Quick, Easy and Cheap

I was in line at Safeway the other day and asked the twenty-something clerk, as we do with almost every social interaction, “How are you?” This is a polite gesture and unless posed to a close friend in time of need, requires very little outside of “Fine, how are you?” But she decided to answer, “I am sooooo tired.” I wanted to grab her and explain that we are ALL tired and you will be tired for most of your life. Honestly have you ever had somebody reply, “Very well rested, thank you.”

We are a people on the go and moving at often break neck speeds. The sheer area that we live in require us to be busier than most, simply to stay here. Here is a quick list of why I am personally tired: 1) I started a new company this year. 2) I have a three year old, an eighteen month old and one on the way. 3) I am moving 4) I have two jobs…but I love the station that I am in right now. My life is full. The problem often is, getting my belly to match.

We all know that 2 pm feeling of, “I can’t believe I haven’t eaten more than an Altoid today,” and we start to panic. I need food and I need it now, but I have no time. Unfortunately our programmed minds drift immediately to the Golden Arches or the King, and that is wrong on many levels. So here is what I do in different “need food now” scenarios:


I often work from Peet’s Coffee in Alamo and at that haunting 2 pm hour, nothing pleases me more than getting the Cheese and Fruit Box for $5.95. Three different cheeses, apple slices, sesame crackers and a handful of almonds. Perfect—it keeps me good until dinner.

Trader Joes in Danville has a host of amazing pre-packaged salads for under eight dollars. Oddly, most have chicken so vegetarian is hard to do, but they hit the spot in the time it takes to check out.

Hot and Served

This is a really bizarre lunch option but I find myself doing it more and more often. Costco for lunch, and no not the free sample circuit, although that is wonderful and inexpensive but requires time invested. I don’t even go into the full store part but opt for the enormous slice (or two) of cheese pizza for two dollars a slice. The most time you are going to spend is finding parking.


Jersey Mikes recently opened in Danville and I am excited they did. It is a conveyor belt operation that serves quality sandwiches for under ten dollars. In this town, you can easily spend thirty on two deli sandwiches that are created by Vincent Van Gogh himself and take a month to make. Jersey Mikes builds, wraps and rings, and you are out the door.

Sweet Tooth

Esin Restaurant was created on the dessert prowess of owner/operator Esin. Her dessert menu is second to none and if you know what you want you can call ahead and have it all bagged up, waiting. Sauces are always separated in plastic ramekins and the cost is under seven dollars. This is something I get for my wife on the way home from my Costco Pizza.

Yannis Taverna has, hands down, the best baklava that I have ever had, and larger than most tiny squares, but you are still going to want to get two.

So there you go. Just a couple of quick ideas to get quality food into your empty tanks without creating a “dining out” budget and proof that there is no need to get fries with that or supersize anything.