13 bargain eats from Bay Area celebs

SFGate · Guide to San Francisco · created about 4 years ago

What would Brian Boitano eat, cheaply? Find out, along with bargain picks from other Bay Area celebs, like Mayor Gavin Newsom, author Mary Roach, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and rocker Sammy Hagar. Get more bargain dining ideas here: http://www.sfgate.com/food/bargains/

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  • tom yum gai at Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine in San Francisco, CA

    Brian Boitano, 1988 figure skating Olympic gold medalist and host of the Food Network show “What Would Brian Boitano Make”: Boitano says he hits a number of bargain restaurants. Some of his favorites include: His favorites include Lemongrass Thai Cuisine on Polk Street in San Francisco, where he gets the tom yum gai soup. “Spicy chicken with lemon grass, mushroom, and lemon leaves ($7.75) is my favorite. All their dishes are in the same dollar range.” He’s also a fan of Yuet Lee in San Francisco. “The atmosphere is stark because of the fluorescent lights. … It is pretty bright, actually too bright, but the calamari is phenomenal, and it really comes out about 30 seconds after you order it. It is a great late-night place. I like to order the pepper and salt roast fresh squids for $10.”

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    chicken wrap at Mint Cafe in San Francisco, CA

    Gavin Newsom San Francisco mayor: The Mint Cafe in the basement of the civil courthouse on McAllister Street in San Francisco is the mayor’s go-to place for cheap eats. He particularly likes that the restaurant is owned and operated by a local businesswoman, Reem Nasraa, and serves fresh, healthful food for a good value. Newsom says he eats lunch there nearly every day, or gets it to go — usually the chicken wrap, turkey sandwich or chicken club.

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    Falafel at R Image Market in San Francisco, CA

    Jennifer Siebel Newsom Actress and San Francisco’s first lady: “R-Image Market (2896 Folsom St., at 25th Street) in San Francisco. It’s literally a supermarket with sandwiches to go and I am not kidding: The falafel is incredible.”

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    Green Papaya Salad at Out The Door in San Francisco, CA

    Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony: “When I’m at the Ferry Building Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, wandering between the Cowgirl Creamery and Frog Hollow Farm, and don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, you can find me heading over to Out the Door, the Slanted Door’s take-out wing. A cup of delicious duck porridge, perhaps a green papaya salad, or the lemongrass tofu and stir-fry vegetables all offer the textures and flavor combinations that really hit the spot.”

  • Hamachi Lime Roll at Ace Wasabi's Rock N Roll Sushi in San Francisco, CA

    Ali Fedotowsky, the star of the sixth season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette”: "I love the hamachi lime roll at Ace Wasabi in the Marina. It isn’t always on the menu, but if you ask for it they will make it. It is so refreshing and light. I get it every time."

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    Truffle Fries at Hobnob in Alameda, CA

    Mary Pols, author of the memoir “Accidentally on Purpose,” which became a CBS sitcom starring Jenna Elfman: If the show hadn’t been so short-lived, Pols says she wouldn’t need to eat cheaply. “We live in Alameda, and I won’t lie to you: There is an absolutely valid reason the island city is not known for its food. However, our local cheap eats options did improve when the Hob Nob opened up on Park Street a few years ago. It’s a dark pub that happens to be totally kid-friendly, with a stack of games in the back. He plays Connect Four while I have a happy hour cocktail for $5. We split the truffle fries ($7), and he gets the mini burgers ($9 for three) while I order grilled artichokes or one of their lovely big salads (usually around $8), featuring whatever is fresh at the moment. Then I eat at least one of his burgers. We both leave happy.”

  • Patlican Biber Kizartma at A La Turca in San Francisco, CA

    Kate Moses Author of “Cakewalk: A Memoir:”: “After a trip to Turkey a few years ago my whole family became obsessed with Turkish food. Alaturca on Geary is authentically Turkish. To start I always order the patlican biber kizartma (spicy eggplants and peppers with a yogurt sauce) and havuc kizartmasi (fried carrots with garlic) to eat with their homemade pide — bread, and Iskender kebap or the ‘lamb shish’ — marinated cubes of lamb grilled on a skewer and served with pilaf.”

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    Kati Roll, Chicken Tikka Masala at Kasa Indian Restaurant in San Francisco, CA

    Liam Mayclem, host and producer for CBS-TV’s “Eye on the Bay”: Mayclem says Kasa Indian Eatery in San Francisco, which serves North Indian street food, reminds him of growing up in England, where Indian food was more popular than fish and chips. “My favorite is the Kati Roll — a house-made roti I like stuffed with chicken tikka masala, which is served with a dollop of spices and raita. You can get one for $4.50 and two for $7.95. I like to stop by on the weekend before I walk over the hill to my home in Noe Valley.”

  • Carnitas Taco at Casa Del Palmar in San Rafael, CA

    Sammy Hagar Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former front man of Van Halen: Casa Del Palmar in San Rafael, where he’s a big fan of the carnitas burritos and the carnitas tacos. He also likes Stefano’s Pizza in Mill Valley. “My family’s favorite is the plain old cheese pizza.”

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    Carne Asada Burrito at Taqueria La Cumbre in San Francisco , CA

    Bob Mould Musician and founder of the punk-rock band Hüsker Dü: “In the summer of 1981, while touring with Hüsker Dü, Jello Biafra brought me to La Cumbre (515 Valencia St., San Francisco). Money was in very short supply that summer, and the carne asada burrito was $3, so La Cumbre was a daily pilgrimage. Thirty years later, the only changes appear to be a small increase in price ($7) and my order — I now favor the chicken burrito.”

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    Al Pastor Taco at Taqueria Sinaloa in Oakland, CA

    Mary Roach New York Times Best-selling author of “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void” and other books: The Sinaloa Taco Truck at International Boulevard and 22nd Avenue in Oakland — “the al pastor tacos for $1.25 are amazing.” She’s also partial to Tamales Mi Lupita on Foothill Boulevard in Oakland, where she regularly dines on the pork tamales. In Oakland’s Chinatown, it’s Shan Dong for the homemade noodles and dumplings.

  • House Combo Sandwich at Mr Pickle's Sandwich Shop in San Mateo, CA

    Kurt Suzuki, catcher for the Oakland A’s: “Mr. Pickle’s sandwich shop. I love that place, especially the house combo: turkey, ham and salami and cheese. That’s what I get all the time.” Suzuki frequents Mr. Pickle’s at 3141 Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon, but there are several Bay Area locations, including 405 Broadway, Millbrae; 1432 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo; 621 Fourth St., Santa Rosa; 3100 Lakeville Highway, No. C, Petaluma; and 1710 A St., Antioch.

  • Sandwich at Chick-fil-A in Fairfield, CA

    Stephen Curry, Guard for the Golden State Warriors: Curry’s go-to bargain restaurant is a place he can find in just about any city where he’s playing — Chick-fil-A. (Our closest one is in Fairfield.)