Food Recommendations for the Broke College Student

By Caroline Bojarski

Staff Food Finder

At this point in the semester, we’re all broke. Maybe the savings from a lucrative summer job are beginning to run dry. Maybe you’re saving up so you can take an exciting yet unpaid internship. Maybe you’re in Gabelli, and you just put a down payment on a new yacht. Regardless of the circumstances, we as Rams are united in our sketchy financial situations.

We all know the stereotype: the budgeting undergrad, crouching in a grimy sublet, subsisting on Ramen noodles, Folgers, and the free pizza from information sessions in which he harbors little to no interest. This should not be you! Lack of sunlight and zero access to delicious food are correlated with higher stress levels and poor test performance. Luckily, even in New York City, options abound if you’re in search of sweet and savory treats that you can afford without having to sacrifice your ability to purchase textbooks. I have compiled a sample of my favorite stunningly delectable, shockingly cheap food vices in the five boroughs.

 

Mamoun’s Falafel

 

At Mamoun’s, a massive, warm pita stuffed with crispy falafel and salad is only $3.50. Located both on Macdougal Street near Washington Square Park and in St. Mark’s Place, Mamoun’s provides a delightfully filling meal on the go. Add zesty hummus or smoky baba ganouj to your sandwich for just fifty cents. If you’re hardcore, add a generous dollop of the hot sauce that you will find perched on one of the tables. I dare you.

Instead of giving Mamoun’s a numerical rating, I will simply say instead that I once overheard a man at the Macdougal location murmuring sexual nothings to his sandwich. He was of sound mind, but he just wasn’t able to help himself. The falafel was that good.

 

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

 

Unless you’re Polish (or even if you’re Polish), there aren’t many reasons to venture to Greenpoint. This Brooklyn neighborhood, however, does boast excellent food, namely Peter Pan Bakery.

At certain times of day, you will see a small line extending onto the sidewalk from the shining, diner-esque counter of Peter Pan. Wafting over the line will be a smell of donut-y goodness so light and sugary it could break even a hardened gluten abstainer. Glimpses of red velvet and white cream from the window display will lure you inside where you will find to your disbelieving ecstasy that each donut is only $1. That is correct. A puff of pure fried heaven for only a dollar.

 

Los Hermanos Tortilleria

 

I found this Bushwick gem entirely by accident, and the tacos were so magical that I was afraid that, should I try to return, I would find the spell broken and that the tortilleria could no longer appear to me as it had in my youth. This is fairytale nonsense of course. Los Hermanos was on Starr Street near the Jefferson L stop that hot July day, and it thankfully remains there still.

The prime reason to be thankful for Los Hermanos is that each taco, homemade tortilla and all, costs a mere $2.50. Tell Chipotle to try its pre-packaged luck with someone else because Los Hermanos wins in terms of both quality and price. Here, the street cart taco of your dreams meets the stability of a permanent restaurant. Maybe it is always summer at Los Hermanos.

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