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The Contest Day 2, Breakfast: Eater Editors Take on Packzi, Sesame Pancakes, and McDonald's

Check out what team Eater consumed for breakfast on day two of the cheap eats spectacle known as #thecontest.

McDonald's breakfast.
McDonald's breakfast.
Greg Morabito

Well, we've made it to day two of #thecontest, the week-long competition during which Eater editors (along with colleagues and readers) attempt to eat out on no more than $10 a day in the New York area. Catch up on how things are going so far, and keep reading to see what breakfast looked like. Want to play along? Go for it — a New York-based reader will win $50 and a meal with EIC Amanda Kludt and critic Robert Sietsema.

Player: Jarret Meskin

Purchase: Everything bagel with cream cheese: $2.85

Strategy: Starting off Tuesday strong with an everything bagel loaded up on cream cheese from Tompkins Square Bagels. I love TSB's bagels, and while I would have preferred a french toast bagel with peanut butter, the specialty bagels and shmears are significantly more expensive. Either way, the bagel has filled me up and should hold me over until lunch.

Tompkins Square Bagels165 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

Player: Vince Dixon

Strategy: My goal for the week is to eat from a different type of quintessential New York eatery each day of the week. Yesterday was the delicatessen. Today I am trying New York street food/food carts.

Order: To start, I headed over to Harlem to get breakfast and lunch. I went to a fruit stand at 145th and Broadway, where a very friendly woman had all kinds of deals. Two for $1 apples and pears and 25 cent bananas.

I ended up buying one apple (for lunch) and two bananas, all for $1. But it turns out one of the bananas was a pair of twins — so basically 3 bananas for 50 cents. I ate the single banana for breakfast and will save "los gemelos" for a snack.

Player: Greg Morabito

Location: McDonald's, 904 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn

The Order/Strategy: The finest hash brown you can buy for $1, plus a sausage McMuffin, also a dollar. Aggressively salty sausage patty made up for the chalky bun.  Combo has approximately 500 calories. I also consumed one of those five-for-a-dollar bananas from yesterday.

Player: Robert Sietsema

Order/Strategy: Today I decided to exercise the fruit cart option for breakfast, knowing it was a rather boring choice, but hoping to get a little roughage in my diet. The plum was a revelation, so sweet and tart, bursting with juices. The banana was...a banana. The meal was frugal: 75 cents, hopefully setting me up for a big lunch payoff.

Player: Sonia Chopra

Purchase: Paczki: $1.25. Remainder: $8.75.

Thoughts: Oh man. I made the mistake of drinking something called a "Thai tea drink" yesterday around 5:30 p.m. to tide me over 'til dinner (I'd picked it up with my lunch) and I'm assuming the caffeine/sugar kept me wide awake until 1 a.m. or so — though maybe it was just the excitement of #thecontest and also the cheap dumplings — not a great situation to find yourself in when your apartment is primed for pointless snacking. But I resisted!

This morning I was a little sluggish, and instead of doing the smart thing (finding a breakfast chock full of protein), I walked over an avenue to Polish GI Delicatessen for a sugar-topped paczki. In addition to eating vegetarian and sticking to a different type of cuisine for every meal, I want to try to only go to places I've never been to before, and this was a good one. If you're curious, the deli also has cheese danishes for $1 and a host of other baked goods in the $1-$3 range. And the owner did tell me to get in touch if I ever needed help finding an apartment nearby...

Polish GI Delicatessen. 109 1st Avenue #1. (212) 982-7893.

Player: Daniela Galarza

Purchase: Orange from a local fruit stand along the Williamsburg/Bushwick border.

Cost: .50¢; Remainder: $9.50

Strategy: I'm not repeating cuisines, and I realize the need for fresh fruit and vegetables. Bonus: I probably won't get scurvy this week. I also have a friend in town and want to dine relatively well with her later today so I'm saving for dinner by savoring this fantastically juicy orange. It's like sunshine on a cloudy day.

Mood: I really want an almond croissant from Arcade Bakery tbh.

Player: Amanda Kludt

Meal: Sesame Pancake sandwich with vegetables

Cost: $0! I got it yesterday for dinner and didn't need it.

Thoughts: I'm feeling some real Eater's Remorse on this one. It was delicious and greasy and hearty but just way too aggressive for me. I am a cereal or smoothie breakfast person, and this was like eating a calzone stuffed with carrots. That said, I feel pretty pleased with myself that I have 10 whole dollars to spend and I won't be hungry until mid-afternoon.

Strategy for Day 2: I'm torn about day two because I'm really craving vegetables and am considering blowing a majority of my $10 on the salad bar at Maoz, but I worry it's not a creative enough choice for the judges. I could make a game time decision and hop on the 7 train (or wander around Midtown for some street cart color).

Player: Devra Ferst

Order: I had the half of my leftover banana from yesterday and a bunch of coffee. Cost: $0

Strategy: A boring way to start today, but there will be feasting later and I need to save my pennies for that. I still have my emergency apple, which I picked up last night with my remaining dollar after dinner.


These editors have been disqualified from #thecontest but are still competing.

Player: Kat Odell

Purchase: Cheese Straw — Living across the street from Breads Bakery is both amazing and a total disaster. There's always someone standing outside the shop giving away freebies (which comes in handy for a day like today), and you can smell those freshly baked babkas from the street. This morning, in addition to the cheese twist (which is excellent if you haven't tried — although the ones today looked a tad overcooked), I grabbed a couple of chocolate rugelach samples. That plus some Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced.
Price: $2.50. Location: Breads Bakery.

Player: Helen Rosner

My late-breakfast-seguing-into-lunch strategy was a trip to Prosperity Dumpling on the Lower East Side. A triple order of pork and chive dumplings ($3 for 12) and a small container of shrimp wonton soup ($1.75), which comes packed with tons of greens. (I also picked up some dumplings for Jackie, and a giant wedge of fresh, greasy sesame pancake for Hillary.)

At time of filing (11:15 a.m.) I've eaten 7 dumplings and haven't yet cracked the soup. I'm feeling optimistic. I'm also very interested in creating a black market for The Contest and would be willing to sell my remaining dumplings individually for $0.50 each, in order to reinvest my profits in the later purchase of a tomato sandwich from the deli.

Player: Hillary Dixler

Order: Plain sesame pancake. Cost: $1.

Strategy: I was going to try to skip breakfast to save money, because my plan is to have lunch at Xi'an Famous Foods with enough leftovers for dinner. However, I have no will power so when Helen offered to pick up from Prosperity Dumpling, I caved. I am so happy now.

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