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Jeff Mauro’s Favorite Cheap Dining Spots

Jeff Mauro’s Favorite Cheap Dining Spots

The host of Food Network’s '$24 in 24' dishes on the best thrifty treats

Mauro likes to order a Sicilian slice with vodka sauce at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza in New York City.

Finding the best places for inexpensive breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are not only cheap but tasty can be a challenge. Jeff Mauro, host of the new Food Network series $24 in 24 shares his favorite cheap dining spots across the U.S.

See Jeff Mauro’s Favorite Cheap Dining Spots Slideshow

Winner of the seventh season of Food Network Star and host of Sandwich King, Mauro is back with $24 in 24, a new half-hour series in which each week he travels to a new locale with a budget of just $24 to find the tastiest breakfast, lunch, and dinner in cities like Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Philadelphia.

From a Cuban breakfast sandwich at Porto's Bakery in Los Angeles and chicken verde chili from Palookaville Chili in Cleveland to an Italian beef sandwich dinner at Scatchell's Beef & Pizza in Chicago, Mauro managed to find fantastic fare in each city.

With all his experience eating on the go, Mauro shares with The Daily Meal his favorite inexpensive foods in North America. From hot dogs in Chicago to Korean food in Los Angeles, Mauro shares where to go and what to order to enjoy the ultimate cheap meal.

Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.

The Surprising Inspiration Behind This Jeff Mauro Spice Mix

Anyone who watches "The Kitchen" knows that co-host Jeff Mauro loves putting giardiniera on everything, especially eggs. But what does the Sandwich King put on his Chicago cheesesteaks? Aside from premium ribeye, Taylor Street cheese sauce, and of course, giardiniera, Mauro also seasons his cheesesteaks with none other than barbecue chip dust (via Instagram). "That lightly toasted Philly roll coated in barbecue chip dust is my favorite bite of the year," Mauro captioned a photo of his lunch.

Clearly, this is no exaggeration, as Mauro believes so strongly in barbecue chip dust as a seasoning, that he has curated a jarred version of it through his butcher box service, Mauro Provisions, as he announced on Instagram. According to Mauro, the Mauro Provisions Barbecue Chip Dust tastes exactly as you'd expect. "It's the remaining dust from a bag of chips that you turn over and pour into your mouth right from the bag, but in a bottle," he explained of the flavor.

The 1 Thing You Should Never Put on a Sandwich, According to the Sandwich King Himself

The perfect sandwich is a delicate art, and if there's anyone who's perfected it, it's Food Network chef and sandwich king Jeff Mauro. Mauro spilled his sandwich dos and don'ts to us, along with his thoughts on fatherhood, cooking for kids, and the perfect sandwich bread. Keep reading to learn his best advice.

POPSUGAR: What's the ultimate breakfast sandwich?
Jeff Mauro: Perfectly griddled sausage patty, everything bagel, veggie cream cheese, and pickled jalapeños, of course.

PS: What's the worst thing anyone could put on a sandwich?
JM: Mealy tomatoes.

PS: What's the best sandwich bread ever?
JM: The answer is NONE. Each sandwich has at least one appropriate bread to act as the vehicle.

PS: Does your son eat what you cook? How do you get him to eat vegetables?
JM: Kind of. He always eats the protein we make, and starch (usually sweet potatoes) and veggies. He's still not eating salads or asparagus, but we've always fed him well-seasoned and well-balanced food. I guess the trick is, and mind you, I only have one kid, to really not give [kids] a choice. They have to at least taste everything you make.

PS: What's your ultimate Father's Day meal?
JM: My ideal Father's Day meal is a big grilled beef tenderloin. Pair that with tons of mushrooms, something cheesy, and lots of Mark West wine.

PS: What's the most fun thing about being a chef who is a dad?
JM: Taking pride in the fact that my boy knows and respects good food and where it comes from and what it takes to make it. Now with my restaurant Pork & Mindy's in Chicago, he can come hang out with me on the weekends and see food from that end of the business. Plus, I'm proud that my boy can crack an egg like a champ.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia! Celebrity chefs and Cooking Channel personalities are talking about the most sensational Italian food they've ever had. Alton Brown revisits a decadent, old-world pasta dish while Ali Khan chats up his favorite chicken parmigiana sandwich. Alex Guarnaschelli then gives a shout out to a not-to-be-missed lasagna and Duff Goldman reveals his pick for the best dish to end a perfect Italian meal.

