you love sports, you’ll love Danny’s All American Diner’s burger-naming conventions. There, you’ll find the Roberto Clemente Burger, the Field of Greens salad and the Pitcher’s Mound sandwich. As well as the famous ‘must-have’ chili, which can be found slathered on various menu items or ordered as a side. The best part? Prices at Danny’s All American Diner & Dairy Bar are a home run, as nothing on the menu is more than $10.

Uncle Lou’s – Memphis, Tennessee

Uncle Lou’s has only been operating for a fraction of the time that some of the diners on this list have, opening in 2001, but has already made an imprint on the Memphis community. Although this diner’s main focus is fried chicken, it also serves several specialty sandwiches and desserts. Uncle Lou’s menu was created with families in mind, offering six different “meal deals” to fit various party sizes. Pro tip: This is also great if you’d like to store 35 pieces of chicken, 12 sides and 18 biscuits for yourself, for future meals. Prices at Uncle Lou’s are pretty cheap and you should be spending around $10 per person… That is, if you share (as you should).

The best diners always serve piping-hot coffee.

Seriously good Eastern diners

Square Diner – New YorkCity, New York

If you’ve ever seen Edward Hopper’s painting titled “Nighthawks,” you’ll swear it was inspired by the Square Diner, which opened in 1945 and was once known as the Triangle Diner. Its exterior is the classic train-car style, but with a unique grey roof. The interior is highly stylized and truly transports you to the diner’s heyday, with wood-paneled walls and ceiling, essential fire-engine red booths and bar ample seating. The menu is full of hardy breakfast and lunch entrees that will give you flash-backs to Grandma’s homey cooking. Eggplant Parmigiana, London Broil and even Gyros can be found on the menu. Prices range, and although it is not guaranteed you’ll eat for less than $10, it certainly can be done, which is not an easy feat in the Big Apple.

Mul’s Diner – Boston, Massachusetts

We bet creme brûlée would not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you gaze upon the big, silver lunchbox that is Mul’s Diner, where the decor screams ‘retro’ from the shiny outdoor paneling to the checkerboard tiles inside. Regardless, bottomless coffee and creme brûlée French toast are what Mul’s Diner is known to do best. Serving a variety of both sweet and savory twists on classic diner fare, Mul’s offers deliciously cheap breakfast and lunch, with only a couple items on the menu that are more than $10: The New York Sirloin and the Irish breakfast, both of which are worth the extra cost.

Vintage diner sign

The Non-Continental

Rainbow Drive-In – Oahu, Hawaii

Welcome to the place that Guy Fieri most likely sees in his dreams. Yes, Rainbow Drive-In was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and for good reason: They serve one of the cheapest and best lunches in all of Hawaii. And its food is, naturally, wildly different from anything else on this list. First of all, you can add mahi to any plate. And what are those plates, you may ask? BBQ ahi tuna, fried rice with eggs and the famous Loco Moco bowl, which is a scoop of rice topped with a hamburger patty, an egg and gravy. If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can still get cheeseburgers, chili dogs and corned beef sandwiches. Plus, you can eat them outside on the giant patio. The average price of a plate at Rainbow Drive-In is roughly $7, so start looking for a cheap flight toHawaii immediately.


Tagged: California, Florida, Food & drink, Hawaii, New York City

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When you’re in a new city and hungry for a way to explore and snack on a budget, there’s no beating the humble (or not-so-humble!) American hot dog. Grab one of these tasty sausage sandwiches, which are undoubtedly among the best hot dogs in the country, and fill yourself up without breaking the bank.


Portillo’s | Flickr CC: star5112

Portillo’sChicago, IL

No questions about it—Chicago is America’s hotdog headquarters. You’ll be spoiled for choice in the Windy City, where it seems like there’s a hot dog shop on every block. But while there are plenty of specialty options, there’s a right and a wrong way to eat a Chicago hot dog. Portillo’s simple Hot Dog ($3) gets the recipe exactly right: a steamed poppy seed bun holds a dog dressed in mustard, neon green relish, celery salt, and raw onions with a garnish of fresh tomato, a kosher pickle and a pepper. Want ketchup? You’ll get laughed out of the building.

