By Nick Ahadzadeh
As law students, most of us understand how difficult it can be to afford and make time for food – especially healthy food. Who wants to cook a well-balanced meal for 30-45 minutes when Costco sells Hot Pockets for bulk pricing? I wanted to write this article so that I could share my insight into the world of decent eating on a law student budget, and how to ensure that you actually make time to eat it.
NOTE: This is not exactly a “Healthy Eating” article, but is truly meant to provide some guidance for California Westerners to find affordable food near campus.
Free Food… Well, Sort Of
Every week, the Student Services office sends an email to all students about upcoming club meetings – GO TO THEM! Find a club meeting or seminar that fits your schedule, and eat their food. While every student does pay an activity fee in their tuition (which technically pays for most club food), you will not be charged for walking in and grabbing a plate. Not only will you get your grub on, you may actually enjoy the club itself! This is a great way to meet people and get some food on a “starving college student” budget.
SIDEBAR: Come to The Commentary meetings, and get awesome food with awesome people!
The Commentary’s recommendation for catering for student org events is BBQ BOSS. They will deliver individual meals to campus on Fridays with no delivery charge from 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m., in case you’re in need of a tasty and convenient meal. They also sell meals at their storefront at 1017 Front Street from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. They offer free delivery for catering orders any day of the week, making them a great option for student org events. The food’s affordable and the staff is friendly, and they will work with you to figure out the right portion sizes.
Locker? You Mean Pantry.
I don’t know about you, but there is no way that I’m going to lug my books around campus unless I ABSOLUTELY need to. Most books come with a code for online texts, so grab a locker and fill it with snacks! For example, my locker is filled with mostly protein-based snacks such as almonds, other assorted nuts, ready-to-serve tuna packets, crackers (obviously for the tuna), and Rice Krispies for a very filling pick-me-up.
If you’re looking for more than just snacks, utilize the refrigerators on campus and get some T.V. dinners from Target or Ralph’s. These will run you about $3 each, and are perfect for between-class grub.
Close Encounters of the Food Kind
If you would rather eat at an affordable restaurant near campus, this section is for you. I have compiled a list of my favorite affordable eateries near (or a short travel from) campus:
I would be remiss if I did not mention pizza. Domino’s is not only tasty, but it’s extremely affordable! A large pizza will run you just over $8, and you can split it with a friend or two. Not only will this fill your stomach, but it will also (hopefully) make you less of a loner!
The Kebob Shop
A Kebab Shop meal will normally run you above my $10 limit per meal, but this place has some inexpensive options as well. The Doner Fries are a delicious and inexpensive alternative to the large-portion wraps that they have, and they come in around $5! If you’re looking for an inexpensive but filling dish, this fry dish is exactly what you need.
Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop:
Lucha Libre is similar to The Kebob Shop: they have more expensive options, but also some very well-priced meals. I highly recommend getting the Baja Cali Dog from this restaurant. Coming in at $3.75, it’s a great amount of food for a low amount of dinero.
SIDEBAR: If you’re thinking about getting an additional side with your dog, I do not recommend the TJ Corn. It’s essentially steamed corn in a cup for almost $4, and has very little flavor.
El Maguey de Cotija:
This place takes the cake by far. The food at El Maguey de Cotija is incredible – fresh, tasty, and the red salsa is to die for. Not only this, but a giant California Burrito will run you about $7-8. You can find this restaurant on the corner of Fir and Fourth, so it’s only about a five-minute walk from campus. They also have a HUMONGOUS menu, so you can score a combination plate if you’re not in the mood for a burrito that day. All of their food is very inexpensive, and the portions allow for two meals if you want to keep your leftovers on you/in the school fridge — two meals, one stone. I am absolutely in love with this place, and the customer service is excellent as well.
Whether you are a third-year student studying for the bar exam or a measly first-year student like myself, you need to provide your brain with nutrients. You will not get these nutrients if you’re not eating, so be sure to make some time for food! If you have a 30-minute break between class and your tutoring session, stop by El Maguey de Cotija. If you have a 10-minute break between classes, run down to your “locker pantry” and grab a filling snack. Cold calls are stressful enough, that last thing you want to do is distract yourself even more by being hungry.C