The Hard Times Handbook - Page 4

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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Breakfast 8-9 a.m., lunch 11:30 to noon every day.

Kimochi, 1840 Sutter St. Japanese-style hot lunch served 11:45 am (M-F). $1.50 donation per meal is requested. 60+ only with no one to assist with meals. Home deliveries available. 415-931-2287

St. Anthony Dining Room, 10:30-11:30 a.m., 59+, families, and people who can't carry a tray.

Free groceries

San Francisco Food Bank A wealth of resources, from pantries with emergency food boxes to supplemental food programs. 415-282-1900. sffoodbank.org/programs

211 Dial this magic number and United Way will connect you with free food resources in your neighborhood — 24/7.

Low-cost groceries

Maybe you don't qualify for food assistance programs or you just want to be a little thriftier — in which case the old adage that the early bird gets the metaphorical worm is apropos. When it comes to good food deals, timing can be everything. Here are a couple of handy tips for those of us who like to eat local, organic, and cheap. Go to Rainbow Grocery early and hit the farmers markets late. Rainbow has cheap and half-price bins in the bread and produce sections — but you wouldn't know it if you're a late-riser. Get there shortly after doors open at 9 a.m. for the best deals.

By the end of the day, many vendors at farmers markets are looking to unload produce rather than pack it up, so it's possible to score great deals if you're wandering around during the last half hour of the market. CAFF has a comprehensive list of Bay Area markets that you can download: guide.buylocalca.org/localguides.

Then there's the Grocery Outlet (2001 Fourth St., Berkeley and 2900 Broadway, Oakland, www.groceryoutlets.com), which puts Wal-Mart to shame. This is truly the home of low-cost living. Grocery Outlet began in 1946 in San Francisco when Jim Read purchased surplus government goods and started selling them. Now Grocery Outlets are the West Coast's version of those dented-can stores that sell discounted food that wasn't ready for prime-time, or perhaps spent a little too long in the limelight.

Be prepared to eat what you find — options range from name brands with trashed labels to foodstuffs you've never seen before — but there are often good deals on local breads and cheeses, and their wine section will deeply expand you Two-Buck Chuck cellar. Don't be afraid of an occasional corked bottle that you can turn into salad dressing, and be sure to check the dates on anything perishable. The Grocery Outlet Web site (which has the pimpest intro music ever) lists locations and ways to sign up for coupons and download a brochure on how to feed your family for $3 a day. (Amanda Witherell)

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LIVE MUSIC FOR NOTHING -- AND KICKS FOR FREE

Music should be free. Everyone who has downloaded music they haven't been given or paid for obviously believes this, though we haven't quite made it to that ideal world where all professional musicians are subsidized — and given health care — by the government or other entities. But live, Clive? Where do can you catch fresh, live sounds during a hard-hitting, heavy-hanging economic downturn? Intrepid, impecunious sonic seekers know that with a sharp eye and zero dough, great sounds can be found in the oddest crannies of the city. You just need to know where to look, then lend an ear.