Happy Fatz – Houston, TX

Not only is this specialty hot dog restaurant also a bakery, but it’s housed in a quaint cottage with a distinctly neighborhoody feel. Walk in and order The Clucker ($8), a dog with hash browns, bacon, grilled onions, and a fried egg topped with secret Clucker sauce. Or gnaw on a Texas Chili ($8), a frank garnished with homemade chili, melted cheddar, and Fritos. Bonus: there are giant cake slices for dessert.

Nathan's Famous, which makes some of the best hot dogs in the country

Nathan’s Famous | Flickr CC: owlpacino

Nathan’s FamousBrooklyn, New York

Look, you can eat a hot dog or you can eat The Hot Dog. Chomp into one of Nathan’s Famous World Famous Beef Hot Dogs, thatched with sauerkraut and drizzled with mustard, and you’ll be chewing on a piece of American history. That’s right—Nathan’s is 100 years old, and it’s home to the world-renowned Hot Dog Eating Contest, where contestants from around the world gather to cram these franks down their throats next to Brighton Beach.

I Dream of Weenie – Nashville, TN

Most people don’t think of Nashville as a major hot dog capital, but that’s fine with us—we want to keep I Dream of Weenie all for ourselves. This adorable vintage VW van/sausage shop is parked at Five Points and has its own tiny patio, where you can chow down on the Flamin’ Frank, an ultra-hot dog with spicy chili, cheese, jalapenos and hot salsa, or order one of their tasty daily specials (jumbo smoked sausage with BBQ-marinated onions, anyone?)

Lafayette Coney Island-detroit

Lafayette Coney Island | Flickr CC: Rex Roof

Lafayette Coney IslandDetroit, MI

You cannot have a hot dog when you’re in Detroit—you must have a coney dog (if you have any respect for yourself at all.) And if you’re looking for the best coney dogthere is, march yourself over to Lafayette Coney Island, where a Coney Island dog ($2.60) will rock your world with its meaty, chili-covered frank, chopped onions, and mustard-slathered recipe. The no-nonsense, classic diner vibes are worth a visit alone.

franktuary-bogota and bangkok hotdogs

The Bangkok (front) and Bogota hot dogs from Franktuary | Photo courtesy of Molly Lindsey

FranktuaryPittsburgh, PA

This award-winning eatery with two locations and two food trucks uses locally-sourced and ethnic condiments to create lavish, memorable hot dog experiences. Try a Bangkok Frank ($4.25), with Thai peanut sauce, carrots, red cabbage and cilantro. Or nab a Bogota Frank ($4.25), a hot dog creatively covered in pineapple sauce, slaw, potato chips, and “pink sauce.” Oh, and don’t forget to get an order of poutine while you’re there!

Dapper Dog – San Francisco, CA

Picture it: you’re in the Castro, a neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in America, and you’re hungry. The only sensible thing to do is to head to locally beloved Dapper Dog, where you can eat a specialty frank for less money than you’ll pay for…almost anything else in San Francisco. Try a Napa Dog ($6), dressed with arugula, blue cheese, diced dried apricots and apricot sauce, or go for the Banh Mi Dog ($6), which boasts sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots, chopped peanuts and sriracha mayo. On second thought, better get more than one, in case you’re hungry later! 

Pink's Hot Dogs

Pink’s Hot Dogs | Flickr CC: Ken Lund

Pink’sLos Angeles, CA

Dolly Parton, Tyra Banks, Kim Kardashian—these celebrities (and dozens more) have eaten hot dogs at Pink’s in Hollywood, an iconic stand that’s been around since 1939. Soon, you’ll join the ranks of the rich and famous, when you order a Lord of the Rings Dog ($5.75), a BBQ sauce and onion-ring-topped 9” frankfurter. Also noteworthy is the Martha Stewart Dog ($7.25), a relish, onions, bacon, sour cream and sauerkraut-covered work of art. It’s a good thing!

