Holiday Dinners, Holiday Treats

And this list will grow as the year grows toward its end …

It’s time to feast, y’all! Most likely at home, this year – but nonetheless abetted by the best professional chefs and kitchens in town. Your Chronicle food team has started rounding up a sampler of holiday culinary options for your perusal, and these are them – with new updates as 2021 comes a-rushing in …

Mmmmmm, those potato-and-Brussels-sprouts latkes from Aba …

ABA: VIRTUAL HOLIDAY DINNER Join Chef CJ Jacobson and the crew at this posh Mediterranean venue for a Virtual Holiday Dinner where you’ll settle into their private Zoom event, toast to the season with your sommelier-selected bottle of red or white wine from Rhone Valley, France, and enjoy live acoustic guitar. The dinner features a mezze array including Charred Eggplant Spread, Crispy Short Rib Hummus with House Bread, Local Greens Salad with tahini vinaigrette, Harissa Shrimp Cocktail, Roasted Chicken Tagine, and Isot Double Chocolate Cake. Sat., Dec. 19, 6:30-7:30pm. $85.

SCHOLZ GARTEN: HOLIDAY FEAST TO-GO This portable feast from the German-inflected and righteously oldschool Austin mainstay features smoked turkey breast and baked ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, served with dinner rolls, brown gravy, and cranberry sauce. You want tradition, you’ve got it – with a heapin’ helping of yum. There’s enough here to feed four, they tell us, and you’ve got to order in advance: Before Dec. 19. $80.

HOLIDAY CHEER x OLAMAIE Gift packages are now available for pickup and delivery during Little Ola's Biscuits hours – Thu.-Sun., 8am-9pm – and they’re freshly replete with those famous biscuits, honey butter, cinnamon rolls, and more, starting at $39. Also on sale: pastry chef Jules Stoddart’s Triple Chocolate Peppermint Loaf that’s got dark chocolate chunks folded into her chocolate loaf, the whole lovely cakey loaf topped with white chocolate glaze and peppermint candy. (We daresay: Whoa.) Note: Little Ola’s will be open on Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Eve’s Eve Day (Dec. 23 & 24, from 9am-4pm) for pickup. Last chance to order: Dec. 20.

SALA & BETTY: CHRISTMAS EVE & CHRISTMAS SPECIALS This acclaimed bastion of fine dining (just down the street from the Chronicle offices, no less) is raiding the sea’s own tastiest pantry for their Feast of Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner Kit, featuring scalloped oysters with Pernod cream, salmon rillette with rye, citrus shrimp with quinoa, tomato poached cod, bay scallops, mussels, crawfish with fresh herbs – and more! The accompanying goat cheese pasta isn’t a fish, of course, nor is the Bouche Noel dessert; but, anyway, this feast of seven is enough to serve four, for $240. Sala & Betty are also cooking up some traditional land animals this holiday season, featuring feasts with turkeys large ($325) or small ($225), individual turkey plates ($30), and a fine mess o’ 44 Farms short-ribs plates ($35). And you know those plates come with a delectable wealth of sides, too. Note: All orders must be placed bu Dec. 21.

INTERO: HOLIDAY SPECIALS (AND OMG SUCH GOOD CHOCOLATE) While this amazing Italian joint’s chef Ian Thurwachter is cooking up the savory feasts – roasted leg of lamb with glazed Brussels sprouts ($70), for one mouth-watering example; slow-roasted porchetta ($60), for another – pastry chef Krystal Craig is putting the finishing touches on batch after batch of gorgeous seasonal chocolates for dessert (or as standalone gift packages). Ah, there’s so much to choose among here, but we especially recommend that Holiday Chocolate Set featuring truffles of brown butter, salted caramel, and roasted hazelnut among delicious shelves of peppermint cacao and vanilla chai bark ($45). Order ASAP, and meal pickup is on Dec. 24, 10am-7pm.

Where else but Suerte are you gonna get tamales this tasty?

SUERTE FOR CHRISTMAS “There’s nothing more Texan than tacos and tamales for Christmas,” they say, and chef Fermín Núñez and company make some of Austin’s best. For the first time ever, this Eastside Mexican powerhouse is offering two varieties of to-go tamales by the Suerte dozen (12 tamales + one extra for buena suerte). And there’s the family-style Pachanga Party ($250), perfect for your favorite pod of relatives, including Suerte’s legendary tacos, apps, and sides – as well as some new dishes for these eat-at-home times. Pro tip: These deals are as popular as they are tasty, so you’d best order ’em while you can.

SUMMER HOUSE ON MUSIC LANE: CHRISTMAS EVE/DAY DINNER That new culinary spot in the SoCo district’s Hotel Magdalena is rocking a four-course prix-fixe menu for its inaugural Christmas menu, boasting the likes of Texas Wagyu beef tartare, shrimp and crab bisque, risotto mushroom mix (with fresh-shaved truffle, no less), roasted Chilean sea bass, charred leg of lamb, and a couple of stupendous desserts. ($88 per person.) Pro tip for any drinkers out there: The Cowboy Santa Cocktail is tasty and powerful enough to make you kick a Santa Gertrudis out of sheer mixological joy. (But don’t, okay? What did a cow ever do to you, friend? Just, you know, drink and eat and be merry.)

TEXAS FRENCH BREAD: HOLIDAY BAKING Murph Willcott and his coterie of seasoned doughpunchers are baking up all manner of delectable goodness for your year-end celebrating, with festive cookie tins, dessert platters, pies and galettes, and more to make your holiday table grin with sweet and savory delight. Some items are available daily, so do call to check. Note: They need a three-day lead time for special orders, to make sure the scratch-made treats are ready for you as fresh as can be. Prices vary. 512/499-0544.

Hold that Tiger! And, quick, grab its cookies!

EASY TIGER: HOLIDAY SHOP The Tiger’s tamers are telling everyone that their traditional German Christmas stollen is “the delicious middle ground between cake and bread.” Well, we’re telling you it’s also the bready middle ground between Heaven and Heaven-plus, and it’s studded with Texas pecans and candied orange peel, and it’s covered in a snowfall of confectioner’s sugar, and, once you set it on your counter or dining table, you’d better not turn your back on it for too long – because that loaf is gonna disappear, tell you what. Your spouse, your kids, your favorite pets (if those pets can talk), they’ll all be like, “Who? Me? I don’t know anything about it!” while trying to surreptitiously wipe traces of powdered sugar from their hands. The stuff is, we mean, sooooooo good. And of course the Tiger’s got tins full of fresh-baked cookies, too, and all manner of other gifty comestibles … but, oh! That stollen! $18.

2DINE4 You may never be as downright lucky as Austin's Stephen Shallcross, but that doesn't mean you can't eat like Christmas royalty with one of the incredible – no, we mean incredible – to-go feasts ($80-$96, and each one serves four people) prepared in this righteously acclaimed kitchen and brought safely to your door (delivery or pick-up on Dec. 22 & 23). But there's a hitch, citizen: You've got to order by Fri., Dec. 18. *fingers crossed*

ANDIAMO RISTORANTE: CHRISTMAS EVE TO GO So good and such a bargain? Well, how does one say "Hells yes!" in Italian? Because this excellent carry-out package ($45) from Andiamo includes starters, mains, wine pairings, and desserts – including a bruschetta kit, housemade saffron ravioli, potato gnocchi, beef tagliata, and tiramisu. (Note: Pre-order until Dec. 21; pick up on Dec. 23 & 24.) Bonus: The popular venue's Holidays At Home deal ($65) is a five-course prix fixe feast that's available through December 22. Call to order: 512/719-3377.

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