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Unleash the freegan

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Free stuff rules, especially when you’re really paying for it. By that, we mean free appetizers, of course. Those delicious little precursors to a well-deserved evening out don’t have to break the bank. They don’t even have to touch the bank.

There are several establishments in and around San Luis Obispo that offer patrons a little something extra with their meal, without making you reach for your chest in a mock-coronary. These establishments should be honored as a dying breed among the ever-present impersonal and miserly chain restaurants that scoff at the mere notion of free.

There seems to be a free appetizer for every kind of palate in San Luis Obispo. If you head over to Sidecar, you can indulge in some truffle popcorn before the beers hit the table. It’s a sinfully sweet and unique twist on the usual bar nut or pretzel. Friendships have been won and lost over the last piece of Sidecar popcorn.

Chino’s basket of warm tortilla chips is always gone too soon, but thankfully the meal is never too far behind. It’s a classic, but one that seems to be quickly disappearing from many Mexican restaurants’ repertoires. The free salsa is spicy and plentiful, and the server always seems to magically appear with the bowl as soon as you sit down.

At Big Sky, you don’t have to sacrifice indulgence for health. Their basket of breads is the perfect start to any salad or veggie sandwich. The muffins are a crowd favorite and usually the first to go. The proportions leave everyone feeling a little spoiled, but the basket certainly won’t leave anyone denying lunch, either.

Once you’ve eaten every free thing SLO has to offer, head over to Kreuzberg and get yourself a latte or cappuccino. Chances are you’re probably full from your adventure into freeganism, so it’s a good thing the free coffee-cookie is pretty small. But, hey, it’s the little things in life. So nibble away on that little chocolate chip freebee.

Intern Maeva Considine compiled this week’s column. We want a Bite! Send us your food, wine, and related news at bites@newtimesslo.com.

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