DanDan Dog

DanDan Dog | Photo courtesy of EatsPlace

Haiyo DogWashington, D.C.

Drop what you’re doing and book a plane ticket to Washington, D.C. this instant. These hot dogs are that important. You’re about to sink your teeth into an Asian/American fusion sensation: House-baked Asian milk bread cuddles local Amish beef, chicken, or organic tofu dogs crowned with condiments such as avocado and spicy mayo or kimchi and edamame. Get the Dan Dan Noodle Dog ($6), which features knife-cut noodles and Sichuan peppercorns, or upgrade to the Shot-Dog ($12), your choice of any dog on the menu with a daily liquor shot special.

Chili Cheese Mad Dog, one of the best hot dogs in America

Chili Cheese Mad Dog | Photo courtesy of Bukowski Tavern

Bukowski TavernBoston, MA

Not only does this iconic, red-painted tavern have an enormous selection of craft beers and a Boston-y surly attitude, it also has a (bargain alert!) $1 hot dog or burger special, Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m to 8 (!!) p.m. That is ONE DOLLAR, folks. One dollar to be surrounded by Boston’s finest (and we mean the best hot dogs). In addition, Bukowski’s offers a chili cheese edition and sweet potato tots! What are you waiting for?

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Family, Food & drink, L.A., New York City, Tips & advice

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When you’re far from home, nothing hits the spot quite like comfort food at a comforting price. Try one of these grilled cheese sandwiches, which are truly a meal in themselves, and all at a price worth melting for.

The BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

The BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese | Photo courtesy of Ms. Cheezious

Ms. Cheezious – Miami, FL

Eats like the Frito Pie Melt ($7) and Southern Fried Chicken & Waffle Melt ($10) won’t exactly put you on the fast track to a beach body. So you might as well finish the deal with a S’mores Melt ($7), which is exactly what it sounds like.

The Grilled Cheese Truck – Los Angeles

If combining three comfort foods into one delicious sandwich is wrong, thenwe don’t wanna be right. This mobile eatery offers quasi-healthy fillings like Brie and sliced pears, but its signature melt is the Cheesy Mac & Rib ($8)—barbecued pork with macaroni and cheese, finished with sharp cheddar and caramelized onion, all on French bread. Oh, yes they did.

The Jalapeño Popper

The Jalapeño Popper | Photo courtesy of American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

The American GrilledCheese Kitchen – San Francisco, CA

Get your kicks when you order the Jalapeño Popper: local chèvre, Monterey jack, apricot-jalapeño relish on levain ($9.50). And don’t sleep on the Breakfast Grilled Cheese options, with fillings like veggies, black beans and bacon, natch.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese – Boston, MA:

Whether you score yours at the food truck or any of Roxy’s four brick-and-mortar locations, you’re sure to hit a home run when you order the Green Muenster: cheese, bacon and house-made guac on organic bread ($7).

Three Sheets – Atlanta, GA

Adulting never tasted so good, thanks to this Hotlanta lounge’s monthly Grilled Cheese Wine Dinner. The evening showcases five sandwich-and-vino pairings ($44.50), like Manchego with caramelized mushrooms accompanied by pinot noir, or cheddar and baked apples on cinnamon bread washed down with Sangiovese. Raise a glass to childhood.

Maine Lobster Grilled Cheese

Maine Lobster Grilled Cheese | Photo courtesy of GCDC

GCDC – Washington, DC

Eating light for summer? Try the Open-Faced Grilled Cheese Salad. Order your favorite sandwich off the menu ($8.50 and up), and it’ll arrive at your table with half the bread, served over a garden salad. The Bacon Jalapeño Popper and the Maine Lobster are both seriously solid choices.

