The Hard Times Handbook - Page 11

Free food, music, and movies. Cheap drinks, dates, and dining. Plus much, much more in our guide to surviving these tough times in style
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Like any authentic Ethiopian place I've eaten in, the staff operates on Africa time, so be prepared to linger and relax.

It's a little hipster-ish with slick light fixtures, a narrow dining room/bar, and the increasingly common "communal table" up front, but the Mission District's Bar Bambino (2931 16th St., www.barbambino.com) offers an Italian enoteca experience that says "I've got some sophistication, but I like to keep it casual." Reserve ahead for tables because there aren't many, or come early and sit at the bar or in the enclosed back patio and enjoy an impressive selection of Italian wines by the glass ($8–$12.50). For added savings with a touch of glam, don't forget their free sparkling water on tap. It's another small plates/antipasti-style menu, so share a pasta ($10.50–$15.50), panini ($11.50–$12.50), and some of their great house-cured salumi or artisan cheese. Bar Bambino was just named one of the best wine bars in the country by Bon Apetit, but don't let that deter you from one of the city's real gems.

Nothing says romance (of the first date kind) like a classic French bistro, especially one with a charming (heated) back patio. Bistro Aix (3340 Steiner, www.bistroaix.com) is one of those rare places in the Marina District where you can skip the pretension and go for old school French comfort food (think duck confit, top sirloin steak and frites, and a goat cheese salad — although the menu does stray a little outside the French zone with some pasta and "cracker crust pizza." Bistro Aix has been around for years, offering one of the cheapest (and latest — most end by 6 or 7 p.m.) French prix fixe menus in town (Sunday through Thursday, 6–8 p.m.) at $18 for two courses. This pushes it to $40 for two, but still makes it possible to add a glass of wine, which is reasonably priced on the lower end of their Euro-focused wine list ($6.25–$15 a glass).

Who knew seduction could be so surprisingly affordable? (Virginia Miller)

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FREE YOGA

You may be broke, but you can still stay limber. San Francisco is home to scores of studios and karmically-blessed souls looking to do a good turn by making yoga affordable for everyone.

One of the more prolific teachers and donation-based yoga enthusiasts is Tony Eason, who trained in the Iyengar tradition. His classes, as well as links to other donation-based teachers, can be found at ynottony.com. Another great teacher in the Anusara tradition is Skeeter Barker, who teaches classes for all levels Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:45 to 9:15 p.m. at Yoga Kula, 3030a 16th St. (recommended $8–$10 donation).

Sports Basement also hosts free classes every Sunday at three stores: Bryant Street from 1 to 2 p.m., the Presidio from 11a.m. to noon, and Walnut Creek 11 a.m. to noon. Bring your own mat.

But remember: even yoga teachers need to make a living — so be fair and give what you can. (Amanda Witherell)

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HOW TO KEEP YOUR APARTMENT

So the building you live in was foreclosed. Or you missed a few rent payments. Suddenly there's a three-day eviction notice in your mailbox. What now?

Don't panic. That's the advice from Ted Gullicksen, executive director of the San Francisco Tenants Union. Tenants have rights, and evictions can take a long time.