San Francisco: Food Is Good

If you're coming to San Francisco for Macworld Expo, what are you going to do, not eat? Of course not. Take some food tips from two of Macworld's resident gourmands.

Near the Convention Center

Why pay full price for a hot dog inside the convention center, when just outside you can get one for less? Usually, when something is going on at the Moscone Center, you will find a hot dog and pretzel vendor out front who will also be happy to sell you a cold drink. It'll sure beat Moscone prices.

If Italian is your thing, head half a block down Howard Street -- it runs right between the two Moscone Center halls -- to Buca di Beppo. This is family-style Italian, and they don't open until 5 PM, so bring friends and a hearty appetite! The price for entree start around 15 dollars, but they'll will easily feed you and a few friends.

Max's Diner is also nearby, on Third Street. Here, for around 15 dollars, you can get a hearty, filling, very filling, meal. Be warned, the desserts are great, so you might want to save some room for a slice of cream pie. They do feature some healthy alternatives for anyone who is watching what they eat -- other than just watching it going from plate, to utensil, to mouth.

If you're feeling a little exotic after seeing all those multi-colored computers, perhaps a quick trip to The Caribbean Zone (415/541-9465) is for you. Located under a bus overpass, this place has nothing but charm -- and free plastic monkeys in the drinks! Things like Jerk Chicken, Jambalaya, and even some vegetarian-friendly plates are featured on there menu. The prices are reasonable for the amount of food you get, and the DC-3 located in the main seating area -- a real one! -- is always fun to look at. Suggestion: Go inside the DC-3 for a drink, or just to look. It's fun!

Located down an alley, Henry's Hunan Restaurant (415/546-4999) is a must. Careful -- the food is very spicy. But for around 10 bucks a person, it's ideal for a filling lunch. Suggestion: bring a few people, order one dish per person, get the hot and sour soup, and have plenty of water on hand.

If you're inside the Sony Metreon, don't forget to visit the Metreon's Anti-Food Court -- a name my partner coined. Unlike the food court in the local mall (littered with Panda Express, Burger King, and other variants of "fast" food) you'll find real restaurants with good food! Sushi, steaks, pizza, noodles, seafood, and snacks are all right there for your enjoyment. My favorite is In The Night Kitchen, based on Maurice Sendak's book -- the place allows you to make your own cookies, with frosting and sprinkles, and even create your own PB&J -- perfect for the kid at heart.

Favorite Dives

Adventurous? Looking for a nice dive to visit for some good food? Here are our picks:

Chinese: Kam Po Kitchen, 801 Broadway (cross street: Powell). This place has an excellent five spice roast duck, and crackling roast pig (yes, the one hanging at the counter). Very cheap. If the salty meat is too rich, try the jook.

Italian: Viva, 1224 Grant (cross street: Columbus). Okay, so it's not really a dive, just a place with big, affordable pasta dishes. The Romano is a personal favorite. There's roasted garlic at every table. The two dining rooms look very different, but serve the same dishes.

Mexican: La Taqueria, 2889 Mission (cross street: 24th St.). This one offers the best tacos, with grilled tortillas and chunky guacamole. The mango andmelon agua frescas are great. Easy to get to on BART.

Vietnamese: Tulan, 8 6th St. (cross street: Market). Everything is good, especially the noodles. But not a place to linger.

Pakistani: Shalimar, 532 Jones (cross street: Geary). You may have to step over a few winos, but the food is worth it. If they have the lamb chops, be sure to order them.

Hawaiian: Punahele, 2650 Judah (cross street: 32nd Avenue). The only place in SF to get a bowl of poi. The mochi chicken and lomi lomi salmon are ono!

Go to: Macworld Expo Central
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