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The Best Tracks of 2008 (Bay Area Edition)

'Tis the season for "best of" music lists around the web. We've got one of our own to add to the mix - our roundup of what we think are the seven best songs to come out of the Bay Area this year. So listen up, and then go out and support these bands immediately. (Read: catch them before they're playing mega tours and you're paying stupid ticket prices to support things like light shows, pyrotechnics and RVs).

Here's the list.

Not in the Holiday Spirit Yet? Chanticleer Can Help.

At 8 p.m. last Saturday, in a pitch-black St. Ignatius Church, an audience of some 1,300 people sat motionless in the dark. What kept us that way was was 12 male voices, unaccompanied by anything but candlelight and including one astonishing soprano, singing 15th-century plainsong. I couldn't get a photo, of course, so the above shot (of Chanticleer rehearsing before the show) will have to do. There's something about this music that made me think, Why bother with anything else that's been composed in the last, oh, six hundred years?

Warehouse Sale at Branch

With all the sales going on already, it seems after Christmas is bound to be a madhouse this year. Start getting your elbows in shape now with deal wrastlin' at Branch's Warehouse Sale this Saturday. Pretty much everything will be 25% off, so you can be sure to stuff all your stockings with extra home decor care. And to sweeten the pot, expect a free mystery gift with any purchase - oohlala. It's all going down Saturday 11 to 6 at 245 S. Van Ness Ave, Suite 304 (in the Post Tool Building).


Love Bytes: No more "googling" of perspective dates or mates for Marissa Mayer (head Google gal and a Board of Trustees member for both the SF Ballet and SFMOMA) and Zachary Bogue (lawyer, real estate broker and both a Harvard and Georgetown Law grad). The dashing duo announced their betrothal to 350 friends and family last weekend during a holiday-themed soiree at Marissa's Peninsula residence.

A Little Bit of History and R&R All Rolled Into One

You needn't pack your Outback and hightail it all the way to the farthest reaches of the Lost Coast for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco living. In fact, as little as an hour's drive east will land you in the remote and rustic Lockeford, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place encapsulated by cherry tree orchards and wide expanses of nothingness. This classic Delta town has just one of everything--one bank, one market, one antique store and one perfectly charming inn. And the inn in itself--chock full of history and quirks of its own--is enough of an excuse for a weekend jaunt to Lockeford.

Recession-proof Spa Deals

With Christmas only a week away, we decided it was high time to find a present for ourselves—and, of course, you! We realize with all the shopping, wrapping and packing for far-flung travels, we’re all about as relaxed as shrimp on a treadmill (Google the YouTube video, and you’ll see what we mean.) That’s why we’ve gathered our top seven picks for recession-proof spa deals around town. Wallets may be shrinking, but the holiday spirit prevails!

International Orange

Cask . . . and you shall receive

Cask popped up quietly, though spirits junkies and bartenders around town have been awaiting its opening for some time. The specialty spirits and bartender-supply shop opened by the good folks who have given us Bourbon and Branch, Swig, and Anu, seems slightly out of place next to the Subway sandwich joint at Third and Market (17 Third St is the exact address), but once you pass under its burnished wooden sign, you enter a world away from the big corporate retailers that otherwise populate most of the area.

Booze Brother

Dan Aykroyd is going to be a the Jug Shop on Polk and Pacific today btw 4-6. Yes, that Dan Aykroyd. He's pimping his new line of wines and you can meet him in person this afternoon at the Jug Shop. If you like sipping the wine and hanging out with the celebs this is the event for you.


Here are the details from the press release:

Bruce Campbell's Latest B-Movie Bouillabaisse Arrives in the Bay Area

Bruce Campbell isn’t opposed to making a fourth installment in the Evil Dead series that has helped secure his reputation as a B-movie superstar. In fact, both he and childhood friend Sam Raimi, who used the Evil Dead movies as a launching pad to the mammoth success he now enjoys as the architect of the Spider-Man franchise, have gone on record as saying that another sequel is tentatively in the works.

Just don’t expect Campbell, still boyishly handsome at 50, to leap at the prospect simply because it exists.

Which Chef Does Eric Ripert Think is an S.O.B?

Chef Eric Ripert of NYC’s Le Bernardin was in town last week to promote his excellent new cookbook, On The Line (Artisan). Co-authored by Christine Muhlke, it’s a look behind the scenes (danger, drama!) at one of the country’s most revered fine-dining restaurants. Twenty years into it, Ripert has a lot to say.

Ripert is close friends with chef Laurent Manrique of Aqua, so he’s spent more than the usual amount of time eating around SF. Ripert and I sat down for dinner the other night and had a chat. Turns out he's a seriously nice, soft-spoken guy.

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