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Eat + Drink

First Bite: Cotogna (and the $24 Prix Fixe)

There are two types of menu paralysis.

1. The kind when you open a menu and can't decide what to eat because it all sounds a bit … wrong: This includes leap-of-faith menus: "Oysters on the half shell with a cranberry-cilantro mignonette and gingerbread sprinkle." And frustrated-poet menus:  "White chicken. Rain water. Red wheelbarrow."

2. The kind when you open a menu and can't decide what to order because you want to eat it all.

Paralysis case number two is the reason why I sat with Cotogna's menu for quite a while before budging to order.

Market Watch: What Namu's Dennis Lee Will Cook With Winter Produce

Last year when we re-launched the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market we were hoping to create a place where the tastiest, seasonal ingredients would be available to take home in their raw form and would also be showcased on the menus of our prepared food vendors. Many of these chefs and food artisans were familiar to me as regular market shoppers, supplying their restaurant and commercial kitchens with ingredients from Ferry Plaza farmers each week.  This is why brothers Dennis, David and Daniel Lee, the owners and masterminds behind the now highly lauded Namu Restaurant, and devoted farmers market supporters seemed like a perfect fit.

Food Network's '24 Hour Restaurant Battle' SF Casting Call

Hey foodie couples, it's time to take your culinary prowess beyond the dinner party. The Food Network's 24 Hour Restaurant Battle is holding an open casting call in San Francisco next Friday, December 10th for their next season. 

Score A Huge Deal On Produce From Local Organic CSA Farm Fresh To You

Farm Fresh To You, one of the best local CSAs around, is kicking off an amazing opportunity to score extremely cheap organic produce. Forget  "Cyber Monday" and "Small Business Saturday," the real deals for holiday feasts and parties are to be had here. 

Just use the promo number 482 on their order form after you've chosen your custom box of produce to be delivered to your home or office, and get 20% off your first order. The typical box of fruits and veggies is 20 lbs, and with this deal that will cost you only $25! And this produce is like gold during the winter months, when most fruits and veggies are coming from the warmer fields in South America and not local farmers markets.

Locked & Loaded: Cupping Local and Far-Flung Roasters

The only way to learn about coffee is to try it. A lot of it. But that's a hard thing to do, especially if you want to branch out beyond local Bay Area stuff. So it was a real thrill when Chris Tacy organized a cupping (basically a formal tasting) with some ridiclously good and diverse coffees from a wide variety of roasters. We cupped twelve in all, from Blue Bottle, Ecco, Four Barrel, Intelligentsia, Sightglass and Stumptown. It was a pretty sick table. But I was particularly interested to see how the locals would stack up against Stumptown and Intelli. How did they do?

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.

1. Yuppie Friday's Holiday Toy Drive: The oft-stressful holiday season comes with two built-in mood boosters: helping the less fortunate and getting wasted. Get the pleasure of both by attending Yuppie Friday's event at Vessel, where your $15 admission includes two drinks, and each new, unwrapped toy you donate gets you an extra $5 in bar credit. All the proceeds benefit the SF Firefighters' Toy Program for needy kids. (Friday, December 3, 5:30-8:30 pm, at Vessel, 85 Campton Place, Union Square.)

Eat It: Cookies, Kugels and the Twelve Days of Christmas

A Holiday Bazaar at 18 Reasons
This  year, we're saying an affectionate sayonara to the big box stores. Why shop there when you can pick up loads of adorably stuff, made locally, at any number of great shops? Get started at the Mini Holiday Bazaar at 18 Reasons tonight from 6-9 p.m., where you can pick up calendars, marmalades, home pickling kits and more for your foodiest friends.

Papalote's Famous Salsas Hit Store Shelves Tomorrow!

Papalote has gotten nagged to put their famous salsa on store shelves so much that they've finally caved. Debuting at Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery and on their salsa site tomorrow, December 1st, all you burritophiles out there will be able to get your paws on a jar to tote around with you anywhere you're chowing down. Know any burrito freaks who you don't have Christmas present ideas for? Grab a few jars and wrap' em up. You might also be popular on the secret santa circuit if you donate some jars to the cause.

The New House Wine: More Swagger Than Swill

Paul Einbund is the wine director of the Slanted Door restaurant group including Out the Door Bush Street and Westfield Centre as well as Heaven's Dog. He also runs the beverage program at Frances, and has worked at Coi and more. Look for him here every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter @pauleinbund.

And the Burrito Judge Winner Is … !

7x7 is happy to announce that Prisca "Asada" Chen is the winner of our burrito judge contest. She was up against some serious competition. But at the end of the day, there really was no other choice.

Was it was the fact that she has pictures of friends eating burritos plastered to her bedroom walls, or that her email handle has the word "burrito" in it, or the fact that she dressed up as a burrito (a very convincing one) for Halloween. Or maybe it was the fact that she did her senior thesis on burritos, accompanied by a documentary on burritos. This is no joke.

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