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Holiday Food & Drink

The French Connection


It's Bastille Day! Got your freedom fries?

We here in San Francisco might not like France and the French quite as much as we like Italy and the Italians (at least, judging by our restaurant predilictions), but we still seem to have a bit of a love-affair with the country and, particularly, with its food. Today is Bastille Day (quick history lesson: this is the day that the French people stormed the Bastille prison, marking the beginning of the French Revolution). Here in the states (and probably in , too) the day may be celebrated, but it's watered down to be a day of feasting, picnicking and drinking rosé.
 

As American as Mission Pie

We’ve been quietly cheering along Mission Pie since they first opened, because it’s precisely the kind of feel-good food business we like to see popping up in our neighborhoods (rather than, say, another Subway). So we were particularly excited to note that, after many months of construction, including the beloved San Francisco seismic upgrade, Mission Pie has finally expanded. Now they have a lovely café facing Mission street, with plenty of tables so you can sit and gossip over your slice of plum-frangipane or white peach-blackberry pie.

Black Sunday: Miette's Other Easter Option

As someone who doesn’t find much in common with pastels, malt balls or Peeps (unless it's this kind of a Peep Show) ...



I have an Easter antidote to recommend: If you feel black on the inside this weekend, stop by Miette Confiserie. The little shop off Hayes Street might look like a sugar-coated, princess dream on the inside, but veer left once you're in the door and witness a whole wall of licorice—18 types in total, all as black as a death rocker.

Without Constraint


Sonoma sparkling wine, meet ma po tofu.

I think I spend the majority of my life stepping backwards into good things. Kind of like an eyes wide shut sort of thing, I guess. If I were the resolution making type, maybe I’d resolve to spend 2008 devoted to mindfulness. But sometimes the surprises are nice.

Christmas Cheer

Eating out is one of my favorite things to do, except on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day—that’s when I’ll actually make my way to the kitchen. While reading Four-Star Feasts, I couldn’t help thinking that while the menus of these acclaimed chefs sounds good (I’m definitely clipping the Cajun shrimp recipe), my family’s traditional meal—turkey, dressing (most call it stuffing), sherry sweet potatoes, sesame spinach and a few other dishes that change according to my mood each year—is equally deserving of the four-star feast title. I do the veggies and my mom takes care of the turkey. So, I’m off to cook and eat.

What to Give

Yes, it’s that time of year. I just rather suddenly realized that it’s the 6th of December, and I’m guessing that there are others out there who have just awoken for a semi-delusional state, the reality of the holidays and their fast and furious arrival still seeming like some sort of surprise. Every year, I try to make a mental list of the gifts that I would most like to receive.

Vino Volo

If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I’d buy a first-class, around-the-world airplane ticket, then I’d invest the rest (yeah, right). Traveling ranks as one of my favorite pastimes, even after 9/11 when airports have become such a pain in the ass. I do appreciate how businesses are working to make the long layovers more bearable. Once I even got a mani-pedi at the Xpress spa in SFO’s international section, but usually I try to minimize the time I spend there to getting a burrito at Andale.


Red Bubbly



If you haven’t had sparkling Shiraz yet, you’re missing out. I just had my first taste in July at a Rye mix-off competition, second yesterday with Mr. Hardy himself and might just swing by the Jug Shop tonight to pick up a bottle.

Happy (belated) Bastille Day!



I spent Saturday involved in very un-French pursuits—no petanque, profiteroles or pommes frites for me, unfortunately. Years ago, when I was working at a cooking school in France (an experience that was in equal parts miserable and glorious) we celebrated Bastille Day by producing 1,000 gougeres (cheese puffs) and 1,000 palmiers (elephant ear pastries fashioned from puff pastry that we made from scratch) for the celebration in the town square. By the end of it I was so tired and so sick of pastry that I didn’t even attend the party.
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