In addition to the big holidays, December can be about some fun food-related events, both virtual and in-person. Think grand openings, a passport series that will hopefully make up for some canceled trips, and events benefitting Arizona chefs. Not to mention a cooking class, a plant walk, and a socially distanced market
Mark down these events that might bring you some joy as 2020 mercifully ends.
Holiday CocktailsKelly's at SouthBridge
7117 East Sixth Avenue, Scottsdale
All month, Kelly's at SouthBridge is offering a limited-edition dessert martini flight inspired by holiday flavors. For $35, you'll get a pumpkin spice martini, espresso martini, and strawberry white chocolate martini paired with a slice of Kelly's famous house cheesecake.
Holiday Scavenger HuntDecember 2020
1 East Washington Street
From now till December 31, you can poke around Cityscape as a participant in its new digital scavenger hunt. Treasures, or holiday-themed QR codes hidden throughout the premises and scanned with your device’s camera, include coupons and discounts to the surrounding restaurants. Think half-off appetizers at The Strand Urban Italian, comped chips and guac at Chico Malo, a $10 holiday cocktail at Pigtails, and more. For more information, see CityScape’s Holiday Scavenger Hunt website.
Moonlight Over the MoundThursday, December 3
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
4619 East Washington Street
It's the second annual Moonlight Over the Mound event but the first virtual one. The online culinary fundraiser put on by the Friends of Pueblo Grande Museum will showcase some of Arizona's best-known chefs and their signature dishes. On deck is Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber of AZ Wild Cuisine, Maria Parra Cana of Sana Sana, Matt Chandler and Ben Jacobs of Tocabe, Lois Frank of Red Mesa Grill, Tamara Sanger of Cotton & Copper, and Micah Wyzlic of Phoenix City Grille. Starting at 5:30 p.m., join in for a live chef chat, raffle, online auction, and a musical performance.
Grand OpeningFriday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5
4041 East Thomas Road, #101
From the husband-and-wife team behind Jewel's Cafe comes Tru Tacos — a late-night, pop-up, traditional al pastor taco and margarita stand that will be located on the restaurant's patio. Besides the al pastor, there will be carne asada on house-made Flamin' Hot Cheetos corn tortillas and nopal tacos served on prickly pear corn tortillas. The two-day grand opening offers free tacos and $2 margaritas from 6 p.m. until sold out. The stand will then be open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays every week.
Edible Plant WalkSaturday, December 5
Aji Spa at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Chandler
Meet the founders of Cactus Kelly Wild Desert Cuisine and the Legacy Wilderness Academy for a 2 to 3-mile nature walk around the Wild Horse Pass Interpretive Trailhead near the Aji Spa parking lot. You'll learn how plants like honey mesquite trees, desert willow, and brittlebush can be useful in making food (and/or medicine). A $25 ticket includes six traditional indigenous foods and drinks to try. And the walk will be socially distanced.
Ho-Ho Holiday Drive-Thru Fair FoodThursday to Sunday, December 10 to 13, 17 to 20
Arizona State Fairgrounds
1826 West McDowell Road
The drive-thru fair food event at the Arizona State Fairgrounds is back for the holiday season. Patrons may drive up to snag to-go versions of the famous fair food with vendors to soon be announced. Times are 4 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, then noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The event is free, and the food vendors prefer you pay with credit cards (though cash will be accepted). Drivers are asked to stay in their cars, and food is packaged and ready to be eaten in the car or at home. You enter from 19th Avenue and Monte Vista Road. For more information, see the Ho-Ho Holiday Drive-Thru web page.
Dining for DreamsFriday, December 11
Local First Arizona and Fuerza Local are partnering to provide a three-course, family-style meal to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Sample culinary favorites from Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador with Dining for Dreams. Start with an empanada platter for the appetizer followed by the entree — chicken fricassee served atop Jamaican coconut rice with red beans and plantain chips. Dessert is Pan de Yuca, a sweet cassava cheese bread. There's also a lemon drink sweetened with powdered brown sugar. Cost is $100 which will go toward expanding the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator benefitting communities throughout the state.
Passport SeriesSaturday, December 12
FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel
1100 North Central Avenue
FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is launching a passport series with the idea of transporting guests to worldwide dining destinations without leaving the hotel grounds. First up is Germany, an event offering an authentic German Christmas market with food and drink specials, carolers, and an appearance from Santa Claus himself. There will also be food and beverages from other eastern European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic. The event runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Virtual Cooking ClassSaturday, December 12
North Italia's chef Chris Curtiss will be leading a virtual cooking class to raise funds for local nonprofit One Step Beyond Inc. The class includes a tutorial about how to prepare the perfect classic Negroni and charcuterie board plus an entrée of Parmesan and herb-crusted beef tenderloin with roasted Brussels sprouts, Cambozola polenta, and an aged balsamic roasted pear crumble with vanilla Mascarpone. Got all that? You will. Class starts at 5 p.m. and cost is $50 per ticket.
Grand OpeningFriday, December 18 to Sunday, December 20
The Kolache Cafe
4302 East Ray Road
Pronounced “ko-lah-chee," these Czech pastries and Texas treats are made of a light and fluffy yeast dough and filled with fruit. There are also savory ones with fillings like ham and cheese and/or Italian sausage and gravy. The Kolache Cafe is currently doing online delivery orders on weekends but will be celebrating its grand opening from December 18 to 20. Stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Socially Distanced December Night MarketSunday, December 20
710 West Montecito Avenue
Thunderbird Lounge's backyard patio will host a socially distanced market from noon to 7 p.m. The event will be extended into the back parking lot to accommodate social distance guidelines. Food trucks and local vendors will be announced in the coming weeks.
Hassle-Free Tiki NYEThursday, December 31
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
1 West Jefferson Street
Bitter & Twisted is offering some special tiki-themed packages for NYE in downtown Phoenix. These include seating for parties of up to eight people, as well as tiki drinks, dim sum dishes, and bottles of Taittinger La Francaise. (In addition, Little Rituals is offering similar packages next door). Reservations are required. To make one, or for more information, see the Bitter & Twisted and Little Rituals website.
Labyrinth Masquerade BallThursday, December 31
710 West Montecito Avenue
The Labyrinth Masquerade Ball is an outdoor, socially distant, masked (as in for costumes and your health) event happening on the Thunderbird Lounge patio and back parking lot. There will be live entertainment and DJs as well as adult beverages, food trucks (Beignet Babe, Chilte Tacos, and more) at the ready, and champagne (or close to it). The 21-and-over ball starts at 7 p.m. and cost is $10. Get tickets here.
SandalorianThursday, December 31
Sandbar Mexican Grill
Visit the Gilbert, Chandler, or Desert Ridge locations of Sandbar Mexican Grill (okay, so all locations) for the Sandalorian New Year's Eve event. The Star Wars-themed fun offers a full menu, beer and cocktails, and COVID safety protocols. The party goes till 2 a.m. Reservations are highly recommended.
Rock ‘n Roll Burlesque + DinnerThursday, December 31
525 South Central Avenue
The Duce is hosting a spacious dinner with a burlesque show and live music on New Year’s Eve. Dinner items include the well-loved mac muffins, beer can chicken sliders, and a strawberry pecan salad — plus a free glass of champagne. Tickets start at $90. Doors open at 8 a.m.
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version. See what Valley restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and dine-in services with our Phoenix Restaurant Directory.
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