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Posted on Dec 4, 2008 in SF Bay Area Local, Shopping | 15 comments

Site and Shopping Updates

Site and Shopping Updates

A few notes today with bento shopping updates for San Francisco locals, a new Facebook page for Lunch in a Box, a tentative logo, and links for my latest TV appearance. Because this is probably Bug’s last year of preschool, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time touring elementary schools to help us navigate San Francisco’s school lottery system. To anyone else in the same boat — I feel for you, and be sure to check out the SF K Files, a blog by a San Francisco parent who went through the same process last year. The numerous reader comments are invaluable and can help you get savvy quickly.

FACEBOOK:

Lunch in a Box logoLunch in a Box logo small

I also made a Facebook page for Lunch in a Box, so Facebook users can track updates there if it’s easier. On the Facebook page I put up a placemarker Lunch in a Box logo that I had a designer work on; I’m not totally sure about it yet. Thoughts?

TV LINKS:
Morning news anchors at Fox40 Live, SacramentoLinks are up for the appearances I made last week on Fox40 Live, the Sacramento Fox affiliate’s live morning news show. There are two 4.5-minute segments about “Creative Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner Leftovers”. In the first TV segment, I showed the Turkey Mole Enchilada recipe and ways to use leftover bread. In the second TV segment, I demonstrate the Curried Turkey Croquette recipe and show ways to repurpose leftover cranberry sauce. Verdict: Not perfect or anything, but at least I’m still breathing and didn’t use bad language. ;-) It was a lot of fun!

SHOPPING:

A few shopping updates today for San Francisco Bay Area locals. I’ll be updating the San Francisco Bay Area bento shopping guide and the store entries in the Bento Store Locator with this information for quick reference. If you have info or updates on the best places to find bento gear in your neighborhood, be sure to add it to the Bento Store Locator so that we can all benefit, wherever we are in the world!

  1. Super Tokio: Selection of cheap bento boxes, and reasonably priced Lock & Lock insulated bento sets (individual and picnic) (SF Richmond Dist.)
  2. Sanrio: Unusual bento accessories and character goods (pricey) (Westfield Mall, SF Downtown)
  3. Yes Variety: Many cheap bento boxes and thermal lunch jars (mostly from China), including reasonably priced Lock & Lock insulated bento sets (individual) (SF Sunset Dist.)

(Read on for the full details on each store with photos.

1. Super Tokio

Bento store

I found some of the elusive Lock & Lock insulated bento sets (blue and red striped bags) at this tiny Japanese market run by Chinese. Prices on the new Lock & Lock sets are excellent, and they have both small individual bento kits as well as the large multi-person picnic sets. It looks like they bought some of the Natural bento sets (bottom, middle) from Ichiban Kan and are reselling them at a mark-up. Hey, more bento variety all over San Francisco!

Super Tokio
251 Clement St. (between 3rd & 4th Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 668-1118

2. Sanrio

Bento gear at Sanrio Lunch gear at Sanrio

I was wandering around in the Westfield Mall on Market Street, and popped into the Sanrio store on the bottom floor by the food court (Bloomingdale’s side). Definitely worth stopping by if you’re into cute character goods: they had a variety of kinchaku lunch bags, insulated lunch bags, utensil sets, Shinkansen rice molds and Hello Kitty sandwich cutters. Prices are predictably high, but there’s no avoiding that if you’re in the market for Sanrio character goods. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Sanrio
865 Market St.
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 495-3056
www.sanrio.com

3. Yes Variety

Thermal lunch jars at Yes Variety Bento gear at Yes Variety

Located near Sunset Supermarket on Irving Street, Yes Variety is a Chinese discount housewares store with some good-priced Lock & Lock insulated bento sets, cheap Chinese thermal lunch jars, cheap (low-quality) Chinese bento boxes, and little GlassLock-style tempered glass food containers with lids. They’re all in the first aisle as you walk in. If you do a lot of baking, be sure to check out their bulk baking supplies in the back, including cupcake liners, disposable baking pans, food picks, and to-go containers.Baking cups at Yes Variety

Yes Variety
2345 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 242-5170

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  1. For South Bay residents, a new Daiso has opened in Cupertino http://www.yelp.com/biz/daiso-cupertino (I visited it myself and it is really open).

    It is smaller than the Mtn. View store, which in turn is smaller than the Daly City store.

  2. Cool to see you doing your thing on TV. You go girl!

    From Kyoto,

    TK

  3. I was in CA recently and found a bunch of bento stuff, but I forgot to get the addresses of the stores. Maybe I still have some of the recipts, I’ll have to check. In any case I was in Southern CA in Ontario Mills (mall) and the Sanrio store has some My Melody single and two tier boxes in addition to a Cinnamaroll one on clearance ($3.22). Also I found a mall near Monteray Park that had a Sanrio store, Japanese outlet store (great selection) and one other Sanrio like store (only a couple of boxes). I’m going back next month so if I can’t add to the store locator this month I will next.

    I would also like to add that while I agree that Sanrio products are expensive, I don’t mind the prices. I realize I’m paying for a caracter and they’re stuff isn’t poor quality. I’ve never had anything I’ve bought frome that company fall apart. If someone were not sure if they wanted to spend that much on a box I would tell them to buy just one (you don’t need the whole matching set) and try it out. I’ve never been disapointed with they’re quality.

    For example I have a sandwich bento from Ichiban Kan and a Keroppi (Sanrio) one. The Ichiban one is okay but the look and feel of both is really quite different. The Sanrio one is just nicer, the sides of the sandwich case snap together well and it doesn’t feel flimsy. The top sandwich part doesn’t slide around with the Sanrio one but that could not be said about the Ichiban box. They would both get the job done but the one from Ichiban will never last as long as my Sanrio one. This is of course, just my opinion. But I hope it helps anyone trying to decide between a box they want, but aren’t sure of cause of the price.

  4. I think I like this logo. Very nice.

  5. I’m totally jealous of the shopping options you have in SF :)

  6. We are far form having these sort of store in France and we are nearly jalous.

  7. I dig the new logo. It’s very illustrative. :)

  8. @1 from freecia: Thanks for the heads up about the Cupertino Daiso, freecia! Great info.

  9. @2 from Katey B: Thanks Katey!

  10. @3 from koolchicken: I have to agree with you on the quality of the Sanrio bento gear. While it is pricey, it’s generally much better quality than the dollar store bento gear and wears accordingly. Good point — sometimes you get what you pay for.

  11. @8 from Anonymous: This is good feedback on the logo, Anonymous. I put it up on the FB page because I don’t have anything else in terms of logos, but I’m not 100% satisfied with it, somehow.

  12. I don’t find the logo “catchy” or “appealing” I find it too plain and I get the concept but maybe make it more 3D-like, especially the container.

  13. Good job on the tv-segments, I think you came across very natural.
    Very jealous about the bento-shopping options in SF – I really need to go there some time (except I’m in the Netherlands, not exactly next door…)
    Granted, I’m not a graphic designer, but I like the logo. I’m a less-is-more gal, and this does work for me.

  14. Hooray on the tv segments! You looked very composed & not at all nervous (I know I would have been!) I love the fact that you are becoming a bento guru! ;-P

    And for the logo – I really like the concept of the letters in the bento, but – it’s kind of plain, and not really inspiring… Not you at all! Maybe a different font would work better?

  15. There’s also a new dollar store in Westlake in Daly City – Dai Ichi. Same cheap Ichibankan stuff, but it might be more convenient for some people.