7 Delicious Pacific Northwest Restaurant Holiday Events

The holidays are a special and hectic time of year. When you’re ready for a break from feeling frenzied, check out one of these seven Pacific Northwest restaurant holiday events. From special Christmas-themed meals to book readings and nutcracker parades, each offers something that will take your mood from frantic to festive. All of these events sell out quickly, so make your reservations early.

Pretend you’re in Italy with the Feast of Seven Fishes
In many parts of Italy, Christmas Eve is synonymous with the Feast of Seven Fishes. During this extravagant holiday meal, families serve as many as 13 fish-centric dishes to their friends and family. Get a scaled-down version of this experience at Seattle’s Agrodolce. Every Christmas Eve, they offer three-, five- and seven-course meals chock full of fresh Pacific Northwest seafood. Start with a bread and crab appetizer, move on to a hearty fish stew, and finish with a light dessert (which, in case you’re wondering, does not include anything harvested from the sea).

Blog Agrodolce interior copy

Brunch with Santa and the nutcrackers
The Nutcracker ballet is a Christmas tradition for many families. But Salty’s on Alki Beach in Seattle (as well as Salty’s on Redondo Beach in Des Moines and Salty’s on the Columbia in Portland) allows you to get up close and personal with these holiday favorites. During special brunches every weekend in December, Salty’s restaurants display their extensive collection of seven-foot-tall nutcrackers around each dining rooms. Santa is on hand to take Christmas lists and photos, and extravagant holiday light displays give the entire space a festive air.

Celebrate the holidays Celtic-style
For the last 20+ years, Café Soriah in Eugene has hosted an annual Celtic Holiday event. Matinee or evening shows start with Welsh, Scottish, English and Irish songs performed by two local musicians. For their finale, a Welsh chimney sweep who now resides in Eugene reads the book A Child’s Christmas in Wales. He even wears his traditional top hat for many performances. Café Soriah typically hosts eight performances of their Celtic Holiday celebration in the week leading up to Christmas.

An advent calendar for adults
When I was a kid, I loved those advent calendars with chocolate hidden behind every door. As a grown-up, the beer advent calendar from Bell + Whete in Seattle seems slightly more appealing. This restaurant is brewing up 12 holiday-themed beers and releasing them one by one through December 24. To help drinkers identify when each keg will be tapped and which ones they haven’t tried, Bell + Whete has put together an advent calendar that doubles as a punch card. Sample every beer and you can enter to win dinner for two at their first-class restaurant.

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How to Holiday High Tea in the Pacific Northwest

Maybe you already high tea annually during the holidays, or maybe you’re eager to try out this tradition. Either way, these spots offer both classic favorites and innovative twists that make for a festive — and filling! — holiday experience. Read on to find out where to enjoy holiday high tea in the Pacific Northwest.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia
Seeking a side of glamour and grandeur with your tea? This is the place. Right smack in the middle of downtown, with a view of Vancouver’s skyline, the Fairmont’s Nutcracker Tea (December 20 + 21; $64 per person, $27 for children) includes delicate honey yogurt panna cotta, curried chicken finger sandwiches, crab cakes, and a live pianist playing favorites from the score of the ballet. And while you enjoy a glass of port, Prosecco, or wine, kids are treated to the Prince or Princess tea service with bubblegum tea, scones, and Black Forest ham and cheddar sandwiches — all in a building that genuinely looks like a castle. Someone cue the sugarplum fairies!

Holiday High Tea in the Pacific Northwest

Neverland Tea Salon, Vancouver, British Columbia
Neverland’s whole vibe is about whimsy, accessibility, and excellence. Accordingly, the High Tea service respects some traditions (the tea tower, small portions) and upends others (servers wear jeans and t-shirts and sport a relaxed attitude). Also central to the Neverland experience: food worth eating. “We’re not a place where the ambiance outshines what’s being served,” co-owner Terri Tatchell says. “Our food is actually worth indulging in.” To that end, the Holiday High Tea (offered through December 31, at $38 per person) features flank steak on focaccia with green peppercorn aioli, an insane macadamia and salted caramel brownie, and gooey sticky toffee bread pudding with brandied caramel sauce. Pots of tea are never-ending, and Neverland takes gluten- and dairy-free options seriously. In fact, the special order towers so closely resemble the standard ones that customers often think their requests haven’t been honored. “We want those with special needs to enjoy the full Neverland experience,” explains Tatchell. So while the ingredients have been tweaked, the taste is just as dreamy.

High Holiday Tea in the Pacific Northwest

The Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia
Here, the setting’s the thing. There are 55 acres of lush gardens, plus the dining room is located in the Butchart family’s Craftsman-style former residence. Admission tickets to the garden are required for tea, but they’re worth it because they grant access to ice skating, strolling carolers, and a proper carousel. The traditional High Tea (served through December 22; $33.75 per person) features classics including egg salad sandwiches with watercress and Cornish pastry. But it’s the Flavours of Christmas High Tea from December 22-27 ($39.50 per person, $18.95 for children) that really screams happy holidays. Heavy on regionally sourced items such as Salt Spring Island goat cheese brioche and a Dungeness crab salad sandwich, the festive high tea can also be paired with wines from three Vancouver Island wineries to make it a hyper-local experience. Pro tip: Make a late afternoon reservation for tea, but arrive early. That way, you get to appreciate the garden during daylight hours and also see it dressed up at night.

