The Dining Cryptographer: Salt House and Yoshi's (San Francisco, CA)

It’s the last day of the RSA Conference, and this is my last column. Thanks for reading; it’s been fun.

Salt House is great for either lunch or dinner; it’s close and easy, and it’s good. The food is basic New American, and they mix some really fantastic drinks at the bar. Sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more for lunch; all sorts of good stuff for dinner. If you’re French Canadian or want to pretend, they serve poutine. It’s just that kind of place. (545 Mission St., 415-543-8900,

Yoshi’s is attached to a jazz club, which—depending who you are—is either a plus or a minus. Even if it’s a minus, don’t let that scare you. If you’re in the dining room or upstairs in the bar, you won’t hear a thing. And I think that’s good, because you don’t want to be distracted from the food. Chef Shotaro Kamio serves some of the best sashimi in the city, flown in from Japan, but it’s the modern preparations that make this place a real treat. “Seasonal, simple, surprise” is the motto on the website, and they mean it. Ignore anything you recognize—the sushi is fine, but you want the surprises. (1330 Fillmore St., 415-655-5600,

Still wondering about the title? The “dining cryptographers protocol” is a way for someone in a group of people to send an anonymous message to the entire group. The setup is a bunch of cryptographers eating dinner, having just learned that someone paid the bill. What they want to know is whether one of them at the table paid, or if someone else—they all suspect the NSA—paid. But they want to preserve the anonymity of the payer, if it turns out to be one of them. David Chaum invented this protocol back in 1988.

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.