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Happy Meals 

Culver City on $10 a day

Wednesday, Oct 10 2007

Dear Mr. Gold:

I recently got a new job in Culver City. I’m curious to know if you’ve found affordable places in Culver City for lunch. Other than fast food, I haven’t found anything that has cost less than $10.

—Michael Dew

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Dear Mr. Dew:

Culver City is almost a restaurant mecca at the moment, and in the eastern part of town, there seems to be a new restaurant opening every week or two. While many of the new places don’t exactly serve cheap eats, you can do very well with the grilled cheese sandwiches at Meltdown (9739 Culver Blvd.), the grilled tri-tip at Santa Maria Barbecue Company (9552 Washington Blvd.) and the terrific meal-size organic salads at Tender Greens (9523 Culver Blvd.), which all run about 10 bucks. Bluebird Café (8572 National Blvd.) has delicious pressed panini, not dissimilar to the ones you find at the Autogrills along Italian highways, or you could get more classically elegant sandwiches at Café Surfas (8777 W. Washington Blvd.), in the restaurant-supply complex: Nueske’s smoked beef with Cheddar and horseradish mayo, Kobe-beef hot dogs with blue cheese and Dijon mustard — like that. A few miles east, Metro Café (11188 Washington Pl.) is a ’50s-style American diner that just happens to serve good homemade Serbian meat dishes and bean soups, and El Rincon Criollo (4361 Sepulveda Blvd.) is a half-decent Cuban restaurant with cheap lunch specials. And there’s always the enormous burritos at El Abajeno (4515 Inglewood Blvd.). Culver City has come a long way since the days when Howard’s Bacon Avocado Burger (11127 Venice Blvd.) was the most adventurous place in town.

—Jonathan Gold

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