FOODSEEKR: Top December Food Events in the SF Bay Area

Fifth Floor Holiday Guest Chef Series | December 5-10 | Fifth Floor Restaurant

Having grown up in a pretty traditional Chinese household, I always wondered what other families ate over the holidays. Since I’m pretty sure they wondered what was going on behind the closed doors of my home as well, I’m glad Fifth Floor has decided to put a fine dining twist on this idea for their Holiday Dinners this week. Each night, a different chef from a renowned San Francisco restaurant hosts a five course holiday meal at David Bazirgan’s Fifth Floor that’s inspired by his/her unique cultural heritage, with part of the proceeds going to charity. Though it’s already Thursday, there are still  two guest chefs left for tonight and Friday night, as well as Chef David Bazirgan’s own Armenian holiday dinner on Saturday. Tonight’s dinner features Hoss Zare from Zare at Fly Trap, while tomorrow’s features Matt Accarino from SPQR. Call the restaurant at 415.348.1555 to make reservations. Holiday dinners are $95 per person.

Lower Haight Holiday Art Walk | December 9, 6pm-9:30pm | 400-700 Blocks of Haight Street

The Lower Haight Holiday Art Walk brings together shopping, drinking, eating and live music in a way that only The Haight could. Of course, I’d be focused on the food more than anything. Some of the vendors that will be there include Sour Flour Breads (they also occasionally host baking classes at La Victoria), Kara’s Cupcakes, Wing Wings and Chili Cha Cha.

Epicuring’s Behind-the-Scenes Holiday Sweets Crawl | December 14, 6pm-9pm | 1198 Illinois Street, San Francisco

Oh, shopping and food! Susie and Laiko of 7×7 Magazine have made it dangerously easy for you to OD on sugar this holiday season. This sweets crawl takes place in the Dogpatch, and features treats from three wonderful vendors (Mr & Mrs. Miscellaneous, Au Coeur des Chocolats and Kika’s Treats). At each vendor, you’ll be treated to a tour from the resident chef in charge, samples of their delicious wares, and a take-home goodie bag full of treats. Buy tickets here.

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Taste & Tribute 2011 [Review]

Taste & Tribute 2011, which took place in the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco on November 18, was exceptional. The night opened with a silent auction, during which wine and hors d’oeuvres were served. Among the items on auction, there were paintings, tapestries, pashmina shawls, vases and tickets for luxurious trips. Some people lingered around the meat and cheese plates,while others kept a cautious eye on the items they’d bid on, daring anyone else to write a number down. In this jovial atmosphere, attendees chatted and admired the items on display.

When the double doors to the dining room opened, guests were ushered into a dimly lit room full of glittering lights and 11 beautifully set dining tables. The master chefs who would be preparing the evening’s meal were spread around the periphery of the room at their stations, busily preparing plates for the first course. Once everyone was seated, the charismatic Liam Mayclem took the diners through the opening ceremony. Speakers Pema Gellek and Judy Rasmussen thanked the crowd for their support, and spoke about the Tibetan Aid Project’s continued dedication to ensuring the longevity of Tibetan traditions. After the four-course meal prepared table-side, the night closed out with a live auction with auctioneer Greg Quiroga. However, even amongst all of the glittering silverware, heady wine and extraordinary food, I never once forgot that the people who had gathered for this event had done so for the sake of Tibet. Even with all of that splendor around me, being in that room full of good will was perhaps the most pleasant aspect of the night.

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Opera San Jose’s La Voix Humaine & Pagliacci @ California Theatre 11/13/2011 [Review]

Opera San Jose performs Pagliacci & La Voix Humaine | Saturday, November 12 to Sunday, November 27 | California Theatre | San Jose

For its 28th season, Opera San Jose chose to do something very interesting. Instead of pairing Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with its usual partner, Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, the company chose to pair it with Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. Both are verismo (realism, or “truth”) operas, which means that they deal with regular people and their problems as opposed to issues that relate to gods or the nobility.

(L) Tenor Alexander Boyer as Canio in Opera San José’s Pagliacci. Photographer: Chris Ayers. (R) Suzan Hanson in Opera San José’s La voix humaine. Photographer: P. Kirk.

