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Foodie Agenda: MasterChef Open Casting Call

Today, Dec. 7

The Apple Lover's Cookbook author Amy Traverso is reading and signing her book at Book Passage in the Ferry Building at 6 p.m. She'll be talking about her chicken liver pate with apples and sweet potato-apple latkes, as well as how to incorporate the ubiquitous fruit in pork loins, cocktails, and doughnuts. 1 Ferry Building

Thursday, Dec. 8

Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink For Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

Two Sense: Whose House Should We Go to For Christmas?

Every year at the holidays, my live-in partner and I struggle with whose family to visit. His family lives a mere hour away in Sonoma, and we see them several times a year. Mine is all the way out in Boston, and annual holidays are the only time I usually see them. He thinks we should alternate Christmases—one year his family, one year mine. I don’t want to keep him from his family on the holidays, but since Christmas is traditionally the only time I see mine, missing it feels like a big loss to me. What’s fair? Do we switch off, or do I get to see my family every Christmas since I see his a lot more than he sees mine?

Top Five Gallery Openings This Week

The city’s gallery scene is abuzz this week with a slew of openings, the grand list of which is enough to daunt even the most seasoned of art crawlers. In the name of practicality, we’ve plucked out our top five – shows that will get the gears turning for conceptual art nerds, SF history buffs and everyday visual enthusiasts alike (and collectors too, of course).

Free Sneak Preview of 'The Wayshower' at the Castro Theatre on Wednesday Night

"Running from mistakes in his past, a man finds a secret book with ancient powers – a tool that can give him the answers he seeks. But a dark force has been awoken, one that will stop at nothing to reclaim the sacred text. When the book is stolen, an age-old battle resumes. But [the man's] teacher, a 'Wayshower,' can only show him the path to victory, for he must win this epic battle on his own."

Support Local Business at This Week's Evening Art Walks

Night is falling quickly these days, and the chilly early eves are perfect for a mosey at this week’s back to back art walks in two of the city’s most happening ‘hoods.

Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

ZYZZYVA Winter Issue Celebration

Thursday, December 8, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

This month marks the 93rd issue of the beloved local literary journal, and editor Laura Cogan and managing editor Oscar Villalon will join four contributors to the new issue for readings of their pieces: Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club), Adam Johnson (Parasites Like Us), short-story writer Katie Chase, and poet Joseph Di Prisco. Wine and holiday cheer are both promised.

Kira Stackhouse (Project DOG)

Saturday, December 10, 4-8 pm, at WAG Hotel (25 14th St.)

Noise Pop 2012 Lineup Announced

At least now we know we'll get to see some great shows before the world ends in 2012, right? The venerable Noise Pop  just announced their 20th festival lineup slated for next February. While there are still some names to be added, the list of confirmed performers definitely isn't a blinged-out roster of earth-shattering indie artists, it'll definitely be six days worthy of the big 2-0.

Ring in 2012 in Style at the Julia Morgan Ballroom

Can you believe it's already time to start planning what you'll be doing at the very end of 2011 and the very beginning 2012? Make sure New Year's Eve is an decadent one by heading to the Julia Morgan Ballroom for "A Night of Opulence."

It's a swanky affair high above California Street that you'll want to don your best cocktail attire for and take advantage of their premium drink selection, champagne and appetizer reception, treats to satisfy your sweet tooth and dance music spun by DJ Katz.

Holiday Brews on Tap at California's Best Beer Bar

On Friday and Saturday, December 16 & 17, The Trappist in Oakland will be hosting their version of the Kerstbier Fest. The event is billed as offering the best assortment of Christmas beers outside of Belgium.

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