Happy New Year!!!
Raise a glass of beer in cheer! Tapping the New Year happening at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 31, will feature first-release tappings from Tradesman Brewery, including Trademan Bricklayers Red, Chocolate Coconut, Circuit Breaker, Sweet Potato Pie Brown and Welders Agave. Entertainment by DJ Ray, party favors and Champagne toast at midnight. Flying Saucer is at 931 Senate St., (803) 933-9997, www.beerknurd.com
Plans for New Year’s Eve? Consider joining the Jamil Beachcombers celebration starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, at the Jamil Shrine Center. Tickets: $40 in advance, $50 at the door, includes dinner at 7 p.m., party favors, champagne and continental breakfast. Dance the night away with music by the Jamil Beachcomber’s DJ. Email ticket requests to Marie Kiesel at email@example.com.
Have a Famously Hot VIP Experience. It’s not too late! Check out the delicious eats available at the VIP Absolut Crescent Lounge: sauteed kielbasa, antipasti, chicken with Thai chili sauce, ahi sashimi tuna nachos with wasabi and spicy sriracha sauce. The Lounge is in the Capitol Center with a panoramic view of the party on the street and is the best location to experience the fireworks display at midnight. Tickets $125 per person and available at FamouslyHotNewYear.com
At thestate.com: Check out these helpful videos to guide you through the New Year... James Alford, from Morganelli’s, selects Champagne for every price level and demystifies the meaning of “dry” Champagne; Dave Hicks, from Morganelli’s, chooses unique brews for New Year’s; and Francois Fisera, of Fleur de Lys Home Cooking School shows you how to saber open a bottle of Champagne.
New Year’s Day at the Thicket. Too tired to prepare a traditional New Year’s Day feast? Head over to the nearest location of Lizard’s Thicket for a meal of collard greens, black-eyed peas and pork chops. All locations will open at 6 a.m. for breakfast and lunch service will begin at 11 a.m. (meat and three vegetable sides, $7.99). www.LizardsThicket.com
Charleston chefs on Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’ Premiering Jan. 6 at 10 p.m. (Food Network is TWC channel 40), cheer on executive chef Emily Hahn of Warehouse, chef de cuisine Vandy Vanderwarker of The Ordinary and executive chef Victoria Neikrik of Pearlz Oyster Bar as they go up against Oregon-based chef Tynan Gibson in a Viewer’s Choice Ingredients episode. Host Ted Allen and Judges Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag and Alex Guarnaschelli preside as the chefs go three rounds with mystery baskets of ingredients. According to a press release, a “frightfully difficult protein” is in round one, boxed macaroni and cheese in round two and “a giant egg and some mushy fruit are at play in the dessert round.”
Forget that New Year’s Diet...Restaurant Week is coming. Jan. 8-18, check out participating restaurants in Columbia, and around the state, and their special menus and pricing at restaurantweeksouthcarolina.com. Enjoy the best of local food, and put off that diet for another week.
Speaking of diet-ending ... Krispy Kreme introduces a new Triple Chocolate doughnut: dark chocolate Kreme filling topped with milk chocolate icing, mini chocolate chips and white chocolate ganache drizzle.
Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours, led by Gloria Freeman and Janet Jordan, take you on a 21/2- hour walking tour of the Vista, visiting five of the area’s top restaurants. Upcoming tours include a partnership with Historic Columbia for two tours on Jan. 10. Choose between the 11 a.m. Brunch and Munch Tour and/or the 4 p.m. Sites and Bites Tour. Tickets: $38 per person (groups of 4-9 pay $35 per person, groups of 10 or more pay $30 per person) Information, www.twogalsfoodtours.com or (803) 260-7992 or (803) 360-0578. Ask about customized tours or Vista Crawls for you and your friends.
World Beer Festival returns Jan. 17 to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Last year, at least 10 new breweries opened in South Carolina. The World Beer Festival will highlight these along with national and international breweries and feature specialty cheese and beer pairings, beer education seminars ... and the return of the silent disco experience. General admission tickets are $40 (includes tasting glass and unlimited 2-ounce tastings); VIP admission is $75 (private hospitality area, private bathrooms, bonus selection of beers and 3-issue subscription to All About Beer Magazine). Tickets are available now online at www.worldbeerfestival.com and at Green’s and Morganelli’s locations.
Speaking of beer... Soda City Suds Week is a new, independent week-long celebration of local craft brews presented by Midands Craft Beer Supporters. The week starts March 21 with the Soda City Suds & Spuds and ends with the Cream of the Crop Beer Fest, March 28, at City Roots. The Cream of the Crop event will feature SC and NC breweries and food from Bourbon, Rosso, The Oak Table and Low Co BBQ. Tickets to this event are available at eventbrite.com For more information, follow @sodacitysuds and @FarmToTableCo or check out their Facebook pages.
