All aboard the Cheap Eats Express! This month's route tours the Triangle with stops in Deli, Hamburger, Nueva Panaderia and the New England shore.
3710 Shannon Road, Durham
Specialty: gourmet deli and market
In a nutshell: The original is in Charleston, but the chalkboard over the lunch counter at this Durham outpost reads like a who's who of Triangle-area food artisans.
Try: croissant with Nutella and strawberries (breakfast), signature roasted chicken salad sandwich with dried cranberries, almonds and cranberry mayo.
237 S. Wilmington Street, Raleigh
In a nutshell: Acclaimed Poole's Diner chef Ashley Christensen turns her attention to America's favorite sandwich. Her new venture lives up to its name with half a pound of ground chuck, flat-top seared and available with a wide variety of toppings.
Try: The Dirty South (Christensen's amped-up take on a Carolina-style "all the way" burger), The High and the Valley (crushed avocado, bacon-onion jam, blistered red peppers).
6320-123 Capital Blvd., Raleigh
Specialty: Ecuadoran pastries and sandwiches
In a nutshell: Hidden gem run by native Ecuadoran cousins Cori Belonga and Ivan Lopez, who are as friendly behind the counter as they are talented in the kitchen.
Try: empanadas, pork sandwich "Supreme," daily hot lunch specials, and anything from the irresistible display of pastries ranging from lemon bars to guava cakes to delicate Ecuadoran alfajores cookies.
Skipper's Fish Fry
1001 E. Williams St., Apex
Specialty: fried seafood
In a nutshell: Cracker meal-breaded fish and shellfish at this New England style fish fry puts most of the local cornmeal-breaded, Southern-fried locals to shame.
Try: You can't go wrong, really, but you owe it to yourself to try the area's best - and biggest - fish sandwich at least once. If you like onion rings, get the onion platter.