Rise and Dine

Wake up and get ready to dine on some of the country's best breakfast dishes starting with Martha Stewart's favorite biscuits and country ham found in Nashville. Scott Conant then brings a new take on French toast to the table and Jeff Mauro explains why beloved blueberry ricotta pancakes will change the breakfast game as we know it.

Mexican Favorites

We're saluting magnificent Mexican food from all around the country starting with Alton Brown's favorite homemade salsa in Columbus, Ohio. Ali Khan then serves up a true Mexican original with beef carnitas tacos in Austin, Texas. Finally, Alex Guarnaschelli's favorite Al Pastor at Lene Brave in Chicago is so good, it has customers begging for more.

Brilliantly Baked

It's time to indulge in some of the best baked goods imaginable as Martha Stewart shows off a beautifully perfect brioche she can't get enough of in New York City. Then, find out why Alex Guarnaschelli's favorite lemon bars are simply off-the-charts brilliant! Finally, Tregaye Fraser has a new take on an old classic in Atlanta.

The Upper Crust

The best part of any dish is what holds it all together -- the crust! Chef Beau MacMillan's favorite pot pie in Phoenix, Arizona, takes on Duff Goldman's seafood pie pick in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Next, Jason Smith's favorite picture-perfect pork tenderloin boasts a clever crust that is sure to turn some heads.

The Closers

There's no better way to end a meal than with these delicious dishes. In New York City, Martha Stewart gushes over the most irresistible piece of lemon meringue she's ever had. Simon Majumdar travels all the way to Kentucky for a world-famous avocado dessert. And Chef Antonia Lofaso goes all out with a perfect puffy pastry known as the Napoleon.

Let's Do Lunch

The best lunchtime hot spots are sure to fill any craving, satisfy any hunger and generally just make you happy. Ali Khan makes a beeline for an over-the-top pistachio chicken salad creation in Austin, Texas. In Atlanta, Jernard Wells gets bad to the bone with finger lickin' good ribs, while in New York City, Martha Stewart has a lunchtime special you won't want to miss.

High Steaks

We're paying tribute to the best styles, cuts and steakhouses serving up the best steaks. Chef Jonathon Sawyer takes us on a trip to Dayton for a ribeye cut so incredibly, it's fit for a king. Jaynard Wells travels down to Atlanta for the best of both worlds -- the sea and land -- in a surf-and-turf combo of steak and shrimp. And Duff Goldman drools over a butter steak that melts in your mouth . like butter!

Back to School

We're going back to school to learn once and for all what the ultimate nostalgic dish is. We're joining Chef Beau MacMillan in the cafeteria with his Supreme Boffa super-sub sandwich and heading down to homeroom where Jeff Mauro teaches us all about the best pepperoni pizza creation on the planet. And we're sticking around after class with Tregaye Fraser to learn about her irresistible ricotta cannoli.

Layers of Goodness

Get ready to pile it on thick as we're talking layers of goodness that are stacked to the ceiling. We take a trip to Chicago where we meet up with Jeff Mauro to discover all the magic colors hidden inside the Rainbow Cake. We find Monti Carlo over in Seattle cutting right to the middle of a plantain lasagna. And we indulge in every delectable layer of Geoffrey Zakarian's grasshopper dessert.

Decadent Donuts

We're paying respects to a treat that is universally loved and has stood the test of time -- the doughnut! Alton Brown takes us on a trip to Memphis to honor the original glazed doughnut that started it all. Alex Guarnaschelli goes weak in the knees for an apple doughnut from New York City. And we can't contain our taste buds as Scott Conant shows off all the tropical flavors of a coconut cream-filled delight.

I'll Have What They're Having

Word of mouth is strong and we're urged to have what the people are having! Antonia Lofaso listens to what the people and immediately falls in love with a sourdough cinnamon roll in Los Angeles. Geoffrey Zakarian can barely contain himself as he gushes over the famous meatball and salad -- a dish that truly everyone is having. And Monti Carlo listens to the crowd and indulges in pork belly pastrami.

