The Importance of Eating Cheaply 

As we collectively shake off our M.L.K. Day hangovers and check our balances at the ATM, it becomes clear that the holiday spending spree has taken its toll. Between shelling out for new Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson Day sheets for Southern relatives and buying all those Connecticut Ratification Day decorations, my account is anemic. Worse, the funless gray slog that is winter has set in for serious, with only Pie Day to look forward to between now and the Superbowl.

I can’t imagine anyone trying to tough it out till thaw without a protective layer of blubber around the ass and a protective layer of fuzz around the brain, but you’re going to have to be one thrifty bastard to keep your tummy full of both booze and food. What you need to find are cheap restaurants with cheap drinks. Any rube can find the one or the other, but it takes a special kind of dipsomaniac cheapskate to find both:

Odessa (7th Street and Avenue A)
Two words: Chef’s Combination. That’s six pierogies, two blintzes, and hubcap-sized latke for roundabout ten bucks. Finish off a bottle-and-a-half-sized carafe of red wine for $12 and that’s a meal you can hibernate on for weeks.

Joya (Court and Warren Streets)
Sure, there’s cheap Thai everywhere. Feel free to sit next to an algae-choked fish tank and slurp down your greasy crap noodles and $6 glass of Rossi, because that will mean one less person ahead of me for a table a Joya. The décor is attractive but not cloying, and you can get a delicious Pad Khing and fishbowl-sized glass of decent white for under $15.

Zen (St. Mark’s and First Avenue)
I know that discount sushi is considered a bad idea — generally. But I’ve had the half-off rolls and Asahi (after 9:30) at Zen at least a zillion times and never pooped a tapeworm or barfed. They don’t even have that gungy grocery store sushi flavor. I tell myself the secret is high turnover.

Joy (Flatbush Ave and Prospect Place)
Again, you can get cheap Indian lots of places, but Joy is a step above — they’re even BYO for extra cheapness. Also, you know how it sucks that they never find a veg version of tikka masala? Well Joy has one with ponir that will knock your socks off.

So drink up, lardass, and I’ll see you in May.

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