It's a cliché that when times are tough, people will sometimes cash in on one of their most basic attributes: blood. So don't be surprised to see a mob scene at Balboa Cafe's Sixth Burger for a Pint Blood Drive next Tuesday.
In this case, donors will be trading their vital fluid for a Balboa Burger, acknowledged as one of the best slabs of grilled meat in town. If the sight of gore doesn't exactly stoke your appetite, no worries: You can take your pay in the form of a certificate, good for the same burger within a year. If you aren't in a weakened state after your donation, linger over a few drinks from Balboa's cocktail and beer list -- I recommend Herb Caen's Vitamin V (Stolichnaya over ice with a splash of soda and an orange wheel). It happens Tuesday, March 24, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Balboa Cafe San Francisco (3199 Fillmore at Greenwich). For the first time, this year's drive is also happening at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley (38 Miller at Sunnyside) on Tuesday, March 31, from 2 to 7 p.m. To sign up, visit www.bloodheroes.com, click on the "Donate Blood" tab, and enter "Balboa-SF" or "Balboa-MV."