I literally haven't gone out to dinner since I arrived in New York. Well, I was treated to dinner a couple times but dining out – other than an occasional take-out sandwich or soup – doesn’t happen if I’m paying for myself. It doesn’t fit in my budget, and let’s face it, buying groceries and preparing a meal is much cheaper. But I deviated from my normal eat-in habit the other night and went out to dinner in Chinatown with friends. I guess I can chalk it up to a once a month entertainment cost. Plus it would be pathetic to live in New York and not take advantage – at least on a limited scale – of the culinary scene.
My friends and I went to Teariffic Cafe. (51 Mott St.) I got vegetarian dumpling soup, passion fruit bubble tea and appetizers – all for the low cost of $10. And it was too much to eat. I couldn't even finish my soup. If I were to return again and could curb mycraving for bubble tea, I would only get the soup, which cost just under $5. Appetizers run from $3 to $6. Drinks are in the same price range. If I get the urge to go out again, I'll definitely stop here.
Extra tip: If you like bubble tea, go to Ten Ren -- absolutely the best bubble tea in New York.
As far as economical, healthy and plentiful food in South Florida, I would recommend Harvest Moon Bistro at 102 Curtiss Pkwy. (on the circle) in Miami Springs. The portions on the wraps, salads, sandwiches and melts are generous, and the most expensive item on the menu is only $8.25. If you order the Mediterranean salad, for example, you’ll get a mountain of greens topped with couscous, feta cheese, garbanzos, tomatoes and black olives and accompanied by hummus, grape leaves and pita bread. I guarantee you’ll have plenty to take home. It’s pretty much a lunch-only place and it’s closed on Sundays.
Also note, they only take cash. The same goes for Teariffic Café and Ten Ren in New York. There is an ATM by the cash register at Harvest Moon and ATMs near the two New York restaurants, but chances are you’ll have to pay those pesky ATM fees if the nearest ATM isn’t one for the financial institution where you bank. So come with cash in your wallet and avoid the ATM fees that will just eat up your savings at these restaurants.