Staring red-eyed and perplexed at the gigantic black board, I couldn’t help but hack up the brown phlegm clinging to the back my throat. Eight dollars for a burrito? As a freshman it was a staple, but if I’m forking over eight bucks for a burrito now, it better whisk me away to the fields of Elysium instead of tasting like the last-three-year’s drunk. But aside from busting out the cooking gear your roomies never washed, how can you avoid some of the ridiculous prices certain eateries in Isla Vista try to push past you?

For starters, Skynyrd was right: This bird you cannot change. So the let the bitch fly and cruise high on by to someplace else.

Naan Stop’s chicken bowl is a scrumdidilyumptuous option that won’t hurt your purse and will please even a big friendly giant’s hunger. It’s certainly not Indian cuisine at its finest, but with a price tag of less than five bucks, you’d be pressed to find a better deal in the rest of I.V. It’s the Panda Bowl of actual food.

The Deli Mart isn’t too shabby either. When they’re stocked on ciabatta bread, you can grab yourself a bag of chips, a soda and a sandwich for about six dollars. Strike up a conversation with the owners, though – I’ve practically made back the money I’ve spent at the place thanks to their savvy pro football advice. Baseball? Not so much.

While Woodstock’s ain’t Woodstock’s without pitchers, it does have a decent slice-of-the-day deal at $2.50 a pop. And try not to worry about the Wild Things hanging out inside, they’re friendly so long as you let them bum a smoke or two off you. Just don’t leave your slice on the table for long: King Max still hasn’t eaten his supper and he’s wielding a fork.

Subway isn’t bad if you like stale bread, long lunch lines and fake cheese, but the daily sandwich deal isn’t the same if you can’t buy a footlong for the cost of a six-inch. And does the bread taste the same to you? Maybe I’ve burned off my taste buds, but to me they all taste the same.

If you haven’t smelled the waft of Super Cuca’s in the wee hours of the morning, then you don’t live in Isla Vista. I have to tip my A’s cap to them. Their stench will forever remind me of a foggy 3 a.m. Natty-accompanied stomach grumbling. The secret here is the taquitos. They aren’t a boatload of food, but you may find them easier to toss up later in the night than a cornucopia of nachos and sour cream. But what am I saying? You’re the artist, go ahead and pay more for your palate.

Want to wet your whistle with your meal? Then avoid buying drinks at most places. Keg ‘N Bottle, aside from the sheer wall of goodness, has a great deal on a two liter bottle of soda for as much as most one liters – both a few cents more than that fountain drink you buy with your quesonachorito.

In all honesty, eating out in I.V. just isn’t worth it to me anymore, unless I’m too stoned to taste the difference. While it may serve as a temporary distraction from dining hall food for the noobs, any student can cook as well as the crap out there for an eighth of the cost. It may be pessimism, but when a frozen yogurt place offers only one flavor of ice cream for more than a local meal price, you know some of you here are spending Daddy’s money a little too ignorantly. I’m predicting a bankrupt Berrylicious, but maybe Daddy has more money than I previously thought.

The pessimistic feelings I hold didn’t kick in though until Domino’s tried to jump on the Bird’s bandwagon a few months back.

“5-5-5, baby.”

“Sorry, we don’t offer that deal anymore.”

“Well, fuck that.”


Apparently Domino’s screens my calls now. I’m hungry. I dial. They don’t answer. Figures.

Where’d I leave that Top Ramen?