Truffle season is upon us ... Celebrate the Piedmont Region of Italy and its cuisine with Chef Carlon Zarri during his North American Truffle and Hazlenut Tour. Chef Zarri will be making three stops in the Midlands for multi-course dinners featuring winter truffles. Make reservations now for Jan. 19 at Alodia’s in Irmo, Jan. 20 at Figaro’s in Newberry or Jan. 21 at Il Giorgiore on Devine Street in Columbia. More information at tastetruffles.com or call Chef John Militello at Let’s Cook Culinary School, (803) 348-5874 or letscookculinary.com
Let us eat cake! The Columbia Museum of Art presents a lecture and demonstration by author and dessert designer Caitlin Freeman at 6 p.m. Jan. 23. Freeman is the resident chef for Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco and wrote the book, “Modern Art Desserts,” based on her art-inspired desserts. Tickets (includes cake!): $15 general public, $12 for members, $5 for students. Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main Street, (803) 799-2810, www.columbiamuseum.org
Mark your calendars! Farm to Table Event Co. has released dates for 2015. Highlights include: Jan. 24, Pig and Oyster Throw Down; March 8, Bartender Challenge; April 18, Cream of the Crop local brew event; and April 26, Dinner on Main. Also, for the first time, Harvest Dinner Season Passes are available. More information at www.farmtotableevent.com and www.eventbrite.com
Take them to BBQ School! Learn the art and techniques of preparing award-winning pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken during the Carolina Outdoor Cooking BBQ Class, Feb. 7. This all- day class (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies in Chapin is taught by S.C. State Chanpionship Pit Masters and will include lunch and all-day barbecue samplings for just $299 per person. Preregistration required and class size is limited. Download a registration form at CarolinaOutdoorCooking.com or contact Garland Hudgens, (803) 360-4700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Bacon and Bourbon ... in Charleston! Enjoy bacon-inspired bites from 12 Charleston restaurants and sips of bourbon from 25 local and national distilleries 6:30-11 p.m. Feb. 7 at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St. in Charleston. Tickets: $70 per person (includes unlimited samples of bacon dishes and bourbon, live music, laser skeet shooting, bull riding championship and Cigar Cabana) or $90 VIP (includes all of above plus Early Preview Access and $10 pour credit for the Rare Bourbon Bar). Get tickets and check out list of chefs, distilleries and more at www.baconandbourbonsc.com
NOW ON SALE: Tickets to the 2015 Hilton Head Wine + Food Festival at Sea Pines Resort March 9-14. Now in its 30th year, the festival celebrates the culinary culture of the Lowcountry as well as international wines. New additions this year: Par for the Cork, a pro-am-guest golf tournament on the Ocean Course; Guest Chef Vintner’s Dinners; and Barnyard Ruins Pig Picking with guest chef and local craft beers. New to Sea Pines, the festival’s Grand Tasting moves to the 18th lawn of Harbour Town Golf Links and the Public Tasting around Harbor Town Yacht Basin with chef demos at Sysco Outdoor Gourmet Pavillion. www.hiltonheadwineandfood.com
Columbia Food Tours, owned by Kristin and Brian Cole, take you on a walking tour of downtown Columbia to experience the culture and cuisine of the Capital City. Sign up for a tour, gathering at the State House steps, and visit six to eight of Columbia’s finest restaurants and sample items from the menu. Tours last 21/2 hours, rain or shine. More information and ticket reservations at www.columbiafoodtours.com
Greenville Brew Tours offers Saturday tours of breweries, an overview of the brewing processes and tastings of craft beers with a final stop at The Greenville Growler Station, a leading craft beer tavern in Greenville. Participating breweries include Thomas Creek, Brewery 85, Quest Brewing and Swamp Rabbit Brewery with occasional excursions to Asheville, Charlotte and Athens, Ga. Tickets $55 per person. Private tours available. Information, schedule and ticket reservations at greenvillebrewtours.com
Cocoa Lab at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. Dessert-oriented workshops led by Bar Cocoa pastry chef Heidi Kabath include: Jan. 17, healthy desserts (Citrus Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta, Vegan Banana Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Pecan cookies and Healthy Granola Bars); Feb. 7, chocolate lovers (Double Chocolate Cream Pie, Rocky Road Chocolate Mousse and Warm Chocolate Cake with Brandied Cherry Center); March 14, St. Pat’s desserts (Chocolate Guinness Cheesecake, Irish Banana Bread Puddong, Chocolate Hazelnut Potato Candy and Bailey’s Marshmallows). All classes run 9 a.m. to noon and cost $75 per person. Register at (704) 547-2244
Charleston Cooks! at Cross Hill. Wednesday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Party (choose 6 p.m or 9 p.m.); Friday, Jan. 2, Moroccan nights; Saturday, Jan. 3, essential knife skills; Jan. 6, New year healthy start; Jan. 7, stocks, soups and stews; Jan. 8, Greek; Jan. 9, couples French; Jan 10, Kids Class: French. For information or to register, call (803) 509-8111 or www.charlestoncooks.com
Chef Francois Fisera hosts cooking classes at Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute. Friday and Monday, Jan. 2 & 5, seafood crepes; Jan. 9 & 12, filet of beef flambe Martell Cognac dijonnaise; Jan 16 & 19, mussels with Pernod; Jan. 22 & 23, Alaskan halibut with vegetable confit. Fleur de Lys is at 3001 Millwood Ave. (803) 765-9999 or fleurdelyscolumbiasc.com
Let’s Cook Culinary Studio events: Detailed listings at letscookculinary.com. Let’s Cook is at 1305 Assembly St. (803) 348-5874
McCutchen House at USC. Chef du jour classes (9 a.m.-1 p.m.): Feb. 7, quick breads; Feb. 14, Chocolate 101; Feb. 21, Essential techniques: Saute; March 21, basic sauces; April 4, basic knife skills; April 25, sausages. Wine classses: Jan. 27, Italian wines; Feb. 24, wines of Chile and Argentina; March 17, 10 for $20; March 31, Dinner with Conquest Brewery; April 14, wines of Australia and New Zealand; April 28, wines of Oregon Culinary Institute Certification: a yearlong series of classes designed to support your success by including lectures and hands-on application of each skill set. Classes begin March 24 with graduation on March 14, 2016. Registration for all classes at http://www.hrsm.sc.edu/mccutchen-house or call (803) 777-4450