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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Climb the Totem of Life with Cirque du Soleil [Review]

Cirque du Soleil: Totem | October 28 – December 18, 2011 | AT&T Park– Parking Lot A | San Francisco

I had been looking forward to last Wednesday night for a few weeks. I had heard all the ‘hoopla’ and now it was my turn to be counted among the millions of wowed viewers. As I walked down 2nd Street to the Grand Chapiteau just south of AT&T Park in San Francisco and readied myself for a night of Totem, I realized that I was hopelessly excited to check out the company’s 31st show. I mean, Cirque du Soleil is a household name with an extraordinary track record of amazing its audiences. In fact, the Montreal-based spectacular celebrated its 27th year of enchantment this past June. And this was my first Cirque ever.

Unicycles & Bowls. Photo by Daniel Desmarais

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Weekend at the SF Symphony: Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham [Preview]

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

This weekend at the  San Francisco SymphonyMichael Tilson Thomas, along with famed violinist Gil Shaham, will be leading the orchestra in another performance of the works of 19th Century German composer Johannes Brahms. However, whereas last week’s program was a comparative study of progression in German musical conservatism, this week’s program showcases the contentious battle between conservative and progressive elements in the music of German Romanticism.

Richard Wagner

The evening begins with a work by the great German operatic composer Richard Wagner, the “Prelude” to Act III of his famed opera Lohengrin. Familiarity with the opera’s plot is not necessary for an appreciation of the work, which is often performed alone in concert due to its highly exciting and virtuoistic writing for orchestra.

Less than 5 minutes in length, many listeners will find the melodies showcased by the “Prelude” (which are repeated throughout the opera) to be immediately recognizable. Although it’s not being performed by the Symphony this weekend, the end of the “Prelude” flows seamlessly into the even more famous “Bridal Chorus”–a piece of music that has become associated with the bride walking down the aisle at weddings throughout the world.

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NFL on Thanksgiving Day: Food & Football [Preview]

Football is as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and awkward family moments. Unfortunately, the two teams required by the 28th Amendment to host games on Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, haven’t provided too many memorable match-ups in recent history. But this Thanksgiving, five out of the six teams in action are in the playoff mix, and at least two of the games should be very entertaining.

Photo by guyfromlargo, CC BY-NC 2.0

Let’s take a look at what’s on tap.

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Weekend at the SF Symphony: MTT Leads Brahms’ German Requiem [Preview]

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

Michael Tilson Thomas Conducts Brahms | Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20 | Davies Symphony Hall | San Francisco

This weekend at the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas will be leading the orchestra in performances of three very disparate pieces of German music: Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock by Heinrich Schütz, Arnold Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra, and the evening’s centerpiece, Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem.

Heinrich Schütz

The first piece, Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock (I’m the Only True Vine) is a choral work by 17th-century German composer Heinrich Schütz that is based on Bible verses from John 15:1-5. The passages are believed to be the words of Jesus himself as he explains to his disciples that he is the one true vine and his followers are its barren branches that will one day bear fruit. Religious connotations aside, Schütz’s work is considered to be an exemplary example of the composer’s mastery of his craft and his meticulous adherence to the established music fundamentals of the time. The work is representative of Schütz’s strict musical conservatism, which set him in dialectical opposition to many of his contemporaries who sought to push the boundaries of musical expression through experimentation.

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Little Red Toddies and Big Dickels to Keep You Warm [Live Review]

Little Red / Yalls / Bleeding Knees Club / Oona | Saturday, November 5th | Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco

It was Saturday night after a bout of rain when a couple of friends and I strolled up to Rickshaw Stop. I was ready for my dose of feel-good rock in the form of Australian quintet, Little Red.

Little Red. Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR.

The group is currently touring their latest album, Midnight Remember. Unfortunately, the ‘Stop’s doors weren’t open yet. I guess we got a little overzealous. We did what any respectable concert attendee would in said case and had a drink down the street. The city streets had a chill that made the inside of the venue feel like a paradise once we got there. As far as concert spots go, the Eden parallel is not too far from the truth. One can rock out by the stage with the bartender only a hop away. There are also two upstairs balcony areas furnished with benches and couches. Yes, couches. Needless to say, we spent a big part of the evening lounging in the warmth, enjoying the atmosphere and sipping our specialty drinks of the evening: Little Red Toddies (add a bit of grenadine) and Big Dickels. The namesake of the toddy was obvious, while I was left wondering if the latter was dubbed so in honor of the first performer, Bleeding Knees Club.

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Phantogram – November 2nd @ The Fillmore [Concert Preview]

Artist: Phantogram
Venue: The Fillmore
Doors: 8pm

New York’s indie electro pop band Phantogram made a strong impression on the festival scene this summer. This year, the band played at San Francisco’s Outside Lands and the hugely popular Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, officially making a name for itself in the increasingly recognized electro-infused indie rock music genre. I had the pleasure of catching its Outside Lands performance, which drew a huge crowd of excited fans. That set was definitely one of the most memorable performances of the weekend, standing out especially among the afternoon bands. Phantogram dropped some heavy beats and produced an epic stage energy to match, which has resulted in a long list of upcoming shows on its fall cross-country tour.

Phantogram. Photo by Doron Gild.

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