RSA Conference

Next week is the RSA Conference in San Jose, CA. I will speak on “The Economics of Security” at 4:30 PM on the 14th, and again on “Why Security Has So Little to Do with Security” at 2:00 PM on the 15th. I will also participate in a main-stage panel on ID cards at 8:00 AM on the 16th.

Also, my wife and I have written a 110-page restaurant guidebook for the downtown San Jose area. It’s a fun read, even if you aren’t looking for a San Jose restaurant. (Do people know that I write restaurant reviews for the Minneapolis Star Tribune?)

The restaurant guide will be available at the conference—and of course you can download it—but I have a few hundred to give away here. I’ll send a copy to anyone who wants one, in exchange for postage. (It’s not about the money, but I need some sort of gating function so that only those actually interested get a copy.)

Cost is $2.50 if you live in the U.S., $3.00 for Canada/Mexico, and $6.00 elsewhere. I’ll accept PayPal to my e-mail address——or a check to Bruce Schneier, Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., 1090A La Avenida, Mountain View, CA 94043. Sorry, but I can’t accept credit cards directly.

Posted on February 10, 2006 at 12:30 PM28 Comments


Pat Cahalan February 10, 2006 1:44 PM

I grew up in SJ, and I can attest that the review of Paolo’s and Armadillo Willy’s is spot on (I recommend both highly). Paolo’s in particular (I agree) is the best Italian food south of San Francisco. Armadillo Willy’s is probably one of the top 5 BBQ places in the state of California.

Too bad Mansuer’s is gone, their food was great.

B-Con February 10, 2006 1:58 PM

Man, I really wish you were giving out RSA conference registration for $6 😉

I didn’t know that you did restaurant reviews as well, but it seems like the type of thing that you’d do.

D February 10, 2006 2:38 PM

I’m impressed by the guide. Nice to see your selection is well-rounded. Also, I am moved to tears regarding your comments on McDonald’s.

Ari Heikkinen February 10, 2006 3:15 PM

“Also, my wife and I have written a 110-page restaurant guidebook for the downtown San Jose area.”

That’s good, people will surely appreciate knowing their stomach will be secure when they’re eating out.. 🙂

Davi Ottenheimer February 10, 2006 3:38 PM

There are some gems in the guide. I thought it particularly funny to read this about the drawbacks of having televisions all around a (sports) bar:

“Our brains, like the brains of all vertebrates, are hard-wired to notice sudden movement. The reason is obvious: vertebrates that didn’t possess that trait tended not to survive long enough to reproduce.”

Yeah, sports bars…where the inferior vertebrates go to die.

Ari Heikkinen February 10, 2006 3:41 PM

I didn’t read any of the actual reviews but the preface (the stuff before the actual reviews) was really really good. So if I’m traveölling to US that’s what to look in restaurants in general?

Davi Ottenheimer February 10, 2006 3:44 PM

Um, maybe this is a stupid question, but isn’t it a bit silly to suggest restaurants in San Diego, let alone France and Canada, for a “restaurant guidebook for the downtown San Jose area”? I could see the greater Bay Area (including Santa Cruz, of course, since it’s only 20 minutes away) but Paris?

Davi Ottenheimer February 10, 2006 4:00 PM

Incidentally, how do you feel about the RSA announcement that the badge replacement fee is the full value of the conference?

“Treat your badge like a prized possession- replacing it will cost $1895, the price of Full Conference registration!”

I can’t think of any kind of badge/jewelry I normally hang around my neck worth nearly $2000; couldn’t RSA just come up with a simple a revocation method? Kind of odd for a security conference, no?

Bruce Schneier February 10, 2006 4:23 PM

“Um, maybe this is a stupid question, but isn’t it a bit silly to suggest restaurants in San Diego, let alone France and Canada, for a ‘restaurant guidebook for the downtown San Jose area’?”

Definitely. 100% silly. Thanks.

Andrew Feldstein February 10, 2006 4:44 PM

Skyline Chili is the best place to get Cincinnati chili.

This is only true on Sundays. The rest of the week Camp Washington Chili, on Hopple Street, is better. Get off I-75 at Exit 3 and go one block west.

Woody February 10, 2006 5:34 PM


La Fondue in Saratoga. Worth the short drive (~20 min) from downtown. Great location, indoor/outdoor seating, and great food. Make reservations, and expect a good $50/person.

b February 10, 2006 11:22 PM

Hey, just because the Old Spaghetti Factory isn’t really EYE-talian, so what? If it’s just as good as Mom’s home cooking, that’s not a bad thing. And where else are you gonna get spumoni ice cream?

Tamzen February 11, 2006 2:18 AM

Ah. If only Benoit and Kantjil were in San Jose. I would kill for a nice rijstaffel. And we can’t even go during Black Hat which got scheduled against FC 2006. 🙁 Great reviews as always.

