Locally, most food blogs and media writers review the latest groovy or high-end eateries -- that's not my beat. Hey, power to them. Number one, I can't afford them, also I'm not on the publicity gratis gravy train....yet.
But there are plenty of tasty and inexpensive places to chow down at, and I'm going to give you the lowdown. The set up is this: I rate an eatery on a scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best - anything above a 5 is worth a taste.
I'll be covering a bunch of places including fast food Value Meal selects, or the best Al Pastor tacos in Los Angeles from the lauded Leo's Taco Truck. I'm including national fast food chains so all my out-of-town visitors can benefit (or be warned) of the best meal deals I think are out there.
When I'm working 10 hour days (and blogposting recipes, photos and making videos) there's not a lot of time to prepare the most nutritious meals. (In a perfect world, fast food would be the last thing I would recommend, but some neighborhoods have very limited dining choices, and what they have can be too expensive for my blog.)
Since this is a new 99 Cent Chef series, I haven't set all the parameters yet. To start with I'm tasting single items that cost around a dollar. And when I hit a fast food joint I don't get the fries and sugary soft drink meal -- just a single deal. (While not the healthiest fare, at least it's a small serving, so I can keep my weight in check.)
So between my tasty cheap recipes, food travelogues, comedic culinary hijinks and photo food artistry, you can now add to the list, Cheap$kate Dining.
First up is Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger for 99 cents (plus tax.) This hamburger chain began in Columbus Ohio in 1969 by Dave Thomas, and Wendy's is named after his fourth daughter Melinda Lou "Wendy" Thomas. This is real Middle America fast food dining at it's cheapest.
Cheeseburgers are a guilty pleasure and Value Meal ones, while small, are sometimes quite tasty. And I would have to rank Wendy's 99 cent Jr. Cheeseburge, or Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe for $1.19, high on the list.
On the plus side you can ask for all the fixings* on your burger including: lettuce, tomato, pickles and red onion. I especially liked the ring of red onion. Additionally, they put only ketchup and mustard on the burger, so if you like mayo then request it.
It's unusual to get a such a cheap burger with all that, plus cheese. It's just plain American cheese, but I'm a patriot so I salute them for it!
But something I'll never get used to is Wendy's square meat patty. It pokes out from the round buns -- so it seems like more meat for your money. As with most fast food burger chains the cooked thin patty dries out sitting under those accursed heat lamps (or ovens.) The meat patty is grilled on a flat top range like McDonalds. So while the meat is good enough, it's not as fresh cooked and moist as your local Mom and Pop burger joint would do it.
So drum roll please...on The 99 Cent Chef's Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger a 6.
I'll keep going there from time to time for a quick cheeseburger fix -- it's a pretty good chea$kate deal.
*Please note that the Wendy's I went to just opened so they gave me lettuce and tomato without extra charge. They have a value Jr. Cheeseburger Delux for $1.19 that includes those extra ingredients. So I unintentionally scammed them. A typcial Jr. Cheeseburger comes topped with red onion, ketchup, mustard and pickle. I would still rate a Jr. Cheeseburger a 6 and a Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe a 7.
Wendy's 99 cent Jr. Cheeseburger - VIDEO