SF Restaurant Cooks for Australia Aid

SOMA—In response to the Victoria wildfires that have affected Australia, South will be putting on a special menu, with all proceeds going to the fire victims. Aussie celeb chef Luke Mangan will be in town and will prepare a special four course menu, wine pairings included. There will also be an auction so the funds donated to the cause can match/exceed the dinner proceeds. Date: Tuesday, February 24th. Price: $125. [EaterWire]

'BUCKSWIRE—Somewhat unbelievably, the Starbucks ploys just keep on a-coming. Next up: instant coffee! "Premium java giant Starbucks is venturing into what some would consider lowbrow territory with a soluble-coffee product called Via ... Starbucks will begin testing the soluble coffee -- a term that conjures up images of instant brands such as Folgers, Sanka and Brim -- by selling it in Starbucks cafes as early as next month." Ho boy. [Crain's]

WINE COUNTRY—As the final numbers come in, things aren't looking too great for this year's crush. Though the prices paid to growers went up across the board, a 21 percent drop in tonnage made for a double-digit decline in the value of the '08 Napa Valley’s grape crop. [NVR]

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