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Eat + Drink

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.

Melissa Perello's Frances Opens

For every restaurant that has closed (and this year, there have been many) another opens in its place. The natural ebb and flow is what makes this a good eating town, constantly in a state of change and renewal. The latest long-awaited addition to the dining scene is Frances, Melissa Perello's first solo venture, which will open it's doors today (3870 17th Street between Noe and Sanchez, 415-621-3870) in the former home of a short-lived Filipino restaurant that Perello (and her father and a team of pros) renovated extensively.

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