Thanksgiving is barely behind us but it’s never too early to chart your next culinary triumph or strategize to prevent another Boot-the-Bird-to-the-Curb debacle.   (And the Play-Doh mashed potatoes?  Don’t go there, Go Go’ers.)

Whether you’re a kitchen whiz looking for extra merry-merry or a wimp looking for a Christmas  miracle, the following pros offer cooking classes to help you put some wow in your wassail.

Border Grill

For a Feliz Navidad spin on the holiday, check out the one-day-only (So make reservations pronto!) Entertaining a Holiday Crowd Cooking Class offered by the Two Hot Tamales Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at their new Downtown location .

The $75 demo-style cooking class includes: a multi-course lunch; a bonus demonstration by Samuel Jimenez of LAMill Coffee (They created the Border Grill’s special cafe blend);  a recipe booklet so you can duplicate the delish at home; and a  make-ahead menu with yummies like Grilled Pear and Endive Salad, Torta de Tres Leches de Cafe, and a signature Pico de Granada Margarita.

Hint: Leave a cocktail instead of cookies for Santa so he remembers just how good you’ve been….

Hipcooks

For sassy twists on holiday stand-bys, check out classes like A Winter Brunch (Smoked salmon pancakes with lemon creme fraiche!  Pomegranate Bellinis!) or I Ain’t No Turkey! (Fear not, turkey-phobic!  The latter class features Cornish game hens stuffed with apricot couscous.)

The combination of knowledgeable teacher demos, hands-on student prep, and the opportunity to eat the fruits of your labor (with accompanying adult beverages, natch) ensures maximum fun at owner/chef Monica Reti’s two locations in East and West Los Angeles.

Bonus!   Finish your holiday shopping with fun foodie stocking stuffers like Swissmar peelers and high temp spoons…giving you extra time to perfect the pomegranate Bellinis.

Because if you have Bellinis on the table, no one will notice if you left the giblets in the goose.

Chefs, Inc.

If you’re looking to rev up your gift-giving repertoire, Chef Leslie McKenna offers hands-on classes like a Sugar Cookie Workshop or Holiday Gift Giving – A Taste of Italy. Wow amici e famiglia with Artichoke and Olive Tapenade with Bread Sticks or Alla Vodka Sauce!

And if you’re already thinking beyond the eggnog, Chef McKenna herself will be teaching the  New Year’s Eve Appetizer and Cocktails class along with master mixologist John Apodaca.  Make Sweet Potato Pancakes with Peking Duck and Red Cabbage Beet Slaw or Phyllo Pockets filed with Lamb, Feta, Pine Nuts and Mint while you whip up (and taste!) classic cocktails like the Hot Toddy, the Tom and Jerry, or the Blue Blazer: a flaming whiskey punch poured between two cups.

You’ve always secretly wanted to play with fire.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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Food and fun in the sun with a few thousand of your closest friends.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…especially when you can order all-inclusive, on-line tickets for this Saturday’s  L.A. Street Food Fest: the biggest eat-with-your-hands event of the season.

That’s right, Go Go’ers, one ticket gets you five hours of unlimited dining and drinking and shopping and music this Saturday at the Rose Bowl.  There are bands, there are crafts, there are photo booths, there are Top Chef-judged street food contestants, and there is you…if you move fast, that is.  There are only a few hundred VIP event tickets left so order now!  (Go ahead.   Ms. Go Go will wait while your MasterCard does its magic.)

The remaining available tix are $65 but you get VIP parking and early access to all the goodness before the rest of your new best friends arrive.  That means a full hour’s head start at  sixty vendors including gourmet food trucks, old school street carts, and an Ice Cream Social.  Most importantly, you’ll be first in line for top mixologist-made cocktails, two beer gardens, and the Upper Deck Tequila and Mezcal Tasting with over a dozen tequilas available for your guzzling sipping pleasure: SO appropriate since Saturday is National Tequila Day.

Not that you need a reason to taste tequila….

Susan Feniger (Top Chef contestant, Too Hot Tamale, Ciudad, Border Grille, STREET)and Walter Manzke (most recently at Church & State) will be two of the guest judges at the Street Food Cook-Off with categories like “Best Old School Street Food”, “Best Nouveau Street Food”, “The Sweet Tooth” and “Best in Show”.  (And yes, Go Go’ers, you can cast a ballot too.  Probably best to vote before you’ve sampled all 13 tequilas, though.)

