Shake Up Your Holiday Dining

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If you’re like most people, you’ve just spent the last four days eating turkey sandwiches, leftover mashed potatoes and cold slices of pumpkin pie. The upcoming holidays will be filled with traditional fare such as this, specific to each family, which – though tasty – can get boringly predictable. I like to shake up the holiday dining hum-drums by visiting ethnic restaurants, like Pine Tree House, a Korean eatery which serves up a delectable jobchae – stir-fried glass noodles with fresh vegetables; or Zócalo for its delicious, soul-nourishing pozole; and Maalouf’s Taste of Lebanon, for the kitchen’s plump gyros sandwich and electrifying Lebanese salad, prepared from chopped mint, parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Another way to immerse yourself in new flavors during the holiday season is to take a cooking class – the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, for example, is offering a class tonight (6pm to 8:30pm) called “Festive Indian Appetizers,†where attendees can learn how to make Indian samosas, vegetable fritters and pakoras; and on Saturday (10am to12:30pm) it will offer “Fun with Phyllo,†which includes preparation of “bite-sized pastries filled with cinnamon-scented lamb and three types of Greek cheeses; and small dessert turnovers filled with walnuts, almonds and spices.†Sign me up.

Pine Tree House: 9205-D Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 366-3323

Zócalo: 1801 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, (916) 441-0303; www.zocalosacramento.com

Maalouf’s Taste of Lebanon: 1433 Fulton Avenue, Suite G, Sacramento, (916) 972-8768; http://maaloufs.com

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op: 1900 Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 455-2667; www.sacfoodcoop.com