bay area, semi-cheap
I'm in San Francisco for 5 days in early March and want to eat fantastic stuff, relatively inexpensive (super inexpensive is great, too, but I won't hold my breath).
while in SF, we would love to have some delicious:
desserts (i'm a baker)
we have a car, if we need to drive for the goods. where should we go?
You can do pretty well cheap on that particular list, assuming one of your five days includes a Saturday morning for the Ferry Plaza Farmers market. There will be local cheesemakers who will give samples, so it's free! There will also be local bakeries and charcuterie (Fatted Calf) at the market. Inside the Ferry Building is Cowgirl Creamery, Acme (they have great pastries they only sell at their bakery), Boccalone (salumi), Hog Island oysters, etc.
For bakeries, here's a pretty comprehensive discussion from a couple of months ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532453
Beer -- Torondo (you can bring in sausages from Rosamunde next door to eat with your beer)
Oysters -- Hog Island has $1 oysters for happy hour on Mondays and Thursday.
Would you consider salumi under "charcuterie"? Housemade salumi is very trendy in SF Italian restaurants these days. I can personally recommend Perbacco (the restaurant isn't cheap, but you could order a salumi plate and a drink at the bar).
Mexican food is cheap -- there's lots of discussions of Mexican on that link wolfe gave you.
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Hog Island Oyster Bar
Ferry Building,, San Francisco, CA 94111
547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA
For oysters, you definitely have to go to Swans Oyster Depot. They have the best quality oysters for reasonable prices (much better than Hog Island Oyster at the Ferry Building). Also, get their crab salad which has more crab than lettuce. Just be sure to get their early or go during a weekday becuase their lines are long and they don't do dinner. But if you are looking for a good deal, you can try Cafe Maritime's late night a dozen oysters for $13(after 11pm nightly). I think Hog Island Oyster has $1 an oyster happy hour during weekdays, but I still haven't checked that out.
For Korean, you want either Brother's or any other place that does Wooden Charcoal BBQ. It's more pricey than the gass places, but the wood smoke adds a lot more flavor.
Check out my English Photo Guide to Dim Sum for the iPhone at http://www.tipatat.com/dimsum
I don't want to hijack the thread, but I'm actually working on making the whole list available online. When I was researching for the iPhone app, i was surprised there wasn't anything comprehensive online already. I haven't finalized everything yet in terms of design, but all the info is already there.
For beer, you should definitely consider the Monk's Ketttle on 16th St. The beer selection is fantastic and the people behind the bar know their stuff. They have very good burgers and fancy sandwiches there too that aren't too pricey (the entrees are more expensive and aren't as good).
For something off-beat, try Lolo's -- the best mexican turkish fusion you will find. More moderate than cheap, but fun.
The Monk's Kettle
3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
When I went past Monk's Kettle a few weeks ago, there was a bouncer guy at the door and a line on the sidewalk. It's a small place.
Looking at the beer list online, I'd consider it pretty good but toranado and oakland's Trappist are every inch as good - maybe even better - and I've never been turned away from either.
Amnesia down the block on Valencia has an above average selection of Belgians too, as I recall.