Eating on a dime
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 16:10
My first stop on my ‘Eating on a Dime’ journey takes us to the Arts and Entertainment district known as the Old Market. In the Old Market, you will find Jackson Street Tavern, a restaurant with a tavern feel. Located at 1125 Jackson St., the tavern offers lunch, dinner, gluten-free, tapas, brunch menus as well as wine and beer selections, of which they have plenty.
Simplicity describes the food best, but simple does not mean without taste. I ordered the duck tacos with tomatillo pico de gallo. The confeit style duck, marinated and cooked low and slow in its own fat, providing a smooth and unctuous creaminess and glorious texture making the tapa that much more appetizing. At only $5 it was a mouthful of yumminess.
I also ordered from the gluten-free menu. The tavern has a great alternative to French onion soup, called a five onion soup gratinee. It’s made with caramelized onions, red wine and rich stock crowned with melted fontina cheese, and at only $6, was a steal. The sweetness of the caramelized onions did not overpower the robust nature of the red wine, but more so ebb and flow luxuriously with the rich chicken stock and gooey, nutty fontina cheese, a delightful sensation for the pallet. Including tax and tip my total came to just under $13, not a bad day in the Old Market. It’s all about what you order.
Finishing off my 'Eating on a Dime' tour I visited at a quaint little place called, La Casa Pizzaria, located at 4432 Leavenworth St. The restaurant has become something of a local landmark. I first heard about this place from a friend who told me the one thing to try above all else is the Arancini as an appetizer. It is only a happy hour item, so it is served 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday in the lounge portion of the restaurant.
Arancini is a blend of Arborio rice, spinach, egg, fresh garlic, romano cheese and fresh mozzarella. Hand breaded, fried, and served with marinara sauce. The silkiness of the spinach, egg and mix of cheeses counterbalancing the heaviness of the Arborio rice and breading, added a balance to the dish, without making you feel full. The price of the dish was only $4, which is an added benefit.
As I perused the menu more closely, I saw eggplant parmesan, which happens to be my all time favorite dish. Slices of eggplant lightly battered and fried to a deep golden brown and crunchy texture, offset by the tangy and luxurious homemade marinara sauce and romano and mozzarella cheese and baked to an ooey-gooey perfection makes for quite an enjoyable dish. At $12.19 it is well worth it for the size of portion you receive. The taste more than made up for the price, and including tax it came to just over $16.50. From my experiences, just because something on a menu is cheap does not mean it sacrifices flavor.