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for Wed., Dec. 8
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    Cru Food & Wine Bar: Christmas Eve

    CRU's festive Christmas Eve menu lets you enjoy a night out with loved ones (Downtown or in the Domain) for a brief respite of stress-free wining and dining before the big day. Choose from a set menu for a fabulous three-course meal (or, sure, go a la carte instead). Appetizers include lobster bisque and tortelloni fonduta with black truffle butter; the entrée brings choices among jumbo shrimp scampi, NY strip steak, Alaskan halibut, braised short ribs; and you can opt for any of three different desserts (but we're totes focused on that chocolate mousse cake, omg). Note: Kids 12 and younger eat for half off.
    $55 dine-in, $125 for two to-go.
    Downtown at 238 W. Second #13; in the Domain at 11410 Century Oaks Terrace #104
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    Food Events

    Desert Door: Texas Makers Market

    Desert Door Texas Sotol – those diligent distillers of one of the finest-drinking spirits around – host their third annual Texas Makers Market, featuring crafters and artisans from all over the Lone Star state. Desert Door's providing seasonal cocktails, complimentary holiday photos, and a great shopportunity in their own Cargo space to enhance the other vendor offerings. Bonus: This same night is the second of the Door's Wild Card pop-up series of chef collabs, with chef Justin Huffman of Justine’s Brasserie serving up French-inspired street foods: mini baguettes with smoked swordfish, cultured seaweed butter, charred lemon, and cornichons – and eclairs made with classic Creme Anglaise and chocolate. Note: The market event's free; the Wild Card noms – click here to reserve – will run you $15.
    Wed., Dec. 8, 5-8pm. Free, but RSVP online.  
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    Fareground: The Ginger Festival

    The thing about Fareground is that it's like the fanciest food court in the city, featuring outposts of some of our finest restaurants, all gathered in a stylish Downtown setting: Little Wu (from Wu Chow), Henbit (from Emmer & Rye), Austin Rotisserie, TLV, Taco Pegaso, and more. And now they're celebrating the coming holidays with a venue-wide showcase of ginger- and turmeric-focused specials and events. Here comes a series of cocktail masterclasses (with Domaine de Canton), limited-time dishes from each eatery, ginger drinks from Fareground’s two bars (DRINK and Ellis), and gifts from Margot Blair Floral. YMMV, foodie, but your reporter's main reco here: TLV's Chicken Hawaiej Hummus, with chicken thighs marinated in Yemenite spice blend served over hummus. Follow that with a Ginger Island negroni at Ellis, and it's already the happiest of holidays, even mid-week.
    Through Jan. 3. Daily, 11am-9pm
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    Food Access Resources from SFC

    We have to admit it's getter better, but we've still got a ways to go in dealing with this pandemic. The Sustainable Food Center has put together a thorough compilation of food access resources for Central Texans, ranging from farmers' markets to CSAs to delivery options and everything in between, so you can ensure that healthy food stays on your table. And if you're able to contribute they're accepting online donations, which support farmers and low-income families facing food insecurity. Get all the details on their website.
    Citywide
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    Fresa's: Holiday Tamales

    From those excellent culinaristas at Fresa's comes an array of tamale meals (served with charro beans, Mexican rice, salsas, queso and guacamole), tamales-by-the-dozen, and special desserts to supercharge your holidays in a delicious Tex-Mex fashion. (E.g., Chicken tinga tamales, $26 per dozen; and black bean and cheese tamales, $24 per dozen.) Fresa's is taking pre-orders until Dec. 23, with a 5pm cutoff for following-day orders. Pickups will be available Dec. 22-24.
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    Hotel Van Zandt's South Pole Winterscape

    That style-forward boutique hotel Downtown brings back its fourth-floor South Pole, a reimagined rooftop deck featuring outdoor igloos for private dining, with holiday-themed cocktails and dishes courtesy of Geraldine’s restaurant. Note: That last part means delicious noms from chef Chris Schaefer and pastry chef Yolanda Diaz, which might even surpass the awesomeness of the new seasonal drinks (and those continuing Friends-inspired tipples, too).
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    Museum of Ice Cream: Pinkmas

    This eminently Instagrammable bastion of ice cream celebration in the Domain plunges elf-first into the holiday spirit, with drink specials (a gingerbread milkshake, a Pinktini, a Sprinkle Pool sundae) and a "winter-fied" game of I Spy, singalongs to holiday favorites, candy cane hunts, educational information about holiday celebrations from around the world, and more. Bonus: Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and you'll get a complimentary ice cream scoop at the cafe.
    11506 Century Oaks Terrace #128
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    Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Austin

    This community initiative, headed by Chris Cubas and Maris Clegg, is dedicated to providing free meals (of red beans and rice, andouille sausage, cornbread, fruit, dessert, and a drink) to Austinites in need. "On Tuesdays, we will provide a link to sign up for a free home-made meal delivered to you with safety in mind," goes their announcement on Facebook. "There is no judgment and the form is anonymous. If you have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 or are having a hard time, we would like to make a small portion of your day a little bit better." Or, if you'd like to donate your time in driving, baking treats, or providing cases of non-alcoholic beverages, please reach out to redbeansaustin@gmail.com.
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    Tacodeli: Holiday Comfort Food

    As if all the Tacodelis weren't already about the easy comfort and the droolworthy food, now they've released the holiday goodness of spiked horchata (that's housemade horchata and Bacardi, dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon) and pozole made with organic pork shoulder (simmered in a red chile broth with giant white hominy and tomatoes).You can dine in, sure – but you can also get these seasonal treats to go. (Mmmmm, spiked horchata and Netflix and ... chill.)Bonus: Check out their sweet giftcard deals right here.
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