Area 31: $19 Lunch Box Starts Today

Gas is over four dollars. Jesus didn't come back. It's April, and now we're eight months from Mayan doom.

But wait! There's hope. While every other place is sucking money from our veins like a love scene in the Twilight Saga, Area 31 has come to the rescue. Starting today, it's offering a $19 lunch box special Monday through Friday.

Here's how it works: You've got clients coming in, but your budget won't allow a ritzy outing. And then you remember reading this. Area 31's "Lunch Box" includes an item from the simple snack menu. Simple snacks include cobia tiradito, potato-chorizo croquettes, tuna tartar, and the like. It's not shabby stuff. In this case, we had the pork belly sliders. They were served on buttered buns, with cool slaw, and a sweet and tangy pineapple mustard. And the pork was crispy.

The next part of your lunch box is choosing from the "Hands On" or the Entree Salad menus. Hands on items include sandwiches like an arugula pesto chicken sandwich, black bean goat cheese tacos, and iberico flatbreads with chorizo, lomo, and manchego. When we came to check out the nibbles though, we decided on an entree salad - we went with the smoked chicken salad. Mixed grains, goat cheese, avocado, roasted chicken, and a roasted pepper sauce to boot.

Wash everything down with a refreshing infusion drink -- sure to detox you from your wild night before. Orange mint comes with agave nectar, mint, fresh orange juice, lime juice and sparkling water. Cucumber basil has muddled cucumber, basil, and agave nectar. We're gonna have to come clean - we tried all of them and then had difficulty choosing a favorite because they were all so delicious and refreshing. You'll just have to decide for yourself.

You'll be stuffed. No, trust me. It's a good thing dessert is perfectly packaged to go mobile as you waddle down to the lobby where you left your car with the complimentary valet. Upon leaving, you'll get a freshly baked, warm cookie to go.

For a little over 20 bucks including tax and tip, this lunch special cannot be beaten.

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Alex Rodriguez