The Eat and Drink List: This week's top 7


1. When author Andrea Nguyen’s family left Vietnam in 1975, one of the few possessions they brought with them to America was their notebook of recipes. She celebrates this culinary tradition in her cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Join her for a free book signing at Omnivore Books on December 17 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

2. Dine out on December 18 and you’ll be helping the 150,000 San Franciscans who don’t have enough to eat.  Ten percent of the proceeds earned by restaurants participating in the Dine Out Against Hunger (including Maverick, A16, Americano, Sociale, Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Incanto, Kuleto’s, Magnolia, Range, Serpentine, Slow Club and SPQR) will be donated to the San Francisco Food Bank.

3. How many of you have wished you knew how to lop the top off of a champagne bottle with a saber? Tonight, December 18, is the night to learn! From 7 to 9 p.m, experts at 18 Reasons will be teaching the curious how to decapitate bubbly like one of Napoleon’s soldiers. But wait, there’s more! Oysters and bouillabaisse will also be yours for the sampling, all for a donation of $10-20. Feel free to BYOS (bring your own saber).

4. We love Toronado; Toronado loves us. How many night’s has the Toronado-Rosamunde combo saved us from despair? Too many to count. This Thursday, December 18, the bar will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Belgian Chimay—draft and bottle specials, commemorative glasses and cheese are all yours for the enjoying, beginning at 6 p.m.

5. Oh, holiday cocktails, how you help us get through the season! With the recent opening of Swank (488 Presidio, 415-346-7431) there’s one more place for Laurel Villagers to toss back a few. The mod décor, with its wingback chairs and cozy fireplace, evokes a certain’60s-era lounge—gather a group of friends and check it out before the crowds descend.

6. In the Italian tradition, chef-owner Hoss Zaré will be celebrating the Christmas holiday with a Feast of Seven Fishes at his restaurant, Zaré at Fly Trap, this Sunday, December 21. The seven course meal will be exclusively fish and seafood, most from our local waters. The cost is $160 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity; book your table by calling 415-243-0580.

7. We all deserve a break, phew. Hop on over to 18 Reasons on Sunday, December 21 from 3 to 5 p.m. for a cup of mulled wine, a few cookies from Bi-Rite Creamery and the chance to catch your breath.  Suggested donation is $5 to 10; we’d say an event like this, at this time of year, is priceless.

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