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I DON'T have the hard numbers to prove it, but it's my hunch that people in Silicon Valley eat out more—a lot more—than the average (perhaps sloppy) Joe.

This hunch finds its origin in simple observation. A quick look around reveals hundreds of busy Silicon Valley restaurants that fall into the "cheap eats" category—and many of these places are of higher quality than the word "cheap" implies. Larded with strip malls each of which seems to boast its own culinary treasure, Silicon Valley offers up a virtually endless array of dinner entrees for under $10 per person.

Also boosting my hunch is the unfortunate fact that most people are too busy to cook dinner, and too scattered to pack lunch. Or maybe that's just me. Why drop a PB&J into a paper bag for lunch, when you can eat your way through the valley's international cuisines?

Let's face it: the combination of jam-packed schedules and jam-packed strip malls in the valley has created the ideal climate for eating out.

Whether it's a takeout tamale from Lucy's Tamale Factory ($1.50!), succulent lamb Yebeg Kikil from Ethiopian restaurant Zeni ($9!) or a gourmet sandwich on crusty French bread from Willow Glen's Flower Flour ($3.95!), noshing Nirvana is no more than a short drive away from almost any Silicon Valley point. And a generous number of these Silicon Valley restaurants deliver.

For the times when hunger and to-do lists collide, Metro's annual On the Menu issue is a good place to turn. Here, we reproduce menus from local restaurants and list our own editorial picks in our Diner's Guide. Check back weekly for new listings in the Diner's Guide and longer reviews in our Menu section.

Scrape some change together, and get ready to dine.

Traci Vogel



Lucy's Tamale Factory 233C S. White Rd. (near East Hills), San Jose. 408.729.1846. Second location at 974 Story Rd., San Jose. 408.275.8262. Cash only.
Flower Flour 896 Willow St., San Jose. 408.279.0843.
Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant 1320 Saratoga Ave., San Jose. 408.615.8282.



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From the October 27-November 2, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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