9 great cheap eats for Bay Area dating on a budget

The Picnic Basket on Beach Street was a hub of two-wheeled activity for Bike To Work Day on Thursday. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

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Living in the Bay Area often means paying $15 for a cocktail and another $15 for a burger — it’s a very good burger, but still. It adds up when you’re eating out for two, especially if you’re looking for an activity to accompany that lunch or dinner date.

Luckily, there’s plenty of inexpensive fun to be had in the Bay Area — including these 10 cheap (but awesome!) date ideas — especially in the summer and early fall. And we’ve got the cheap eats to go with them. From gourmet bites at Santa Cruz’s Picnic Basket to craft beer and apps at San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, we’ve got you covered.

Golden Gate Park

Spending the day in Golden Gate Park? Good thing it’s just a few blocks from the Sunset District, where you can replace those walked-off carbs with a few slices of freshly-baked vegetarian pizza ($2.75 each) — with roasted baby Yukon potatoes, basil and pesto on an organic sourdough crust — at the no-frills Arizmendi Bakery. Also: Killer fruit pie and gourmet coffee. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and until 6 p.m. Sunday at 1331 9th Ave., S.F.;

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Head up University Avenue after a wind-whipped day of kite-flying near the Berkeley Marina. Ippudo is a simple, yet stylish ramen shop — the first West Coast outpost of the famed Japanese chain — and there’s nothing you need more than two bowls of steaming Shiromaru Classic ($14 each). You’ll slurp up every last housemade noodle (cooked your way, from soft to medium or firm) with tender bites of delicate pork belly chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms and other fixings. Open from 11 a.m. daily at 2015 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley;

Santa Cruz Boardwalk
If you’re not into funnel cake and deep-fried Oreos, head to The Picnic Basket across the street from the beach. (Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Ah, the perfect spot for beach lovers to spend a summer day. Whether you’re taking in a free Friday concert or a spin on the rides, hop across Beach Street to The Picnic Basket, a cozy cafe brimming with local, seasonal and organic fare, from salads and sandwiches to Penny Ice Creamery cones. We’re partial to the Anna’s Mac and Cheese ($8) made with tender elbow noodles baked in a cheese medley and topped with thyme bread crumbs. Wash it down with one of their seasonal house fruit sodas ($4). Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily at 125 Beach St., Santa Cruz;

Oakland First Fridays

For serious eats, look for no further than this weekly hipster gathering in Koreantown-Northgate, or KoNo. Specifically, get yourselves to Phat Matt’s BBQ for Texas brisket, Memphis ribs, North Carolina-style pulled pork and more. Sharing? Get the 2 Way Plate Combo ($26), which comes with two sides and bread, or a …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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