Expecting a houseful of holiday guests but stressing out about what to serve them? Kitchen on Fire (1509 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) aims to lessen the anxiety with “Quick & Easy Holiday Entertaining,” a three-hour hands-on class covering healthy and handy cooking techniques while expanding the spectrum of seasonal cuisine. Let Kitchen on Fire owner/chef Olivier Said and nutrition consultant Lisa Miller teach you how to make five flavorful and multicultural holiday dishes: chestnut-carrot bisque with winter spices; Thai-curry seafood stew; grilled vegetable flatbread with garlic-confit oil; roasted broccoli gratin; and whitefish en papillote.
If you’re hankering for a less traditional Christmas feast (or you’re going stir crazy from being home with family all day), head to Badarikashrama (15602 Maubert Ave., San Leandro) to add some actual spice to your festivities. Enjoy a delicious, homemade vegetarian dinner including North and South Indian fare like palau (vegetable rice), chana masala (spiced garbanzo beans), and sambar (spicy lentil soup with vegetables). For the purists, there will be Western food as well. Then, those in need of a break from Christmas carols can listen to three of the top Carnatic musicians in the Bay Area, Srikanth Chary, Hrishikesh Chary, and Natarajan Srinivasan, perform a South Indian Carnatic instrumental concert.
Party on the waterfront this New Year’s Eve at Jack London Square’s new Italian restaurant, Lungomare (1 Broadway, Oakland). Enjoy the view as you dine on the fancy three-course prix-fixe menu (including a trio of gelatos or cannoli for dessert). If you’ve got other festivities to get to, go to the first seating at 5:30 p.m., or come for the second seating at 8:15 p.m. and stay for the real party. Starting at 9 p.m., DJs Davey D, Nina Sol, Wonway Posibul, and Viktor Duplaix will be spinning in the lounge, and soul singer Naima Shalhoub’s band will be playing in the dining room. One of the most dreaded parts of going out on New Year’s Eve is always the trek home after the party, but if you take advantage of the Waterfront Hotel’s (10 Washington St.) discount rate for Lungomare party guests, you can just stumble down the block to your room at the end of the night instead of facing the BART crowd.
Serving their regular menus all day plus a la carte holiday specials including fresh Tagliatelle pasta with champagne poached oysters; Ahi Tuna crudo with Japanese cucumbers; Prosecco and butter poached Maine lobster with risotto, leeks and sauce Américaine; Muscovy duck breast with ancient grain farro; and a peanut butter semifreddo with chocolate macaroons, candied peanuts and hot fudge.
Serving a four-course and five-course menu. Both menus will include caviar with a winter roots salad and crème fraîche or crispy sweetbreads; hand rolled Garginelli with Dungeness crab and black truffles; and poached Turbot with lobster béarnaise or lobster and beef wellington with sauce Américaine.
Serving a three-course menu featuring filet mignon with crispy brussels sprouts, roasted Peruvian potatoes, and a wild mushroom and bourbon bone marrow pan reduction. Vegetarian menu includes oven roasted vegetable tower with butternut squash purée, balsamic glaze, and leeks.
Serving their regular a la carte menu plus a three-course prix fixe option including an appetizer, a special holiday pizza, dessert, and a choice of a punch cocktail or a glass of prosecco. The Count Party will include passed savory and sweet bites and pizzas, featured punch cocktails, and a champagne toast.
$45 for prix-fixe menu, $30 for countdown party
Serving their regular a la carte menu and a five-course prix fixe menu starting at 8 p.m. with main course choices of grilled beef fillet or organic salmon fillet. Complimentary Prosecco toast at midnight.