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With the stubbornly slow economic growth, frugality is a necessity. Rachael Ray used to have a show where she went out on the town and tried to spend under $40 on herself. We can do her one better.

Head to Convoy, an area rich with Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants. Try Pho T Cali (7351 Clairemont Mesa Blvd), an authentic and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant. Skip the generic plates targeting Americans (orange chicken, etc.) and choose anything from #1-19 ($5.75-6.45) on the menu. The pho, a traditional Vietnamese staple is served in a large bowl brimming with savory stock, rice noodles, and meat. It also comes with a complimentary plate of chiles, lime, basil, and fresh sprouts. Be sure to add it all to your pho. If you've never had tripe, try it in the soup. (Don't trust the Yelp stars on this place.)


Then travel a few blocks west to Boomers for a round of mini golf at $8 per adult. That's just under $20 a person. More tried and true ideas to come.

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