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What to put together for a great, reasonable meal for two without cooking

Thanks to all you chowhounds for creating a fabulous website. I'm new to the site and new to SF.

I'll be staying in a Yerba Buena Gardens apartment for a few days with my husband and am looking to cut down on expenses by preparing quick easy meals for two. I'll bet you can tell me about some marvelous sandwiches, where to get the ingredients, as well as good basic cheap takeout. I can take public trans or drive, but walking distance would be perfect. I'm willing to walk a couple miles.

Is the Ferry Building within walking distance? Seems there may be some options there, as well as the Sony Metreon, but I've never been to either.

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  1. You'll be a block away from Whole Foods and two blocks from Bristol Farms at the Westfield center. Both have terrific prepared food and fresh ingredients. The Ferry Building is a bit of a schlep, but well-worth it from a sight-seeing point of view. Price-wise it will be even more expensive than Whole Foods. You can find inexpensive choices at the Saturday market, but you'll have to be very selective and not get seduced by beautiful things that cost $6.00 per pound.

    To get to the Ferry Building walk the 2-3 blocks to the Powell St. Bart station (4th & Market) and take BART or Muni 2 stops to the Embaracdero. You can take the F Market streetcar above-ground straight down Market street, but budget a lot of time, as it stops frequently.

    The Metreon has a bunch of mediocre places for the price, IMHO. Westfield's gourmet food court is just as expensive, but the selection and quality are much better. Slanted Door just opened its take-out and casual location there, Out the Door. You can get a very tasty meal there for about $10 per person. Unless you really want to drop some cash, I'd advise against eating at the full-service restaurants upstairs. A recent lunch at Zazil ran me & 2 colleagues $90 with no alcohol.

    Yerba Buena Lane, across the street from the Metreon also has a hidden gem - SF's first Beard Papa location. It's seldom as busy as the one in the mall, and I SWEAR their fillings are more generous.

    For real "chowish" finds, you can hike to 5th & Market on the other side of Nordstrom and get a delicious Vietnamese sandwich for $3.95 at Latte Express. Or trek to 6th & Market (daylight hours only) and get lunch or take-out at the legendary Tu Lan.

    Enjoy your stay!

    5 Replies
    1. re: foodiegrl

      The end of the line of the Mission Street trolley buses is right across the street from the Ferry Building. It's about 3/4 of a mile.

      1. re: foodiegrl

        Thank you so much for your reply. It's chowhounds like you who really make this site great (aside from the fabulous food memories). That was exactly what I was looking for. The fact that you took the time to tell me how to use public trans was very compassionate.

        I've heard such great things about Slanted Door and would like to try Out the Door. Are they in Westfield's? I don't exactly know where that is.

        1. re: healthy_obsession

          Westfield mall is in the old Emporium space, Market between 5th and 6th, next to Nordstrom. The huge new Out the Door is in the basement, which you can enter from the Powell St. BART/Muni subway station.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks, Robert. I can walk there no problem. I'll report back on that one. Great meal for my first night. My wonderful husband deserves an effortless treat after working hard all day. We both love Vietnamese.

      2. getting to the ferry bldg (and beyond to the wharf areas) is simply accomplished by hoping on the F streetcar (lots of vintage cars on this line from other cities/countries to add to the novelty of your day) on Market St. You actually are not
        too far from Chinatown either, matter of fact as far as getting out on foot for a day's venture and bringing something home for later, that can be accomplished without much trouble at all.

        Hope someone told you about the Ferry Bldg Farmer's Market
        on Saturday morning!

        offered for your casual perusal:
        my friend Lee and I worked at the Chron together,
        he's a good handle on that neighborhood's offerings.
        http://tinyurl.com/y5d8dg
        for sandwiches & the like, Latte Express
        (try the vietnamese style sandwiches they offer);
        Tu Lan (on 6th St some 20-30 yds off Market)perhaps
        something to take away home if the ambience scares you off

        http://tinyurl.com/mf7ne
        rests., cafes & shopping hints
        check out links for Tenderloin, Chinatown
        and Union Sq locations via elsewhere on
        that page (neighborhoods

        )

        really and truly an exemplary area to walk about and make many discoveries yourself (unless you might be hindered physically in some manner), Chinatown and N. Beach environs are 20-30
        minutes away; take the F all the way to the wharf, and
        stroll down Columbus St. back to YBG...
        be sure to carry your umbrella tonight & tomorrow.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jonnypea

          Thank you for your very knowledgable reply. It is invaluable to someone like me who is new to the area. The details on public trans will also help immensely. I am going to try out the new location for the Samovar Tea Lounge my first day and will post a report. I will also report back on my other adventures based on chowhound recs. Compared to Atlanta fare, SF is a wonderland.

        2. There aren't actually any apartments in Yerba Buena Gardens. Do you have a street intersection?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I won't arrive until mid-week. I think it's at Third and Fulsom or Third and Howard. I'll be at St. Francis Place.

            1. re: healthy_obsession

              That's on Third near Harrison, near the freeway. The Whole Foods a block away has about the most amazing takeout section in town.

              1. re: healthy_obsession

                OOh.. you'll be right above Pazzia and Bong Su. Bong Su is a must for an elegant night out - think Vietnamese haute cuisine. Pazzia has great pizzas and Italian staples, too.
                Enjoy your stay!

            2. Another couple of thoughts...

              Below Macy's at Union Square is a food court where you can get a wonderful slice of Wolfgang Pucks pizza and a side salad. I can't remember how much it costs, but memory is that it's reasonable and, of course, quite tasty.

              Back at the Ferry Building... another WAY tasty bite is the Ahi burger (with side of sweet potato fries) from Taylor's. It really is fantastic. I haven't been able to get past that to try other things on the menu!

              At Whole Foods, I'm a big fan of their rotisserie chicken. YUM! At Whole Foods, I'm a big fan of their rotisserie chicken. YUM! Their other prepared foods, while looking beautiful, I find are always just a little lacking in taste.

              As previously mentioned, Beard Papa on YBG Lane is totally worth it. I find the Vanilla puff outstanding. Also a big fan of the milk tea when it’s available. And I LOVE Samovar. Not really cheap, but way good. The Moorish tea set is my favorite.

              Welcome to SF!

              1 Reply
              1. re: nutmeg

                I'll be sure to try Beard Papa and Samovar.

              2. Sounds like you are staying at the St. Francis Place on corner of third and Folsom, I used to live across the street.

                There is an inexpensive Indian restaurant called Naan and Curry on 3rd street 2 blocks south when you walk under the freeway overpass (That's not the Chaat Cafe across the street on St. Francis).

                Whole Foods is your closest grocery store distance wise, it is very walkable.

                For inexpensive chinese takeout, there is B&M Chinese restaurant for lunch on Second between Market and Mission. The Canton Chinese restaurant on Folsom between second and third used to have a takeout lunch counter but I don't know if they still have it.

                For really cheap food, take a bus to Chinatown (or a nice long walk), there is a lot of cheap groceries and food there).

                2 Replies
                1. re: kleungsf

                  That's Naan 'n' Chutney, isn't it? (Former Shan.)

                  1. re: kleungsf

                    Yeah, Canton still has the takeout lunch counter, but I'd rather go to B&M myself if you're going to go that route.

                    Another option next to Chaat Cafe is Cha Am if you want some Thai food.

                    If you're in the mood for a hot dog, a What's Up Dog opened up on Harrison at 3rd next to the motorcycle shop, especially if it's a late night craving (they're open until 3 am Thursday - Saturday)