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Eat + Drink

The Year In Review: Food Trends of 2009

Oh 2009, we hardly knew ye. But now with (gulp) exactly two weeks left in this year and this decade, it's time to look at the food trends of 2009.

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

Each week, former editor Allie Pape brings you her picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF. This week: The holiday spirit(s). Have an event coming up? Want to share a tip? E-mail her.

1. SF Appeal Holiday Party: The SF Appeal, made up of hardworking journalists covering the issues, is a cause worthy of your support. Show them you love them by dropping in at their holiday party, where they'll have free Trumer Pils. And be careful: we journalists are pretty good at drinking. RSVP here. (Tonight, Wednesday, December 15, 7-10 pm, at PariSoMa, 1436 Howard St., SOMA.)

Classic Cocktails, Twitter Taste-Offs: The Drinking Trends of 2009

1. Cheap and Cheerful
The economy has got people drinking cheaper bottles of wine. But learning something along the way. As a sommelier in a high-end restaurant told me, “Maybe wine drinkers are learning that often what makes wine expensive is not only high quality, but things like fashion and availability.”

2. DIY Everything
Bartenders started the DIY trend a couple of years ago by making their own bitters. But now witness the portfolio of shrubs (syrups made from fresh fruit and vinegar) from Nopa’s Neyah White and the tonic water made with cinchona bark and assorted herbs and flowers from her backyard made by Pizzaiolo’s Cate Whalen. What’s next? Glass blowing?

Sweet Wines for Holiday Sweets

You know you're deep into the holiday cheer when you open the door in the morning and find brownies and cookies on your doorstep. Let the poundage begin! Whether you like it or not, holiday sweets are unavoidable. So, all the better to make them palatable by drinking the right kinds of things with them. While I'm not a prolific drinker of dessert wines, they do have their time and place. So there are three versatile types of sweet wines to keep around to cover most of your holiday needs. Just remember the basic fact of pairing sweet things: The wine should always be sweeter than the dessert. If you don't follow that, neither dessert nor wine will taste good. If you do follow it, it's all good!

Christmas Countdown: Gifts for the Butcher Girl

The thirst for blood is a draw during the holidays: While the tweens (and their moms) are swooning over New Moon, the lady foodies are finding the butchers mighty fine (Ryan Farr! Ryan Farr!). For that special woman in your life, there is no end to Christmas present ideas.

First Bite: Chilango Does Churros

I'm not even a huge churro fan. I like fried dough, sure, but given a choice of desserts it wouldn't top my list. But the churros at Chilango, which opened earlier this fall on the site of the forgettable Aztec Taqueria at Church and Market, are so good that they make the other very good food that you might order before dessert almost pale in comparison. With their crisp exterior, just-cooked almost custardy interior and generous dusting of granulated sugar and Mexican cinnamon, these set the gold standard.

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.

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