One of a Kind

We're talking about dishes that are unique, original and unlike anything that's come before. Alton Brown has his eye -- and his stomach -- set on a genuine creation called the Crab Rangoon Pizza. Jonathon Sawyer says he's found a blast of flavor that's too good to be true in Los Angeles. And Tregaye Fraser attempts the impossible with the most obscure and jaw-dropping dish yet.

7 Can’t Miss Events At This Year’s South Beach Food & Wine Festival

SOBEWFF® is celebrating its 20th birthday with this year's festival taking place May 20 to 23rd.

Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF®) is one of the wildest and most delicious weeks of the year in the Sunshine State. Over the course of a long weekend tastemakers, celebrities, and award-winning chefs make their way to Miami for a food-filled festival with over 80+ events. Typically, SOBEWFF® occurs on the last weekend of February, but in an effort to keep things as safe as possible it was postponed and the extra time was used to secure more precautions than ever before.

The time is finally here and the festival will be taking place at the end of this month from May 20 to 23rd, with dozens of events spread throughout the city and even a few just north of Miami in Hallandale.

SOBEWFF® Grand Tasting tent in 2002

Having so many incredible events to choose from, it can be tough to navigate your way through them. This year is exceptionally special as its SOBEWFF®’s 20th birthday and there are a few extra events taking place to celebrate two decades of one of the biggest food and wine festivals in the country.

For those who need a bit of help deciding, here’s seven can’t miss events recommended by a SOBEWFF® festival veteran.

Tequila Cazadores presents Tacos After Dark hosted by Jeff Mauro part of the Miami Design District Event Series

Tacos After Dark is a dream for those who are into a solid taco and tequila pairing

Get A Taste Of Authentic Indian Cuisine At South Florida’s Bombay Darbar

Professional Chefs Share Their Favorite Strawberry Recipes

A Restaurant Renaissance? Mona Cares And Roar Team Up To Revitalize Manhattan’s Food Scene

Who loves tacos? The answer: everyone! Tacos After Dark is a dream for those who are into a solid taco and tequila pairing. This year the late night fiesta has made its way to Miami’s Design District. Sip on Tequila Cazadores cocktails while strolling through Jungle Plaza and feasting on tacos made by dozens of talented chefs from Miami and beyond. Whether you’re a taco purist looking for al pastor, craving a Miami-inspired lechon, or a lover of a homemade choco-taco you’ll find your taco soulmate at this event. The flavorful late-night extravaganza will be hosted by Jeff Mauro, host of the hit Food Network show The Kitchen. Mauro is also the winner of Season 7 of Food Network Star and host of the Emmy-nominated series Sandwich King. Cost $150. Get your tickets here.

Local’s Only Dinner

Miami Chefs taking part in Local's Only Dinner curated by Zak Stern.

If you’re from Miami, then you’re already familiar with this powerhouse line up, but for those who are in town for SOBEWFF® weekend, this is the best way to experience true Miami in one evening. Curated by Zak Stern of Zak’s Bakery, a Wynwood hotspot that’s stood the test of time as the neighborhood has evolved over the years, the Local’s Only Dinner features some of the city’s most talented chefs. Joining him for this one-time-only dinner are chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, fellow 2020 James Beard Award semifinalists (Best Chef: South), and the masterminds behind Boia De — one of the toughest reservations to snag in town and Carey Hynes, the chef behind Jaguar Sun in Downtown Miami. Jaguar Sun took the city by storm with its killer cocktails and unexpectedly elevated bar food and is currently operating out of Lot 6 as a stunning outdoor pop-up where the Local’s Only Dinner will be held. Of course, it’s not a proper dinner without a sweet ending, Jeremy and Alissa Frice, of aptly named Frice Cream, will be rounding out the evening with their delicious ice cream based desserts. The dinner will feature pairings from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio. Cost $250 per person. Get your tickets here.

Art of Tiki presented by BACARDÍ Rums and Patrón Tequila hosted by Enrique Santos

Art of Tiki is an evening of Polynesian flare and tiki-inspired cocktails.

