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The Best Food & Drink Events in December

Feast of the Seven Fishes, Tamale Party at the Curious Fork, and The Wine Vault's Top 5 Reds Tasting Menu


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Tamale Party at the Curious Fork

Feast of Seven Fishes

WHERE: Cucina Urbana, Sorella, and Enoteca
WHEN: December 18-24

Tracy Borkum and her chefs have made quite the name for themselves with their somewhat-Italian concepts. For the holidays, all three locations (Cucina Urbana, Cucina Enoteca, and Cucina Sorella) pay tribute to the Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition, “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” with a rotating seafood menu all week. It’s a family-style meal, meant to represent when Italians fast from red meat until the Christmas meal. Each restaurant will offer two to three of the specials each day and rotate them, including: calamari tagliatelle with pistachio crema and key lime preserve; cured cobia with burnt scallion, crispy sweet potato, and green peppercorn aioli; sea bass agnolotti with cauliflower, traviso (mild raddichio), and parsnip crisp; yellowtail collar with meyer lemon conserva and watercress; fritto misto with octopus, avocado, and black garlic aioli; cotechino-stuffed squid with carrot hummus and gremolata; spot prawn alla plancha with tomato zabaglione, currant, and toasted farro. A pretty decent way to go red meatless like your Italian friends.

COST: Varies per dish
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Tamale Party

WHERE: The Curious Fork, 512 Via de la Valle, Del Mar.
WHEN: December 17, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Katherine Emmenegger has done a pretty inspiring thing at this little restaurant/retail/culinary education depot in Del Mar. It’s a gluten-free café, which usually gives my taste buds the heebie jeebies. But Emmenegger and her team create some solid food. They’ll be tackling the Mexican holiday classic in this cooking class—tamales—where attendees will learn how to prepare masa, fillings, and learn how to roll and steam the finished product. You’ll be making three tamales: Oaxaca mole pork, chicken and tomatillo, and a sweet potato, black bean, and roasted poblano chile.

COST: $54
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Top 5 Reds Tasting Menu

WHERE: Wine Vault & Bistro, 3731 India St., Suite A, Middletown
WHEN: Dec. 27-29, 5 p.m.

The Wine Vault’s business model is pretty genius. Tuck your restaurant in a tiny little alcove with zero curb appeal, and use the rent savings to offer those in the know the deals of the century on food and wine. For example, this 10-course tasting menu. Owner Chris Gluck knows his wines better than most, and he’s picked his “Top 5 Red Wines of 2016” for this: 2013 Bokisch Tempranillo, 2013 Tres Picos Garnacha, 2010 Buoni Anni Sangiovese, 2009 Saxon Brown "Camp Block" Syrah, and 2013 Justin "Isosceles" Bordeaux Blend. I won’t list all 10 courses, but a few standouts:

Course 3: Roasted Pork Rib | Toasted Garlic BBQ Sauce | Scallion + Ginger Oil
Course 5: Eggplant Involtini | Fontina | Smoked San Marzano Tomato Sugo
Course 7: Crispy Duck Confit Taco | Spicy Hoisin
Course 8: Black Pepper Crusted Brisket | Buttermilk Fried Onion Rings

COST: $57.50 (plus tax, gratuity)
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