The glorified college life was an image I began cultivating in elementary school. College was a world of running to class in designer shoes, shopping on weekends, and dining at the gourmet restaurants surrounding campus.
In high school my elaborate vision disintegrated as I began to learn how to handle my own finances. Entering college, I found myself checking my bank account online to see if I even had enough money for textbooks.
But there is one part of my glorified college experience that I never intend to give up: gourmet dining. Eating out is a satisfying and relaxing experience that I am willing to spend money on, but only if I can get a reasonable deal. I began exploring affordable dining in Spokane the minute I stepped onto campus for freshman Orientation.
Many people look at lunch as a less exciting prelude to dinner. But eating a big lunch can be more affordable if you’re looking to eat out and is a great escape from the monotonous routine you have at school or work.
Bangkok Thai is the perfect solution for any hungry GU student. Located within walking distance – just take the bridge behind Coughlin – Bangkok Thai offers a lunch buffet for only $12, weekdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Buffet is a word that many people associate with dining horror stories, especially when involving foreign food. But don’t fear. Bangkok Thai doesn’t cut any corners with their buffet, serving the same high-end entrées that they offer for dinner.
The four-hour window Bangkok Thai offers for this deal is as generous as it’s selection. The buffet boasts two starters: coconut soup and spring rolls. Entrées include the American favorite, Phad Thai, as well as fried rice, a rainbow trio of curries, sweet and sour chicken, beef in oyster sauce, and mixed vegetables.
All of the food here is absolutely delicious. My only advice: go to this buffet hungry and wear loose clothing. If you like Thai food, you will leave stuffed.
If you are not a Thai food lover – although don’t count it out if you haven’t tried it – I have a few other suggestions I have for lunch. First is Twigs Bistro Happy Hour, offered daily from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Although this would be a late lunch, the appetizers are delicious and only around $5. You could fill up for only $10-$15. My other choice is Picabu Bistro, a small restaurant that has been featured on the Food Network. It is slightly more expensive – around $12 per lunch related entrée – but their wraps, salads, soups and burgers are bursting with flavor and served with sides.
Although it is the hardest meal to eat out affordably, dinner should still be luxurious, tasty and relaxing. But how can a college student afford to treat himself or herself to a gourmet, three-course meal? My answer: The Davenport Safari Room.
The Safari Room offers their three-course meal for only $17.95 per person, every day from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Diners start with a salad, simple greens or a Caesar. Entrée choices range from teriyaki salmon to baby back ribs to lemon chicken sauté. My personal favorite is the braised short ribs that are so tender you can pull them apart with your fork. They are served in a bath of gravy and accompanied with carrots and green onion. The menu pairs cheesy grits with these ribs, but the wait staff are more than happy to substitute other sides – my favorite are the mashed potatoes – to please their customers. It is the ultimate comfort food away from home.
Dessert is served in elongated shot-glasses. Don’t be mistaken; the amount of crème brûlée, German chocolate cake, or key lime pie they squeeze in these small glasses will be more than enough to fill you to the brim.
If the food doesn’t completely sell you, the atmosphere may seal the deal. This offer is only served in the Safari Room, a space that opens to the Davenport Hotel lobby. Decorated in a sepia array of elephant, lion and zebra statues and paintings, the Room stands up to its name. Tastefully done, it feels expensive and elaborate, an ambiance that echoes the food.
So dress up like that glamorous 20-something you pictured when you were little. You deserve it! And here’s the best news: you can afford it.
By Savy Varyu