Exploring restaurant options around the peninsula

When you live on the Monterey Peninsula, good, cheap food is hard to find. So unless you want to eat at McDonald’s and live with your own undulating thunder-thighs, something less disgusting must be found.

Papa Chevo’s Taqueria is the El Dorado of cheap, amazing food. When you enter Papa Chevo’s, you are there for one reason and one reason only: to leave blessedly bloated and with grease dribbling from your mouth.

Now if you don’t think this sounds appealing, then you have never eaten at Chevo’s. Imagine an innocent bunny thrown into a pit of hungry, wild badgers, and you’ll understand how a pack of teenagers descend onto a Chevo’s bean, rice and cheese burrito.

Not only does Chevo’s have this great deal for $4, you can also get a delicious meat-stuffed Super Burrito the size of a fat dwarf’s forearm for $6.

But if you’re in Monterey and want something a little more elegant than Chevo’s, then you’ve got to try Yama Sushi. When you walk up to Yama Sushi, there’s a colorful drum and a sign saying LUNCH BOWL $6. Instantly drawn in by the drum—exactly how they planned it—you enter to find some interesting music playing.

Promptly after ordering the highly-esteemed LUNCH BOWL, you look around to find tons of strange, ethnic masks, only to be interrupted by your server with hot tea and delicious miso soup.

After settling in with a hot bowl of soup and tea, you realize there’re decorative barrels in the back of the restaurant. It only adds to the aura of Yama Sushi. Strange colorful masks on the wall, barrels in the back and an eclectic musical taste all add to the quirky and appealing vibe of Yama Sushi.

This all only adds up to the ultimate experience: THE LUNCH BOWL. …which is actually just chicken or pork teriyaki bowl with a nice helping of white rice underneath.

However delicious the LUNCH BOWL is, the ultimate deal is the lunch buffet at Ambrosia. Now for $14, it’s not cheap. But the reason it’s worth the money, even if you are on a budget, is that you can take Ambrosia’s buffet to-go.

This means that for $14, you can pile a one-square-foot to-go box as high you can stack without it all tumbling down. Engineering class pays off as you struggle to use the food to build a tower that can support the most weight.

Just ignore the stink-eye they give you for building a tower two-feet tall, take the little Styrofoam to-go iced tea they give you, give the kind people their money, and take your overstuffed box home to feed your whole ravenous family.

Just remember, though, it’s one thing to take your two-foot tower victoriously; it’s another to be that jerk that dumps 30 lbs. of food on their floor.

-Jacob Waters