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Eat + Drink

Xmas Countdown: Three (More) Foodie Gifts to Give

There was one year when my poor mother/Santa filled my stocking (along with my brother and sister's) with office supplies. Scissors, Post-its, Scotch tape. Needless to say, that went over like a lead balloon, with a Santa mutiny threatened by all three of us. "How could he do this to us?" we moaned, looking for the Toblerone. Needless to say, the error was never repeated. Holiday shopping can be exhausting and expensive, but I urge you all not to forego the lowly stocking, which sets the tone for the rest of the day. Toys are good, jewelry, socks and lip balm are always welcome. But food conquers all. Everyone likes it, you don't have to worry about whether or not it will fit, and most packages fit quite nicely in a knit sock.

The Rum of the Ancient Mariner: Smuggler's Cove Worthy of Hype

Dutifully, I attended the Smuggler's Cove press preview last night. Stupidly, I forgot any sort of camera, so I don't have any images for you. But, happily, I can report that after a long wait, much anticipation, a lot of hype (from me) the place will live up to its high expectations.

Xmas Countdown: Three Foodie Gifts to Give

Always a fan of giving thematic presents, I present a perfect trio: Fancy coffee, a fancy cup to put it in and the perfect fancy chocolate to have with it. All from local folks, of course.

1. A gift card for Go Coffee Go is perfect for your coffee-snob friend who needs his or her single-bean, microroaster fix—and can not live on Four Barrel alone. The mail-order website, just launched by SF'ans Scott Pritikin and Elise Papazian, includes Ritual Roasters, but also Verve out of Santa Cruz, Zoca out of Seattle, PT's out of Topeka (and the 2009 Roast magazine "Macro Roaster of the Year," for what it's worth).

Taste Catering Bakes Cookies Like Grandma Never Made

The holiday spirit is a powerful thing. It can make the most un-Martha-like people decide to take on the task of baking cookies for everyone they know. But should you experience a moment of reason, spare yourself a hot kitchen and place an order for Taste Catering’s gorgeous box of cookies—courtesy of executive pastry chef Yigit Pura. Beautifully packaged, the transparent box includes stacks of bite-sized riffs on holiday classics—the kind of tiny perfection that only the best caterer can do so well: French macaroons in vanilla, rose and pistachio; pâtes de fruits made with raspberry-fig balsamic and green-apple calvados; walnut biscuits with sea salt; Valrhona-chocolate-and-sour-cherry mudslides; and Russian tea cookies (our personal favorite)

Market Watch: Your Shopping List for Saturday

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 give 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.

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: Free drinks bonanza, with deals for the unemployed, Yelpers, singles, and people who like tequila. Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

NYT Smuggles Tiki Talk into Rum Discussion

The better part of Wednesday's Dining section in the New York Times was given to their coverage of so-called winter drinks. But instead of toddies and warmers they talked instead about rum, though not the hot and buttered kind that would seem appropriate for this time of year. Rather it was aged rum in a tasting column by E Asimov and an article on the revival of rum-based tiki cocktails puncturing the mustachioed seriousness of the hardcore bartending set.

Make Room on the Shelf: The Best Cookbooks of the Year

Celia Sack, owner of Omnivore Books, gives us her picks for the year's best cookbooks. Order up and get cooking.

Best Thing About December: Afternoon Drinking

I'm so happy it's December 1. Well, I mean, it's true that the year has raced by faster than ever, and I puzzle over where exactly it went. And it's true that we're getting into that hectic crush where end-of-the-year projects collide with holiday shopping only to be buried by an avalanche of social obligations. But we're also in the month that allows us a coping mechanism for the madness: the afternoon drink. Naturally, I'm writing this with a martini in hand (one of my favorite afternoon cocktails -- 2 parts Plymouth, 1 part Noilly-Pratt, lemon twist, stirred). I hope you're reading this with same.

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