New Bedford’s 2011 Oktoberfest

By Shonna McGrail

Downtown New Bedford will be host to one last festival before the cold weather is set upon us –Oktoberfest is here!  On October 1st from 3-11 PM will be the 6th Annual Oktoberfest, a party which can be considered “the last big hoorah” before we head into fall and winter.  Not only is it a great opportunity to try out some delicious seasonal beers, chow down and catch a great array of talented musical performances, it is also a charity fundraiser.

The South Coast Business Alliance (SCBA) is comprised of a group of ambitious young professionals and small business owners in the South Coast region who got together and decided they wanted to give back to the community that has brought them success.  I spoke with one of the directors of SCBA, Nick Francis, about Oktoberfest and what can be expected this year and how this event benefits the community.

According to Mr. Francis, Oktoberfest is the SCBA’s biggest fundraiser, and it’s no surprise seeing as this is a party worth checking out.  This year will feature six  bands, both local and national including Craig Demello, Rebecca Correia, and Matt Cusson, a contemporary jazz artist who has performed with an array of artists including Christina Aguilera, Brian McKnight, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.

2011 New Bedford Oktoberfest FlyerOktoberfest Music Schedule:

  • 3:30-4:15 PM – Captain Malibu
  • 4:30-5:15 PM – Inside the Avalanche
  • 5:30- 6:15 PM – McCarthy/Legge & Friends
  • 6:30-7:30 PM – Craig DeMelo Band
  • 7:45-8:45 PM – Matt Cusson featuring Rebecca Correia
  • 9-10 PM – SO & SO

This year’s tent at Custom House Square in downtown New Bedford will nearly cover the entire lot, hopefully making this the biggest New Bedford Oktoberfest to date.  Under that tent, culinary delights will be sold by some local favorites.  No Problemo will be dishing out their beloved Mexican food, but Nick Francis told me not to be surprised if they throw in a German twist to some of the food stating, “they always do something crazy”.  Pizans will also be at the party, and Rose alley will be providing all the German food, making them the “go to” guys for your bratwurst and sauerkraut, etc.  In addition, Rose Alley will be donating the food to SCBA so that all proceeds from sales will go directly to the charities being sponsored.

Last but not least… the beer.  Oktoberfest would not be Oktoberfest without a delicious array of seasonal brews.  Nick Francis assured me that there would be a great selection from both local and regional breweries.  Local beer makers being featured include Narragansett, Just Beer and Mayflower.  Some regional selections include the ever popular Shipyard Pumpkinhead and a new offering from Maine called Baxter Brewing which will debut two new beers.

With such a great line up of drinks, food and music, the SCBA is hopeful that this will attract upwards of 2,000 Oktoberfest participants.  Tickets cost $20 dollars in advance and $25 at the door and can be purchased at Rose Alley Ale House or at Pizan’s Pizza in downtown New Bedford. All proceeds will benefit both the Bristol County Children’s Advocacy Center and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts.  This is the first year that Oktoberfest will repeat a beneficiary, typically selecting a different charity to support each year based on need and alliance with the mission of SCBA.  Nick Francis explained that the goals of the SCBA in giving back to the community include supporting local businesses and helping organizations that deal with at-risk youth.

Oktoberfest is this Saturday from 3-11.  If you are looking for something to do before winter creeps back to New England you should be sure to check out one of the biggest parties of the year and helping a good cause while you’re at it.

The New Bedford Portuguese Feast Survival Guide

By Shonna McGrail

This is our 2011 New Bedford Portuguese Feat article. Check out of 8 Things to Know About the 2012 Portuguese Feast article for information on the 2012 Feast.

The New Bedford Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, a.k.a. the Portuguese Feast, a.k.a. Madeira Feast is the largest event the city has every year.  More than that, it is the largest Portuguese feast in the world and the largest ethnic festival in New England.  The feast was founded in 1915 by four Madeiran immigrants who wanted to recreate the festivities of their home island.