Your ticket also gets you I-saw-them-when bragging rights at the (relatively intimate) performances of Warpaint and The Deadly Syndrome and you’ll want to bring a shopping bag for crafty gifts at the pop-up Unique L.A. (started by Street Food Fest co-founder Sonja Rasula.)  Finally, you can feel good about your good time, which helps the  L.A. Street Food Festival give back to the community.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels and will also fund Woolly School Gardens (all-inclusive, wall-sized, outdoor pocket gardens) for at least three LAUSD elementary schools.

Concerned about crowds?  The first Food Festival was open to the public and consequently plagued with long lines but Rasula and Food Fest co-founder Shawna Dawson (Sauce/LA) promise easy access and no crowd claustrophobia on Saturday thanks to a bigger venue, NO at-the-door tickets, and a finite number of pre-sale tickets.  (Ms. Go Go would like to remind you again that there are only a few hundred left of the latter….)

You can snooze and lose or get crackin’ now and snooze in the Saturday sun, satiated with Sauza, salsa, and ice creamy scoops.

Ms. Go Go knows you’ll make the right choice.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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Celebrate Mexico's victory at the Edison with $1 shots of Casa Noble tequila.

 

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over French forces in 1862.   But  you knew that….   

Cinco de Mayo isn’t widely observed in Mexico but that shouldn’t stop you from hoisting a glass to celebrate the triumph of tequila and mezcal over champagne.  Here are a handful of barras y restaurantes where you’ll have the least chance of getting an embarrassing picture taken of you wearing a giant sombrero while soused on Sauza.  

The Edison downtown may be more grand than guerilla but drink like a wage worker with $1  shots (1 per person) of Casa Noble tequila from 5:00 – 7:00PM.  Willie Martinez y Mombo Loco will perform at 7:00PM with DJ Tatiana accompanying.   Plot your next uprising amidst the underground artifacts of the city’s first power plant.    

The doors at Las Perlas open at 4PM to give you an early start on the $4 Tecates,  $5 shots of El Jimador Blanco Tequila, $6 shots of Herradura Antiquo, and $7 margueritas and shots of Herradura Blanco.  There’s no $8 special but at 9:30PM,  DJ Jose Galvan (of 103.1 FM) helps you count down the night with Latin and Mexican beats in the Oaxacan inspired charm of  downtown’s temple of tequila and mezcal.   

If you’re a reality T.V.  junkie, you probably already know that Ciudad‘s Susan Feniger, one of the Too Hot Tamales, has been competing on Bravo’s Top Chef MastersCiudad will host a TCM viewing party on Cinco de Mayo with $3 tacos, 1/2 off Mojitos and Margueritas, and “special surprise tastes” of one of Ms. Feniger’s TCM dishes.  RSVP by TODAY, May 4th if you’re craving a gourmet, Cinco de Mayo experience with your Wednesday night T.V. fix.  

If you couldn’t get tickets to Lucha Va Voom’s sold out “Cinco de Mayan” extravaganza, head over to “modern Mexican” Provecho Restaurant.  In addition to $2 mezcal shots, $3 Dos Equis, and $5 Cazadores margueritas, the sleekly beautiful bar and restaurant will host one of the wildest nights in town with burlesque, luchadores, and mariachis.  Ay, ay, ay, ay!  

Lula Cocina Mexicana was voted one of North America’s best tequila bars – they only serve 100% Blue Agave tequilas and mezcals and have over 300 varieties – so you know they know how to throw a party.  On Cinco de Mayo, you can roll out of bed and start toasting la revolucion at 10:00AM with special tequila and liqueur promotions; David Duque will perform with Mariachi Mexican Colonial.  Don’t turn into un nasty borracho though;  roaming magician David Groves might turn you into un canejo  and pull you out of a hat.  And the whole point of the evening is to avoid the sombreros, remember?  

Get your caliente on at Border Grill from 11:30AM to 10:00PM in the bar.  In addition to $3 Border tacos and $5 bites, desserts and drinks  (except for the Bacardi mojitos, which are $5.50), the Two Hot Tamales offer a chili challenge: if you can finish a Fresno Chili Popper, a Jalapeno Popper, and a Serrano Popper, they’ll give you a Habanero Popper free!   Ms. Go Go assumes this is a reward for a job well done but it’s really a good thing those drinks are so cheap….  

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….  

   

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