3545 SE Hawthorne, 231-0017

While I usually enjoy lunching at only the fanciest of restaurants (valet parking a must), I recently spent the last of my summer fun allowance on a highlight and wax, and my love-handled stepmother hath forbidden father from replenishing my monetary supply. I truly hope that bad karma does not befall her with food poisoning or a deadly intestinal parasite.

In desperate response to my plight, I have sold last year's open-backed Versace evening wear to an impressionable prom-goer, switched to 89 octane gasoline, acquired a somewhat generous mentor, and searched out... what is the word... oh yes, cheap lunch options.

Bower's Bakery & Deli on Hawthone: a resplendent example. For $4.95 (a mere bathroom attendant's tip), you get a fresh-sliced dry meat--not water-logged like a filet of lox--stuffed sandwich dressed with cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish (a bit too flavorful for some), lettuce, tomato, and sprouts. You may have to do a few extra crunches with your personal trainer, but believe me, they are well worth it. The bread is baked in-house by the personnel, and I recommend trying the dense white sunflower bread sprinkled atop with seeds.

Accompanying your fine sandy, you'll receive a small cup of prepared salad and a cookie. The German potato salad resembles a pile of the mashed variety and is laced with a strong dose of vinegar. The traditional potato is flavorful in the traditional sense, but not weighed down by one half-gallon of blubbery mayonnaise.

For a mid-morning pick me up, try one of their baked delicacies, of which there are dozens. The caramel frosted cinnamon roll is decadent, and while the frosting looks overwhelming, it's not oversweet and may cause feverish finger-dipping.

Oh, I nearly forgot. While the interior of Bower's is quite small, there is a long counter with a room-length mirror above, where one can dine and stare at one's perfect features and method of chewing. Be warned: Sometimes Bower's is understocked, they did not have two of the nouveau turkey flavors last time (no Sun-dried Tomato and Garlic, nor Honey Roasted available), but for such reasonable and delicious fare, I forgive. DAME SHIMER