Between my own experience with the feast, some careful research and some very helpful guidance from Ed Camara, the Director of Media and Public Relations for Clube Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, I have come up with an overview of the feast which has become a major attraction for visitors from all over who come to celebrate the Portuguese culture through food, drink and entertainment.

For this year’s 2011 feast, over 100,000 attendees are anticipated.  If you are considering being one of them, here are eight things you should know about the feast:

1. Time and Location

The Portuguese Feast New Bedford MAIf you have never been to the feast it naturally makes sense to let you know where to go and when to be there.  The feast is a a four day event, officially kicking off at 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 4th.  The grounds close at 11:45 each night.

On Friday the grounds re-open from 6 PM to 11:45 PM.  The weekend hours start a bit earlier with Saturday festivities begin at 10 AM for the 5K road race followed by Kid’s Day afternoon.  The last day of the feast is Sunday which starts off with a parade at 2:00 PM.  For more information on when and where events will be taking place, go to the Portuguese Feast Entertainment Schedule.

Most of the events take place at Madeira Field (a permanent location in New Bedford’s north end) that comes to life one weekend a year for the Portuguese Feast festivities.  The address of Madeira Field is 50 Madeira Avenue, New Bedford, MA.  Parking can be a bit tricky, you may have to plan to search a bit to find a spot and walk a few blocks, or pay to park in a nearby lot.

2. Costs

The festival allows free admission and entertainment thanks to the hard work of the 52 committee members who comprise the 2011 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Committee.  While admission is free there are also many vendors at the grounds selling everything from handmade Madeiran souvenirs to cigars.

Tickets may also be purchased to buy authentic Portuguese cuisine or, if you’re over 21, an impressive selection of alcoholic beverages.  Tickets cost a dollar each and can be purchased at ten machines located throughout the grounds by placing a five, ten or twenty dollar bill inside.  Tickets are non-refundable.  There are also stands with employees who sell the tickets.

Prices of food are kept reasonable, and I was informed by the Mr. Camara (who has been a part of the feast’s organization since 1982) that prices on some items are actually lower than past feasts and no prices have been increased in the past two years.  To give you a general idea of the prices of items at the feast, a full meal is 12 tickets (which equates to 12 dollars), most sandwiches are around four tickets, and a soda or a water goes for one ticket.

3. Food

carne de espeto
carne de espeto!

One of the greatest features of the feast is the delicious Portuguese fare.  There are many food stands located throughout Madeira Field that serve your favorites from the simple delights of linguica and cacoila sandwiches to full on Portuguese cuisine plates of chicken, beef, goat or tuna with potatoes, rice and vegetables.

Another major culinary draw is the Carne de Espeto, a massive, 40 foot barbecue pit where beef sirloin cubes can be cooked over an open flame on massive skewers.  This is hard to miss since the aroma is absolutely mouth watering.  Visitors are able to buy the meat for eight tickets a pound and a delicious aromatic salt is provided to cook with.  Visitors are then able to roast their own dinner over the gas-fired lava rock grill.  Mr. Camara advised me that if someone tells you to pour Madeira wine on the meat it is not advisable (it does not help the flavor and causes the meat to burn faster!)

In case you are not accustomed to the flavorful cooking style of Portuguese cuisine, go to the Food & Drink page of the Portuguese Feast website for definitions of some of the food you might expect to see.

4. Drink

One of the great draws of the feast is the consumption of Madeira wine, which is a central part of the festivities as it is part of a long tradition.  Madeira wine is a sweet, fortified red wine.  Genuine Madeira wine is made on the island of Madeira, and exportation of actual barrels are restricted due to regulations.  However, thanks to a special agreement made between feast officials and the President of Madeira, casks are able to be delivered to New Bedford and served for the weekend, making this a very rare treat for those who attend.

For those who want an alternative to Madeira wine, there are a great variety of additional options including a full liquor bar for mix drinks.  Alcohol stands also serve sangria and white wine and Budweiser beer is on tap.

5. Entertainment

folcloricoThere is a great deal of quality free entertainment at the feast each year from Portuguese and American cultures.  There are three stages throughout Madeira field, and each host a variety of performance types throughout the weekend.  In addition, the Museum of Madeiran Heritage will be featuring musical performances each night of the feast.  These performances will be featuring fado music, a Portuguese genre of music that can be traced back to the 1820s but is believed to be even older than that.  For a schedule of who will be performing go here.

One of the cultural acts that you may see take the stage at Madeira field is Groupo Folclorico Clube Madeirense S.S. Sacramento.  This group of dancers present traditional dancing performances to authentic Madeiran music and in traditional clothing.  These performances are always very spirited and interesting to see.

There will be many bands on the smaller stages during the feast, but the largest stage is reserved for a special performance at 10:00 each night.  Thursday night the band Soul Asylum will take the stage.  Soul Asylum had two platinum albums, and are perhaps best known for the song “Runaway Train.”

Friday night will feature Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, a band from Martha’s Vineyard that specializes in “bluesy dance music” according to their website.  On Saturday a Green Day tribute band called Dookie will be the main stage highlight to cap off the evening, and Backseat Lover will be playing Pearl Jam tribute music for the final night of the feast.

6. Families

Portuguese Feast family EventsSince Madeira feast involves alcohol consumption, some readers may be wondering if it is a family appropriate event.  You will be glad to know that family values are integral to the foundation of the feast.  While it is probably not advisable to bring young children later in the night due to large crowds and loud music, it should be mentioned that there are many features of the feast that children will love.  Also, the feast takes great measures to prohibit underage drinking.  All who wish to consume alcoholic beverages are required to undergo a license verification process in order to receive a specially printed wrist band.

An interesting part of the feast is that it features carnival rides and games all weekend.  Saturday is probably the best day for families with young kids thanks to Kids Day Afternoon which follows the 12th annual 5K road race.  Kids day kicks off at 12:15 PM and involves a children’s theatre, Toe Jam puppet show and much more family friendly entertainment.

For senior citizens in the community, special transport is being offered from the parking lot of Lincoln Elementary on Saturday so that seniors can attend the event without having to worry about parking.  They are also being offered the special deal of half price meals from noon to four o’clock that day, and special entertainment will be featured as well.

7. History

The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament gains its roots from the island of Madeira which is located 390 miles off the coast of Morocco.  Traditionally, each Roman Catholic parish in Madeira would observe a festival to celebrate their patron saint.  A committee of four men called festeiros would be responsible for preparing the village for the celebration by decorating the streets, contracting entertainment (often in the form of a brass band and fireworks) and holding a ceremonial meal after mass on Sunday.

There are many versions of the tale of why the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament was first begun in New Bedford 97 years ago.  What is certain however is that the feast was initiated as a means of preserving basic values of the Madeiran culture.  Of course, since it was first begun the feast has changed in many ways to accommodate thousands of eager participants and modern elements of celebration.

While there have been many changes in the feast, many aspects still remain central to the celebration.  The tradition of Madeira wine is a very old one, dating back to the 15th Century when the Malvasia vine was planted on the island of Madeira to see it would yield an alternative supply of wine for England.  When growth was successful Madeira wine quickly took to the market, but did not become a major export until many years later.  It wasn’t until the 16th Century that the flavor we know of today was created when they discovered that the flavor of the wine was actually improved by being repeatedly heated up.  Follow the link for more information on the history of Madeira wine.

The religious aspect of the feast also remains a part of proceedings.  As it did in 1915, the feast still takes place near Our Lady of Immaculate Conception which is located on the corner of Earle and Madeira Street in New Bedford.  The Portuguese feast pays homage to its religious traditions by beginning the weekend festivities with a procession to the church where Father Daniel O. Reis gives a Benediction to the Blessed Sacrament.  Throughout the weekend the church also hosts the music of organist Edward Viveiros and vocalist Derek Capobianco each evening from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

8. Madeira Field

Santana House at the New Bedford Portuguese Feast
Santana House at the New Bedford Portuguese Feast.

The grounds on which the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament takes place are quite expansive and easy to lose people in.  Be sure you have a plan for finding lost party members whether it be by cell phone or a designated area to meet up at.

When entering the feast you will need to get in line for a wrist band if you wish to purchase alcoholic beverages.  One of the most prominent features you will notice upon entering the festival grounds is the Santana House.  The house is designed after the colorful architectural styles of the homes in the village Santana, Madeira and is where the Madeira wine is served from.

Across from the Santana House is Stage One, which is massive and where the main attractions will be hosted throughout the weekend.  There are also two other smaller stages, one that is inside the gates and the other which is outside and amongst the souvenir vendors. You will also see many food and drink stands throughout the grounds, and towards the back you will find the barbecue pits for Carne de Espeto (or just follow your nose).

Enjoy the feast! If you enjoyed this article please share it. All photos courtesy of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament 2011.

Five Places to Catch the Game for Less

By Shonna McGrail

Watching the game from the comfort of your own home can be ideal.  But it can also be a blast to round up some friends, get out of the house and view the big game (whether that be football, baseball, basketball or hockey) surrounded by quality screens, inexpensive beer and tasty game-time snacks.

As the NFL lock out finally resolves, my adoration for everything football is beginning to creep back in again.  Here are some of my favorite places to spend my Sundays during football season:

1. Striker’s Pub

66 Hathaway Road
New Bedford, MA

Strikers Sports Bar New NedfordSince Striker’s Pub was renovated a couple years ago, this has been one of my favorite sports hangouts, both for the sheer number of screens and the awesome drink deals.  Located at Wonder Bowl, Striker’s has eight screens at the bar alone, and a gorgeous wide-screen projector.  Striker’s also allows you to view in the comfort of large plush armchairs which are dispersed throughout.

In terms of drinks, Striker’s has a full bar that often offers great deals.  I tend to enjoy sipping on a tall can of Rolling Rock, which only costs $1.50.  They also offer a great variety of draft beers and bottled beers, along with mixed drink specials.  Striker’s is open until midnight during the week and 1 AM on weekends, allowing you to catch even the late night games.

If you like to snack while you watch, Striker’s offers some delicious options that won’t break the bank.  I highly recommend getting yourself a basket of sweet potato fries for only $2.50.  They also serve just about every game time favorite such as boneless chicken tenders and nachos, and if you’re looking for a full meal Striker’s serves up burgers, wraps and pizza.

2. Cafe Funchal

12 Church Street
New Bedford, MA

Cafe Funchal New Bedford, MAAlright, I know this is the second time I’ve brought up Funchal in an article, but there are a lot of things that I think this restaurant does great, and football is one of them.  When it comes time for football season, this is the place to be.  Funchal provides four HD TVs to watch, along with a giant, 50 inch projector that you can easily see from any point in the cafe.

To top off the great atmosphere for sports lovers, Funchal offers a special menu that highlights some game time favorites such as nachos, chili and buffalo wings.  The servings you get are impressive enough to satisfy a linebacker, and cheap enough to be afforded by someone who doesn’t have an NFL salary.  The menu also features drink specials such as a bucket of beer or pitchers of Miller Light or Bud Light for $6.

3. Paul’s Sports Corner

19 Howland Road
Fairhaven, MA

Paul’s seems to often get overlooked, but I think that this is a great find.  With a cozy atmosphere, large bar, big screen TV and pool table, this place is everything a classic sports bar ought to be.  The bar offers very reasonably priced beverages, such a tall cans of PBR for $2.00, and mixed drinks for under $5.  While Paul’s does not have a huge menu of food options, they do offer you some game time standards such as burgers for $3.50, a steak and cheese for $4.50 and even free steamed hot dogs at about 90 percent of game days.

Paul’s has been a family owned sports bar for over 33 years and has a great neighborhood atmosphere.  Last time I went there I got the opportunity to speak with Paul’s wife Nancy who cooks the food herself and prides herself on the quality of the meat they serve in their burgers and dogs.  As she explained it to me, “if I wouldn’t serve it to my grand kids, I wouldn’t serve it to my customers.”

The walls are adorned with all sorts of cool New England sports memorabilia that I find to be a draw in and of itself.  Finally, I should mention that they have six TVs to watch and root on your favorite home teams.

4. Ice Chest

136 Huttleston Avenue
Fairhaven, MA

Ice Chest Bar Fairhaven, MAThe Ice Chest is probably one of the most happening bars in Fairhaven.  This is no small thanks to their mouth watering menu and ample supply of bottled and draft beers.  The food and drink in combination with the fun atmosphere make Ice Chest a quality local draw.  However, it also features six high-def screens for game watching, which make this a sports fan’s favorite.

While the Ice Chest doesn’t offer any major drink specials, it does have a great variety of beers and mixed drinks alike so that you can be sure to find something to match your pallet (or budget if you’re like me).  They also have some savory game time food options that are sure to keep you happy through all nine innings, four quarters, or three periods.  The buffalo chicken dip is phenomenal, and at $6.99 you get a large portion that is great to share.  Potato skins will cost you only $5.99, and if you’re in the mood for something filling, go for a 12 inch “pub style pie” (personal pizza) for only $5.99.

5. Rose Alley

94 Front Street
New Bedford, MA

Much like Cafe Funchal, I have to say that Rose Alley does just about everything right as far as bars go.  With the laid back atmosphere of an Irish pub, Rose Alley is the best place downtown to watch the game as far as I’m concerned.  This is due to a combination of featuring nine HD televisions, an impressive variety of beers that range from your favorite cheap drafts to rare micro brews, and a delicious food menu that I cannot get enough of.

Whether your looking to split some appetizers and beer or get dinner while you watch, Rose Alley’s menu is perfect game time fare.  Their appetizer menu features every game time favorite such as mozzarella sticks ($6) and beer battered onion rings ($5), but it’s their wings that I feel deserve the utmost praise. As a bit of a buffalo wing connoisseur, I have to say that Rose Alley’s are my favorite in Greater New Bedford.  They offer you a wonderful selection of flavors and heat settings from “mild” to “suicidal” and sell by the pound, starting at a half pound of boneless wings for $6.  Couple this with your favorite beer, and your conditions are ideal for game time.

For more information on what Rose Alley has to offer, check out NB Guide contributor Amy Knox’ review!

If you’re looking for even more sports bar options in the area, check out NB writer Noah Griffith’s article from last year, Best NFL Friendly Bars in New Bedford.

Cowboys & Aliens Movie Review

By Shonna McGrail

When it comes to mixing western and Sci-Fi, it can be a risky marriage. Just take a look at Wild Wild West starring Will Smith and you’ll know what I’m talking about. But as a fan of both genres, I thought that Cowboys and Aliens was a pretty good blend.

Granted, Cowboys & Aliens isn’t for everyone; don’t go expecting Academy Award worthy dialogue. That being said, the lines managed to keep away from crossing the border into being too cheesy, and there were even some emotional scenes that felt appropriately dramatic and even heartfelt. The acting was good and the plot line was kept simple to follow as to not detract from the pure entertainment value.

Cowboys & Aliens Movie ReviewFirst and foremost, I would say this film is good for pure entertainment if you’re looking to pass a hot afternoon in a cool theatre.

In terms of action, there was a good amount of Daniel Craig punching people around and wild explosions to keep any action lover entertained. In addition, Harrison Ford made a surprisingly good cowboy and Olivia Wilde made an alluring and mysterious addition to the cast.

In terms of the western aspect of the film, there was some pretty cool cinematography with a good amount of wide, sweeping camera shots of cowboys racing across the prairie on horseback. There was also plenty of good old-fashion gunslinger type action, fancy pistol twirling and shot gun pumping included.

From the aspect of a Sci-Fi film, the special effects were well done, and the alien creatures were both sufficiently creepy and gross. However, if you’re a big Sci-Fi nerd you may find that some of the aspects were predictable and maybe a bit cliché. Nevertheless, I would say that this helped keep the story line simple to follow so the viewer can relax, enjoy their popcorn and avoid any head-scratching Inception type plot riddles.

Thus, my final review remains that this was a great movie for its entertainment qualities. If you’re looking for super shocking plot twists and deep symbolism, this probably isn’t the movie for you. If you already think the concept of cowboys and aliens squaring off in 1873 is ridiculous, than definitely don’t bother to see this because that’s all it’s about folks. If you’re looking for somewhere to cool off and watch an enjoyable piece of entertainment, I would recommend Cowboys & Aliens.

5 Dinners for $10 or Less

By Shonna McGrail

After moving to New Bedford in 2008 it didn’t take me long to realize that the city has some great dining to offer of an impressive variety. New Bedford is probably most renowned for it’s Portuguese cuisine and fresh seafood, but there are also some quality Asian and Italian eateries to choose from, and no shortage of mouth-watering burger options.

New Bedford restaurants offer a selection for pretty much anything you might be craving and if you know what you’re looking for, the price tag can be very reasonable. Here a selection of five of my favorite local dining spots where you can find a delicious meal for ten dollars or less.

1. Mikey B’s
989 Victoria Street,New Bedford, MA

mikey b fish chips new bedford guid
Mikey B's fish & chips

I can confidently say that there is something for everyone at Mikey B’s in the New Bedford’s north end. Mikey B’s boasts an interesting variety of food including Mexican-style cuisine, seafood selections, pub-style fare and pasta entrees.

I feel compelled to mention that Mikey B’s starts you off with complimentary chips and salsa. These aren’t your run of the mill chips and salsa, the salsa contains chunky tomatoes , pepper and black olives. Even the chips are warm and crispy. A great start to the meal.

Mikey B’s offers an all-you-can-eat chicken option for $8.99 that includes options of chicken Marsala, chicken Parmesan, buffalo chicken, and kabobs. Mikey B’s also offers a selection of sandwiches and burgers all for under ten dollars.

The last time I was at Mikey B’s I went with your standard fish and chips for $9.95. The meal came with two giant fillets in a delicious fluffy breading and seasoned fries. The meal also comes with your choice of a side.

2. A Kitchen
142 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven, MA

crab ranoons a kitchen new bedford guide
A Kitchen's crab rangoons.

A Kitchen (NBG review by Ivey Winkler)  is relatively new to the Greater New Bedford area. While a small and intimate location, the Chinese and Japanese fare is very fresh and affordable. As an added plus, A Kitchen is a BYOB so you can bring your own beer or wine to enjoy at dinner, which is always a money saver.

A Kitchen offers many of your favorite Chinese items, from appetizers like chicken fingers and crab rangoons to exquisite entrees such as General Gau’s chicken, Kung Pao shrimp with peanuts, or beef with broccoli; all of which are under ten dollars.

A Kitchen also makes my favorite sushi in the area. If you enjoy sushi they offer a great variety of rolls, most of which are between five and ten dollars.

3. Café Funchal
123 Church Street, New Bedford, MA

It may surprise some people that I decided to add Funchal to the list seeing as most of the major entrees at are not under ten dollars. However, Café Funchal offers a special deal Monday, Tuesday and Thursday that is such a bargain I felt compelled to mention them on the list.

With the Dinner for 2 deal, you get one dinner free!

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday Funchal offers “Dinner for 2”, a special deal where you can buy one meal at any price and get a second meal of $14 or less for free. This is especially great if you’re looking to go out on a date night or catch up with a friend over delicious Portuguese cuisine. The two of you can easily eat for under $20, and if you choose to split the bill you’re looking at a filling and quality meal for under… yes, you got it, ten dollars.

I recently enjoyed a night out at Funchal with my fiancée. I ordered my favorite Funchal signature dinner, the Pork Alentejana which is marinated pork and little necks in white wine and served over seasoned potatoes. My meal cost $13.95, and thus his meal of Chicken Mozambique was free.

If you’re looking to go to Funchal on a weekend or if you’re dining solo, there are in fact options on the menu for under ten dollars. All burgers and sandwiches (including their specialty regional Portuguese sandwiches) are under the ten dollar mark and come with your choice to french fries, house fries or rice.

4. Riccardi’s Italian Restaurant
901 Hathaway Road, New Bedford, MA

riccardis pizza new bedford guide
Riccardi's thin crust pizza.

Riccardi’s was the first restaurant I ever had the pleasure of eating at in New Bedford and ever since my go-to eatery when taking visiting guests out to dinner. The pizza and pasta options are spectacular, and the cozy atmosphere is friendly and inviting. Best of all, the prices are very affordable.

Riccardi’s makes great thin crust personal pizzas that often have you taking home leftovers. Every one of the pizza’s are under ten dollars, including their gourmet options which are a pizza lover’s dream. I highly recommend the Southestern Tex-Mex, which is a blend of spicy BBQ chicken tenders, low fat cheese, sliced red onions, green and hot peppers and fresh cilantro, all for only $8.95.

Also under ten dollars is Ricarrdi’s entire list of “Pastabilities,” which includes such delectable options as Baked Lasagna, Homestyle Manicotti and Shrimp, Broccoli & Ziti.

5. Spicy Lime
522 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA

Spicy Lime has become a downtown favorite as it has a laid-back and somewhat eclectic atmosphere as well as delicious Thai food that can be prepared in a whole range of spiciness.

Spicy Lime's pad thai.

Spicy Lime is a BYOB restaurant so if you’re over 21 you can bring your own beer or wine pairing to enjoy with their various options.

Spicy Lime offers all noodle and fried rice options for under ten dollars as long as you order it with chicken, pork, tofu or vegetables. For the size of the serving and the quality of the food, this is a great deal worth checking out. My typical favorite at Spicy Lime is the Drunken Noodles, which is loaded with veggies and is great with chicken drenched in a savory garlic chili sauce.

As with anything you order at Spicy Lime, you can request the level of spiciness you are looking for. Although I am a big fan of anything that will set my mouth on fire, I fine that medium hot is ideal when it comes to the Thai cuisine they prepare. During my last visit I ordered the popular Pad Thai, which is typically not spicy and has more of a peanut flavor. However, I requested that it be prepared at a medium level of hotness and the combination of spicy and peanut was a winner.

5 Lunches for 5 Dollars or Less

By Shonna McGrail

It seems the down economy is affecting pretty much everyone these days. It’s not just the minimum wage workers, big families and poor college kids who are feeling the pinch of high gas prices and outrageous food costs. Perhaps this is increasingly evidenced in New Bedford by the growing number of mopeds and bicycles that have been taking to the streets, or the overwhelming popularity of the new Market Basket.

If you’re like me and you live on a careful weekly budget in order to pay your bills, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can still treat yourself to the occasional lunch out without having to look for a second (or third) job. Any of these five places in the Greater New Bedford area offer great prices for great food!

1. No Problemo
813 Purchase Street,New Bedford, MA

Located downtown, No Problemo serves a delicious variety of Mexican-style cuisine. Whether enjoying a meal inside this hip downtown restaurant or taking out from the lunch counter, No Problemo can offer quality food for your Lincoln.

No Prob tacos with Serrano Lime and Cayenne Garlic sauces.

I want to highlight the regular burrito, which is packed with rice, your choice of black or refried beans, cheese,salsa and sour cream. It will definitely fill you up. If you’re willing to splurge the extra dollar or so, there are a lot of other great varieties of burritos to choose from as well.

My personal favorite meal here is the beef taco, which only costs $3. With juicy cuts of beef and refried beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, scallions and sour cream, you can’t go wrong. If you’re a fan of spiciness like myself, be sure to try No Problemo Serrano Lime and Cayenne Garlic hot sauces!

