Some say to avoid food on first or second dates, but I completely disagree. Not only do the culinary offerings of a city define its character — and therefore make it an interesting aspect to explore — you’ll find out very quickly whether your date has food issues (i.e. “I only eat cheese from raw goats milk”). Plus, it’s difficult to not enjoy a date when you’re sampling your city’s best. And remember, you can always up the ante: If you and your date are feeling particularly brave, try bonding over sweetbreads or cow tongue! Here are my 5 favorite San Fran foodie dates that are affordable, fun and super-romantic.

1. Food Cart Adventure

The date: How Hookup . . . go food truck hopping? Spencer on the Go! for escargot popsicles, Kung Fu Tacos for tortilla-wrapped duck, and The Crème Brûlée Cart for you know what.

Why it’s great: Brown-bag a bottle of wine and eat in the street like you’re in high school. Maybe you’ll get those same first date butterflies?

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photo courtesy of The date: drive up north and shuck oysters at Hog Island Oyster in Tomales Bay?

Why it’s great: There’s no better way to get to know someone than taking a road trip together (albeit a short one) and picnicking near the ocean. Plus the sight of your date wearing yellow fisherman gloves and wielding a shucking knife is one you won’t forget. And you know what they say about oysters…

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3. The Nopa Burger

The date: How Hookup . . . eat a gourmet hamburger at Nopa? Grass fed beef, brioche bun, picked onions, basil aioli and French fries.

Why it’s great: San Francisco is full of delicious and pricey restaurants—yet almost all of them share one thing in common: the gourmet hamburger. It’s always the cheapest thing on the menu and one of the most delicious. The hamburger date is the affordable fancy date.

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Photo by flickr usr bonnibella

4. Wine and Cheese Please

The date: How Hookup… challenge each other to a wine and cheese tasting competition at Hôtel Biron?

Why it’s great: I love dates with a competitive element; it ups the fun. Test your knowledge together by guessing cheese types and wine varietals. Jot your answers down on paper and think of a prize for whoever wins!

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5. Mexican Fiesta

The date: How Hookup . . . have a Mexican fiesta at Doña Tomas?

Why it’s great: If the Bay Area does one thing well, it’s Mexican food. This Berkeley gem offers yummy authentic Mexican dishes, amazing Margaritas, and a colorful atmosphere. ¡Buen provecho!

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What are your favorite foodie dates? Let us know in the comments, or better yet, post your own date on HowHookup!

Beth Cook is a dating coach, columnist and wing-woman. You can get advice and read about her adventures in dating at ilikelikehim.

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