The International Language of Lunch

Usually, when you’re sniffing out cheap lunch deals you tend to be a little less discriminating than you ordinarily would. You’ll ignore the sticky film on the tables at your typical dive because the food’s decent (“Now more edible!”) and the price is right (“All you can cram for just $5!”). You’ll look past the less than attentive service (“We pass the staff savings on to you!”), and you might even ignore the fact that your only view is of the somewhat colorful kitchen (“Our expertly trained chefs microwave everything fresh to order!”). But it doesn’t have to be this way, folks. Price and quality can go hand in hand, like at the cute little bakery/bistro Chocolada (1923 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood).

Every day from noon to 4 p.m., Chocolada serves lunch specials so tasty and inexpensive you’ll be spoiled on cheap meals forever. Pop a seat at one of their covered, street-side tables looking out on Hollywierd Boulevard, and order from their $5.50 daily lunch menu. You’ll get nearly two dozen choices, like the chipotle steak wrap with sour cream and tomatoes or a grilled chicken Florentine panini with spinach, onion, and tomato on crispy, pressed bread; each served with soup, salad, or fries. Need something heartier? Chocolada dishes up big bowls of pasta ala vodka, primavera, or alfredo, with grilled chicken or salmon for just a dollar more. Best of all, you can soak in the collective ambiance of downtown while you eat (tattooed peeps, business folk, and plastic surgery disasters abound). Afterwards, stumble inside and check out the bountiful treats in their display case, complete with chocolate pastries shaped like penguins and towering confections filled with mousses of all flavors. Hey, who said lunch couldn’t be decadent? Call 954-920-6400.
Starts: June 17. Daily, 2008

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John Linn