The Chronicle Over Coffee

Here’s a pre-holiday cup of San Francisco Chronicle Food Section. It’s a huge one today, with lots of extra holiday stuff. We’ll focus more on the seasonal, but do check the Gate for more of the regular features you love so much.

• We get a celebratory dinner menu featuring pork shoulder and other rich tastes that even Bob Cratchit could afford. [A holiday dinner that’s rich in inspiration]

• The trusty old Tasting Panel likes Lucerne egg nog, from Safeway, the best of a somewhat disappointing bunch. Note to panel: Your eggnog tasting was disappointing because eggnog is nasty. [Lucerne eggnog leads lackluster pack]

• A list of restaurants offering New Year’s Eve menus. [Restaurants ready to help you ring in 2009]

• A couple of options for gingerbread house kits. [Where to find prefab and DIY gingerbread houses]

• We get a lip-smacking, artery-clogging look at the deep-fried glories of Hanukkah. [Festival of lights, and fabulous fried food]

• And a chef shuffle at the Cliff House, a bunch of restaurant expansions buck the economic trend, a new chef named for Serpentine, and a name for Charles Phan’s new Chinese venture. [Inside Scoop]

The Chronicle Over Coffee