Melt Bar and Grilled – Cleveland, OH

Cleveland really does rock when you’re choosing from more than two-dozen specialty sandwiches, including vegan offerings like the Mushroom Melt ($12.50), Peanut Butter and Banana ($11) and the Purple Parma ($11.50), made with eggplant and marinara. Die-hard diners with a Melt logo tattoo get 25% off for life. We’re seriously considering it—who wants to join us?

The Brielle at Melt Kraft

The Brielle at Melt Kraft | Photo courtesy of Melt Kraft

MeltKraft – Philadelphia, PA

It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than this eatery that raises its own cows, sheep and goats. Sandwiches like the Brielle (Brie, cranberry chutney, caramelized onion and toasted pine nuts; $8.25) and the Melter Skelter (aged Raclette, pickled green tomatoes, jalapeños, barbecue chips and watercress; $8.50) will have you asking, “What cheesesteaks?”

Burro Cheese Kitchen – Austin, TX

Still saving for that dream vacation? Stay inspired with options like the OG (havarti on Kings Hawaiian bread; $5) and the Coppola (gouda, almond-pesto aioli, basil and tomatoes on sour dough; $8)—neither of which will take a bite out of your vacation budget. Bon voyage.

The Queen's Kickshaw

The Queens Kickshaw | Photo courtesy of Lauren DeCicca

The Queens Kickshaw – Queens, NY

When you’re in your comfy PJs and halfway through a House of Cards marathon, you can’t be bothered leaving the house. Thank goodness this eatery delivers grilled cheese—and beer! The Cheddar and Mozzarella with tomato and fennel soup ($9) will keep you nice and cozy.

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, City, Florida, Food & drink, L.A., New York City

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Steeped in German heritage and drenched in beer, Milwaukee is probably one of the best places to hang out with your dad on Father’s Day. There’s cheese and sausage, beer and fishing, and whole boatload of history. The city’s industrial past still seems to seep from its pores, and you can sense it the second you see the skyline. But it’s also breathtaking, especially as the sun starts to dip below the horizon and turn the waters of Lake Michigan into a palette of pastels. Summer weekends here are fairly close to magical (and your dad will probably think so too)—and being that it’s cheap right now, it’s the perfect time for Milwaukee travel.


Milwaukee from the air

Milwaukee, Wisc. on the shore of Lake Michigan from 38,000 feet in the air. Photo: Ron Reiring – Flickr CC

Plane, train or automobile — General Mitchell International Airport serves the Milwaukee area and is only five miles south of downtown. There’s also the option of flying into Chicago and driving up — the drive is less than two hours if you don’t hit traffic. There’s also an Amtrak station. Driving in may be the best option, though, because it means you can tool around the city or beautiful Wisconsin countryside.


Milwaukee bus

Milwaukee County Transit System Bus. Photo: Vincent Desjardins – Flickr CC

Cheap local transit — Pay only $3 for a 30-minute ride on a Bublr Bike, or get a pay-as-you-go pass and pay only $2 per 30-minute ride. This is the best way to see the city, especially with the weather being so nice this time of year. If you must take the bus, Milwaukee County Transit System charges $2.25 a ride if you pay in cash.


Lakefront Brewery

A flight of beer at Lakefront Brewery. Photo: Connie Ma – Flickr CC

Book a brewery tour — The options for brewery tours are seemingly endless in a city known for its beer. Just make sure you plan ahead, because some require you to book a tour, and some stop touring by mid-afternoon. You could go traditional with MillerCoors (it’s free and comes with three beers), or more craft with Milwaukee Brewing Company (it’s $10, and includes samples and a pint glass). Lakefront Brewery also has a good $7 tour, rife with samples.


