Lately I’ve been thinking I need to get back to posting more in-person reviews and more “on the street” type stuff (if that makes sense), and one way I figured to do that is by posting short lunch reviews. I recently decided I’d try going out to lunch on Fridays (ordinarily, I almost always bring my lunch to work), and figured I’d set some ground rules to pick where to go (and then write about it).
Here’s my (arbitrary) criteria:
- Can I stay within a $5 budget? Not a huge deal if I go over, but I’m also interested in where the best deals are.
- No fast food—McDonald’s and the like. Though I’d probably make an exception for Subway since it’s “fresh” fast food.
- I work on the east side (almost as far east as you can get), and I only have an hour for lunch, so I need to stay east and maybe central. Don’t expect many reviews of restaurants on the west side of town, in other words.
- I don’t need overly fancy or specialized; straightforward, low-key, under-the-radar is perfectly fine.
In the past few weeks I’ve been to Taco Stand (which I hadn’t been to forever) and Baldy’s BBQ (over in the Shell station at 27th and Highway 20). I’ll revisit them to write up future Lunch Bites.
Today though, I kept it simple: the Safeway Deli.
This would be the east side Safeway in the Forum Shopping Center at the intersection of Highway 20 and 27th Street. The Deli counters at Safeway all follow the same basic options: sandwiches, bulk salads, and a variety of hot comfort foods including Chinese-style dishes, various fried chicken offerings, jalapeno poppers, mac and cheese, and the like.
I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted, but I was leaning toward chicken strips and jo jo potatoes (such a healthy combo) so I asked about lunch specials. For chicken and potatoes, they offer a “meal” of two chicken strips, potatoes, and a small drink for $2.99, and the same with three strips for $4.99. Since strips can be of varying sizes (read: small) I ordered the three-piece. For potatoes you get something like a third of a pound of them.
However, I totally could have gotten away with ordering the two-piece: these were seriously huge pieces of chicken, and I swear I must have had at least a half pound of potatoes. In fact I saved a (large) chicken “strip” and a bunch of potatoes for another lunch, so this worked out to $2.50 for the meal, not bad at all.
As for the food, it was exactly as expected: breaded, deep-fried chicken breasts and fried jo jo potato wedges. With ranch dip. It’s not gourmet but it does hit the spot sometimes, and I like Safeway’s better than some other places.
Among other deals you can also get one-entree Chinese meals for $5, I believe, and on “$5 Fridays” (or at least today) they were offering up a big platter of chicken fried steak for $5 (“serves 2 to 3″) which seemed random to me.
Overall, for a quick and easy lunch, the Safeway Deli gets the job done. You know exactly what to expect (grocery store deli counter) and it’s definitely easy on the wallet. Plus you can get any other shopping errands done while you’re there too (if that’s a benefit to you).