FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH, 2020

Paly students spend years in elementary and middle schools eating disgusting school lunches. Mushy, bruised fruit and soggy vegetables were the most common accompaniments to dishes like cold bean and cheese burritos, soggy, greasy pizza, and hamburgers with bones it them.

When the students enter Paly, they are greeted with salvation; an entire area just for restaurants, right across the street.

To the casual observer, Town and Country seems well stocked with restaurants. However, a closer examination reveals that the shopping complex is not as friendly to students as it seems. Only six restaurants offer deals tailored towards Paly students: Asian Box, Howie’s, Lulu’s, PokeHouse, Sushi House and Village Cheese House.

Asian Box

Asian Box offers a student deal called the Jungle Box, comprised of meat, steamed vegetables, pickled vegetables and rice. The box is accompanied by a drink.

For the drink, students can choose between Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and water. Students can opt to replace the drink with noodles or pay an extra dollar and get both the drink and noodles.

The Jungle Box costs $7 — however the price increased from last year, when students could order a Jungle Box as well as a spring roll for the lower price of $5.

The Jungle Box is a great meal for the price. The meat is a mixture of chicken and beef and cooked and seasoned very well. The meat has a salty-sweet glaze on it, and is consistently excellent.

The rice complements the meat perfectly, and the variety of sauces offered on the side add the requisite amounts of moistness, spiciness and additional flavor.

While the steamed vegetables are bland, the pickled vegetables pop with flavor and crunch, and serve as a perfect complement to the delicious meat and rice.

Howie’s

The student deal offered at Howie’s Artisan Pizza is pizza. Shocker, right? Howie’s offers students a large slice of either cheese, pepperoni or veggie pizza along with a drink for $7.

Similarly to Asian Box, Howie’s has recently raised its prices. After winter break, students returned to school to learn that Howie’s had raised their price for a slice and soda from $6 to $7.

Howie’s crust is what sets its pizza apart from other places. It’s crispy, chewy and light but filling and delicious at the same time.

Despite the great-tasting crust and delicious sauce, the slices suffer from two glaring issues. Firstly, there is far too much cheese on each slice — and while too much cheese is better than too little, neither is good.

The second problem with Howie’s slices is excess grease. The slice drips with oil, and leaves diners with oil-stained fingers after eating it.

Lulu’s

For its Paly deal, Lulu’s offers a meat, cheese, rice and bean burrito along with a drink for $7.50. Meat choices include beef, chicken and pork.

Lulu’s really takes the cake — or rather, burrito — as the best tasting student deal in Town and Country. It’s one of the best burritos I’ve had: the beef is well-cooked and seasoned, and the rice, beans and cheese complement it perfectly. Unfortunately, the cheese is oftentimes cold, which distracts from the warm meat, beans, and rice.

The tomato flavored rice is cooked very well, and the slight sweetness and saltiness from it provide a good counterpart to the meat. While the beans are somewhat flavorless, the other components of the burrito more than make up for them.

The burritos are freshly made to order, and customers can watch their burrito being made.

PokeHouse

PokeHouse, formerly PokeLove, offers a customizable student bowl in its small size for $10.90. For this deal, students can choose a rice or noodle base, two proteins and a variety of add-ons.

Regardless of what type of protein customers select, the sauces, add-ons and toppings add flavor and texture to the bowl. Options such as fried onions, seaweed, and cucumber add crunch, while the crab mix offered is creamy and delicious.

Despite the taste, the portion size is tiny, and cannot satiate the average hungry Paly student.

PokeHouse ranks as the most expensive student deal in Town and Country, however, if rankings were based on taste alone, PokeHouse would be close to the top.

Sushi House

Sushi House serves a chicken teriyaki bowl to students for $7.75. Many students who purchase the chicken bowl opt to also buy the sauce alongside it, raising the price of the meal to $8.

Like Asian Box and Howie’s, Sushi House increased its student deal price from last year. Unlike Asian Box and Howie’s, Sushi House only increased their deal by $0.25, from $7.75 to $8.

Sushi House has one of the better tasting student deals in Town and Country. The chicken is cooked well, leaving it tender, but slightly crispy. The rice is perfectly steamed, and the sweet teriyaki sauce bursts with flavor and improves the taste of the chicken.

The teriyaki sauce plays a large role in making the dish taste good. The sweet and salty flavors complement the chicken perfectly, and the restaurant has a good ratio of sauce to chicken to rice.

Village Cheese House

Village Cheese House offers a deal where students can buy a baguette along with dip for a dollar each, making the student deal $2.

Village Cheese House sacrifices taste for price: this is not to say Cheese House’s student deal tastes bad, but it lags behind the student deals of other restaurants in the taste category. The bread is surprisingly sweet, crispy and dense on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside. The tartar sauce initially made me skeptical, as the idea of just eating bread and tartar sauce seemed a little odd, as I’d never eaten just bread and tartar sauce before.

The amount of food served by Cheese House is far less than other restaurants, even PokeHouse, and the quality of food is somewhat less as well. The sauce is kind of sour and the bread is bland.

Village Cheese House has the best priced student deal in Town and Country, — it is $5 cheaper than the next cheapest deal, and is even cheaper than the lunches sold by the school.

Final Rankings

Categories are listed. 1 is always best and 6 is always worst.

Taste

  1. Lulu’s
  2. PokeHouse
  3. Asian Box
  4. Howie’s
  5. Sushi House
  6. Village Cheese House

Price

  1. Village Cheese House
  2. Asian Box
  3. Howie’s
  4. Lulu’s
  5. Sushi House
  6. PokeHouse

Speed

  1. Sushi House
  2. Village Cheese House
  3. Howie’s
  4. Asian Box
  5. Lulu’s
  6. PokeHouse

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