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New Line of Affordable Tiles from Heath Ceramics

Ever find yourself staring longingly at the walls of the BART stations downtown? Blame Heath Ceramics, the company behind those beautiful undulating white tiles. But now that they've introduced a new line of more affordably priced tiles, you might be able to stop gazing and start grouting in your own home. The just launched "Modern Basic" collection is available in two sizes (2x6" and 3x6") and six different glazes at $16.50 a square foot.

White House Sommelier and Bartender?

I'd like to nominate . . . myself.

High Style Livin'

Luxury living in San Francisco is a difficult life to achieve.  Sure, we've got the shops and the restaurants, but the real estate market offers slim pickings.  But wait!  Now is your chance to score (or at least get inspired by) a rare piece of prime real estate.  Le Grand Dame is her name, and she's a 1895 restored Queen Anne Victorian.   And She's just steps from historic Alamo Square Park!  And since it was all done up pretty by a local designer, you can move in without having to undergo a financially exhausting remodel (yuck).  The skinny:  In addition to the 2 fireplaces and amazingly beautiful hardwood flooring, the house also has  6 (count that:  6!) bedrooms, 3 full & 2 half baths, a living room and a parlor, gourmet kitchen and a south-facing garden on an oversized lot.  <

Chocolate Shut-down: Bye, Bye Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt

In 2005, when Hershey's made a high-profile, high-value acquisition of beloved local chocolate company, Scharffen Berger, San Francisco artisanal chocolate lovers wagged their tongues, another case of big fish eating little fish. Local customers were assured that the Berkeley-based company would change little in the face of the acquisition, that the chocolate would remain the same and that it would still be made here in the Bay Area.

The Eat and Drink List: This Week's Top 7 Events

1. Savía Us A Glass

This week at 18 Reasons: A wine and olive oil tasting with Jim Milone, owner of Terra Savía winery—an organic vineyard in Hopland, California. A $10 donation gets you access to a tasting of Terra Savía’s full line-up of wine and olive oil, with Mr. Milone on hand to answer questions about winemaking and organic viticulture.

2. Strong Suds

Steven Soderbergh on Sex, Facebook and Che

Despite the box-office fanfare and critical acclaim that have greeted his best-known offerings, including 1998’s Out of Sight and 2000’s potent one-two punch of Traffic and Erin Brockovich, director Steven Soderbergh may never live down the success of his then-controversial breakthrough, 1989’s Sex, Lies and Videotape.

Winner of the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Audience Award at Sundance, Soderbergh’s bruising contemplation of self-denial, artless deception and emotional exhibitionism not only earned the director a reputation for fiercely intelligent, unconventional storytelling, it helped put Robert Redford’s annual celebration of independent film on the map.

Niman Ranch Goes Broke

I just wanted to draw attention to this article by Barry Estabrook on the struggles facing venerable meat company Niman Ranch—further proof that this bad economy isn't just affecting restaurants, but also the larger, good companies that we all hold so dear. Yikes.

Happy 200th B-Day, Darwin! Celebrate with the Cal Academy

Fact: 65 % of Americans believe literally in the story of Noah's Arc. And a freakishly large brigade of Friends of Adam and Eve believe that 6,000 years ago, after a whirlwind six-days, man and dinosaur co-existed. This just in: most scientists think otherwise.

Jamie Lauren: Five Cookbooks To Live By

Get out of the kitchen and read something, will ya?

As a chef, I think one of the most important things you can do is to continue learning. This can be accomplished in several ways, including doing a stage at another chef's restaurant, watching interesting food shows on TV (and by interesting, I mean Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmerman, not Rachel "EVOO" Ray), and by reading books. Lots and lots of books. I have a ton of food-related books, mostly piled in my office at work, because there's no place to put them in my little apartment. Behold a list of my favorites:

Sidewalk Chic: Modern Dandy in SOMA

Name: Jeffrey Ying

Age: 21

Occupation: Leisure

Spotted: Paradise Lounge, 10:52 p.m.

Wearing: Custom Hart Schaffner Marx suit, Versace silk shirt, 1970s orange wallpaper pattern Ernst tie, Brioni sweater vest, J.M.Weston Chelsea boots, Cutler & Gross eyeframes, 1950s gold Omega wristwatch

What inspires your style? “I find sartorial inspiration in characters of the past such as the 1970s art forger, Fernand Legros or the 19th century dandy, Comte d'Orsay [Alfred Guillaume Gabriel]. The modern dandy, [Fashion Journalist] Nicholas Foulkes mentions how the Comte d'Orsay used to dip his watch-straps into Caron perfume.”

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