One of the liveliest events of the festival, Art of Tiki, takes place at Kimpton Surfcomber on South Beach. Here, guests are in for an evening of Polynesian flare and tiki-inspired cocktails made with Bacardi and Patron by well-known local bars who are competing to be crowned tiki-King or Queen at the end of the night. All those cocktails call for some delicious bites to help soak them up, and to help with that several of Miami’s hotspots will be serving bite to complement the tiki-style libations. Hosting the event will be Enrique Santos, the host of Tú 94.9s Morning Show, and one of Latin radio’s most recognizable personalities. An esteemed panel of judges will evaluate the contestants’ rum or tequila-centric offerings, while guests sip on their creations and savor bites from some of South Florida’s most buzzed about spots. Cost $95. Get your tickets here.

Chicken Coupe hosted by Tyler Florence

Chefs from around the country who are showcasing their fried chicken paired with champagne

This year’s Chicken Coupe is hosted by Food Network personality, Tyler Florence, known for the hit series The Great Food Truck Race and as the force behind successful San Francisco, CA restaurant Wayfare Tavern and their award-winning fried chicken. The walk-around tasting will feature fried chicken made by sought-after chefs from around the country who are showcasing both classic recipes and unique twists on mouth-watering combinations of crispy, juicy goodness. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of bubbles to help wash down the delectable dishes. Brut, rosé and more - guests can sip their way through France in effervescent enjoyment as they indulge in bubby from six different champagne houses while hanging out poolside at the W South Beach. Cost $350. Get your tickets here.

Moët & Chandon BubbleQ hosted by Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri will be hosting BubbleQ®

Festival veterans may remember this as the event that kicked things off two decades ago, and this year it’s back! BubbleQ® is where you’ll find a perfect mix of mouthwatering barbecue and free-flowing Moët & Chandon - an original sponsor of the Festival - to create a satiating and sizzling combination. Emmy Award-winning rockstar Guy Fieri will be hosting this party on the sands of South Beach. Cooking up a storm will be two dozen of America’s most fearless pit masters and grill maestros. You’ll find a variety of beef, pork, poultry, seafood cooked low and slow under the big white festival tent. In order to keep health and safety at the forefront, this event will be be split into two sessions this year. Both sessions will have the same chefs, wine & spirits, and sponsors, but the capacity will be greatly reduced from that of previous years. Cost $350 per session. Get your tickets here.

Celebration Dessert Party! 20 Years of Miami Spice and SOBEWFF® hosted by Scott Conant

Celebration Dessert Party will be overflowing with incredible desserts and free-flowing libations

What’s a birthday celebration without cake — or a whole slew of desserts paying homage to not only SOBEWFF®, but also Miami Spice. For those unfamiliar, Miami Spice is a two month dining program where 100+ local restaurants offer three-course lunch and dinner menus at a crazy affordable price showcasing some of the best dishes in the Magic City. This late-night Celebration Dessert Party will be overflowing with incredible desserts and free-flowing libations as the perfect way to celebrate two decades of two beloved Miami concepts. To kick off the festivities, Scott Conant, the mastermind behind Scarpetta by Scott Conant and host of Food Network’s Chopped Sweets, will be on hand as host. Get your sweet tooth ready as desserts will be available from more than a dozen South Florida destinations that will be perfectly paired with palate-cleansing wines, beers and spirits from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio. Cost $95. Get your tickets here.

BACARDI presents Best of the Fest hosted by Andrew Zimmern

Best of the Fest will close out SOBEWFF® weekend

If it’s hosted by Bacardi, then you know it’s a party. This event is called Best of the Fest for a reason, and though the name and concept may change a bit each year, it’s always safe to bet that the final event to take place on the sand inside SOBEWFF®’s infamous tent is going to be a hit. This year, Bacardi is ready to celebrate 20 years of the festival with a blow out party hosted by James Beard Award-winning TV personality Andrew Zimmern, featuring a special guest performance by 90’s icon, Grammy Award-winner and frontman of legendary group RUN DMC, Rev Run. Cocktails ranging throughout Bacardi’s portfolio (including Bacardi Rum, Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose, Dewar’s, D’usse Cognac, Patron and Tequila Cazadores) and bites from various chefs reminiscent of festivals past will be the stars of the evening. Think hits from Lucky Chopsticks, Southern Kitchen Brunch, Paella & Tapas by the Pool, Emeril’s Sugar Shack all in one place. Cost $125. Get your tickets here.

