Peruse these prime places to celebrate Christmas and New Year's.
Give your kitchen a rest, stop the family dinner shopping frenzy and eat those holiday blues away at some hotspots geared toward Christmas and New Year’s Eve activities.
* In addition to the Feast of Seven Fishes at Pizza Bruno that I mentioned last week, Reel Fish in Winter Park is creating its own Italian tradition on Christmas Eve with a seven-course seafood extravaganza featuring wines by Chateau Ste. Michelle. Serving Mayport shrimp, Gulf oysters and local red grouper, the feast is limited to 25 guests.
* The Ravenous Pig offers a three-course Christmas Eve prix fixe of sunchoke soup with oysters and truffles, smoked prime rib and dessert for $50 per person.
* Featured in December’s issue, Chef Tim Keating-led Urbain 40 will be open for Christmas and New Year’s Day with four-course holiday fare. The Yuletide choices of five-spice duck breast, lemon-myrtle salmon, Argentinean wild red shrimp pasta or Cheshire pork are appealing enough to make me want them right now.
* The venerable Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster is accepting late-evening New Year’s Eve reservations—did you know their wine cellar holds more than 4,500 bottles?
* Tiny but not to be overlooked, Two Chefs Seafood has New Year’s Eve brunch and dinner seatings, with a couple’s dinner package that includes lobster and filet surf-and-turf and wine.
* The NY Eve menu at Chef Kevin Tarter’s Chef’s Table at the Edgewater includes poached lobster bisque, Chilean sea bass, Wagyu beef Wellington and desserts.
* Bull & Bear at the Waldorf Astoria holds one of the more exclusive New Year’s celebrations in town with their gala on Dec 31. A five-course dinner with filet and crab, Colorado lamb or veal shank, Taittinger Champagne and private fireworks are the extravagant highlights.
* The end of the year celebration at downtown hideaway Courtesy Bar is limited to 50 people (call today!) and includes succulent bites from DoveCote Brasserie, an open bar and dancing until 12:30 a.m.
* My love of New Orleans is drawing me to Disney’s Contemporary Hotel and its pricey Down in New Orleans celebration, staged in a N’Awlins courtyard setting with live jazz, oyster beignets, Louisiana redfish and crayfish étouffée. Although at $450 per person, a trip to the actual Crescent City might be just as doable.
And the biggest Downtown blowout that lets you avoid the madness of Church Street (please) has to be the Thornton Park Block Party, where East Washington Street is closed for two city blocks to celebrate the New Year, with food from Graffiti Junktion, Dexter’s and the new Truck Stop foodtruck “pop-in,” plus live music on multiple stages.
Resolving to visit new restaurants in 2018? Comments? Questions? Recommendations? Stay in touch with Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can access a comprehensive list of his print and online reviews here!