This months sampling of bargain fare takes us from Southern comfort food to Japanese grill to fiery habanero-sauced burrito. For dessert, a little frozen yogurt to soothe the palate.
1340 W. Garner Road, Garner
In a nutshell: Diner with a strong Southern accent serves up everything from fried bologna sandwiches to home-cooked vegetable plates with a heaping helping of small-town charm. Check the board for todays offering.
Try: Breakfast platters and biscuits (extensive meat selection includes country ham, smoked sausage and streak o lean), fried pork chops, vegetable plates.
6300 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: A tongue-in-cheek hipster vibe (loyalty cards look like Social Security cards) and an adventurous, ever-changing list of flavor and topping options help this newcomer stand out in the crowded froyo field.
Try: The Elvis (peanut butter yogurt, bananas, honey, candied bacon), Spiced Mexican Chocolate (dark chocolate yogurt, ancho chile powder, pine nuts). If the weather has you craving hot rather than cold, a steaming cup of dark Belgian chocolate with homemade marshmallow ought to do the trick.
4800-106 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: The latest incarnation of a longtime local favorite (the original opened nearly three decades ago in Chapel Hill) spices up its offering of signature burritos with a varied assortment of tacos on flour tortillas and other Southwestern specialties.
Try: Burritos (The Bull, The Porker, Flying Fish, and the Flying Mayan, a vegetarian burrito with sweet potatoes and black beans). Get one with the Ultimate habanero sauce only if you dare.
Lighthouse Deli & Grill
2125 Ten Ten Road, Apex
In a nutshell: The classic lunchtime dilemma one of you wants a sandwich, the other craves a couple of slices of pizza is neatly solved at this friendly strip mall eatery, where you can get either. And if youre counting calories, theyve got you covered with a varied selection of entree salads, too.
Try: New York-style pizza, New Jersey style sloppy Joe, bistro salad. Dont overlook daily specials (recent options have included chicken curry with naan and ham wrap with apples, Swiss cheese and sweet cranberry mayo) and house-baked cookies.
10970 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville
In a nutshell: Inspired by the foods sold by vendors at temporary stalls during holiday festivals in Japan, the chargrilled meats and rice bowls at this RTP newcomer have quickly found a following.
Try: Chicken bowl, shrimp and vegetable plate, The Works (chargrilled chicken, steak and short ribs).