|by Justine Sharrock||California, San Francisco||18|
Tour Chinatown's bakeries Start the Chinese New Year (Feb. 14 this year) out right by visiting two Chinatown bakeries that still make fortune cookies the old-fashioned way: by hand. Stop by Mee Mee Bakery or the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, located in Chinatown's oldest alley, to watch a free demo. While you're there, pick up a bag of fortune cookies—a perfect souvenir to share (or not). Reservations not needed. Mee Mee Bakery, 1328 Stockton Street, 415/362-3204. $3 for a bag of cookies, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, 56 Ross Alley, 415/781-3956, $1 for a bag of cookies, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. everyday. l
See Kermit Lynch at Omnivore Books On Feb. 20, the famed Berkeley wine importer Kermit Lynch, whose wine business earned him France's highest national decoration—the Legion d'honneur—will be hosting a free wine tasting and reading. Sample the latest vino discoveries while Lynch reads from two of his books, Adventures on the Wine Route and Inspiring Thirst. The event is being held at Omnivore, Noe Valley's book store dedicated to all things food, where the collection of vintage cookbooks (including the first-edition signed copy of Chez Paniesse Desserts) is worth a browse in itself. The hour-long event begins at 5 p.m., 3885 Cesar Chavez Street, omnivorebooks.com, 415/282-4712
San Francisco IndieFest's Big Lebowski Party at CellSpace The annual film festival launches Feb. 4 and features award-winning independent films like Wah Do Dem (with Norah Jones) and Harmony and Me. Each film is $10. Be sure to buy tickets in advance, since this festival, which has premiered big films in the past from indie favorites like David Lynch and Gus Van Sant, draws crowds. Additionally, The Big Lebowski Party on Feb. 12 is always a highlight, complete with white Russians, mini-bowling, a trampoline, and a costume contest (expect plenty of bathrobe-clad Dudes) held at the arts co-operative CellSpace. Save 5 bucks if you show up in costume. Film Festival February 4th-18th, at a variety of locations. $10 tickets. Big Lebowski Party starts at 9 p.m., 2050 Bryant Street, 415/648-7562, $10 ($5 in costume); free with Indie Film fest ticket stub.
$3 Moonlight Martinis at the Cliff House Sutro's bar at the Cliff House has floor-to-ceiling windows directly overlooking the Pacific ocean, the famous Seal Rocks, and the Sutro Bath ruins, making it a perennial favorite among visitors and locals alike. It's the perfect spot to end up after an afternoon hiking the rocky shoreline at the Presidio's Land's End or visiting the Camera Obscura. Try visiting on a weeknight (Sunday through Thursday) to get the most bang for your buck—$3 Skyy and Tanquery martinis (usually $8) mean you can still afford a cab ride back. 1090 Point Lobos, 415/386-3330, 6- 10 p.m.
$5 stand-up at the Clubhouse Clubhouse, a downtown underground Comedy Club, features some of the best up-and-coming local stars, like Ali Mafi and Nico Santos. Normally, these comedians perform at high-priced clubs like Cobb's or the Punch Line—but at Clubhouse, see them for a fraction of the price. The BYOB policy creates a no-holds-barred atmosphere where comics can test new material and crack jokes too off-color for the mainstream. 414 Mason St., 415-921-2051, Tuesdays through Sundays, tickets start at $5.
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