Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals happening now

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from sloppy hot dogs to fancy seeds.

1. The free mushroom festival at Pere Marquette Lodge on April 17 is the fungus lover’s Coachella: live music, free wine tastings and vendors selling local goods and crafts. The highlight of the festival is Great Morel Hunt, which takes place on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seasoned experts and novice hunters alike will forage for nature’s wrinkly delicacies together with a chance to win prizes for the largest mushroom and biggest haul.

2. Clayton’s Craft Beer Cellar is a sort of nirvana for craft beer lovers, and now it's a democracy, too. Each Wednesday, cast your vote in the Crowdsourced Happy Hour online (check CBC’s Facebook and Twitter for the link) and choose which two brews should be sipped at the evening’s half-price happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Winner, winner, craft beer for dinner.


3. Truffles Restaurant in Clayton has a tasty little next-door neighbor – Truffles Butchery, which also serves up ready-to-eat items like sandwiches. A new menu addition, the Black and Blue Steak Sandwich is a hearty $10 pick. Enjoy a healthy serving of finest quality aged beef tenderloin marinated in bourbon and served with caramelized onions, blue cheese and lettuce and tomato stacked on brioche.

4. Black Thorn Pizza and Pub is not only a great South Grand watering hole, but also a pizza lover’s secret spot. For almost 20 years, owner Dave Difani has made pizzas, and for an easy $9, you can nosh on a 10-inch two-topping pan pizza, hot from the oven, gooey with mozzarella and a golden brown crust.


5. Southwest Diner now serves up tamale on (what else?) Tamale Tuesdays. Unwrap the corn husks to reveal steamed masa stuffed with pork or vegetables and topped with red or green chili or a combo “Christmas” sauce. A ten spot will get you four generous tamales, enough to satiate even the hungriest Tex-Mex lover.

6. The horticulture nerds at SeedGeeks are ready to help you kickstart your summer garden. The SeedGeeks sell packets of untreated, non-GMO heirloom seeds to shoppers at the Tower Grover and Schlafly farmers markets. Grab a few packets of vegetable and herb seeds for a mere $1.50 to $3 each.


7. Not ready to fire up your grill just yet? Get a taste of summer at Steve’s Hot Dogs with the Backyard BBQ Dog, is a sloppy mess that sees a quarter-pound smoked hot dog smothered with baked beans, potato salad, bacon and barbecue sauce. Getting a bite with each element is a mighty feat indeed.

8. Dine Out For The Birds at The Purple Martin and support local wildlife on April 21, when a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds will benefit Wild Bird Rehabilitation's Songbird Hospital. There, ornithologists care for injured, ill and orphaned native wild songbirds and then release them back into their natural habitat once they are healthy. Take a seat at the bar or on the outdoor patio and sip a signature Purple Martin cocktail (a mix of Malibu Rum, vodka, grape soda and a lemon squeeze for $8) and feel good knowing you helped a little bird regain its song.