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GOURMANDISE

What are you doing New Year's?
According to a recent survey commissioned by Korbel Champagne Cellars, most Americans will do one of three things at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1:

73 percent will kiss someone.

53 percent will watch the ball drop in Times Square.

31 percent will drink champagne.

(Because this adds up to way over 100 percent, obviously many people will do at least two things at once.)

So remember this: If you don't keep a bottle of sparkling wine in the refrigerator at this time of year, the most efficient way to chill a bottle of bubbly quickly is to fill an ice bucket with half ice and half cold water. The bottle will reach proper temperature in 20 minutes.

And to keep those bubbles bubbling, use the old-fashioned method of placing the handle of a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle. It works!

Disposable income

Want to know the name of America's most expensive restaurant?

The Zagat Guide says it's Ginza Sushi-Ko in Beverly Hills, Calif., operated by master sushi chef Takamaya San. The restaurant is a 17-seater on the second floor of the posh Two Rodeo shopping complex, and it's dinner only.

The average tab tops out at $141!

A better mousetrap

Buffalo is one of the first cities in the United States to experience a new beverage product -- drawstring tea bags that let the drinker extract flavor to the max.

After the tea is finished steeping, the drinker separates the perforated double tag and pulls the tabs in opposite directions to squeeze out the tea bag. Known as British Blend Drawstring Tea, this new-fangled bag is produced by Tetley USA.

We say, terrific. Now, if only they'd figure out a way to dispose of the tea bag itself.

More holiday cheer

Western New York United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse has put together a small recipe book for tempting alcohol-free party beverages (like a No-Tequila Margarita and Cider Citrus Sparkle Punch) and snacks to go with them (like Dill Dip). Word is that the book has been a big success.

To buy your copy (50 cents each) or for information, call Roz McGee at 878-8560.

The pizza meter

Each year, Domino's Pizza Inc. takes a look at American society by surveying pizza consumption habits across the country. This may be looking at the world through the wrong end of the telescope, but the company does come up with some interesting facts.

Here are some gleanings from the Pizza Meter, 1997. Make of them what you will:

Pizza orders to families were 10 times higher during the Super Bowl than the World Series.

Kids in New York were six times as likely to order a vegetable-topped pizza compared to kids in Los Angeles.

Moms' tips were on average 45 percent higher than dads' tips.

A full 62 percent of women wearing stilettos ordered extra-cheese pizza as compared to those women wearing flats.

The day following the death of Col. Tom Parker, there were 354 reported prank phone calls made by Elvis.

And here are the Top 5 fake names given when ordering pizza during 1997:

1) Marv Albert

2) Janet Reno

3) Hank Hill

4) Dr. Kevorkian

5) Frank Gifford

By the way, of those people using the name "Marv Albert" when ordering pizza, 51 percent answered the door wearing an obvious toupee.

Last call

Time is running out for the folks who want to get in on the Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest's search for the best chicken recipe in the Northeast. Entries must be postmarked before Feb. 2.

Submit an original recipe for broiler/fryer chicken (whole or parts) and maybe you'll be one of 20 finalists selected to receive an expenses-paid trip to the finals on the Delaware Shore in June. The ultimate winner will receive an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation for two, $1,000 and a gas grill.

For information, call (302) 856-9037 or write to: Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest Entry, RD 6, Box 47, Georgetown, Del. 19947-9575.

And finally . . .

Our last culinary quote for 1997:

"Eat, drink and have fun, for tomorrow we shall diet."
-- Anonymous