Friday, May 27, 2011
Frugal Floozie Friday -- Marcano's Take-Out
My BFF, Wendy, and I are on a mission: to find good food and fun for $5 or less per person. I'm serious! And it's possible to do it -- follow along and find out. This is the second installment of Frugal Floozie Friday, after all, with plenty more planned!
This week we head to Marcano's Take-Out, a small place painted the color of a gorgeous red wine, that will transport you to South America with its aromas and flavors.
When you walk in, you are greeted by the bright, open kitchen visible behind the counter; you can truly watch as your meal is made for you right after you order it. There is an extensive menu, and some photos of dishes are posted on the wall for illustration.
But even if you don't know the difference between an empanada (a fried turnover with your choice of fillings) and an arepa (filled white corn bread rolls), your tremendously friendly hostess -- Elizabeth Marcano-Kennedy, born and raised in Venezuela -- will happily and passionately explain any unfamiliar menu items to you, sharing her love of her native cuisine.
I, as always, had difficulty deciding what to order; but since my limit was $5, I settled upon the Cheese Empanadas. They were fried just for me, so they were golden, fragrant, very hot and slightly oily still when the take-out box was handed to me. The cheese was a semi-firm white one, slightly salty, which was very mild and was a nice smooth complement to the crispy fried exterior. Each of the two empanadas was about 5" in diameter, so together they were a hearty portion for one and could easily be shared by two.
Wendy ordered the Yuca Frita -- yuca (a.k.a.: cassava, a starchy tuber) fries, for $4. She loathes cooking, but loves these so much that she will actually -- gasp! -- make them herself sometimes to satisfy a craving; however, she admits that she doesn't have the patience to remove the stringy strands, and simply fries them up "as is." At Marcano's, strings are not a part of the package.
Wendy has also eaten yuca fries in Uganda and in Brazil, so she is quite the expert on how they should be prepared; and she told me that the ones from Marcano's were better than the ones she'd eaten in either of the countries where yuca is considered a food staple ... quite high praise, indeed! These came with some homemade ketchup, but Wendy doesn't like anything vinegary; I should have taken it for the empanadas, which were good without any accompaniment but would also have been quite nice with a dipping sauce.
There are many options on Marcano's menu that cost $5 or less. So whether you're craving something sweet or savory, you can still have a treat and stay within your budget. And since Marcano's is a take-out place, how perfect would it be to either pick up a goodie for a picnic or grab a quick lunch to take back to the office???
Personally, when I return I think I'm going to aim straight for the Tres Leches cake, at $3.50 ... :)
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!
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