Fancy foods on the cheap

Illustration by Mark Stivers

A few months ago, I went on a quick vacation to Europe, spending a week in Paris and a week in Rome. I've been craving truffle oil on almost everything since visiting Italy, but I didn’t think 20 euros for a bottle over there was worth it. So I started looking here after I got home and made a pretty great discovery: T.J.Maxx sells two kinds of truffle oil—one from Italy and one from Napa—for $5 a bottle. Usually, I’d never shop at a discount clothing store for groceries, but the oil was great, and I’ve been putting it on everything, including burgers, pizza and grilled veggie slices. Later on, I really craved good French dark chocolate, but again, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. Luckily, this popped up in the unlikeliest of places, too: 99 Cents Only Stores. Yes, bars of Falize brand dark chocolate with sea salt crystals for just a buck—better prices than Paris!