Good Eats Around City College
Writer: India Allen
September 28, 2006
Filed under Uncategorized
When it comes to good, cheap eats – cheap being the key word – students seem to accept the limited options that pair with the notion : you get what you pay for.
So what are the odds of finding affordable, better-than-cafeteria food in walking distance from campus?
I accepted the quest. I searched high and low to prove that when it comes to finding decent, affordable food, you don’t always have to settle for less just because your pockets aren’t blessed.
First up to the challenge was Rose CafÃ©.
If Mexican food is what you’re craving, you don’t have to spend much or travel far. Though it’s not exactly in walking distance, the No. 5 bus is a suitable alternative to the 15-minute walk.
With orange-bronzed stucco walls and figurines resembling the festivities of Dia de los Muertos, the anticipation for the food makes the senses numb and the mouth water.
The restaurant offers a mixture of combination plates ¬-¬ all including sides of beans and rice- with nothing on the menu more than $11. Meat quesadillas start at $6. Add a side of beans and rice and your grand total, with tax and tip included, will cost below $10.
Rose CafÃ© offers burritos for as low as $5. If you’re a late riser and miss breakfast, they also serve huevos and breakfast burritos all day.
My combination plate of cheese enchiladas, though the sauce was mediocre and the use of jack cheese disappointing, was almost worth its price. The beans and rice came to the rescue, thank goodness for me.
But since I only care for cheddar cheese and I make my own enchilada sauce, I’m sure I fit into the very small minority of customers who prefer Rose’s beans and rice over a filling platter of jack cheese any day.
As for the verdict, I would go back to Rose CafÃ©. Sometimes, you have to kiss a toad before you get a prince.
However, there was no need for toad kissing at The Brewhouse. Because the usual beer-loving crowds are nowhere to be found at 1p.m., lunch proved to be relaxing.
With items like chipotle goat cheese cheesecake and tiger prawns with habanero paste and fire roasted artichokes, this menu is not for the faint-of-heart.
I recommend sticking to the sandwiches, soup, salads, pasta or dinner specials, all which range from $8 – $11. Who can go wrong with beer-battered fish & chips or all-you-can-eat BBQ on Wednesdays?
Or, in my case, a fresh mahi-mahi sandwich, grilled with lettuce and tomatoes on a sesame-seed bun.
The fish, tender with a smoked flavor from the grill, was light and filling. The balsamic vinaigrette on the mixed greens salad was sweet and refreshing. The only thing I could have lived without was the relished tartar sauce, which I asked to be put on the side.
The lesson here is that don’t let the higher-priced items on the menu scare you away. There are deals to be had, but don’t expect them to come running after you.
Hunt them down. Paradise and a good sandwich waits for no one.
Speaking of paradise, I saved the best for last.
Sushi Go-Go in the Santa Barbara Harbor is a jewel and a rare find.
With a lunch special that included teriyaki chicken, a spicy tuna roll and a side salad for only $6.50, I was certain that I would get what I paid for.
I was wrong. I got more than I paid for. The tuna was fresh, the salad light and rice was perfectly cooked and the service was genuinely friendly.
Sushi A Go-Go also offers teriyaki plates with chicken, salmon, Korean beef or shrimp tempura for $7 – $9.
You make the best of your buck here. Plus, it’s only a walk down the stadium stairs and across Shoreline Drive.
Consequently, I discovered when it comes to finding good, cheap eats, you don’t always get what you pay for. The odds of debunking this notion are high, as long as you take the initiative to venture off campus.