Every time I eat at the great Basi Italia, I tell myself I need to go there more often, like once a week. Alas, with so much restaurant reviewing to do, it's not so easy. But looking at this bowl of zesty zuppa di pesce--garnished with sunflower sprouts for a little touch of summer on a chilly evening--has got me thinking I might just make it there tonight. Read my review of some of Basi's newer dishes and its outre winter solstice patio experience in Alive here.

I mentioned Knead's over-the-top, down-in-the-valley and back-up-again Bloody Mary in Alive this week, too (it's garnished with an olive/sausage/giardiniera-loaded kebab that amounts to a small lunch!) -- here's a pic of the crazy, unique, only-at-Knead quaff!

After a recent lunch at Knead, I traipsed over to the North Market to see what's new.

The Barrel & Bottle is a great-looking wine and beer shop that recently replaced the hard-luck Grapes of Mirth.

Look how B&B has better utilized the space--it doesn't feel cramped in there at all anymore.

Plus the super friendly B&B people are bursting with ideas to reach out to Market customers--like food/drink pairing suggestions...

...and teaming up with North Market Spices to make custom packets for seasonally festive mulled wine. Good luck, guys!

Also, can't wait for Clever Crow to open--it'll be taking over the old Pam's popcorn spot (Pam's moved her operation--she makes the best stuff you can buy, BTW--to the northwest part of the Market). Love the Crow and his eccentric sourdough/cornbread crusted pies.