Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NYC: Eating On A Budget

jb has a work training in NY this week and Leo and I tagged along. Three nights in a hotel right in Times Square is something our family couldn't afford on our own - so it's awesome that we are able to piggy back on this work trip.

It's really great being in the middle of all the action - but that means we are also in a sea of tourist traps. We still need to be mindful of our budget and food is one major expense we are trying to keep down. Here is our (still being tested) plan to keep our food expenses mangable:

 1. Make a "grocery" trip at the drugstore on the corner and street fruit stands. We were able to score everything in the picture (plus some bananas and apples) for under $20 (did I mention I'm super impressed with the quality and prices of the Duane Reed generic brands?). Maybe not as healthy as an actual grocery trip at home - but we can supplement our meals with peanut butter sandwiches, dehydrated veggies and fruit. Our tiny hotel room doesn't have a fridge, so we filled one of the trash cans with ice from the ice machine to keep the milk (and yogurt not pictured) cold.

2. Do a little research on inexpensive gems. We have a short list of restaurants that come highly reviewed and offer meals under $10. For example, tonight's dinner was at Sapporo (upon the Village Voice's recommendation) and it was delicious, inexpensive (under $20) and fed all three of us comfortably.

3. NYC Rites of Passage. This is the not-so-healthy, but can't miss stuff. The 99 cent slice of cheese pizza or the hot dog from a cart (Leo's first - and probably last for a while). I'll just be sure to work in some extra veggies when we get home - hey, we are on vacation.

Any other tips to eat cheaply in Manhattan or on vacation in general?


  1. He looks so happy eating that hot dog! Sounds like a fabulous way to spend the weekend.

  2. Chicken and rice! The Halal carts are awesome -- and cheap. My favorite is Rafiqi's at 50th St. and 3rd Ave. You can also run into Ess-A-Bagel across the street.

    Republic in Union Square is also pretty inexpensive and a lot of fun. Noodles! And you can hit up the Union Square greenmarket, too.

    Finally, Mama's Food Shop shouldn't be missed. 3rd St. and Ave. B.

  3. Oh man I forgot to mention! If you ask around there is a website for food delivery. It has the places that are currently open and are in your delivery area and it lists by food type and you can just electronically select your order and just wait. Maybe this would be helpful if you aren't feeling so hot.

  4. Next in Line5/04/2012

    We have brought the Sesame Street sandwich maker on trips before. We gourmet out the grill cheese with mustards and apple slices. It makes for yummy hot lunches.

    I agree a NYC hotdog is worth a little unhealthness. It looks like he loved it.

  5. He had a little trouble believing me when I told him that was his lunch :) But, yes, he was thrilled!

  6. I may have to plan a-whole-nother trip on this comment alone. :)

  7. Thanks! Luckily on the days I was in rougher shape we were still able to not have to walk more than a block for a decent meal. We just looked for the places with the long lines ;)

  8. Oh that's a fun idea! Especially since sometimes you need a hot meal.

  9. One more -- for your next trip. Peanut Butter and Co. in the West Village is always a big hit with the kids (and most adults, too):