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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Thrifty Foodie’s best restaurant list

    Tony Wong, a 4-year chef at Guilin Chinese Restaurant on East Speedway Boulevard, prepares a dish of General Tsos Chicken.
    Tony Wong, a 4-year chef at Guilin Chinese Restaurant on East Speedway Boulevard, prepares a dish of General Tso’s Chicken.

    The average person consumes approximately 1600 pounds of food and drink a year, based on 2006 statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, which keeps track of such figures.

    Here is what 1600 pounds can look like: one 2009 Toyota Camry split in half and compressed in a metal brownie; a serving of the world’s largest model rocket, the mini-Saturn V; all of “”Big Norm,”” formerly the world’s largest pig weighing at 1600 pounds and measuring 7 feet 6 inches long from tail to snout, with a height of 4 feet.

    Since the Thrifty Foodie reviews began this semester, I have ingested, by my best estimate, about 5 pounds of food and drink over the course of an average day. This is more than what the average person consumes. (Let’s skip over the weight issue.)

    Eating that much has led to the discovery of great Tucson restaurants, and not just for their food. Whether it’s for that final hurrah or that next big step, here are some of the best places to visit:

    Best Place to Dine Alone:
    Poco & Mom’s Restaurant.
    1060 S. Kolb Rd.

    Gastronomic explorations can often be lonely affairs, but head here for lunch and you’ll feel as if you’re among sympathetic adventurers. Manager Kimberly Sisemore is more than likely to take a seat across from you to take your order and make you feel as if you’re eating at a warm friend’s house. It helps that the restaurant is as tiny as your friend’s house, too.

    Best Place to Cool Down (Driving):
    Café Italiano.
    2485 N. Swan Rd.
    Suite #141

    Hot days demand cold treats, and being the young firebrand – or icebrand – among Tucson’s gelaterias, Café Italiano proves it can hold its own in a gelato throwdown. Even though it necessitates a car or bus trip from campus, you and your family and friends will find the use of gas worthwhile.

    Best Place to Cool Down (Walking):
    Santa Barbara Ice Creamery.
    1058 N. Campbell Ave.

    Anyone seeking a more carbon-friendly alternative to Café Italiano should take a stroll to this ice cream stop located but a cone’s throw away, at the southeast corner of Speedway Boulevard and Campbell Avenue. Although it has yet to see a formal review from the Daily Wildcat, that shouldn’t stop you from dipping your spoon into their delectable ice creams.

    Best Place to Stare at the Walls While Eating:
    The Hungry Fox Restaurant
    and Country Store.
    4637 E. Broadway Blvd.

    When invited for a meal to someone’s home, what is displayed for guests says as much about the hosts as the food itself. Judging from the walls and gift store at the Hungry Fox, the message is to relax and think back to the “”good old days”” before everyone’s lives became so hectic – which is ironic given how fast and good the service is, even during busy times. While it may not take long for your order to arrive, the memorabilia on the walls – baking powder tins and wooden nutcracker soldiers – are open invitations to enjoy your food and your memories while they last.

    Best Place to Take a Chinese Person Without Feeling Embarrassed:
    Guilin Chinese Restaurant.
    3250 E. Speedway Blvd.

    Saving face is a major part of Chinese social interaction. Another component, probably the most important, is eating or, more specifically, feasting. There’s a reason why many Chinese people first ask guests, “”Have you eaten yet?”” To fulfill both social responsibilities, head to Guilin’s Chinese Restaurant, where the majority of the entrees are vegetarian or vegan.

    Best Place to Bend Your Knees for Your Meal:
    Sultan Palace.
    943 E. University Blvd.

    This Afghani restaurant underwent a lovely renovation this year that brought low tables and floor cushions, which invite diners to take their time and enjoy the ambiance and food. The only problem is getting up after sitting for so long, but that’s a small price to pay for a tasty meal.

    Best Place to Relax after a Long Day of Schlepping Books Back to the Library:
    Fifth Street Deli and Market.
    5071 E. Fifth St.

    You’ve finally finished. You’ve returned the mountains of books you used for all of your papers. And you’ve exhausted your glycogen stores and amino acid pool. To replenish yourself, take a short drive to this kosher deli serving sandwiches as thick as the summer books awaiting your loving attention.

    Best Place to Ignore Your Japanese Dictionary:
    Fuku Sushi.
    940 E. University Blvd.

    Seriously? Fuku in Japanese can mean:
    1) Fortune
    2) Stomach
    3) To mop
    4) Bat (animal)
    I don’t look forward to having bat sushi anytime soon.

    Best Place to Imagine You’re Outside of Tucson:
    Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet.
    711 E. Blacklidge Dr.

    Dine at Govinda’s and you’ll find, as described in my review, “”an oasis getaway in the middle of an urban jungle.”” It’s also the perfect place for vegetarians, vegans, vegetable lovers and new graduates to celebrate their final days in Tucson.

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