Summer Bargain Blitz

 

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Cheap Eats

What’s the best lunch value in downtown New Haven? Head for Yale-New Haven Hospital and look for the food carts parked just outside its front door (the junction of York and Cedar streets). Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, South American . . . an international bazaar of delicious flavors is yours for the tasting at prices that can’t be beat ($5 to $7 in most cases). What’ll it be? A yummy burrito from The Tijuana Taco Co.? Ethiopian injera and spicy lentils from Lalibela? Korean bibimbob from Jung’s Kimchi Corner? For dessert, log onto followthatcupcake.com to find out where in New Haven The Cupcake Truck is parked today. “Red Velvet Jones,” “Sweet Potato Pecan” and “Salted Caramel” baked fresh, frosted and decorated to order . . . these crazy-good cupcakes (just $2 each) are worth hunting down. And for info on Toppings, the truck‘s new store in Bridgeport, visit toppingscupcakes.com

Fresh is best in terms of both taste and value when it comes to summer’s bounty. Visit buyctgrown.com for a list of farmers’ markets across the state, from the Shelton Farmers’ Market on the Naugatuck River walkway Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings to the Lyme Farmers’ Market Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings at Ashlawn Farm to the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market at Center School in Litchfield on Saturday mornings. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll also find fresh Connecticut-grown/created/caught/gathered breads and cheeses, cut flowers, seafood, grass-fed beef, maple syrup, honey and goat’s milk products.

Too many mouths to feed? It helps when the kids eat free. Check out: Cugino’s Restaurant of Farmington (860/678-9366 or cuginosrestaurantfarmington.com), where kids under 14 eat free all day on Wednesdays with the purchase of an adult entrée; Aunt Chilada’s in Hamden (203/230-4640 or auntchilada.com), where kids eat free on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the purchase of an adult entrée; Fusion Grill in Waterford (860/437-8888 or fusiongrillct.com), where kids 9 and under eat free on Tuesdays with an adult meal purchase; and River Tavern in Chester (860/526-9417 or rivertavernchester.net), where kids eat free on Sundays with an adult entrée purchase. At Moe’s Southwest Grill (moes.com) in New Haven (203/776-6637), kids 12 and under eat free on Saturdays with the purchase of an adult meal, while in South Windsor (860/432-9500) the big day is Tuesday. At the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport (203/345-4800 or bridgeportbluefish.com), Bluefish fans 12 and under attending a Monday or Tuesday home game get a free voucher good for a hot dog, bag of chips and beverage.

Finally, there’s our nominee for top summertime meal-on-the-go: Stop & Shop’s fresh lobster roll. Pick one up at the seafood counter and bring it with you to the beach, the park, the back yard. At less than $5 it sure beats turning on the oven.

Students For Hire

Connecticut’s Technical High School System may just be the state’s best-kept bargain secret. The system of more than 15 technical high schools serves over 10,000 students with training in 38 occupational areas. What’s in it for you? The students need experience. Consider yourselves their guinea pigs. Programs range from culinary arts to hairdressing and barbering, automotive technology to plumbing and heating. That translates to tasty $6 lunches at Oliver’s Restaurant in Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington, cut-rate cuts (also, $8 manicures and $11 pedicures) at the salon at Emmett O’Brien in Ansonia, maybe even a new back deck put in by the carpentry students at Norwich Technical High School—all supervised by licensed instructors.

Programs available for public involvement vary by school and getting the details can be tricky, so here’s the scoop: Visit cttech.org and if you’re interested in any of the construction trades, click on the “Our Best Kept Secret” icon to apply. If you’re interested in another program (baking at Bullard-Havens in Bridgeport, graphic arts at Henry Abbott in Danbury), click on the school, then on the “Technologies” tab, then on the program to find the name and phone number of an instructor to contact. 
Finally, massages are available by appointment at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy (ccmt.edu) for $30 in Newington (877/282-2268) and Groton (877/295-2268), $35 in Westport (877/292-2268). Each 50-minute session is provided by a student in his or her final term at CCMT.

Summer Bargain Blitz

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