Usinger's in Milwaukee - Milwaukee travel and food

Usinger’s Sausage in Milwaukee. Photo: Dan Perry – Flickr CC

Bulk up on some brats — Few meals are as quintessentially ‘dad’ as sausage, beer and cheese. Luckily there’s no meal that’s more Milwaukeean, making Usinger’s Sausage and Smoked Meats quite the historical mainstay. The 136-year-old, family-owned company sells its brats and sausages all over town, but nothing beats visiting the shop downtown on Third Street. For more instant gratification, head across the street to Old German Beer Hall or Milwaukee Brat House to sample the goods without having to cook them yourself.


Fly fishing

A local fisherman fly fishing the Milwaukee River by the Kletzsch Park waterfall in April 2013. Photo: Nick Bragg – Flickr CC

Fetch some fish to fry — Sink your lines in the Milwaukee River at Caesar’s Park, less than three miles south of town. With patience and a little luck, you might be feasting on salmon, steelhead and brown trout. So kick back, crack open a beer and try your hand at catching dinner while you bond with dear old dad. If you want to get a little farther away from it all, you can also access the Milwaukee River from Kern Park, Estabrook Park or Kletzch Park.


Milwaukee Polish Fest

Milwaukee Polish Fest. Photo: Matthew Juzenas – Flickr CC

Find a festival — June is festival season in basically every city in America, and Milwaukee leads the parade. There’s Taco Fest on June 6, PrideFest the weekend of June 10, Polish Fest the weekend of June 17, Beer Lovers Festival June 18, and that’s just the beginning. Most parishes have festivals throughout the summer, and Milwaukee has a rich Catholic history, so there’s a bunch of them. You could probably stumble upon a festival without even trying.


Miller Park - Milwaukee travel and sports

Bond over baseball — This one’s a classic for a reason—take your dad to a Milwaukee Brewers game, settle in with some beers and Cracker Jacks, and enjoy the ride. Even if you’re not that into the team — or the sport, for that matter — there’s always good people watching, and it’s a great way to absorb some Vitamin D and just enjoy being out in the sun. If you want to up the ante with a little rivalry and drama, the Brewers play the Mets, the Nationals and the Dodgers at home in June.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, Holidays, Tips & advice

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Tasty, portable, and oh-so trendy, tacos are pretty much the ultimate cheap eats. And we know where to find the good stuff, all over these great United States. These are the best tacos in America, in no particular order.

L’patron — Chicago, IL

Yes, this foodie paradise is known for flashier establishments like Antique Taco and Big Star. But L’Patron is not only incredibly cheap, but it also serves up some of the city’s best wrapped-in-a-tortilla goodness. Come for the chorizo and lomo encebollado (ribeye and onion) tacos, stay for the creamy horchata. And leave with a full wallet—the tacos here will only set you back $2–2.50.

Mas Tacos Por Favor — Nashville, TN

The name of no-frills Mas Tacos Por Favor sums it up pretty well (it’s what you’ll be asking for, get it?). And for about $3 each, you can likely afford to tuck into another pulled pork or vegetarian-friendly quinoa and sweet potato taco, guilt-free. Add on the elotes and sweet plantains and you’ve got a feast fit for a budgeting king.

Torchy's inAustin

Torchy’s in Austin | Flickr CC: Charlie Vinz

 Torchy’s — Austin, TX

If it’s good enough for President Obama, it just might be good enough for you. Get your taco fix any time of day at Austin staple Torchy’s, which will help you start the morning right with some pretty tasty breakfast tacos. After that, you can sate your taco-fueled appetite with fried avocado, blackened salmon and jerk chicken tacos, each of which run anywhere from $3.50 to $4.75. So yes, they’re a touch pricy, but they’re oh-so worth it. Consider it an investment — these are widely touted as the best tacos in America.