The setting for the two operas is completely different, although both can be said to deal with the issue of communication, or lack thereof. Overall, Opera San Jose did a glorious job with both of them; it was a rare instance when the set design, stage direction and artists all worked perfectly together, with each aspect adding tremendously to the performance.

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Hatsune Miku Live Concert Sapporo [Review]

Screening of Hatsune Miku Live Concert Sapporo | Thursday, November 10 | Century Theatres Centre 9 | San Francisco

On Thursday, November 10th, Tabia C. and I sat down in SF’s Westfield Century Theatres Centre 9 to watch a screening of Hatsune Miku’s live Sapporo concert. In case you haven’t heard of her, Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop star whose album topped Japanese charts in 2010. She has been selling out concerts in LA and all over Asia ever since. This is what she looks like:

That’s right–Hatsune Miku is a hologram that was developed by Crypton Future Media. She was illustrated by KEI, and her voice is made of a composite of samples from voice actress Fujita Saki. She was the first in a series of vocaloids (singing synthesizers) to implement Yamaha’s Vocaloid2 software, and is part of a stable of vocaloids that are under the KarenT label.

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Workin for the Weekend – eventseekr’s Top Picks for 11/4/2011/-11/6/2011

Hooray for Wednesday! The weekend is almost here. This Wednesday is a bit more special, though, since today is Hump Day and Dia de los Muertos. If you’re looking for something fun to do tonight, try heading to the Mission District for the Festival of Altars and the Day of the Dead celebration. Otherwise, let’s see what this weekend has to offer!

Margaret Jenkins Dance Company: Light Moves at YBCA November 3-5:

In Light Moves, the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company has worked with multi-media artist Naomie Kremer, composer Paul Dresher and poet Michael Palmer to produce a visually dazzling piece that attempts to make a space where music, poetry and dance cohere with animated images of light and color. It’s a performance that challenges artists from different genres to collaborate and make a cohesive product/story, but at the same time seems almost like an experiment to see how much information an audience can absorb when so much visual stimuli is on stage at once. Personally, I think the overall effect may trigger brain overload, but since I’m not planning on ever taking any mind-altering substances that are stronger than alcohol/caffeine, this will be a truly welcome experience.

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Workin for the Weekend: eventseekr’s Top Picks for 10/28/2011-10/30/2011

With Halloween coming around, there definitely isn’t a dearth of events going on this weekend. Since I don’t believe you people need any more help finding party venues, I’ve decided to gather a list of other options!

Here’s to working for the weekend!

Journey to the End of the Night, Saturday, October 29 @ 7pm

To kick off this year’s Come Out & Play Festival, which runs from October 29 to November 6, the festival organizers are bringing back the epic game of Halloween tag that spans from one end of  San Francisco to the other. Participants need to make it through a series of checkpoints using only their brains, brawn and public transportation. Runners will be chased by run-of-the-mill chasers, as well as the fearsome Chaser Killer. This year, the journey will begin at Cupid’s Span in Rincon Park instead of Justin Herman Plaza, due to the Occupy San Francisco protests. To keep on top of event information, follow Journey to the End of the Night on Facebook. You can register for the event here.
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Alonzo King LINES Ballet – Novellus Theatre at the YBCA 10/19/2011 [Review]

Award-winning choreographer Alonzo King is famous for his ability to express global traditions through contemporary ballet. For the 2011 Fall Season, which runs at the Novellus Theatre in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through Sunday, October 23, LINES Ballet kicks off the show with the premiere of Resin, a piece that’s set to Sephardic music, and ends the night with 1998’s Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?, which is set to tabla music by Zakir Hussain. After the show this past Wednesday, Alonzo King sat with the audience for a Q&A session, where he remarked on the ubiquitous, all-encompassing nature of art and artistry and the fulfillment it provides. He also made a self-affirming comment to the audience: “We are all gods.” Based on what I saw that night, I am inclined to agree.

Yujin Kim and Ricardo Zayas. Photo by Quinn B. Wharton. Courtesy of Mona Baroudi PR.

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