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Posted on Aug 8, 2008 in admin, Bento, Food Jar, Laptop Lunchbox, SF Bay Area Local | 17 comments

Site updates & SF shopping

Site updates & SF shopping


I’ve been doing a little work on the site lately, and revamped my About page to include comment guidelines and some additional sections at the bottom. It includes a link to the new Press and Awards page that highlights some of the more notable press and web mentions of Lunch in a Box. Recent mentions include articles in Cincinnati Weekly and the Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA newspaper via Inside SoCal), and posts on Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn and Ohdeedoh. Welcome new readers! There are other mainstream media articles on bento lunches in the works for the back-to-school season; I’ll update the Press page with new articles as they appear.

Shopping: Rainbow Grocery stocks bento boxes!
Leaflet bento box (500ml)I was interested to see that Rainbow Grocery co-op in San Francisco has started carrying bento boxes! Prices are actually not outrageous, which is my usual peeve about this large natural foods store. The staff didn’t even blink when I asked where their bento boxes were, and pointed me right to them.

In the housewares section in the front corner, they now stock the Leaflet Tight bento boxes (650ml and 800ml), Laptop Lunchboxes in a variety of colors, thermal drink and food jars from Laptop Lunch, 2-tier stainless ToGo Ware tiffin tins, ESMA Clip & Close containers that can be used as bento boxes (a small square, and a long 1.1-liter rectangle with removable sub-containers), and a 750ml Pyrex rectangle made of tempered glass that would work as a bento box. I’ve added the store and my feedback to the Bento Store Locator (BSL) with Google Maps, where readers can also add their own feedback and listings for bento stores around the world. Thanks to my friend Cherie for the heads-up.



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  1. Oh yea I was at Rainbow yesterday, they have always carried Laptop lunchboxes…. But never the leaflet ones.. must be new for that. I go to Rainbow once a week to stock up on weird spices and weird cooking ingredients !

  2. I want a Totoro box! I want a Totoro box! I want a Totoro Box! Damn, I’m insane. Over 30 yrs old and won’t be happy until my bento box collection holds a totoro box ;).

    I love those leaflet boxes!! They are rarely big enough though to keep an adult lunch. I have however grown used to this small sized kids bento box and bringing a little side box. For me not a big deal. I would buy ebay but the boxes quickly grow very pricy.

    And for Biggie; it wasn’t gluten intolerance once all the final tests came through but another condition. I should stay on the diet for another month or so though.

  3. Oh those at the Rainbow are large enough for adult lunches. Read properly first, Jessika, read first ;).

  4. Oooh pretty! I’ll be going out today to pick up my first bento box and start work on my first lunch.

    Still so much to learn and understand, so thankyou for your brilliant site. Spent most of last night reading through it, and after a quick cuppa tea this morning to get rid of the “oog not enough sleep” feel, I’m going to go out bento box shopping!

    We’ve got a Daiso shop locally, and quite a large number of Japanese food stores, so I think I’ll be spending the day in culinary heaven!

  5. Your site is very informative. I’m sorry if you’ve already addressed this question in the past. I noticed you use a lot of Japanese seasonings which means it is high in sodium. Have you addressed cutting down the sodium content without affecting the taste so much? I love Japanese food but I have a problem with sodium.

  6. Thanks for the info about Ichiban Kan. Just got my order from them, fast and easy. Love my boxes. I’ll order more soon.

  7. @1 from Summers Love: Yes, I’d seen the Laptop Lunchboxes there before, but not the bento boxes. I found it interesting that they stock them now — I wonder if it’s indicative of the growing popularity of bento boxes because of the waste-free, environmentally friendly aspect.

  8. @2/3 from Jessika: Those Leaflet boxes come in a variety of sizes — from 500ml or so and up. You may have to bite the price bullet for a Totoro box; I’ve never seen them for a reasonable price (guess Studio Ghibli has tight control and knows it). So happy to hear it wasn’t gluten intolerance for you! Your life will be easier if you don’t have to worry about cross contamination. Yay!

  9. @4 from Zeb: Enjoy your first bento-making fun! You’re fortunate to have a Daiso locally; that makes it very reasonable to get a variety of fun supplies.

  10. @5 from Dawn: Well, keep an eye on the Bento Store Locator; hopefully someone will input a cool local find. I also prefer to look and physically inspect things before I buy, so I’m with you on that!

  11. @9, Biggie,
    yeah, you’re right on the price for a totoro box :(. Never seen them for below anything reasonable. I’m going to look for a place carrying adult sized leaflet boxes that also offer international shipment.
    And yes, I am quite happy over it not being gluten intolerance.

  12. Thanks Biggie, but I don’t think my bank balance would agree with us! XD

    I’m with Jessika, after drooling over the Totoro bento boxes on J-list I MUST own one @_@

    Just a tad confused though…

    Totoro bento box - according to their description that totoro box is only 520ml capacity, but this eBay shop has what looks like exactly the same bento box but at 630ml?

    Argh! Whose got their measurements wrong? XD

  13. I searched nearby me and there is a Rainbow Grocery about 30 minutes from me! I wonder if its the same chain? It looks like a great store!

  14. Follow-up…Beware not all Rainbow Grocery’s are the same! Mine is a horrible, dirty, little mess in the bad part of town. It’s definitely more Mexican than Asian, as well. Certainly no bento boxes! Wah!!!

  15. @13 from Zeb: Sorry, I don’t have that particular Totoro box, so I can’t tell you which seller is giving the correct capacity. That must be frustrating!

  16. @15 from Monica: Sorry to hear about your Rainbow Grocery; the one in San Francisco south of Market Street is an independent natural foods co-op with lots of organic produce and health foods.

  17. Hi Biggie -
    Just returned from a San Fran trip. Didn’t know about the Rainbow Grocery - probably a good thing!! I did however use your trusty guide…$350 later at the Daiso store, my husband was asking how I could spend so much at a dollar store!! We hit all the places you recommended. Not much to purchase in Japantown itself - found some things at the market and at Moritaya. Ichiban Kan had the same things thay sell on-line, so didn’t need much there, except the coconut pocky! Found some cute things at belonging gifts and the hardware store next door. Then there was Kamei…WOW…lock & lock lunch set and all the funky white dishes I could fit in my carry on! The two best hits for sure were Daiso and Kamei. Very fun adventures in poking around the city - would never have found these great stores without your guide, so thanks so much for that!!