One day, three meals, and a 20 dollar bill

Taqueria El Rodeo


I live 10 minutes from work. This typically means that on any given day I roll out of bed about 20 minutes before it’s time to be at work. My breakfast generally consists of a cup of coffee with a side of coffee. I’m just not a breakfast/morning person.

However, for the sake of journalism and for you, dear reader, I made the sacrifice of getting up a whole 15 minutes early.

To paraphrase that beer swilling, most interesting man guy, I don’t always eat breakfast but when I do, it’s a breakfast taco. With the goal of cheap *and* tasty in mind, I jumped in my car and headed for Taqueria El Rodeo.

El Rodeo has an “All Day” breakfast taco menu that runs $2.59 per taco. I go with my old favorite, the bacon and egg taco, and have them add cheese for an additional $0.75 because it’s just not a taco without the cheese.

My order is taken and 2 minutes later, the taco is on my table. The tacos at El Rodeo are huge and never fail to impress. The bacon in my bacon and egg taco might as well be ham, it’s cut that thick. Lots of egg and cheese to go with the bacon-y goodness, so much in fact that the wait staff considerately puts a fork next to the plate my taco is on for the express purpose of capturing the overflow. I add salsa because, you know, it’s part of a balanced breakfast, and proceed to demolish my meal.

After everything is said and done, I’m pleasantly stuffed, the cashier tells me I wasn’t charged for cheese so I’m out less than three bucks for a breakfast that’s going to push my usual lunch time back about two hours.

Remaining cash: $17.20


Dragon Palace

I head for Dragon Palace around 1:30PM. In all honesty, this is the Chinese restaurant I grew up with and it is the standard by which I compare all other Chinese restaurants.

I have a specific meal in mind before I even walk in the door. Dragon Palace has one of the best Lemon Chicken dishes I have ever had and I decide it’s been long enough since the last time I had it. The best part is that it’s on the lunch special menu which means I get the chicken, pork fried rice, an eggroll, and an iced tea all for $5.49. As far as a “sit down” meal goes, it’s hard to beat. It’s cheap and again, it’s actually one of my favorite dishes, hands down, from any restaurant I could have chosen.

The service is quick and efficient and as I eat, my tea is kept filled throughout the meal. The waitstaff is friendly and it’s the sort of place you wouldn’t feel out of place if you decided to bring a date.

Once again, I’m pleasantly stuffed and thinking that my final meal of the day is going to be a little later than usual.

I get my check paid and leave a one dollar tip on the table. It’s less than I would normally leave but I’m eating on the cheap here…

Remaining cash: $10.20

Dairy Treet


I actually have more in my pocket than I thought I would for this meal. I was briefly tempted to splurge and step into some place that might run a little more but I’ve made it this far. I decide to go with something more “traditional” when one thinks of “cheap” food and go with a burger for dinner. On making the decision, I know exactly where I’m going… Dairy Treet.

If you’re local and you haven’t had a Dairy Treet burger, shame on you. Again, I’m going with “cheap” but it’s one of the best places for a burger in Victoria that you can go. An old school "burgers and shakes" place, Dairy Treet is practically a landmark.

I pull into the parking lot and walk up to the window to place my order. I go with the “normal” sized double cheeseburger (yes, there’s a jumbo sized one) which runs $3.60 and I decide to get a treat and order a Butterscotch Milkshake for $2.69. I’m not even a fan of regular butterscotch but the shakes from Dairy Treet are just that good.

I’m stuffed yet again and checking my pockets, I still have over three dollars left.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Remaining Cash: $3.39