Eating Cheap in San Jose

One of the problems with conferences is that they’re usually held in business hotels which often aren’t too close to anything but crappy chain restaurants. And the restaurants in the hotels are overpriced and mediocre, at best.

Streaming Media West is at the San Jose Convetion Center, which at least is downtown, so there are some stores and restaurants nearby, though a lot of the restaurants are fairly expensive.

That’s when you need to do a little walking and check out the environs that are more than 4 blocks away.

All over San Jose are these little Vietnamese sandwich shops, and they sell their wares for just $2 a pop. A Vietnamese sandwich is a demi-baguette filled with spicy meats and veggies — there’s always a vegitarian version. It’s delicious and very filling, and deal at $2. You can’t even get a bland Subway veggie delight for $2.

Last night I found a little all vegetarian Vietnamese place just outside San Jose State U — maybe 2 miles from my hotel. They had a crazy variety of fake veggie meats. The friendly owner made me a rice plate filled with his best, including fake drumsticks with a great glaze, just $5.

While the food in Central Illinois has gotten pretty good, especially for vegetarians, it still can’t hold a candle to the West Coast for variety and flavor.

My advice to the conference goer who doesn’t have an expense account (like me)–or even the conference goer who wants something better than hotel food: take a little walk and get away from all the middle-class white businesspeople. Your belly will thank you.






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