Dish Update and Events

by erin thursby
Looks like there are lots of opportunities this season for the little ones to break bread with Santa (figuratively speaking) this year, whether it be at tea, over milk and cookies or at a continental breakfast.
Or you can opt for something a little more grown-up and go for one of the holiday wine tastings or home tours that include fine food, cookies and even hot chocolate. Whatever you do this season, here’s hoping you’ll eat, drink and be merry!

foodcentric and drinkcentric

Santa’s Storybook Tea
Through December 21 – Sandwiches, sweets, tea and party favors for each child along with a holiday story book performance. Admission: $39/ages 3 and up. Reservations are required. Ritz-Carlton, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island Info: 277-1028

Gingerbread House Extravaganza
Through December 23 – The event will feature a variety of gingerbread houses and structures made of 75% edible materials. Admission: $5 donation/adults; $3 donation/ages 3- 16; free/infants. Jacksonville Historical Society 317 Phillip A. Randolph Blvd. Info: 391-3425 or

Interactive Comedy: ‘The Glitch that Stole Christmas’
Wednesday, December 3 at 8 pm – Dinner and a show at Dave & Buster’s. The villainous Mr. Glitch has hacked into Santa’s Naughty-Nice list, and now nobody will receive any toys this Christmas, putting the entire North Pole out of work. Will the elves starve? What will happen to the reindeer? What about Mrs. Claus? Hiss, boo and cheer along as the elves try to save the day! Cost: $34.95 plus tax and gratuity. Info: 296-1525

Holiday Magic
Friday, December 5 at 5- 9pm – This San Marco Shopping event is also about sampling wine and chocolate at all the participating stores. All the merchants in San Marco open their doors and stay open late in the spirit of the season. There’s also a special fashion show featuring the boutiques, hayrides and a celebrity appearance-Santa, of course! Info:

Breakfast With Santa
Saturday, December 6 and 13 at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 am – Breakfast with Santa and company at the Museum of Science and History, 1025 Museum Cir., $6 for members, $12 for non-members Info: 396-7062.

Surf Illumination
Saturday, December 6 – Light up your evening when the Surf Illumination complements the seasonal lighting of A1A Beach Boulevard in St. Augustine Beach. The event includes the ceremonial lighting of the seasonal tree by the Mayor. Food and beverages are offered by local restaurants and many local arts and crafts vendors provide convenient shopping for the holiday season. Santa, musical performers and traditional carolers make it fun for all. St. Augustine Beach Pier Park. Info:

Mayor’s Holiday Festival for Senior Citizens
Saturday, December 6 at 2- 5 pm, Dinner served at 3:30 pm – Activities include a greeting from Mayor Peyton, live entertainment by Prism, appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, traditional holiday dinner, door prizes and more. Tickets are $5 per person (ages 60 and older). Space is limited so purchase your tickets today at the following locations: Mary Singleton Center, 150 East 1st Street or City Hall at St. James 117 W. Duval St., Ste 280. Event held at the Prime Osborn Convention Center Info: 630-7392

Urban Flats Monthly Wine Dinner
Saturday, December 13 at 6:30- 8:30 pm – It happens each month, but why not take a break from holiday food prep and go to the December wine dinner at Urban Flats? First course–crab cakes served with a spicy remoulade, paired with Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc. Second course–a green salad topped with fruit, goat cheese and tossed in a ginger-lime dressing. Third is veal scaloppini and fourth is a pumpkin tiramisu. All courses are paired with wines. The price is a reasonable $45 per guest not including tax or gratuity. Info: 280-5515

Holiday Tour of Inns
Saturday and Sunday December 13 and 14, 2- 5 pm – A tour of the Oldest City’s B & Bs laced with food and beverages from the city’s fine restaurants, as well as vino from the San Sebastian Winery. Downtown St. Augustine, $35 Info: 819-3566

Chocolate & Champagne Holiday Gala
Saturday, December 20 – With the Nutcracker Winter Wonderland as your background, you’ll dance on the stage of the Phillips Center to the fabulous sounds of Gosia and Ali. Gourmet delights provided by Blue Water Bay, sparkling champagne and decadent chocolate deserts will tempt all. Tickets: $75 per person; $500 for a table of eight. Phillips Center, Gainesville. Info: (352) 371-2986

Fleming Island Santa
December 1- 24 – Visit Santa and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies! Admission is free and photos are available for $10. Proceeds benefit Toys for Tots. Begins at 11 am daily. Info: 759-5959 or

Sugar Plum Tea
Saturday- Sunday December 20 and 21 – Meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court at this special tea party for perfect for kids. Touch a Snowflake, tease a mouse and enjoy a tea that only a Sugar Plum Fairy could present. Tickets: $15. Phillips Center, Gainesville. Info: (352) 371-2986

Milk and Cookies With Santa
Saturday- Sunday December 20- 21 at 10 am- 4 pm – Santa gets an audience while he eats milk and cookies. Luckily, Santa shares. Cookie decorating, arts and crafts, and Jacksonville Zoo fun. 370 Zoo Pkwy., $7.50-$11 Info: 757-4463

Grove House 13th Annual Orange Fest
Sunday, December 7 at 10 am- 4 pm – There’s just nothing like picking fruit for a good cause. Grove House, a non-profit organization, provides supportive living services to adults with developmental and acquired disabilities. The Festival is held at 2940 Claire Lane in Mandarin. There will be games & rides for kids, art vendors, entertainment and food. “Pickers” from everywhere come out and pick our fabulous Satsuma oranges from the trees for a cost of $25/basket. Fresh fruit and gift baskets are also available for direct shipping. Your purchase helps the individuals served through the program lead more dignified, productive and independent lives. If you wish to adopt a tree or would like to volunteer email [email protected] Info: or 349-6604

notable classes and demos for december
The holidays are a time of intense cooking and eating, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are an abundance of cooking classes this time of year.
Most of the holiday-related classes at Apron’s Cooking School (10500 San Jose Blvd, 262-4187) are filling up fast, but there’s still a chance you might be able to get into one of their edible ornament classes or gingerbread house construction classes this month.
They do just about everything at the Cultural Center in Ponte Vedra (50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Bch, 280-0614). Add cooking classes to their list of fun things they have to do. December 22, 23, 29 & 30, you can sign up for their Holiday Culinary Workshop where you can make your own gingerbread house or bake delicious treats. Ages 10 and for $65 each workshop, including lunch, hands-on instruction from a professional chef, recipe binder, apron and prepared food from class.
Also in Ponte Vedra, you can find Kosher cooking classes at Chabad at the Beaches, Jewish Center. Jewish foods featuring cuisine from Isreal to Eastern Europe and beyond. Classes will be held at 7:15 pm on December 8, 22 and January 5 for $60 per person. Call to reserve a seat or for info at 543-9301. Check out their website for more information as well: