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Stocks May Plunge, but Your Appetite Doesn't Need To

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A Few Tips for Dining Well in a Bad Economy 1. Timing is Everything. Remember those Early Bird Specials that seniors love? The meals are treasured not just because they can get grandma and grandpa home early, but also because of cost. Such should be the philosophy during an economic downturn. Many restaurants offer special deals on less frequented nights out, like Mondays and Tuesdays. On these nights, the Birchwood Cafe offers half-price wine bottles. In St. Paul, Luci Ancora's four-course tasting menu (usually two for $70) runs two for $40 on Tuesday.

Popular rolls at Tensuke include the Spicy Orange Roll (salmon), Minnesota Roll (tuna), and Chicago Roll (tuna and white tuna).

2. No Dough? Try Sushi. Tensuke Sushi, located on the skyway level at 738 Marquette in Minneapolis offers a few simple, delicious sushi rolls. These are not the over-refrigerated soulless sushi leftovers, but rather, tasty rolls with fresh fish and a hint of chili oil in the mix. At lunch, you can sit at one of the few high stools and take a break from the hurried skyway lunch rush. But, a better deal would be to take that coffee break at 3:30pm, that magic time when Tensuke sells its sushi to go and at half-price. Better act fast, when the clock strikes 4, the ball is over and the rolls have disappeared for good.

Look for this Twin Cities Originals logo for some good deals.

3. Think Original -- Twin Cities Originals, that is. This group of independently run restaurants have banded together and offer some interesting deals. Their online gift certificate sale allows you to buy a $25.00 gift certificate to a TCO restaurant for only $17.50 or a $50.00 gift certificate for a mere $35.00. Yes, you read that correctly -- you will be getting more than you paid for. Feels strange, doesn't it? TCO also offers a free TCO card, which allows you to earn points when eating at any TCO restaurant. Points eventually add up to savings. Remember, in this economy, deals taste real good.