Colonia Tacos Guisados — Los Angeles, CA

At just $2.50 per taco, not only is this place super affordable by any city’s standards—never mind Los Angeles’—it’s also so notably good. Besides the meaty barbacoa, lengua (that’s beef tongue), and duck carnitas, this menu boasts a whole host of vegan and vegetarian handhelds. The huitlacoche, for example, is stuffed with mushrooms, cilantro and salsa verde, and the fried cauliflower comes topped with corn, salsa Veracruz and a vinaigrette.

Automatic Taco | Photo courtesy of Nick Thomas; best tacos in America

Automatic Taco | Photo courtesy of Nick Thomas

Automatic Taco Truck — Greenville, SC

And here we have some seriously gourmet tacos, served up courtesy of Greenville’s Automatic Taco Truck. The mahi mahi ($5) comes with lemongrass slaw and avocado; the hot chicken ($4) is topped with housemade pickles and cool crema, and the indulgent pork belly ($4) is perfectly paired with kimchi slaw, cashews and green onion. Their Twitter just became your newbest friend—check early and often for location updates.

Pico Taqueria — Chincoteague Island, VA

The folks at Chincoteague Island’s Pico Taqueria are united by a common idea—that you can put anything on a taco. And they’ve wisely settled on local cornmeal fried oysters, crispy cauliflower and blackened chicken (all $4 each). Save some room for the dessert nachos, piled high with berries, homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Gabo's Grill

Gabo’s Grill | Flickr CC: Steve

Garbo’s Grill — Key West, FL

‘Cheap’ and ‘Key West’ don’t really seem to go together. But thank the heavens for the Garbo’s Grill food cart, where you can pick up a quick, seriously tasty meal for about $11—which is dirt-cheap by the island’s usual standard. Enjoy your fresh fish, shrimp and Korean bulgogi tacos beneath the swaying palms and soak up that beautiful sun.

Tienda Los Gemelos — Madison, WI

Madison, Wisconsin is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of tacos. But this restaurant will absolutely change your attitude with its super-stuffed steak, carnitas and chicken tacos ($2 each). If you have any room left, finish your meal with a traditional Mexican pastry or six.


Minero | Photo courtesy of Andrew Celbulka

Minero — Atlanta, GA

And here we have some more gourmet-type tacos: Classics like al pastor are served alongside fried catfish with green tomato tartar, and pork carnitas with confit and chicharron ($4 each). But don’t worry, this place can still get down and dirty, dessert style. Grab yourself a bag of churros and go crazy.

El Taquito Coconut Grove — Miami, FL

You can enjoy an entire, authentic Mexican meal at this no-nonsense taqueria for about $7, and rest easy that they’re just about the best tacos in Miami. Pork and beef take center stage—El Taquito is known for its al pastor, but the skirt steak and carnitas are also not to be missed ($2–$2.50 each). If you’re hungover, definitely go for the fried tacos, which will only set you back $6 for three crispy little delights.

Taceaux Loceaux Food Truck

Taceaux Loceaux Food Truck | Flickr CC: Infrogmation

Taceaux Loceaux Food Truck — New Orleans, LA

The Big Easy may not be known for its tacos, but this food truck may be about to change all that. Therotating menu includes highlights like Texas brisket, Seoul-Man Chicken (get it?), wild-caught gulf shrimp and potato poblano hash ($6–9 for two tacos). Pair ‘em with some crispy, creamy avocado fries and then maybe take a nap. Or keep drinking. Whatever you prefer.

Mi mero mole — Portland, OR

You really only need to know one thing about this restaurant: Taco Tuesday features an all-you-can-eat special for just $14.75 (the current record is 14). Take that record to task with their pork adobo, lamb mole negro, and vegan butternut squash mole poblano tacos ($3–4 each, if you’re ordering a la carte). Their cocktails aren’t going to put much of a dent in your wallet, either—cool off with a $6 tamarind or habanero margarita, or a $5 michelada.

