Budget Beat

Eliana's: Lunch Under $10

Truth be told, you can't technically eat lunch at Eliana's Authentic Salvadoran Cuisine for under $10. Not if you order an entree. But we know from experience that the entrees at Eliana's are enough for lunch and dinner.

We figured we'd be fine with the appetizer menu -- and we were more than right.

Just a notch above "hole in the wall," Eliana's is spacious and clean, if a little spare, with tchotchkes on the walls and hot sauce on the tables.

We tried two of the tamales, described as Salvadorean-style chicken tamales with vegetables, and a side of rice. The meal was also accompanied, gratis, by a nice-sized portion of spicy cabbage salad.

The rice and cabbage were a little too salty, but the tamales were super -- moister than any tamale we've ever tried, with big hunks of chicken, carrots and potatoes. (Warning: We did find a bone.)

Along with a 16 ounce bottle of icy cold Diet Coke, the bill came to $7.83, not including tip.

Not bad, though we were left with a craving for dinner -- the $8.95 pollo encebollado (chicken & onions) beckons.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.