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Star Wars Menus: #TheForceAwakens with 8 Star Wars Dishes + Drinks

Star Wars Menus

There’s a disturbance in the Force. In case you haven’t been close to a screen, browsed the Internet, walked the aisles of your grocery store, or talked to anyone, there’s a new Star Wars film coming out today. The Force Awakens picks up more than three decades after The Return of the Jedi left off. There’s a lot of speculation as to what will happen in the seventh installment in the saga, but one thing is for certain: it’s going to be a massive box office smash. Its release has spurred a number of culinary Jedi to find inspiration from the iconic trilogy. (Let’s just pretend the prequels never happened.) and create Star Wars menus for fans of the force.

Faith & Flower, Los Angeles, California
Like a tractor beam pulling you in, you won’t be able to resist this Star Wars themed off-menu mignardise board by pastry chef Josh Graves. Feel the Force awaken in you while savoring a chocolate Millennium Falcon, white chocolate Stormtrooper, a caramel-filled dark chocolate Darth Vader, an absinthe candy lightsaber, a Death Star bonbon, and a Han Solo frozen in carbonite, erm, dark chocolate. Thankfully, he decided not to include a Jabba the Hutt gummy.

Star Wars Menus

The Lot, San Diego, California
The Lord of the Sith inspired pastry chef Alejandra Pitashny to create this Dark Side Chocolate Cake layered with raspberries and blackberries. Only at the end of eating it do you realize the power of the Dark Side. Which means you might have to order another slice. Consider it part of your training to become a Sith lord.

Star Wars Menus

Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia
Think you geek out about Star Wars? You’ve got nothing on chef Cathal Armstrong, who binge watches the saga with his son over Christmas break every year. To celebrate the release of The Force Awakens, he is serving Aunt Beru’s Fennel Soup as an amuse bouche through December. When A New Hope was being filmed in 1976 in Tunisia, the prop masters were tasked with coming up with a soup that Luke’s aunt would make on Tatooine. Fennel was relatively unknown in the States at that time, so it was chosen as a vegetable that could conceivably be utilized in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Menus

Little Goat Bakery, Chicago, Illinois
Stephanie Izard offers Wookie Pies, which take their name from Han Solo’s bowcaster-toting compadre Chewbacca. Or, as Princess Leia calls him, a “big walking carpet.” The pies are formed by sandwiching a pair of chocolate cakes sandwich around a generous slather of chocolate cream. Since Chewie is known for getting in trouble for always thinking with his stomach, we’re certain he’d love them.

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A Very Waldorf Astoria Christmas: The Ultimate NYC Holiday Brunch at Peacock Alley

Blog 1 OpenTable_Waldorf-25 copyWith all due respect to cities all over the world, it’s seriously tough to beat Christmas in New York. We’ve got the tree. The Rockettes. And the Peacock Alley, which is housed in the Waldorf Astoria, one of the most storied properties in New York City.

Its origins dating all the way back to 1893, Peacock Alley is a common thread for many a New York story. Stop by and check in on any social network, and the comments will start flowing about the Alley and the Waldorf Astoria. “My grandparents celebrated their engagement there.” “I had my wedding there!” “I saw the POTUS there!” Seriously, try it.

Peacock Alley is named for the glamorous, 300-foot marble corridor of the original hotel that once connected the Palm Room and the Empire Room restaurants; people who lived in New York or who came to the city insisted upon walking at least once through the “Alley.” When the Waldorf Astoria opened on Park Avenue in 1931, Peacock Alley was reborn as a lounge area, ultimately evolving into a five-star restaurant — and home of the ultimate New York City holiday brunch.

If you haven’t yet Instagrammed the experience, you just might lose your foodie IG cred. The expansive spread is that over the top — and also that delicious. This is luxe day dining served with a side of certified New York history. Take a sumptuous virtual tour, courtesy of local photographer Simon Lewis, enjoy some inside information and dizzying stats from the culinary team, and scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of (almost) everything that was on the menu for holiday brunch at Peacock Alley that day.*

Executive Pastry Chef Charlie Romano revealed, “We have a big team making this happen, and we are very fortunate that it’s a great team. It’s all about collaboration, communication, and teamwork. It’s about doing your best and making diners happy and keeping them excited.”
True story: Eggs Benedict was invented at the Waldorf Astoria by famed maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirsky...
True story: Eggs Benedict was invented at the Waldorf Astoria by famed maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirsky…
...as was the eponymous Waldorf salad.
…as was the eponymous Waldorf salad.
This chef shucks around 500 oysters at most brunch services.
This chef shucks around 500 oysters at most brunch services.
The seafood station with snow crab, shrimp, and lobster claws + tails is particularly popular, according to Assistant Chef de Cuisine Stephen McDowell. "We get 700 pounds of live lobster that we cut, clean, and break down each week!"
The seafood station with snow crab, shrimp, and lobster claws + tails is particularly popular, according to Assistant Chef de Cuisine Stephen McDowell. “We get 700 pounds of live lobster that we cut, clean, and break down each week!”

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