Los Tacos No.1 | Photo courtesy of Los Tacos No.1; best tacos in America

Los Tacos No.1 | Photo courtesy of Los Tacos No.1

Los Tacos No. 1 — New York, NY

So here’s something interesting: You can get an entire meal, in New York, for $10 or less—and no, we’re not recommending a hot dog vendor here. Enter Los Tacos No. 1, a stellar taco stand tucked away in the famed Chelsea Market. Among the authentic Baja menu items are carne asada ($3.75), adobada (marinated pork; $3.50) and nopal (grilled cactus $3.25) tacos. Wash it down with an agua fresca and get back to shopping in a tasty flash.

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Florida, Food & drink, L.A., New York City, Uncategorized

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Welcome to your one-stop shop for the best of America’s non-musical festivals. (Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of cheap music festival tickets for you anyway.)


Eeyore’s Birthday Party: Austin, Texas

When: April 30, 2016

Why: This one-day celebration dedicated to pop culture’s most depressed cartoon has been raging once a year since the 1960s. It also serves as a fundraiser to various local nonprofits, making the family-friendly drum circles, games, food and drinks that much more enjoyable. There’s also the annual maypole and real-live donkey, a cartoon Eeyore stand-in. But make sure to take a good, hard look in your closet (or collection of Halloween costumes) before heading out: There are prizes for the best costumes.

Lightening in a Bottle: Bradley, California

When: May 25–30, 2016

Why: This festival offers a holistic, ‘transformative’ experience that combines music, interactive art installations, performers and yoga to create an atmosphere that’s as free and accepting as that of Burning Man. Take a personal-growth workshop to the tune of a nearby electronic music show or sip tea with soon-to-be-friends on some soft Persian rugs.

Milwaukee Highland Games: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

When: June 4, 2016

Why: According to this festival’s homepage, you’ll be treated to spectacular bagpipe bands, working sheepdogs in action, unique athletic events and great Scottish food on the outskirts of Milwaukee. So take in the Highland dance competition and heavy stone putt events while chowing down. And trying to avoid running into any errant sheep that aren’t inclined to be herded.

Ribfest Chicago

When: June 10-12, 2016

Why: Welcome to the festival of messy fingers. Do not sacrifice your favorite shirt to Ribest, and show up ready to eat. A lot. This massive, Chicago-style block party offers up a down-home environment despite its size—there are live bands, a kids’ playground, and more smoky, sticky, fall-off-the-bone ribs than you can count (but really, who’s counting?).


Summer Feast: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

When: June 24–26, 2016

Why: Eat your heart out. Literally. This fest serves up a different culinary theme each day, two of which are free. The first is Fiery Foods, a celebration of all things spicy. Next, is the Bacon, Brew & BBQ Festival (requires a ticket, but it’s all-you-can-eat). Finally, there’s the World Food Festival, where you can sample goods from Africa, Japan, India and plenty of other countries. You can also take a free or cheap cooking class onsite.

International Folk Art Market: Santa Fe, New Mexico

When: July 8–10, 2016

Why: This is the country’s largest folk-art festival, which attracts roughly 180 artists from around the world to hawk their goods at Museum Hill. These artists are more carefully curated than it may sound, though—most of the artisans create goods that represent their country’s history and identity, including hand-knotted Moroccan carpets, embroidered clothing from Afghanistan and hand-carved and –painted marionettes from Myanmar.

Artscape: Baltimore, Maryland

When: July 15–17, 2016

Why: Welcome to America’s biggest free arts festival. This year’s theme is ‘Space: Explore What’s Out There!’, which artists, fashion designers, performers and craftspeople will all explore with their craft. And you can pick up some tasty international eats as you meander between artists’ booths and pop-up theaters.

Lumberjack World Championships: Hayward, Wisconsin

When: July 28–30, 2016

Why: Oh, yes. Come to Hayward to see hopefully bearded men and (beardless) women compete in some of the wackiest sports around—among them, logrolling, sawing, the boom run and chopping, which is harder than it sounds. For the Springboard Chop, for instance, a lumberjack must climb nine feet up a marked tree, stand on a springboard stuck in the trunk, and chop it down.

