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November 1, 2015

5 Tastes of the Holidays in San Francisco

Forget turkeys and hams. Starting in November and lasting into the New Year, San Francisco is packed with a plethora of holiday treats. Here are a few ways you can get a taste of the holidays in San Francisco.

Chocolate
You can combine two holiday treats — chocolate and holiday lights — on Gourmet Walks Holiday Lights and Chocolate Tours. The downtown walk, which has seven stops (each with its own chocolate tasting), runs Fridays and Saturdays (and some weekdays) from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. during the month of December. See the lights of Union SquareEmbarcadero Center, the Palace Hotel and Westfield San Francisco Centre while sipping hot chocolate and nibbling a peppermint truffle.

Teddy Bear Tea
Check out the “Teddy Bear Tea’’ at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco on Nob Hill if you’re out with the kids and need to rest tired feet. This charming holiday show stars an entertaining elf and his animated helper and boasts a giant teddy bear. Every child gets a photo with the giant teddy. Shows are at 1 p.m. Nov. 27-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 17 and 19-24. And it’s for a good cause; a portion of the proceeds goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, benefitting children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Gingerbread Houses
Fairmont San Francisco atop Nob Hill showcases an enormous holiday-time gingerbread house made with thousands of ginger bricks baked by the hotel, adorned with icing and candy and displayed in the Fairmont’s splendid main lobby. The life-sized gingerbread house is just for looking, but when it premieres Nov. 28, complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served. The Fairmont’s annual “Gingerbread Holiday Tea’’ continues through Dec. 30 in the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar, just off the lobby. The Open House on Nov. 28 welcomes the public to experience the Fairmont’s world-renowned holiday décor, while for the remainder of the season reservations will be required in order to best experience the festivities.

Chinese Food
If you like Chinese food and you like to laugh, don’t miss “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy,’’ a popular annual event held Dec. 24-26 in Chinatown, where diners savor a Chinese restaurant meal – the host restaurant changes from time to time – while Jewish comedians serve up jokes and stories. The event was started in 1993 by San Francisco comedian Lisa Geduldig to give the Jewish community something to do on Christmas. It’s expanded since then to dish out entertainment to a diverse audience. Food and fun are the common denominators. If you want the food without the laughs, we have plenty of options, neighborhood by neighborhood, whether it’s phò or dim sum.

Mochi Cakes and Ice Cream
“Omochitsuki Mochi Pounding’’ at the Asian Art Museum on Jan. 10 lends an international flavor to holiday celebrations. Mochi pounding is the rigorous, by-hand process used to make tempting, sweet mochi rice cakes. The Kagami Kai group helps kick off the Japanese New Year at this handsome museum in the Civic Center with music, dance and festive costumes, along with freshly made mochi cakes. To celebrate its 50th birthday, the Asian Art Museum has also partnered with Humphry Slocombe to create a unique ice cream flavor: Adzuki Almond Cookie. The delectable treat will be exclusive to the museum’s Café Asia.

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