If youâ€™re like most people, youâ€™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 â€“ stir-fried glass noodles with fresh vegetables; or ZÃ³calo for its delicious, soul-nourishing pozole; and Maaloufâ€™s Taste of Lebanon, for the kitchenâ€™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 â€“ the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, for example, is offering a class tonight (6pm to 8:30pm) called â€œFestive Indian Appetizers,â€ where attendees can learn how to make Indian samosas, vegetable fritters and pakoras; and on Saturday (10am to12:30pm) it will offer â€œFun with Phyllo,â€ which includes preparation of â€œbite-sized pastries filled with cinnamon-scented lamb and three types of Greek cheeses; and small dessert turnovers filled with walnuts, almonds and spices.â€ Sign me up.
Pine Tree House: 9205-D Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 366-3323
ZÃ³calo: 1801 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, (916) 441-0303; www.zocalosacramento.com
Maaloufâ€™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