Satchmo SummerFest: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: August 4–7, 2016

Why: It doesn’t get much more iconic than NOLA native Satchmo, aka Louis Armstrong. Dig into regional specialties like jambalaya and crab cakes as you celebrate the man’s legend with outdoor concerts and a jazz mass. And since this is New Orleans, you’ll need a mango daiquiri or margarita to go with that po’boy.


Beloved Festival: Tidewater, Oregon

When: August 12­–15, 2016

Why: Okay, so yes, this technically is a music festival. But it’s not like any kind you’ve seen before—billed as a journey to self-realization and connectedness, this camping festival offers a single stage, where acts ranging from ancient music to Middle Eastern chants (and yes, maybe some dance music). But there’s also an art gallery, a market and yoga classes. Past years’ artists include Krishna Das and Les Nubians.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival: San Francisco, California

When: September 10–11, 2016

Why: What could be better than stuffing your face with chocolate for a good cause? Support Project Open Hand by sampling local wines, all kinds of gourmet desserts, learning how chocolate is made and watching chefs do their magic.

Festival of the Dead: Salem, Massachusetts

When: October 1 to November 2, 2016

Why: Explore the paranormal in America’s spookiest town. Speak to dead ones through psychic mediums, join a magic circle, and meet high priestesses and Hoodoo practitioners during this month-long event. You can also head to the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball for a night of dancing, music, food and, of course, rituals.

Harry Potter Festival: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

When: October 21-22, 2016

Why: Muggles rejoice! The wizarding world comes alive in Chestnut Hill, albeit in a very American way: Think pub crawls, character lookalikes, horcrux scavenger hunts and, somehow, a Quidditch tournament.

Voodoo Music & Art Experience: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: October 28–30, 2016

Why: Why yes, you are noticing a trend here: New Orleans is excellent at festivals. While food isn’t exactly the focus of this one, there are tons of vendors selling some seriously tasty grub. Otherwise, enjoy the local crafts and wares, art and music that takes over City Park. And plan to stay out late—the after parties basically rage on until the next morning’s events begin.


Oak Street Po’ Boy Festival: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: November 2016

Why: New Orleans tradition is darn tasty. Sure, you can get more than the eponymous sandwich here, but these humble hoagies are worth the hype. In past years, local eateries have churned out edible offerings like the smoked BBQ brisket po’boys, slow-roasted duck po’boys with apple slaw, fried Maine lobster po’boys and so, so much more.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Elko, Nevada

When: January 30–February 4, 2017

Why: Mercifully, this one’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s just too bad that you’ll have to wait until next winter to hear real, time-worn cowboys croon their sentimental sonnets. Besides the thousands of folks who flock here to recite poetry, this festival also attracts thanks to its musical performances, art and open mics. The attendees are notoriously friendly, too.

Calle Ocho Festival: Miami, Florida

When: March 2017

Why: It’s only fitting that one of the country’s largest Hispanic streetfests takes place on Miami’s legendary 8th Street, or Calle Ocho, in the Little Havana district. It’s also part(y) of the massive Carnaval Miami. Come celebrate multiculturalism by salsa dancing in the street, watching traditional performances, checking out folk art and—you guessed it—eating. This gloriously unfussy street fest serves up food and drinks from plenty of local restaurants to refuel partygoers tired from their conga lines and no-holds-barred Latin dancing.

Frozen Dead Guy Days: Nederland, Colorado

When: March 2017

Why: Let’s end this list with a bang, shall we? This goofily morbid event celebrates a quirky local instance from 1989 involving cryogenic freezing that we won’t get into here. But the festival it spawned is as wacky as thename suggests. Expect frozen salmon tosses, a hearse parade, coffin races and a whole host of other macabre events—all naturally paired with beer—high up in the Rocky Mountains.

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Tagged: California, City, Festivals, Food & drink, Music