$10 or Less

From plinky.com:

What’s the most delicious meal you can get for under $10?

If you came up to me on the street in Toronto and told me you had $10, take me somewhere for lunch, there’s one of two places I’d take you.

I could take you up to Avenue Road, to the Whole Foods at Bloor and tell you to help yourself to their salad/hot bar. I can’t remember the cost but I remember when we got our dinner at the Boca Raton Whole Foods in Florida, we each managed to get a ton of food in the $10-$12 range and I think it’s as close to delicious as you’re going to get for $10. The hot bar at Whole Foods is a terrific alternative to the usual take out/ordering in options on the nights I don’t feel like cooking.

Perhaps not as delicious but a better deal for your $10 (and the food is still pretty damn good) is Hosu on Queen, where for $8.95 you can get table service and order chicken teriyaki and tempura. It comes with salad, miso soup, edamame, kimchi and a couple of other things that I don’t know the name of, to start. And they won’t tell you this, but if you specifically request their barley tea (it’s delicious) it’s complimentary. The $8.95 gets you table service and you’ll cover your taxes with your $10 but there won’t be much left for tip. But for $5.99 you can get your chicken teriyaki and tempura to go, you just don’t get any of those nice little extras, including the tea.

Now if you were in my neighborhood, and was still waving that $10 at me I’d have to take you for a drive down some country roads, past numerous apple farms to The Apple Factory where Clara and I had lunch last Saturday after grabbing a few groceries in their produce/butcher section. (My grocery list for the Apple Factory usually includes apples, asparagus, green beans (their produce, if not local is very fresh), prosciutto, free range/grain fed chicken, steak and/or pork, and apple cider). When Clara and I ate there last Saturday, we stopped in the bakery section where they not only sell pies and breads they make on site but they also use their pastry crust to make other savory things like pot pies, quiches and samosas. Clara and I shared a chicken pot pie, sausage roll, and a pecan butter tart (plus I had a soda) and it was $9 and change. And it was delicious.

In fact, I’ve promised Clara that lunch at the Apple Factory is going to be a weekly Saturday outing for us – I get to pick up steaks or pork chops for dinner, along with some fresh vegetable for the week. It’s a beautiful drive and in the nicer weather Clara gets to visit the live farm animals they keep outside. She also gets to see the toy train that runs along the top of the wall in the bakery section and watch the Apple Factory band perform in the produce section. Plus she always gets a sticker when we pay for our groceries. And I get to have lunch with my favorite girl. It doesn’t get better than that.

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