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Your wine guide to L.A., hard cider, bacon, holiday baking and more...

There's only one person who could have written this week's cover story "Drinking It In," which offers up a tour of Los Angeles' most beguiling wine lists: Our restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila. It's just one of the highlights in today's Food section. Here are a few others:

  • Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter sets out on her "Lord of the Rings"-type quest to find 1,001 things to do with bacon, and invites you to join the journey. First stop: Catch her this morning on KTLA, our sister station, serving up -- and we kid not -- a candied bacon martini. It's scheduled for about 9:30 a.m.
  • Times Staff writer Betty Hallock has a way to work off some holiday calories -- by doing some holiday baking. Sounds perfectly reasonable to us. Check out recipes for gingerbread cookies, German springerle cookies, and panforte. (Find out where to buy the old-school cookie stamps here, and we guide you step-by-step through panforte here.)
  • Sidle up to the saddles that serve as barstools at Peña's Restaurant in Santa Ana, and consider ordering one of the house specials, conchinita pibil, a Yucatecan dish of pork wrapped in banana leaves and marinated in orange juice and achiote paste.
  • Wine just not your thing? How about artisanal ciders?

And finally....

Noelle's bacon quest sent us digging into the archives for some other bacon recipes, and we came across this recipe for maple bacon biscuits, fashioned after those made by Rustic Canyon pastry chef Zoe Nathan. If this doesn't make our list of the Top Ten recipes for the year....it's rigged.

--Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

 
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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.