Fame Bites - Aubrey Plaza
February 7th, 2011
06:00 PM ET
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Fame Bites goes inside the belly of the entertainment beast. We're dishing out where the celebrities are eating, what they're eating and who they're eating with.

Aubrey Plaza currently stars as the deadpan intern, April Ludgate, in NBC's mockumentary-style comedy "Parks and Recreation" alongside the likes of Aziz Ansari and Amy Poehler. She has also appeared in films like "Funny People" and "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World."

Just because she's got a dry sense of humor, doesn't mean the girl lacks flavor.

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Filed under: Bite • Columns • Fame Bites

5@5 - Jeff Segal
February 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

On Valentine’s Day, also known as next Monday (commence Medusa-like shrieking), Jeff Segal wants you to think outside the box of chocolates and consider the bottle for your lady friend or gentleman caller.

Segal is the owner of Heart wine bar, restaurant and art gallery in San Francisco - a spot perhaps most notably known for its unconventional "Mason Jar Manifesto" of serving wine out of mason jars. In the words of Segal: "Respect the grape, and the human hands behind it, not the stem."

Five Wines for Every Valentine's Day Personality: Jeff Segal

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Filed under: 5@5 • Holidays • Sip • Think • Valentine's Day • Wine

Podcast – Out to Lunch: Tacos beyond the box and Bell
February 7th, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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Many of us grew up eating out-of-the-Ortega-box shells and spent our pocket change on cheapo "seasoned beef" at Taco Bell. We never dreamed that there was a whole flavor world beyond neon cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce.

Taco trucks and blogs abound around the country, but unless you take a step away from the chains, you're never going to know what deliciousness awaits just over the border.

There's plenty more to chew on, but it all starts with the first bite. Come out to lunch with Eatocracy.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes and subscribe to the Out to Lunch with Eatocracy RSS feed

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And yes, I do assert that Tacos Nuevo Mexico is my favorite taqueria in all the land - and Top Chef's Bryan Voltaggio didn't hate it one bit. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it - but also, school me on your favorites. We'll share a list in a future post.

Bargain bourbon: Wham, dram, thank you ma'am
February 7th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
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Call it the Mad Men effect: retro fashions, debonair dinner parties and especially classic drinks - like bourbon - are back with a vengeance.

"Despite the recession, consumers decided they wanted to drink better," says Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Last year, sales of super premium bourbon (the highest price category) were up 17.7% from 2009, according to the council, while total bourbon sales grew at a rate of just 4%.

So what makes a bourbon "super premium"? Well, better often means older. Older whiskeys spend more time aging in an oak barrel, which is how they get their caramel color and much of the flavor.

Read "Great bourbons at a bargain" on CNNMoney.

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • News • Sip • Spirits • Trends

Lunchtime poll – sending it back
February 7th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
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It took a while for my bluefish and tostones to show up this weekend. No worries - I had some sparkling Chilean wine and was still coming down from a spicy anticuchos appetizer. Close quarters, so it was easy for me to determine pretty quickly that the couple sitting nearby were kind of...jerks.

I like to like people. The world is much nicer that way. New York City restaurant seating makes that difficult sometimes because you're squashed up against each other so tightly, it's almost as if you've got extra, uninvited dinner companions. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing - I've developed some ongoing friendships with people I've met sitting at restaurant bars.

These people, though...these people... The gentleman sent his steak back - not because there was anything fundamentally wrong with it (my husband had the exact same dish and it was pretty darned delicious), but rather because it just kind of wasn't what he wanted, and because it turns out, that's just what he DOES.

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