Friday, May 16, 2014

Sweet Cheap Eats -- Masa, South End

If it seems an age-old battle, I think it’s because it is: for me, cost is everything, but for my fiancée, it all comes down to experience.

Case in point: the many glamorous bars and restaurants in Back Bay and Downtown. Getting a delicious sangria with a small portion of food in a hip atmosphere is worth $80 to my fiancée. I, on the other hand, refuse to pay $8 per taco (very seldom do I draw the line on an issue, but this is one that I won’t back down from). That one taco is more expensive than a burrito at El Pelon, and trust me, it’s the most amazing burrito there is.

But don’t I want to have fun?

Just for the record: In the ten years we’ve been together, I have always loved fun.

Fun to me, however, has an opportunity cost (quite possibly the only thing that I remember from economics). That is, should it create sufficient anxiety over the other things prohibited by its expense, I would rather move on to the next best alternative. For example, $45 is three-quarters of the way to two seats at a Red Sox game. It’s dinner and a movie – almost – in the Fenway neighborhood. Make it $80, and it’s groceries.

I’m getting carried away. The point is we were ecstatic to find Masa [439 Tremont St.] in the South End, because on Saturdays and Sundays, they have an $8 two-course brunch.

First – and they don’t tell you this, but it really does happen – they bring you a basket of two kinds of corn bread and three spreads. You can put maple butter on blue-corn bread. Or jam on yellow-corn bread. Etc. etc. It was a delicious surprise, especially because I love corn bread, and because it is so good for you. (Maybe? I hope.) Corn may be a grain, I know, but it will always be my vegetable of choice.

For the “first” course (second, with bread), there’s granola with yogurt or milk, fresh fruit, or a caramelized plantain empanada. Riding my eight dollars all the way to the bank, I of course went with the empanada. I was not let down.

My fiancée ordered the fruit, which was indeed fresh and looked yummy, but my mouth was full of empanada, so I didn’t try it.

Last, our second courses arrived. Southwestern eggs benedict for myself, served over Southern style biscuits, and huevos rancheros for my fiancée. You literally cannot go wrong with either choice. The portions were full-size, too – I don’t think we ate for another 10 hours after we left.

The best part? It was a great experience in a neighborhood in which we don’t spend much time. And our bill came in under $20. The meal was so good, and the experience was so fun, though, that I would have paid more.

Oh man… she’s right.

Why does she always do that?

Til next time!

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