I got a new job, and just in time. Now located at 3rd and Harrison, I've been wandering in every direction, trying to spend under $10. So close to Moscone and yet the lunch options are spread out.
The obvious: Whole Foods. You can spend $15 if you're not paying attention at the hot foods bar. On the other hand, you can do well if you're careful, don't go when you're starving, and resist the fresh fruit drinks ($2.99, full of fresh strawberries, yum!) and cookies (don't ask). Sunny corner to eat in with free wifi and corn-based utensils. Tip: staples are very cheap if you can find them. I got a half gallon for milk, hidden way back in the farthest corner, for $2.49 to keep at the office.
Epicenter Cafe has Barefoot coffee drinks (delicious), empanadas (delicious), live music, a wine and beer license, and pumpkin bread ($4 a slice--I put it back). Hip, quiet, tasty. Wifi.
Despite inattentive service, Zesty serves big bowls of fine, well-priced Vietnamese food. I got rice noodles with pork and imperial rolls and listened to the guys at the next table discuss their poker strategies. What else is good?
Chaat Cafe has decent Indian. Kind of self-serve, kind of surly guy took my order. I liked my chicken korma. It was on my way to the interview though, so I spent a lot of time worrying about spilling it or my mango lassi on my herringbone blazer.
It had been years since I ate at Cha Am, which was packed on a rainy day. Green curry chicken was a bit salty, but the vegetables were perfectly cooked and it had a bit of kick and fresh basil. What's good here? Service was distracted. This is a nice place to sit though, and food is a cut above most mediocre Thai in the city.
We also checked out Naan and Chutney. Specials are the way to go since they come with rice and naan. Free chai for all. I had the saag ghost, which was flavorful if underspiced. Comfortable seating. Most entrees around $9, some less.
Bill's Teriyaki Kitchen is an old school dive. Japanese, burgers, Chinese. You want it, they got it. I got a chicken teriyaki and tempura combo. Teriyaki was dreadful, but tempura good enough I'd give them another try. Anyone tried the burgers? Friendly service including free delivery.
Gigi Cafe serves giant old-fashioned sandwiches with chips for $5.55. Cheerful service, made to order. I had pastrami, which was huge and okay. This is not a high-end place; more like a garage with a couple of tables in the front. Catering too. Anyone tried the burgers or breakfast burritos?
Mexico au Parc is dishing up huge burritos and the like in the old Gordo space. With two lines, it's a little confusing how to order. I got a carnitas taco and an al pastor (only so so) but while I was waiting saw what I should have ordered: the taco azteca with grilled onions and peppers and chicken or beef. Next time. Free thin chips and salsa bar, jamaica. Lunch under $7 is hard to complain about on South Park.
Thanks to proximity search on Yelp, I found Eden Plaza Cafe, on 2nd at Harrison, across from Maya. Huge menu, family run, a very friendly place. Any kind of salad, sandwich, wrap (I had a spinach wrap with a Cobb salad inside), soup, pasta, hundreds of kinds of chips and energy drinks. Like Gigi, this is good old-fashioned food--the cheese in your salad is not from goats in Bolinas. Thumbs up.
There's also a new Peet's across from Whole Foods.
Where should I eat next month? On the list: Pazzia, Chili, Lime, Garlic, and TWO to go. I heard a rumor Orson had sandwiches from a cart.
320 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Cha AM Restaurant
701 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Mexico Au Parc
24 S Park St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Naan N' Chutney - CLOSED
474 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Whole Foods Market
399 4th St, San Francisco, CA
764 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94107
850 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107
685 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Eden Plaza Cafe
600 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94107