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On The Blackboard

(Pork belly sliders)

Americano Restaurant and Bar offers a superlative three-hour happy hour
San Francisco-native chef Josua Perez sources most of his ingredients from Bay Area purveyors, including those at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market just down the road, to create an out-of-this-world and ever-revolving happy hour menu that defies the notion of dull bar food. Most recently, three pork belly sliders on buttermilk biscuits ($8) were offered alongside a “Garden Mojo” ($9) made with Square One cucumber vodka, rhubarb tea liquore, fresh basil and mint, and lemon lime soda. The menu changes every couple weeks, so check in often.

When: Sat–Wed 3 PM–6 PM
Where: 8 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: 415-278-3777

Cocktails with a conscience at Bluestem Brasserie
Happy hour with a heart? Another round please! Order the Bluestem Smash—made with St. Germain, vodka, or whiskey, muddled seasonal fruit, lime, and sparkling wine—for $7, and $1 of it will be donated to UCSF’s Cancer Research group. Or buy a glass of One Hope Winery Chardonnay or California Pinot Noir for $5 and support Breast Cancer Research and Pinot For Paws, ASPCA, respectively. One Hope also donates 50 percent of its profits to partner charities.

When: Everyday 4 PM–6:30 PM daily
Where: 1 Yerba Buena Ln., San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: 415-547-1111

The North Beach Food Tasting Tour
Some cities have Little Italy, but San Francisco has North Beach—historically the neighborhood of Italian-American immigrants and the birthplace of the “beatnik.” This three-hour walking tour is led by a knowledgeable local guide who plies you with authentic Italian sips plus bites to savor at five neighborhood favorites, such as Ligurian Bakery, known for their thick focaccia bread, and Molinari Delicatessen, a name practically synonymous with salami in San Francisco since 1896. The price is $60 per person.

When: Monday, Thursday, and Saturday
Where: North Beach; exact location announced upon purchase
Telephone: 855-259-5188

Bargain Bánh Mì
We’re spoiled for choice in a city where fancy food from stellar chefs is the daily norm. But sometimes a craving for a good, simple sandwich can’t be fended off, and a trip to the Tenderloin’s Saigon Sandwich has the satisfying answer. Line up with the masses at lunch (or, even better, call ahead and skip the wait) for their signature bánh mì, the traditional Vietnamese sandwich served on a crunchy baguette. There are only three choices: roasted pork, roasted chicken, or meatball pork, each topped with shredded carrots, cilantro, and jalapeño. And at only $3.25 a pop, you can hardly afford not to try one of each.

When: Mon–Sun 7 AM–5 PM
Where: 560 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: 415-474-5698

The Epic Roasthouse Bay View Express Lunch lives up to its name
Just because it’s quick doesn’t mean it can’t have a killer view, right? The Express Lunch at this waterfront favorite serves you two courses for $18.95 with an optional dessert for an additional $5 in 45 minutes or less. Prepared by Parke Ulrich—one of the city’s top chefs—the menu changes regularly, but most recently it was cauliflower soup with black pepper, Chantilly cream, and chives followed by a succulent prime rib sandwich and a side of garlic fries. Add a glass of select red, white, or sparkling wine for only $5 more. And the views of the Bay Bridge are priceless.

When: Mon–Fri 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Where: 369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: 415-369-9955

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