2. My Place
291 Nash Road, New Bedford, MA

Located in the North End right off Ashley Boulevard is a little restaurant called My Place that specializes in Portuguese foods, but also offers some of your favorite lunch time standards.

For only $3.99 you can get a BLT sandwich. I recommend getting it on a homemade cheese roll for $1.49 extra.  It will push you $.48 over your $5 budget, but it will be the best 48 cents you’ve ever spent!

All of the sandwiches they offer for lunch are priced at five dollars or less and include a side of crispy hot french fries. One of sandwiches served at My Place is the Portuguese cacoila, which is sure to fill you up on your lunch break.

Of course, if you have an extra $1.35 it’s always a great treat to grab a fresh made malassadas on your way out. My Place makes delicious malassadas every week, Wednesday through Sunday.

3. Shawmut Diner (CLOSED)
943 Shawmut Avenue,New Bedford, MA

shawmut diner new bedford guide
The Shawmut Diner.

With all the character of a 1950’s boxcar diner, Shawmut has some very reasonable prices if you’re looking to grab a sandwich, and it’s right off of the 140 exit to Hathaway Road.

If you’re looking for some home-style cooking, try the meatloaf sandwich on a bulky roll or your choice of bread for $4.75. Or go for a diner classic and get the tuna melt for $4.50. Every sandwich comes with a side of chips and a pickle, or you can opt to get fries for only a dollar more.

Also, for the reasonable price of $2.25 you can choose between a grilled hotdog or grilled cheese; either way it will feel good to be able to get lunch for only a few bucks!

4. Whaling City Diner
894 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA

A relative newcomer to the downtown scene, the Whaling City Diner is conveniently located for those who work in the downtown area and are looking to grab a bit to eat without overspending.

Burger and Fries at Whaling City Diner.

As with many diners, Whaling City serves breakfast late into the day and offers some pretty delicious breakfast sandwich options.  Bacon, sausage, ham or linguica breakfast sandwiches are all under five dollars and come on an English muffin with a side of home fries. For 25 cents more you can add cheese, and for 75 cents more you can get that breakfast sandwich on either a bagel or a cheese roll instead.

Whaling City Diner also offers a number of lunchtime items for five dollars or less, all served with fries. You can get a linguica sandwich for only $3.95. A pastrami melt will run you exactly five dollars, as will a cheeseburger. I decided to throw in the extra quarter, and for $5.25 got the Blue Whale Burger which was a delicious blend of blue cheese, red onions and lettuce.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good salad, or maybe you’re watching your weight for the upcoming beach season, the Whaling City Diner also offers tossed, Greek and Cesar salad options, all for under five dollars.

5. Jake’s Diner
104 Alden Road, Fairhaven, MA

Easily accessible from the 240 (Fairhaven) exit off of 195, Jake’s Diner has a quaint and comfortable atmosphere and offers a large menu to choose from including some great seafood items. Jake’s also serves breakfast all day, so if you’re in the mood for a little breakfast for lunch it’s worth checking out.

seafood roll jakes diner new bedford guide
Seafood roll and fries at Jake's Diner.

Jake’s serves all your breakfast favorites such as pancakes and French toast, home fries, omelets, cheese rolls, and fresh eggs. They offer some filling breakfast options at affordable prices, for example, three eggs cooked any way you like, home fries and toast for $4.75.

If you’re looking to get a sandwich their lunch menu is equally impressive, offering all the usual diner favorites. The last time I went to Jake’s to grab a quick lunch with a friend I went with the seafood salad roll which came with a mountain of fries, all for $4.75.  My friend went with a simple grilled cheese on a delicious pumpernickel bread. With a side of fries and a pickle she bought this hearty meal for $4.25.

There you have it: Five lunches in the New Bedford for $5 (give or take a few cents).  Know of any other places with great lunch deals?  Leave a comment here or on Facebook!

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