It's a dish every bit as much a tradition in San Francisco as a Tamale Lady cheese and green chile specimen late nights at Zeitgeist. And if the salt-and-pepper crab at Cantonese institution R&G Lounge also happens to be -- oh -- a tad more expensive than a tamale (last time we looked, it clocked in at $30), who could complain? It's Christmas, after all. Even if you're not feeling the whole babe in a manger thing, consider it the cost of succulence: salty, pepper-numbing crab shell on the outside, sweet, moist hunks of Dungeness on the inside.
Still obsessing about the cost? Consider it the price you pay for escaping Christmas world outside. If only for an hour.
R&G Lounge 631 Kearny (at Sacramento), 982-7877