Budget Beat

InPockets: Lunch $10 and Under

InPockets, a contemporary café/bakery in downtown Chandler, juggles breakfast, lunch -- and brides-to-be.

A cupcake tower and multi-tier cakes dominate the display window, so if you're suffering from wedding fatigue, you may want to look elsewhere for your cheap lunch. On the other hand, if wedding bells are in your future, make sure to swing by for a bite to eat before tasting cakes from pink champagne to red velvet.

Even if you're far from the altar, InPockets merits a visit, in our book. They've scrapped their initial café menu featuring pasty-like pocket sandwiches in favor of more traditional (and more filling) sandwiches and salads - all for less than $10. Stop by for lunch Monday or Tuesday, and you'll get a free drink, too, that way you'll have change to blow on a signature cupcake.

You can't go wrong with a sandwich on fresh-baked focaccia or ciabatta bread. This is not the place to wimp out and go all Atkins carb-cutting. It's a bakery, for crying out loud! Plus, all the options - including the Roast Beef Ortega, Honey Mustard Club, and BLAT - are packed with healthy veggies.

Our "cold" Whole Earth on ciabatta was grilled to perfection -- warm and with the telltale lines of a well-used Panini press. Fresh avocado, onion, cucumber, tomato and greens were piled on thick and doused in balsamic vinegar. The balsamic might be a little overpowering for some... but as a balsamic lover, it was delish. The cool acidity really hit the spot on a hot summer day.

Also on the plate: coleslaw, an orange slice, a pepperoncini and a pickle spear. You're betting off skipping the slaw. It could have used a little of the balsamic heavy-handedness or something to give it a much-needed zip. The guy one table over's fresh fruit, on the other hand, looked pretty tasty. It's not listed as a side, just ask for it.

If you can make it through lunch and save room for dessert, the bakery case is loaded with tempting options - or just grab a few to-go like we did. They have most adorable dome covers to ensure your cupcake's frosting doesn't get smashed in transit, because no matter how good it tastes, the cupcake's gotta look good too!

40 San Marcos Place

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Hannah E Williams