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Eat + Drink

First Bite: Frances, Plain and Simple

There are some restaurants that just fit into a neighborhood seemlessly, like they have always been there. Last Thursday, Frances--the month-old solo venture from Melissa Perello--felt like one of those spots. A group of four men sat beside us, chatting up co-owner and wine expert Paul Einbund before paying with a black Amex card. Two women flanked us on the other side, ordering snacks, appetizers and wine.

How To Have A Merry Christmas Eve: Homemade Eggnog

When I was a kid, there was nothing I liked better than that deep yellowish-gold, ultra thick and viscous, unctuously sweet eggnog that you could buy from the store. Well, a couple of years ago I discovered that it is as easy to mix up a batch of that stuff for yourself at home as it is to make a margarita--and it's so much more delicious than store-bought, chemical-laden eggnog that, yes, it's funny.

Market Watch: Eggnog Almond Brittle, Oysters and More Holiday Fixings

Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations, gives us the skinny on the fat of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

It’s hard to believe the Thursday market has been open for less than a year. The local and national press, as well as food bloggers far and near have declared it a hit! This market was a personal labor of love for me and I’m thrilled to see what it offers each week—from unique lunch specials to the ever-changing bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

This Week's Events: New Year's Prep, Old Rasputin and Crab

Time for Tacos
With a new year comes a new restaurant. Spanish gem Laïola will be morphing into Tacolicious, the first brick-and-mortar outpost of the stand that appears weekly at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. But the restaurant plans to go out with a bang: opening chef Mark Denham will be returning, along with much of the original crew. For four nights (December 28-31) they’ll be serving dinner and giving Laïola a proper send-off. Call 4215-346-5641 to book a table, or just stop in to say goodbye—and hello!

Crab Cracking at Camino

The Secret to Great Whiskey Cocktails: Whiskey Barrel Bitters

It's the time of year when whiskey cocktails are as common a sight as long waiting lines in front of every cash register. And no wonder, after waiting in those lines to spend your money, you're gonna need a good drink.

Now, I confess that I've been much in the spirit of drinking bourbon and rye this December. It's a little embarrasing to admit how many Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and Sazerac have passed these lips in the last few weeks. But I can't say that I haven't enjoyed them. What I can say is that I've enjoyed every drink a little more, once I started putting these Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters from Fee Brothers in them.

Reserve Now For New Year's Eve Dinner

If you haven't made reservations yet, stop what you're doing and get on it—by the time you emerge from your Christmas cave it will be too late. Below, a small smattering of NYE options. For a complete list, check out Open Table.

A16
What: Four-course and five-course prix fixe menus with optional wine pairings
When: December 31, 5–11 p.m.
Where: 2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco
Cost: Four-course menu for $75 per person, five-course menu for $90 per person. Optional wine pairings are available for $55 or $70, respectively.
Book: For reservations call 415-771-2216

The Year That Was: The Restaurant Closures

The sun will come out tomorrow, I promise, but it's worth looking back at some of this year's signifcant closings and taking a moment to remember those that were. Halfway through the year, Eater reported that the tally was at 30. While some are being replaced by other concepts (South, Laiola, Acme Chophouse), most have boarded up for good. So here's a toast to the restaurateurs that weathered a rough year—whether they came out on the other end or not—and hopefully, to a more prosperous 2010.

 

 

The Eater Wrap: Zinnia to Close, Sprinkles Arrives, and Meadowood's Xmas Celebrations

It's Friday, which means time for the Eater Wrap, the weekly recap from Eater SF on all the happenings from the local restaurant scene. Feel free to grab some popcorn. Or candy canes. 'Tis the season, after all.

1) The big news today comes from Jackson Street's Zinnia, which will be closing at the end of the year. The sad closure is being chalked up to the unforgiving economy, which not even chef/owner Sean O'Brien could overcome in the former Scott Howard space.

Christmas Countdown: Spanking New Olive Oil

You've got until next Friday to finalize your gifts for your foodie friends and family. Your time is similarly limited when it comes to olio nuovo, olio nuevo or—a less cool way to say it—new olive oil. The fall is when most of the olives around here are pressed and the oil is generally available at the latest until mid-winter. New olive oil is peppery, robust and has some serious personality compared to its mellower, older sibling. Here are a few we'd recommend. They make great, if heavy, stocking stuffers.

Market Watch: Mandarins, Cherimoyas And Perfect Wreaths

Despite the scattered rain and bitter cold, the December market is bustling. It’s that time of year when Cypress Flower Farms’ Saturday stand is brimming with wreathes and holiday swag made from Eucalyptus, heather, fir, cypress, and redwood branches and leaves. They smell fantastic and they’re so bright and beautiful they’ll inspire even the biggest holiday scrooge to brighten their homes with a touch of the natural world.

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