Sake Gumi
$100/5 Days/NYC/Tourist
Day 1
Day 2

NYC is flaky. Trains never come when you need them to. Cabbies pull up, scoff, and zoom away as soon as you tell them you need to get to Brooklyn. It's 20 degrees one day, 60 three days later. This is the reality of the city, and as a result, the people at times can be flaky, just to keep up. It's not an insult, (as I know I can be flaky as hell) but just the way it is; a way of life. Plans are ever shifting, meetings pushed back an hour or two, is that ok? Yes, it IS ok, which is why it works here.

So my dinner last night was canceled at the VERY LAST MOMENT. On the one hand, this was extremely frustrating, since I wanted to see my friends. But c'est la vie. This is how it goes here. Dinners come, dinners go.

But this turned out to be a miraculous turn of events for $100/5 days, since dinner was supposed to be at some restaurant. This meant that I would be saving a lot more than I would have if we ended up at sushi- which would have been utterly disastrous.

Here's my day leading up to dinner:

Leftover lunch from Great NY Noodletown the night before. Shirl and Lydia took pity on me and let me take everything home. Yay for me! I ended up just eating at the computer- I have this problem where I don't eat until I'm totally starving. It's not a good habit, and something I need to work on. This pic was taken around 2pm.

I finally pried myself off of the keyboard and made my way to Columbus Circle to meet a few friends. Instead of going for coffee, I suggested we stroll through Central Park. This was in line with my budget but also made the most sense- the sun was shining, birds chirping and the street performers hustlin'! Ahhhhh New York, New York...

As an aside, I actually did drag my friend Pellet around all the way up to 65th and B'way in search of a cheap can of seltzer, which I never found. Why is everything so expensive up there??? It drives me nuts.

I was on my way to Brooklyn for dinner, when I got the call to cancel. It was actually a big group of people, so I had to think of what to do with the rest of us for dinner. Within a matter of moments, I had to backtrak and think of alternative plans. In NYC you have to be quick on your feet, or else you're fucked. You can't let the flakiness wear you down!

I was near Trader Joe's, so poked my head in. Why not make a cheap pasta dinner? YES! I knew I had eggs in the fridge, so decided on the simple, always delicious (and filling) pasta carbonara.

I love Trader Joe's, but for the love of God, what a hell hole it is after 5pm. All those people... you can't even shop because the people in line are blocking all the aisles and food areas. Horrible. Note: do not go to TJ's in Union Square after work if you're in a bad mood. I was super irritated already as it was, which was only heightened by the fact that I couldn't get to the cheese aisle.

But I got out of there somehow without shooting anyone, and was on my way- shaved parmesan, pasta and pancetta for $9.50! HOLLA! Probably could have just gotten a bottle of marinara to keep it super cheap, but carbonara is so much better, right?

$9 fed five people! Look at all this food!

My friend Lynn gave me a gift of focaccia from Grandaisy Bakery when I saw her the other night. She is always keeping me abreast of all the best bakeries in town. This went perfect with some EVOO and the cabonara. People brought wine, so the meal was complete!

DAY 3 TOTAL (including tax & tip):

@Trader Joe's:
Parmesan- $4.79
Pasta- $0.99
Pancetta- $2.99 (so cheap!)
Coffee- $5.99 (this about covers the expenses for had I bought my morning cup from the corner deli for these 5 days)

Day 1 Total: $31.48
Day 2 Total: $31

Money left for 2 more days: $22.52

This is tough, but just MIGHT be possible... wish me luck today!!!


  • I’m not sure if you were being serious but NY yellow cab drivers are not allowed to deny you a ride to Brooklyn. Just get in, and then say where you’re going.

    Carbonara – good idea!!

    Ambitious on

  • Great post! Totes agree with the flakiness that is NY and the TJ’s in LA is so stressful too. I literally have to pysche myself up to go there. Will you post a carbonara recipe? Good luck with the $22.52! Do you find that you have to starve yourself a bit to make this work? I would need more than two meals!

    saaara on

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