By Fernando Bazan
With only 5 percent of California State University, Dominguez Hills students living on campus, the clear majority of us are coming from somewhere else. That is a textbook example of a commuter school, and it’s quite likely that our knowledge of the city of Carson is limited to the 346 acres of our campus, and that our dining options are restricted to the Loker Student Union.
But while no one is going to mistake Carson for Paris or New Orleans any time soon, there are a number of tasty eateries located a quick drive from campus where you can indulge while keeping within a tight budget. Last week, I found several that all meet the same criteria: located less than a 10-minute drive from campus; the price for a meal was less than $15; generous portions and good tasting food.
First, is Lucky Star Café located on Central Avenue, less than a mile from campus and just north of the 91 Freeway Billed as a Mexican grille, the menu offers more than 60 items, including pozole, burritos and tacos, but also breakfast, salads and burgers.
So, variety is no issue, but what about price and taste? I ordered the standard hamburger and chili cheese fries. The servings were massive, and the total came to about $11. What helps this joint stand out is they give a student discount if you present the cashier with your student I.D. The food was mediocre, but it filled me up. 7/10.
17209 Central Ave., Carson, (310) 764-4511. www.luckystarcafe.com.
Second is the Carson location for the nationally franchised Hotdog on a Stick, located in the South Bay Pavilion. 2.2 miles from campus, or about a seven-minute drive from campus. I ordered a one box combo, which came with the selection of two corn dogs, a side of fries, funnel cake sticks and lemonade. They offer beef, veggie, and turkey corndogs as options to add a bit of variety. The total was under $12 and overall, I felt like I had a solid full course meal considering how much came in the box. 7.5/ 10.
20700 S Avalon Blvd, Suite #436, Carson, (310) 327-5337. www.hotdogonastick.olo.com.
Next up is Evan Angelo’s Gelateria, which focuses mostly on desserts. It is located on East Dominguez Street 2.5 miles from our campus, about an eight-minute drive. Twenty gelato flavors are offered at any given times, and they are all different enough that there is something for everyone. They also offer crepes, pastas, pizzas, paninis, coffee, and other desserts but their gelato is what one should really be paying for.
The environment is always relaxed, and their servings are always so large they spill over the cup. Out of these four restaurants, I recommend this most. The only reasons it loses points is because it really isn’t a conventional restaurant, but it does offer a variety of delicious, affordable desserts. I bought two double scoop gelato cups for under $13. 8/10.
930 East Dominguez Street, Suite A, Carson, (310) 765-4855.
Fourth is PJ’s Grill located East University Drive which is right before parking lot 4. This location is half a mile from campus and a two-minute drive. Some menu items have a soul food influence, but they also offer burgers, hot dogs and vegetarian/vegan options. Their most popular item is the chicken biscuit, which is delicious fried chicken and a homemade biscuit filled with jelly. With a fountain drink for $2, this will run you $9. 8/10
675 E. University Dr., Carson, (310) 851-4977,
Finally, we get an Asian restaurant, Pho King Way Noodles and Grill, also located on East Dominguez Street, about 2.5 miles away from campus. This Vietnamese restaurant isn’t talked about enough despite it being close to school, economical, and offering something new for students to try.
The food is well portioned and the name of the restaurant, when pronounced correctly, can lead to some laughs. If you are a fan of pho and have around an hour to kill, I recommend this restaurant. A regular bowl of pho without any additions is around $14 and that alone will keep one full for about five hours. 8.5/10
940 E. Dominguez St., Carson, (310) 327-5464, website under construction.