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Eat + Drink

Beer, Cocktail and Wine. Three Gifts for the Drinker in Your Life.

Good drinking is often a pleasure not only in the taste and texture of the drink itself, but also in the peraphernalia that goes along with it. Sommeliers take great pride in their favorite corkscrews for instance, just as do bartenders in their tools. So, for the drinking connoisseur in your life, I present the following gift ideas.

The Eater Wrap: Bocuse Semi-Finalists, Sprinkles Madness, Hot Chefs and Still More Openings

Welcome back to the Eater Wrap, your Friday recap of all the restaurant news, hot gossip, whimsy foodstuffs, and general awesomeness from the week over at Eater SF.

1) Superchef Daniel Boulud unveiled the semi-finalists to represent the USA at the next Bocuse d'Or cooking competition. The French-based competition—dubbed the Culinary Olympics—won't take place until 2011, but the 12 chefs who made the cut will duke it out in early 2010 for a honor to represent America in Lyon.

2010: The Year of the Taco

It might be freezing and rainy, the economy might still suck, but it looks like the sun will come out tomorrow—or next year, rather—in the form of margs and tacos. We can't argue with that.

Shopping? Where to Eat in Union Square

To those of you who are braving Union Square holiday shopping I say, Godspeed! I also say don’t forget to stop for lunch.

Here are my picks for the best inexpensive lunches in the Union Square area:

Muracci’s Japanese Curry and Grill

New 24th Street BART Hot Dog Vendor: Who's Been?

The 24th Street BART station is my regular stop on the way home to Bernal Heights and lately, it's become much more colorful in a very Mexican way. Not only are there the usual tamale ladies and flower vendors, and guys selling strawberries in season, but now you'll find a bevy of stands selling sunglasses and more on the weekends, like a little market. There's also there's a new chicharrónes vendor and now this new hot dog vendor (very official looking, generator and all), like a beacon, illuminating the cold nights. (From what I can see, the woman working it also sell huevos—in what form, I'm not sure.)

We're wrapping up the Big Eat as I type. So, let's hear it: Has anyone tried the hot dog stand out? Worth it or not? You tell us.

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: A surfeit of dessert wines, a lack of corkage fees. Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

Market Watch: Holiday Gifts to Harvest

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.

What Should Replace Shuttered Tsar Nicoulai? A Cocktail Bar.

SF Eater today writes that the Tsar Nicoulai booth in the Ferry Building is closing. It's understandable why—this is not exactly a period of widespread populist Champagne and caviar consumption. However, it's still a bummer. A little scoop of caviar every now and then (without having to buy a whole tin) is a wonderful thing, especially when you pair that with a nice glass of bubbly. (Vodka and caviar advocates: sorry, you're wrong.

First Bite: Bernal Heights' Sandbox Bakery

As a resident of Bernal Heights—a neighborhood that's known more for its liberal politics and crunchy good vibes than its haute cuisine—I was excited to finally get a taste of the much-anticipated Sandbox Bakery, which just opened. No slouch, owner and pastry chef Mutsimi Takehara started learning her craft at La Farine in Oakland and at Chez Panisse. She was then the pastry chef at Rubicon and spent 10 years as the Slanted Door pastry chef. So she's spent some quality time with butter.

First Bite: Delarosa, Have We Met Before?

Several minutes into poring over our menus at Delarosa, my dining companion looked over at me and muttered, "This place is totally ripping Beretta off." That would be true if not for one important fact—Delarosa, which opened in mid-November on Chestnut street in the Marina—shares the same owners as Beretta, and ripping off is part of the plan. Consider for a moment the following: San Francisco can at times be a fractious town. Neighborhoods, like boroughs in New  York, are clearly delineated, with crossover limited to a few choice restaurants. Marina folks aren't going to drive across town to wait on line at Beretta, and Beretta regulars won't brave Marina parking to try Delarosa.

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