Queer Food Capital: Where to Fortify Yourself for Pink Saturday

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Bagdad Cafe's Desert Fries: Satisfying.
Before getting totally crunk on Gay Power at Pink Saturday, eat a little something. This trio of Castro spots offers affordable sustenance and serious people-watching, while allowing you to take a load off. You've waited all year for Pride -- you can take a few minutes to get a little nourishment under your belt before acting out your inner Sean-Penn-with-a-bullhorn drama.

Slurping and swallowing can be a flirty way to dine. Act as discreet or horny as you wish while getting your oyster groove on in a red leather banquette at petite Woodhouse Fish Company (2073 Market at 14th St.). (There's also a Pac Heights location, 1914 Fillmore at Pine.) Chowder lovers can have their way with a cup or bowl of creamy, clam-filled goodness. The best sandwiches are the crab melt and Maine lobster roll. French fries are especially pleasing with anything on offer. Yeah, there's life after Pride -- the Tuesday happy hour serves up $1 oysters from 4 p.m. to close. No reservations.

Pride doesn't have to be rowdy and raucous. The Café at Café du Nord (2168 Market at 15th St.) has breezy window seating, the perfect place to observe Saturday's gathering storm. The café opened last November -- it's affiliated with the Swedish American Hall and Café du Nord, the music and party venues above and below, respectively. You'll find nibbles, caffeine, and a select number of adult beverages (take it easy: we're talking about beer and wine) in a spotless, artsy setting. Prices are gentle enough to allow broke-ass types to enjoy themselves, and the $4 draft beers are served cold and with a smile. Pastries are made in house, and may include cookies, muffins, and date bars. Check out the pizza, sandwich, and salad options, as well. Free Wi-Fi, and the rotating art is fodder for chat or pontification, up to you.

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What is it about the convergence of fried foods and giggling gay men that can really work up an appetite? Bagdad Café (2295 Market at 16th St.) is a classic Castro resto that can satisfy cravings for both. We recently observed a two-top of young hotties sharing four -- count 'em four -- plates of tasty fried delights: chicken, spuds, you name it. We've wished for years that the Bagdad would offer milkshakes, since that would totally satisfy all our drunk-slash-late-night dining needs in one fell swoop. Until that day, we'll keep satisfying our urges with the patty melt (paired with those delectable fries), or linger over the pancake-sausage combo (oh, grow up). The choice to dance or sleep it off afterwards is all yours.

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