Scenes from Taste of the Nation 2014

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Sean Timberlake

We're a notoriously foodie city, with an astonishing number of excellent restaurants at our fingertips. But every day, children go hungry in our country -- nay, even in our city -- while we sup and swill at our haute eateries.

Luckily, we can eat our way toward a solution to the problem.

Last night was Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, where 100 of the Bay Area's top restaurants, distilleries, breweries and wineries served up sips and nibbles to help end childhood hunger. Proceeds go to non-profits around the country, including local beneficiaries 18 Reasons and Children of Shelters.


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How're You Doing On That Resolution to Volunteer Somewhere?

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Evan DuCharme
Volunteer at the S.F. Food Bank this year.
Perhaps this New Year, instead of begrudgingly giving up a much-loved food group such as meat, sweets, or carbs, you are choosing to go the boldly opposite route and add something instead. Food-based volunteer opportunities abound in the Bay, and because January tends to an intensive hiring month for many organizations, this is the perfect time to start.

See also: Austerity Measures: A Restaurant Critic's Week on Food Stamps

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Celebrate Dungeness Season at Crab Feed For a Cause

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Flickr/Tony Fischer Photography
Dungeness crab season is upon us. Though my go-to is always and forever the inestimable Swan's Oyster Depot, and others swear by the salt-and-pepper crab at R&G Lounge in Chinatown, there's something about a massive crab feed that brings out the hedonistic best among people. Especially when it's for a good cause. Here's a pair of crabby feasts that benefit various food organizations around the Bay.

See also: To Do This Weekend: Eat Dungeness Crab


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Buy Gift Certificates for Hot Restaurants, Help Out Those in Need, Get Free Russian Honey Cake

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Yelp/Ann L.
Win-win-win.
Along with parties and presents, a big part of the holiday season is helping out those less fortunate. And thanks to Anthony Myint of Mission Chinese, sharetable.org, Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Cafe, and the good folks at the SF Food Bank, now you can help those in need while stocking up on presents for your friends and family.

See also: Austerity Measures: A Restaurant Critic's Week on Food Stamps

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Show Off Your Chicken Wing Eating Prowess at Wing Wings' Second Annual Competition

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Laura Hata
For some of us, eating several dozen wings from Wing Wings is known as "Thursday," but the Lower Haight wing emporium is hosting its official second annual wing-eating contest at El Rio on Saturday, Dec. 14, 1-5 p.m. Aspiring champions can sign up in advance for two categories: A timed event, where contestants eat as many Angry Korean wings as they can in 10 minutes (water will be available), and a hella hella hot competition, where contestants will see who can eat 10 hella hella hot wings the fastest (contestants need to sit at a table for an additional five minutes with no food or drink after finishing).

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S.F. Steps Up to Help the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

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Ginataang, Skool Restaurant
We've seen the horrific images, heard the rising death tolls (reportedly, over 4,000 with thousands more injured, missing and displaced) and felt for the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan -- the deadliest Philippine typhoon since 1991. Although the disaster is half a world away, Bay Area restaurants and organizations are rising up to provide aid and relief for the victims.

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Dining in the Dark: Blind Cafe Illuminates Taste Buds and Mind for Charity

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Dining in the dark.
The decor of the waiting room of this particular pop-up cafe in San Francisco is eclectic. There frames are crooked, there are bronze angels hanging from the chandelier, and the furniture is random, almost bohemian. But it won't be relevant for the next two hours. The lights flicker and dim at low, almost non-visible levels, acting as a precursor of what is to come at the Blind Cafe.

Brian "Rosh" Rocheleau, founder and creator of the nonprofit organization, then comes out to the waiting room and rings a Tibetan gong, announcing that seating will begin and gives instructions on what is going to happen for the next two hours: dinner in complete darkness.

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New Mission-Centric Cookbook Pairs Restaurants with Local Artists

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Arts & Eats/Steven Geeter
If you've ever wanted an illustrated recipe for Farina's pesto, La Taqueria's hot sauce, or El Rio's margarita, you're in luck. Arts & Eats is a new cookbook that pairs more than 25 Mission restaurants with artists from Creativity Explored, a neighborhood arts organization, and benefits both it and the animal rescue organization Creative Rescue.

See also: Talking In the Charcuterie With Fatted Calf's Toponia Miller & Taylor Boetticher
Inside the California Food Revolution with Joyce Goldstein
Mark Bittman's New Vegan Mantra Leaves Room for Play

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Trader Joe's Ex-President Wants to Waste Less Food

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Pete Kane
Will the Daily Table's staff wear uniforms like Hawaiian shirts?
Americans waste almost 40 percent of their food, and almost all of it is because expiration dates are a combination of confusing and outright terrifying. Does anyone grasp the distinction between "sell by" and "enjoy by"? Who hasn't held a bag of arugula that expired the day before and thought, "Did this thing descend immediately to Hades, and will I die of botulism if I make a salad?"

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Eat Cheese, Drink Beer, and Meet Celebrity Cheesemakers

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Flickr/ Yellowj
Get sharp with celebrity cheesemakers from around the state next Thursday.
For a gouda time, The Cheese School of San Francisco is hosting its annual Meet-the-Cheesemaker event next Thursday. Proceeds of the event will go to the California Artisan Cheese Guild, an organization dedicated to artisanal, specialty and farmstead cheeses made in the state.

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