Wine Bars Improve; Obama’s Pick for Agriculture Isn’t a Foodie

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• Although wine bars have been a trend for some time now, 2008 was the year they became destination restaurants. Spots like Gottino and the Jake Walk are serving excellent food alongside the drinks. [Metromix]

• In a disappointment for foodies like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, who hoped for a secretary of Agriculture with expertise in sustainable-food policy, Obama has picked former Iowa governor and ethanol enthusiast Tom Vilsack for the post. [NYT]

• Donatella Arpaia offers some tips for holiday entertaining: Don't be afraid to serve Champagne's less expensive cousin, cava, and stay away from pre-made cheese plates. [Fork in the Road/VV]

• Although Christmas pudding is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, many feel the British dessert to be a vital part of their holiday celebrations. [Urbanite/amNY]

• Michael Psilakis wants Kefi to "help make Greek food something that New Yorkers take for granted." [Feedbag]