I am a Miami-based freelance food + cocktail and travel writer. Currently contributing to over a dozen websites and magazines, always on the go and looking for the next

I am a Miami-based freelance food + cocktail and travel writer. Currently contributing to over a dozen websites and magazines, always on the go and looking for the next big thing. Typically you can find me at the opening of every restaurant, sipping cocktails at Miami's coolest bars, or hanging out on the beach with my laptop in tow.

Silver alert issued for missing Plant City man with dementia

PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) - The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office needs your help locating a Plant City man with dementia.

According to deputies, Christopher McCullough Jr., 88, left his home on Heritage Eagle Lane just before 4:30 p.m.

Nikki Fried visits Tampa Bay, teases June 1 announcement

TAMPA (WFLA) - Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried was in the Tampa Bay area on Thursday for a pair of events.

Fried teased a major announcement on June 1. The race for governor opened up this week when several outlets reported Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) will challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) for his seat in 2022.

Vaccinated? Here’s how you can score free Shake Shack

(NEXSTAR) – Shake Shack announced a special offer Thursday for its vaccinated customers across the country.

Starting Friday, anyone who has had the single shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or at least one Moderna or Pfizer shot can show their vaccination card to receive a free side of fries.

Meat Lover's Burger at the Dog House Saloon & Grill, Washington Township

Meat-Lover's Burger at Dog House Saloon & Grill in Washington Township on 01/29/19. (Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa/

It takes two skewers to keep this skyscraper of a half-pound burger together. It takes a big appetite to finish it. The Meat Lover's stacks crispy bacon, fried Taylor ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion on top of a chopped Angus beef patty and almost dares you to eat it all. "You'd be surprised," said Joanne Lozaw, general manager at no-frills, family-owned Dog House Saloon. "A lot of people tend to finish it, though they might leave the fries on the plate." Young kids leave a lot more on the plate. "Parents gasp when their child wants to order one," Lozaw said. $16 with fries.

Go: 270 Pascack Road, Township of Washington 201-722-1820,

How to make pizza in your slow cooker

Cooking show host Jeff Mauro is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to share a few of his favorite family dinner recipes. He shows us how to make deep-dish pizza in a slow cooker (yes, really!) and an Italian-style "garbage" salad with sweet vinaigrette.

Slow-Cooker Deep Dish Pizza with Pepperoni and Jalapeños

I love this recipe because the slow cooker caramelizes the cheese and dough so an incredibly crispy crust forms around the edge of the pizza!

Garbage Salad with Sweet Italian Vinaigrette

This salad has everything but the kitchen sink in it — and that's what makes it so delicious. Every bite has a different combination of flavors that keeps you coming back for more.

If you like those family-friendly recipes, you should also try these:

Massimo Bottura: Leftover lunch pasta

Host of Food Network's Girl Meets Farm, cookbook author, and blogger, Molly Yeh has the perfect dish for all of the vegetarian eaters out there: homemade pizza bagels. Instead of crumbling sausage on top of these savory pizza bites, Yeh dreamed up another crunchy topping to add texture to this dish. The secret? A garlic and fennel-seasoned walnut crumble with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. A pantry pizza is the definition of an easy dish.

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The South's Best Winners 2017

We poured through your more than 22,000 online votes to bring you the best-of-the-best Southern spots. Check out our roundup of the best restaurant, hotel, island, inn, resort, barbecue, bar, shop, museum, brewery, city, and tailgate in the South. Each of these Southern gems is absolutely worth the trip &ndash from the picturesque views of the Outer Banks to the juicy pulled pork of Southern Soul Barbecue. Sip on a cold brew at Wicked Weed Brewery, have a nightcap at Callaghan's, or find your next heirloom at The Paris Market & Brocante. Take a vacation to Asheville to stay at the extravagant Inn on Biltmore Estate, or enjoy the picturesque history of Savannah at the charming Foley House Inn. If you're in town (or, making the trip!), stop in at one of these local favorites chosen by our readers.

Callaghan&rsquos Irish Social Club Mobile, AL

Southern Soul Barbeque St. Simons Island, GA

Wicked Weed Brewing Asheville, NC

Charleston, SC

The Inn on Biltmore Estate Asheville, NC

Foley House Inn Savannah, GA

Outer Banks, NC

Smithsonian Washington, D.C.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center Nashville, TN

Commander&rsquos Palace New Orleans, LA

The Paris Market and Brocante Savannah, GA

Beaufort, SC