Roger February 11, 2006 2:20 AM

I assumed “Pizz’a Chicago” was meant to be a play on “Piece of Chicago”, just as “Pizza My heart” probably means “Piece of my heart”. I guess they have a pun thing going with San Joséan pizza places; around here, it’s the Thai restaurants that do bad puns.

Pretty good reviews. It’s interesting to see another side to your character like this. And I see you’re a blue cheese guy, excellent! ObSecurity, sort of: there’s a few places around the world that ban the importation of roquefort, including the US (Australia just lifted the ban a few months ago, hourra!). Naturally, this leads to roquefort smuggling:

Sparohok February 11, 2006 2:58 AM

If anyone else wants to print this as a booklet on letter size paper, here’s the magic that worked for me:

pdf2ps restaurants-rsa2006.pdf
psbook | psnup -2 -W5.5in -H8.5in -pletter >

Then print duplex, no tumble (or “flip on top edge”). In my case the front cover came out blank but everything else worked fine. If there’s a better way I’d love to hear about it.

(Letting Acrobat scale to letter size and then letting the printer driver perform the page imposition also worked for me, but it increases the margins and wastes some space.)

Davi Ottenheimer February 11, 2006 12:53 PM

@ Roger

What’s to stop you from just ordering Societe Roquefort online? This company seems to have loads of the stuff in the US already:

If you’re in the area for RSA, there are also some excellent grocers with extensive cheese and wine selections, such as The Shopper’s Corner ( They carry an awesome Gorgonzola as well as the very impressive Australian Roaring Forties Blue. Speaking of security, I’m still trying to figure out how much trust you can put in a Taleggio seal…

Evan Anderson February 11, 2006 10:52 PM

I’m not going to get to make RSA this year, but I absolutely love the guide and had to comment on it. The writing style is great, and the guide is fun to read. I’m going to be in bay area late in March and plan to use this guide for any trips down to the San Jose area.

The section on tipping should be disseminated far and wide. My girlfriend, a server of several years, agrees wholeheartedly.

KyoSeok February 12, 2006 5:06 AM

I appreciate your great job!
This will be very helpful next week.

By the way, is it true that Young’s Deli is a Chinese restaurant? The food “Bi Bim Bop” is certainly Korean food…

karenc February 12, 2006 3:41 PM

Thanks for your nice remarks on the restaurant guide, folks. I’m glad you are enjoying it. We had a lot of fun doing it.

Karen “yes, really” Cooper

Roger February 13, 2006 5:06 PM

“What’s to stop you from just ordering Societe Roquefort online?”

In the US (where I am not), this would, of course, be illegal. The FDA shuts down such resources as often as it can, but in the case of something like a ban on cheese (which most people don’t take very seriously, even if they are aware it exists) there are too many to take notice of, nobody gives the FDA tipoffs, and most of the offenders are in any case honest merchants who didn’t realise that certain cheeses might be banned from certain countries.

ObSecurity: this is an interesting issue, because, if the concerns about unpasteurised cheeses are valid [1], then the potential consequences of these casual “grey market” importations are far, far more grave than undutied imports of alcohol or tobacco, perhaps more grave than importation of cocaine or firearms. Yet the public perception is that bans on cheeses are Pythonesque, and so they are flaunted en masse.

Anyway, I don’t need to smuggle cheese in the post; here in Australia the ban was lifted last September, and one stockist is within walking distance.

“They carry an awesome Gorgonzola as well …”

Thanks for reminding me, someone I know wants to make gnocchi al gorgonzola!

“…as the very impressive Australian Roaring Forties Blue.”

Mmmmm, highly recommended with a fino.

“Speaking of security, I’m still trying to figure out how much trust you can put in a Taleggio seal…”

It’s just a series of “T” shapes inside circles, impressed into the rind, isn’t it? It would be trivial to forge, but no doubt legally serves as a trademark. It thus serves the same security rôle as picket fences: no actual obstacle to committing an offence, but makes it clearer that one is being committed, and thus makes a barrier between slightly dodgy merchants prepared to sell cheese that “might be” taleggio, vs. those who are definitely conspiring to defraud.

  1. In the case of Roquefort only, Australia at least has now been satisfied that the concerns were not valid.

Mister ID February 14, 2006 5:11 AM

I went to the RSA registration and the guy at the counter called out my first name and I showed him my ID. After I put the badge on and walked away, not thinking anymore about it.

Only after a half hour did I notice that I had someone else’s badge, no longer was I some expo only schlubb, now I was a full conference $1800 badge holder.

If it weren’t for the smart chip in the badge and security folks everywhere scanning the badges, I probably would have kept it-at first it was an honest mistake, the real badge owner and I have the same first name…

BTW the badge belonged to some CISSP who works for the US House of Representatives. I would not have liked to explain why I had someone else’s badge.

g February 15, 2006 5:32 PM

The phone number given for the Paragon restaurant in the Montgomery Hotel is the same as for the Pagoda in the Fairmont. It’s actually the number for the Pagoda; the Paragon is (according to the Web of a Million Lies) 408-282-8888.

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