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Now You See 'Em: San Francisco Holiday Pop-Up Shops

Pop-up shops touting everything from special edition surfboards to deeply discounted designer apparel and handmade goods by local artists and designers have descended upon The City just in time for the holiday shopping season. You'll find them in popular shopping destinations such as Union Square and Union Street, but also in the less-expected 'hoods of North Beach and Noe Valley. Just don't wait too long to pop on by these San Francisco pop-up shops. Their days, by nature, are numbered.

Hayes Valley Holiday Block Party this Friday

There's something particularly cosmopolitan about Hayes Valley. The not quite completely gentrified neighborhood is a balance grit and glamour: opera-goers, panhandlers, hipsters, and families mix, forming that vibrant diversity of social strata that makes city life so unique. A crisp, evening stroll in December can call to mind New York during the holidays–but thankfully about 30 degrees warmer.

Make Room on the Shelf: The Best Cookbooks of the Year

Celia Sack, owner of Omnivore Books, gives us her picks for the year's best cookbooks. Order up and get cooking.

Morrissey at The Paramount Tonight!!

Let's admit it. This is Morrissey's world, and we're all just visiting. He's one of the very few living music legends left on this planet, and most don't even reach as high of an iconic status even after they die. From somewhat stereotypical British punk beginnings to one of the most influential and perhaps the first indie innovator ever. After The Smiths breakup over two decades ago, Morrissey decided to ride solo, a tricky move at his state in the game. Luckily, although not surprisingly, the fans welcomed him with open arms and he continues to be the most notably successful British indie pop icon to this day.

Best Thing About December: Afternoon Drinking

I'm so happy it's December 1. Well, I mean, it's true that the year has raced by faster than ever, and I puzzle over where exactly it went. And it's true that we're getting into that hectic crush where end-of-the-year projects collide with holiday shopping only to be buried by an avalanche of social obligations. But we're also in the month that allows us a coping mechanism for the madness: the afternoon drink. Naturally, I'm writing this with a martini in hand (one of my favorite afternoon cocktails -- 2 parts Plymouth, 1 part Noilly-Pratt, lemon twist, stirred). I hope you're reading this with same.

Window Shopping: Our 7 Fave Holiday Displays

With Thanksgiving behind us, it's officially time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays. Sure there are trees, lights and ice rinks aplenty, but nothing seems to get us in the spirit of the season quite like the cleverly decorated store windows popping up around town. And while it's impossible to choose a favorite (besides, of course, the adorable puppies and kittens up for adoption in the Macy's windows--just look for the crowd of ooh-and-awwers gathered around), we wanted to showcase the windows that made us do a double take:


Get Mortified at the Make-Out Room This Weekend

Remember those things you wrote as a kid—diaries, unanswered love letters, cheesy song lyrics, the first few chapters of what you believed could be the next great American novel—that for some reason you saved? You're not alone. Since 2002, Mortified has collected and presented "angst written" artifacts of youth and will celebrate four years of bringing shame to San Francisco this weekend with two shows at the Make-Out Room. Come see the best (worst?) of SF's 2009 Mortified participants—from seasoned performers to jittery amateurs—share their adolescent masterpieces.

Ride for Charity: Supermarket Street Sweep

If you own a bike and are looking for a way to give back this holiday season, come out on Saturday for the Supermarket Street Sweep. In its fourth year, the event sends riders to designated grocery stores to purchase food items that will be donated to the San Francisco Food Bank. Participants can choose between a quick course or a cargo version, where the rider who brings in the most pounds of food wins. There will be plenty of prizes for participants from sponsors, including Bay Area specific messenger bags from Crumpler, handmade hats from Chuey, and a Soma Rush frameset. Last year's participants brought in over 5000lbs of food, all on bike! The event begins at the Bow & Arrow on Embarcadero this Saturday at noon.

Melissa Perello's Frances Opens

For every restaurant that has closed (and this year, there have been many) another opens in its place. The natural ebb and flow is what makes this a good eating town, constantly in a state of change and renewal. The latest long-awaited addition to the dining scene is Frances, Melissa Perello's first solo venture, which will open it's doors today (3870 17th Street between Noe and Sanchez, 415-621-3870) in the former home of a short-lived Filipino restaurant that Perello (and her father and a team of pros) renovated extensively.

Spring Forward: Christopher Collins Spring 2010

While you are, of course, more than welcome to primp and preen to your heart’s content before the mirrors at the Sutter Street boutique he opened earlier this year, San Francisco-based designer Christopher Collins hopes wearers of his latest collection will need very little time gazing into their own looking glasses come spring.

“I intended for the line to be effortlessly elegant. You put it on, and it’s a look ready to walk out the door,” says Collins of his spring 2010 collection ($150-$400).

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