Dinner with Santa at Descanso Gardens
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 and 11, and Dec. 17 and 18, the Patina Restaurant Group is offering a cheery holiday buffet dinner with Santa for families, a gingerbread decorating station and entry into Descanso Gardens’ “Enchanted: Forest of Light.” The multi-station buffet dinner with Santa is at 5 p.m. in the Van de Kamp Hall. Adult tickets are $75; $45 for children 12 and under. 1418 Descanso Drive. (818)949-4200.
Fork in the Road reopens
Fork in the Road reopens on Saturday, Dec. 10 in a space redesigned by Spoon Singh and Tom Elliot after a closure due to a kitchen fire in 2015. New executive chef Marco Manca is re-energizing the menu with a blend of “old world” traditions from the chef’s background in Europe. Located on Main Street in Santa Monica, Fork in the Road is a full-service restaurant with to-go service available six nights a week. The menu includes salads, small plates, wood-fired flatbreads and main dishes including roasted Spanish octopus, bloody Mary spaghetti squash and duck leg confit. The restaurant also serves vegetarian and vegan specialties. Bar manager Becky Newman serves an extensive collection of estate wines and unique wine pairings, as well as wines by the ounce, a large selection of whiskey and hand-crafted cocktails that change seasonally. 2424 Main St. (310)450-2244.
Malibu Country Mart winter wonderland
The Malibu Country Mart is decorated with festive holiday décor throughout December. Visitors can enjoy fun, family-friendly events from noon to 4 p.m., with reindeer and visits with Santa Claus. Bring children on Saturday, Dec. 10 for a cookie decorating party. On Saturday, Dec. 17, listen to Victorian carolers strolling among twinkling lights, as well as a colorful Christmas tree and menorah. 3835 Cross Creek Road., Malibu. (310)456-7300.
Snow day at Playa Provisions
To help get everyone in the holiday spirit, “Top Chef” alum Brooke Williamson and her husband Nick Roberts are hosting their annual family-friendly snow day on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 12 to 5 p.m. at Playa Provisions. The restaurant’s parking lot is transformed with a sledding hill, bounce house, do-it-yourself s’mores station, face painting and snow for building snowmen, making snow angels and having a friendly snowball fight. Purchase a $10 wristband for unlimited access to the sledding hill and bounce house. Wristbands are $6 for a single activity, and the face painting station is $5 per child. The restaurant will offer $5 sausages and burgers. The s’more station is $10 for four people. Adults can also enjoy $5 beers and $10 cocktails. 119 Culver Blvd., Playa Del Rey. (310)683-5019.
Classic Holiday Salt & Straw Flavors
The artisanal ice cream company Salt & Straw is churning five local small batch flavors through Thursday, Dec. 29 including gingerbread cookie dough, peppermint cocoa, apple brandy and pecan pie, honeyed butter tarts, and fennel five spiced eggnog. The flavors are available by the scoop and pint at the Larchmont Village, Abbot Kinney, Studio City and Arts District locations. The shops are open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, which is also the first night of Hanukkah. The shops will be closed on Christmas Day. 240 N. Larchmont Blvd., (323)466-0485; 1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd., (310)310-8429; 12180 ½ Ventura Blvd., (818)358-2890; 829 E. Third St., (213)988-7070.
Seasonal elegance at Vinoteca
Vinoteca, Los Angeles’ newest Italian coffee house and wine bar, offers an authentic Napolini, dining experience at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. Start mornings at 6:30 a.m. with Vinoteca espressos made with a Yama multi-tiered, eight-hour drip cold brew maker, or a hot cup of coffee from Caffè Umbria. Specialty and seasonal cappuccino flavors include peppermint and Cuban seasoned with sweetened condensed milk. Be sure to try Vinoteca’s bacon and cheddar scones, almond croissants, pumpkin muffins and sfogliatello. Lunch and dinner menu items include ingredients such as rice, wheat for pizzas, pure white burrata, Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy to provide authentic flavors. The wifi-friendly bar accommodates guests with laptops and smart phones. It is the only place in Beverly Hills that serves Italian tapas to enjoy with 3-ounce and 6-ounce wine tastings, and bottles of Italian wine. Vinoteca also offers tasting flights with 3-ounce pours of four wines, artisanal Italian beer, aperitivo cocktails and digestivi e grappe. Be sure to order the Montanara with toppings such as lobster catalan from Sardinia. It’s a lobster salad made with tomato, onion, lobster and celery served in a unique pizza dough roll. The sweet Montanara pizza is a dessert made with deep-fried pizza dough topped with sweet sheep ricotta, seasonal red berry compote and micro-basil. Complimentary parking is available for people picking up pastries and coffee. 300 S. Doheny Drive. (310)860-4000.
Healthy heart for a healthy new year
Give a healthy gift at Juice It Up. It’s perfect for anyone who is focused on staying fit in the new year. Purchase a gift card through Monday, Jan. 16 and Juice It Up will donate 10 percent of proceeds to No Kid Hungry. The first 25 customers to purchase a $25 gift card at each Juice It Up location will receive a holiday gift pack with a tumbler. 1826 Marengo St., near Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, (323)225-2975; 5155 State University Drive, near California State University, Los Angeles, (323)343-6551.
Holiday gifts at Pieology
Purchase $25 in gift cards at Pieology for the pizza lovers in your life and receive a free pizza bonus card valid from Sunday, Jan. 1 through March 31. The offer is valid only for in-store gift card purchases. Regular Pieology gift cards are also available online. 3377 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 100, (213)381-6445; 920 Broxton Ave., (310)208-0901.
Winter specialties at Ivory on Sunset
West Hollywood’s chic indoor and outdoor dining concept has added new selections to its California menu with shareable dishes and entrées. Try the albacore crudo, grilled salmon, diver scallops, smoked beet salad and grilled branzino. Ivory on Sunset is located in the Mondrian LA and is open daily for weekday breakfast and lunch, weekend brunch and dinner. 8440 Sunset Blvd. (323)848-6000.
Miracle on Santa Fe at Westbound
Westbound transforms into “Miracle on One Santa Fe” through Saturday, Dec. 31, featuring floor-to-ceiling festive décor and holiday experiences. From the New York traditional pop up bar series “Miracle” (created by Cocktail Kingdom) comes a holiday takeover with a train-inspired bar in tinsel, wrapping paper, pine and colorful lights. Each night, Westbound will offer a special holiday experience or performance with sugarplum dancers, Dickensian carolers and fresh falling snow. Guests can play games and are welcome to participate in a charity drive. Join the fun Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight. 300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Ste. N. (213)262-9291.
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