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Top Local Wine Shops' Favorite Thanksgiving Bottles

The traditional Thanksgiving meal isn't normally on the menu year-round at most homes, and picking wine to match a turkey dinner and all the trimmings can be a challenge. We spoke to employees at three local wine shops to get their opinions on wines that would pair beautifully with the holiday spread. Their picks span the globe, but all three agree: avoid wines that are heavy, rich, or tannic, and look for clean flavors and acidity to cut the heaviness of the meal.

Michael Barber, Domestic Wine Specialist, K&L Wines:

An Amaro to End Thanksgiving Dinner

Overeating at Thanksgiving dinner is not only accepted, it's practically expected: after the dishes are done, the holiday requires very little from its participants other than a snooze and a half-hearted viewing of Midwestern NFL games. And as many veterans of Turkey Day have learned, the uncomfortable fullness of the huge meal and the added stupor of some good wine can turn into a gastrointestinal nightmare after the fourth quarter ends. So if you want to have your turkey feast but still be peppy for those Black Friday sales, we recommend topping off your dinner with a shot of amaro, the Italian herbal digestif that's best known to San Franciscans as the genus of our beloved Fernet-Branca.

The Last-Minute, Semi-Homemade Thankgiving Planner

You missed the pre-orders on pies—not to mention the turkey. There's still hope for the semi-homemade cooks of San Francisco. Here's your plan. Now run with it.

First, get yourself down to Cheese Plus in Russian Hill. Fresh pies from Katia's Russian Tea Room are coming in this afternoon in classic flavors such as pumpkin, apple, sweet potato and pecan. And while you're there, pick up some turkey-friendly wines recommended by Greg, the in-house wine guy, who suggests Harmonia Pinot from Oregon or a Gruet Rosé Brut from, of all places, New Mexico (hey, it makes good dinner conversation). Grab some charcuterie and of course, cheese, to place out before dinner and you're halfway there.

First Bite: Quince is Set to Align With The Stars

Before you even enter Quince you get a visual of what’s for dinner: A massive window facing the street beckons diners to gaze from the darkness outside into a kitchen glowing with stainless fixtures and copper pots, and outfitted with a centerpiece of a three-ton royal-blue Bonnet stove the size of a studio apartment. The voyeur opportunities Quince’s kitchen offers might be classier than that of the peep shows at the Lusty Lady up the street, but the excitement that it generates in the loin of fine dining aficionados is the same.

Tasting the World's Strongest Beer

Last night, I had the opportunity to sip what amounts to the Holy Grail for many craft beer lovers: a snifter of Samuel Adams Utopias, the ultra-rare beer that the Boston brewery only makes every other year. While it's made from the basic ingredients of beer (hops, malt, yeast, and water), Utopias really stretches the definition of "beer" in every way. It's served uncarbonated, clocks in at 27% alcohol by volume (the average brewski is a mere 5%), and has the look and mouthfeel of nice brandy or cognac. It takes several years to brew and blend, and is aged in whiskey, wine, and cognac barrels.

The No-Fail Guide to Holiday Drinking in San Francisco

Drink fireside

You’ve driven by Zeki’s, on California and Leavenworth, a million times. But did you know it’s one of SF’s coziest bars? Burnished dark wood, dusky lighting and a roaring fireplace. Weeknights, stop in for a whiskey, and enjoy some tranquility (weekends can be a bit, shall we say, festive).
1319 California St., 415-928-0677, zekisbar.com

Do dessert wine

Perfect for the holidays is Rosenblum Black Muscat, a thick, viscous beauty that smells of candied cherries, blackberries and cinnamon. Chill it ever so slightly and serve with a plate of good cheese.

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Watch: Your Thanksgiving Primer

If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.

"Tog to the Bricks" with the Bold Italic Tonight

We've already praised the smart, detailed writing of the Bold Italic, Gannett's new Web magazine, which aims to show SF from new perspectives through lengthy travelogues and hands-on experiences. But it turns out that the Bold Italites are as good at partying as they are at writing: they're throwing their first shindig tonight, a Great Depression-inspired look back at the recession glamour of 1939. A very reasonable $30 gets you two hours of access to cocktails from Distillery No. 209 and St. George Spirits, food from Aidell's, Cheese Plus, and Pacific Puffs, and "paparazzi" snapping your every move. Got some vintage duds on hand?

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

Each week, former sf.myopenbar.com editor Allie Pape brings you her picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF. This week: Tacos, Noc-Noc-os, Clock-os, and other terrible puns. Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

This Week’s Events: Turkey Troops, A Pumpkin Throwdown and Bunny Suppers

A Peruvian Primer
Slow Food San Francisco members eager for a Peruvian primer might want to consider snagging at ticket for the “Polishing the Peruvian Palate” dinner at La Mar on November 18. Enjoy the five-course meal in the company of chef Rodolfo Reyes, who will demystify the unusual ingredients. Tickets are $79 (plus $30 more for optional wine pairings) but you must be a member to attend. For tickets and more information, click here.

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