Editor’s Note: Although I usually write the $25 a day column, I thought I would let someone else give you a fresh new perspective on food this week. Hope you enjoy!
The Collegian gives me $25 to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at local restaurants. Having lived in Fort Collins for nigh on five years, I feel more than up to the task of finding delicious eateries in the area that can feed me three meals for less than my stipend including tax and tip.
I have a brief moment where I consider spending the Collegian’s money on candy and back issues of MAD Magazine, but decide to go ahead and do as I’m told.
After a long night of campaign coverage, you know what I need? Coffee. And a banana-nut muffin. Please! Just a muffin! And coffee! Luckily, between my house and school is the perfect place.
I took a walk to The Wired Bean.
The Wired Bean Coffee House, 1240 W. Elizabeth St., offers fresh-brewed coffee at extremely good prices, as well as an assortment of delicious baked goods.
I chose a giant canister of Gourmet Dark Roast and, you guessed it, a banana-nut muffin, which re-invigorated me for the coming day.
The muffin and the coffee together cost me $3.76, along with a $1 tip (always tip your barista).
For lunch, I go to La Luz. This is a hip, but casual (I can’t believe I just said “hip, but casual”) restaurant just east of College Avenue on Walnut Street in Old Town.
The restaurant has ambience – the walls are yellow and covered with art, including pieces for sale by local painters – but I don’t think anyone comes for the art, to be truthful.
It doesn’t matter to me, because if I had to, I would eat La Luz’s fish tacos, burritos and a smattering of other reasonably healthy Mexican favorites off of a heap of garbage. That’s how good it is. “The garbage stinks,” I’d say. “But it doesn’t matter because these tacos are really good.”
$8.79 ($10.29 I paid with tip) gets me two sizeable grilled fish tacos (the house specialty), a drink, and refillable chips. There is also a salsa bar with four different salsas of varying intensities.
If you like the big corporate burrito places (I won’t name names, but you could probably make a guess), you need to give La Luz a try, because it’s better, and because damn it, you’re helping out the small-business person.
You’re going to think I’m very snooty for saying this, but for dinner, I just feel like a big old hunk of Brie, maybe with some caramelized onions. Maybe, just maybe, I’d like it with delicious crusty bread AND cracker-type things.
And I want this hunk of soft French cheese in a place that is playing “A Fish Called Wanda” on a giant screen. Maybe even a place that doesn’t play the sound of “A Fish Called Wanda,” but instead plays music thick with didgeridoo.
Well, I just happened to find what I was looking for in Old Town (just a hop, skip and a jump from La Luz, in fact), at Elliot’s Martini Bar (234 Linden St.), right between what used to be Conor O’Neills and East Coast.
But getting back to my earlier discussion, the baked Brie with caramelized onions is (expletive)ing transcendent. The onions are sweet and the Brie so, so creamy. It’s $6.50, $7 with tax ($9 with tip).
The Brie is also easily enough food for two people to feel satisfied.
If you were 21, and could legally enjoy it, I’d say a dry martini (maybe with some of Elliot’s specialty bleu cheese-stuffed olives) would be just about perfect.
The Wired Bean Coffee House
1240 W. Elizabeth St.
Coffee, banana nut muffin, $1 tip
La Luz Mexican Grill
200 Walnut St.
Two fish tacos, drink, refillable chips, $1.50 tip
Elliot’s Martini Bar
234 Linden St.
Baked Brie with caramelized onions and $2 tip
Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.