Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eat and Drink Great for Less (or Just Eat and Drink More): My Faves to Check for Deals

Seafood Trio 1
'cause steals like getting around $40 worth of delicious food for $12 at Roy's only happens so often...

In times like these, everyone's looking for a good deal whereever they can. Of course an indulgence like dining out is no exception, which is probably why the restaurant weeks of OC and dineLA became so popular that many participating restaurants decided to extend another week. But what to do for the rest of the year?

Not one with a plushy bank accounts or meals I can just expense away, I try to keep an eye out for good dining and drinking deals around town too, but it is a Sisyphean task to keep track of which restaurant's night of the week will feature free corkage, prix-fixe specials, etc. or what time and days bars have their happy hours or the limited time specials where mentioning this or that will get you a free drink, appetizer, dessert or whatever.

And almost as much as I love saving money (and be able to eat more meals) I love to keep things simple, so here's a few sites that offer great deals to the city's eats minus all that research-related stress.

Newly debuted BlackboardEats, offering "unreal deals at the best restaurants," is one of my favorite recent finds. About once or twice a week, they send their members e-mails of their specials at some of LA's eating hotspots, which members can then sign up for (and you can even have the special deal-landing code sent to your phones to save the printer ink, not to mention the "where's that coupon?" conundrum when the check arrives.) Recent specials included a free salumi & formaggi plate at Cube, 30% off the bill at Joe's Restaurant and a free appetizer with a burger order at 8 oz. Be sure to check their "Side Dish" sidebar on the site too, which highlights some recurring specials going on at neighborhood restaurants.

If you don't mind committing a credit card to a special, GrouponLA has also got some nice hookups to fun to-dines in town. A few times a week, they e-mail members about a limited-time "GroupOn" (a portmonteau of Group and Coupon, btw) that requires a certain number of members to participate to activate. This is usually offered as a gift certificate sold at a fraction of face value, such as $35 at Orris for only $20, or $70 for $35 at the Foundry on Melrose. And it's not restricted to just dining/drinking deals either, they got some pretty swank GroupOns to shops and events around town too! Of course, if the GroupOn doesn't get the requisite number of sign-ups, it's a no-go (and no charge to your card, either) though that had never been a problem with the GroupOns I get. So log on and get your GROUPON!

And of course, good ole' Goldstar - again, not strictly food-related, but they generally offer ~50% discounts to some of the hottest events around town, many of which do involve food and drinks. On top of tastings such as The Food Event, there are also the likes of murder mystery dinners and neighborhood exploration tastings. And of course, lots of concerts, live performances and shows too -- some even for free (+ a nominal service charge.) So sign up and get a gold star on your budget for all that you're gonna save.

(Disclosure: yes, I get a referral fee if you use the GrouponLA and Goldstar signup links in this post -- but both are services I use regularly and maybe even too frequently, and I was going to endorse them anyways before finding out about their referral programs; obviously, your support is much appreciated!)

And last but certainly not least, if you feel like scanning for deals that you don't necessarily want to commit to:

Eater LA's dealfeed has a great rundown of specials going on all over town

FoodGPS have an extensive Weekly Food & Drink calendar that highlights specials going on every day of the week

And LA Decostified has some super food & drink deals, including many freebies

Of course, for the above listings it's always wise to call the place and confirm first (esp. for the older postings.) If you know of other great sites and blogs for food/drink deals -- feel free to comment or e-mail to let me know!


Ravenous Couple said...

really helpful stuff!! just signed on to a few of these rec's

Chicken said...

Ah, I've already signed up for all these. Big fan of the new BlackBoard Eats & Groupon <-- just used my Skooby's!

Diana said...

Can't wait to mooch off your Cube coupon - yahoo!

Food, she thought. said...

Thanks so much for this informative post. I signed up for both Blackboard Eats and the Groupon notification using your links. Blackboard Eats in particular is veddy cool. I cannot wait to use my code for Real Food Daily.

H. C. said...

@Ravenous, thanks and hope you enjoy!

@Chicken, HA! I used my skooby's coupon recently too -- their dogs and fries are crazy delish as is--even better at half off

@Diana, I can't wait to go to Cube - period!

@FST, RFD is delish for vegan food (OK, delish-period.) I don't even miss the meat.

Natalie DeJohn said...

Thanks for the info! This is great stuff. I want to check out Groupon LA. Sounds like they have some deals I'd actually use.


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