Featured Foodie on the Cheap

This page is dedicated to my new blog series, “Featured Foodie on the Cheap”. Every other week I will be featuring a fellow foodie with all the best intel on cheap eats in Charleston. If you are interested in being featured in this blog series, please contact me at chsfoodiesonabudget@gmail.com.

Week of March 16-20

This week’s featured foodie is Dominique Mackins of Charlestonfitfoodie. Dominique is a Whole 30 coach, as well as a wellness blogger. She is also known to create the most beautiful avocado roses! Keep reading to see what her go-to’s for healthy cheap eats are.

1. What is your name? How long has “Charleston Fit Foodie” been around and what inspired you to start it?

 

Hi! I’m Dominique Mackins, a Cardiac Nurse Manager here in Charleston, SC. When I moved to Charleston 5 years ago from California, I noticed the health scene was not as prominent as it was where I lived before. I started Charlestonfitfoodie in 2016 in an effort to promote the health and wellness that I found in Charleston.

2. What is your favorite place to eat affordably in Charleston?

 

I love going to Verde! You can get a huge salad for around $9, and it’s actually big enough for two meals. Verde is probably one of the most affordable options for a nutrient dense meal here in Charleston.

3. What is your favorite happy hour spot? 

 

I really enjoy The Watch Rooftop! Not only is the view amazing, but the truffle fries and rosé selections are top notch!

4. Since you are all about being “fit”, What is your go-to healthy home-cooked meal?
I have two! My sweet potato noodle skillet and buffalo spaghetti squash casserole. Both recipes are found on my blog!
You can find all of Dominque’s home-cooked healthy recipes on her blog by clicking here:

 

Week of Feb. 17-21

This week’s featured foodie is Victoria McMillin, creator of the wellness lifestyle blog, A Penne for my Thoughts. Keep reading to find out what inspired her to start her blog, as well as her go-to spots for cheap eats in Charleston!

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1. What is your blog, “A Penne For My Thoughts” all about?

“A Penne” is a Wellness Lifestyle blog that focuses on my wellness journey. It is really about how I live my life and my journey to living a wholesome lifestyle. It includes everything from what I buy at the grocery store and why, to food facts about the nutrition content, to how I work out and what I read. I try to provide content that is helpful and fun, and worth peoples time!

2. What inspired you to start your blog?

I moved from Colorado to Charleston 3 years ago and wanted a way to connect with people in the Charleston community that were like-minded and be able to share what I have learned through researching as well! It has introduced me to what are now some close friends of mine, and made Charleston feel like home. It is a labor of love, but I love what it has brought to my life and the support that I have received because of it!

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3. What is your go-to affordable meal in Charleston?

Oh, this is a tough one. Do I have to choose just one? I love “The Main Squeeze” in Belle Hall for clean juices, easy wraps and avocado toast. Locals in Mt. Pleasant is such an easy and fun spot to grab some affordable tacos and sushi (it’s easy to love a place that does both sushi and tacos well). Downtown, I love Stella’s! You can get one pasta dish and make it super affordable, or you can order a bunch of plates to share and make it a bigger meal. That place is a gem.

What is your go-to happy hour spot in Charleston?

Barsa, downtown! The drink menu is wonderful but from 4-7 Mon-Friday they also do half-off paella and specials on certain tapas. It really is a steal, and I regularly crave their food!

 

Week of Feb 3-8

This week, I chatted with Brooke Ellis, creator of foodie Instagram account, Forkn’ Hungry. Read on to find out more about who she is and all her secrets to eating on the cheap in Charleston!

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1. What is your name?

Forkn’ Hungry’s alter ego, Brooke Ellis.

2. What is Fork N’ Hungry all about?

Growing up, me and my Busia spent our time bopping around Rochester, NY, trying and talking about local restaurants and the food they served. After she unexpectedly passed, I created Forkn’ Hungry as a tribute to her – sharing the joys of food with the world as a way to honor her memory. Now, I strive for Forkn’ Hungry to be that, and so much more..a resource to the Charleston community that can be used to determine the best and most scrumptious places to eat and drink in town.

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3. How long have you lived in Charleston and if you are a transplant, what brought you here?

My aunt moved to Charleston 26 years ago, so I have been visiting Charleston every year since I was 5 months old – it has always been like a second home to me! After high school, I wanted to make it a permanent thing so I moved to Chucktown to attend College of Charleston. I have always loved food but it wasn’t until I went to CofC that I got involved in wanting to try different cuisines and trendy restaurants! After graduating, I moved to NYC for a couple of years, but I knew that I couldn’t stay away. Deep down, Charleston has always been home to me.  I returned back in May of 2019 and am staying here for good!

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4. What is your go-to affordable meal?

Mex-1 has forever been my go-to spot for a great deal and a great meal! All of their dishes are under $15 and they never skimp on portion sizes. They also have a variety of mouth-watering delicious tacos with mix and match options that I’m especially fond of – I can’t just choose one! To top it off, they have a great assortment of libations. The Frozen Margarita with a sangria swirl is my personal favorite. I am also a huge fan of Basil, Boxcar Betty’s and HomeTeam BBQ (perfect for sharing IMO).

5. What is your favorite happy hour spot?

I love a good place that has bites included in their happy hour. Triangle Char + Bar is an after work spot that I frequent and does just that. I recommend the Tot Poutine and Brisket – Mac Lollipops – both $5 on special. I also LIVE for Indaco’s half-off pizzas (their Brussel Sprout Pizza is the LOML) and O-ku’s half priced sushi rolls select nights of the week. 

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Week of Jan 19-25

This week’s featured foodie is Sarah Lefebvre, the creator of The Charleston Meatball. This lover of all things Italian and active Instagrammer (make sure you give her a follow – @the.charleston.meatball !) shares her favorite ways to eat on the cheap in Charleston.

 

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What is your blog all about? What inspired the name, “Charleston Meatball”?

I have always loved food. Some people eat to live, but I live to eat. I figured that I could start a blog doing something that I already enjoy, and I had been taking photos of my food for years. I thought everything out and took a while to finally launch my Instagram account. I knew I wanted a name that would stand out against the rest, and finally landed on the Charleston Meatball. I love Italian food and I have always thought of meatballs as being so cute! I have fond memories growing up and making them with my family, too. Now, the Charleston Meatball “rolls around from one restaurant to the next.”

What is your go-to affordable meal?

I eat cheap all the time! If I’m going out and don’t want to spend a lot of money, I usually go Mexican. Tacos are my favorite. There are countless places you can go around here and get a few tacos for $10 or less. Carmen Y Juan’s, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina, and Agaves Cantina are some of my favorite affordable spots!

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What is your favorite happy hour spot?

Barsa! I personally think Barsa has the best happy hour in town. Their drinks are reasonably priced (and delicious) to begin with, then happy hour prices make them even better. You’ll get $1 off beer, $2 off wine, and $3 off house cocktails. I get an aperol spritz for just $5! Their delicious paella is on happy hour too. Plus, they have an adorable outdoor courtyard and plenty of parking, which is a rarity for downtown!

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Barsa’s chicken and chorizo paella

I couldn’t agree more with Sarah that Barsa truly has one of the greatest happy hours in town. You really can’t go wrong with a $3-$5 cocktail and some of the most plentiful, affordable, and authentic paella in town.