The quaint town of Davis always has been one of my favorite destinations, though I’d never spent a day there in search of Dollar-Wise deals—until recently. After excitedly announcing to The Boyfriend that I was amazed by the many bargains I’d found, he pointed out that this wasn’t altogether surprising, given that Davis is, after all, a college town. Strike up one big “duh” for Dollar-Wise. Here are some of the lunch deals I dug up in downtown Davis.
Dumpling House (129 E St.) Plump housemade dumplings with fun fillings are the star at this serene little eatery. I ordered the pork chive ($6.95), flavorfully filled with garlic-infused ground pork, chives and a potent blast of ginger, and was shocked when a platter of 12 was plopped in front of me. The chili oil dipping sauce adds a peppery punch. There’s also a bunch of chef’s specials, including sesame chicken and tomato beef ($5.99), served with rice or noodles.
Davis Noodle City (129 E St.) Another cute place, with lunch specials such as orange beef and Sichuan eggplant ($5.95 and up) with rice or noodles. The dan dan noodles ($4.95), a pile of fresh noodles with Sichuan sesame peanut sauce topped with green onions and crushed peanuts, are a yummy, beautiful bargain.
Cloud Forest Cafe (222 D St.) A pleasant cafe with a pretty outdoor patio, Cloud Forest primarily serves panini ($5.95). But I was thrilled with the Cranberry Bleu Mix salad ($5.50), a heap of fresh mixed greens dotted with dried cranberries, candied walnuts and a sprinkling of blue cheese. An added treat: It came with hunk of fresh, herby focaccia.
SANDWICHES & SUCH
Delta of Venus (122 B St.) A peaceful hippie vibe, sprawling outdoor patio and low prices make this a happening spot. Though the menu is rife with vegan and vegetarian items, I tried the turkey pesto sandwich ($6). Typically served on sourdough baguette, mine was on wheat-walnut bread, with a nice smattering of pesto and neat layers of turkey slices, red onions, tomatoes, and red and green lettuce leaves. Mixed greens with herb vinaigrette came on the side.
The Hotdogger (129 E St.) There’s always a line at The Hotdogger, known for its fantastic Village Bakery rolls and multiple mustard options, from Hawaiian pineapple to Maui onion and garlic. A basic dog is $3.75, but I’m partial to the Mexican-inspired Ortega ($4.75), topped with mayo, mustard, mild chilies and pepper Jack.
Village Bakery (814 Second St.) The brick-oven pizza at this tiny hole in the wall is considered by many to be Davis’ best. For a nice big slice, you’ll pay $2.25 for cheese, $2.50 for pepperoni and $2.75 for veggie. There’s also a $5.50 meal deal, offered all day every day, featuring a slice (any variety), Greek salad and a beverage. Another nearby pizza deal: On Mondays at Uncle Vito’s Slice of N.Y. (524 Second St.), it’s $1 a slice.
If you still have room for dessert—or even if you don’t—don’t miss Davis Creamery (located at Sugar Daddies, 113 E St.), whose delectable, pure-tasting, handcrafted ice creams run the gamut from plain vanilla to chai tea and avocado coconut. (My favorite: salted caramel.) For the best bargain, hit it on Mondays starting at 5 p.m., when you can get a scoop for only a buck.