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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Foodie Deals, Classes And An Oyster Fest

If the sight of Halloween decorations already has you planning Thanksgiving dinner, then it’s not too early to start on your holiday shopping list.

I’m a huge supporter of giving restaurant gift certificates to friends, family and business colleagues. A restaurant gift card benefits both receiver and restaurant, and it truly can be the gift that keeps on giving. With the welcome addition of so many new restaurants to our dining scene this year, there’s never been a more exciting time to show support for local restaurants – and introduce your friends and colleagues to places they may not yet have tried. In many cases – Ruth’s Chris is usually a good example – the restaurant rewards the giver with a bonus gift card as a thank you.

We’ll be gathering the best of restaurant deals throughout the holiday season and reporting news of them here. They’re fast, easy, convenient – and I’ve never heard of one being returned …

And if you’re still searching for an interesting gift for the foodie friend who has everything, then how about cooking classes? They’re fun, educational, social and better tasting than almost any other holiday gift. A growing number of private chefs offer classes as parties or as intimate events, and there are a number of classes popping up just in time for the holidays.

A class that’s a testament to foodies never getting too much of a good thing is Russell Siu’s ongoing cook-ing/tasting/wine pairing classes at 3660 On The Rise. The events have been running for more than a decade and they still sell out quickly, and once you’ve been to one you can easily see why people keep going back. The evening, hosted by Siu and/or his longtime sous chef Lydell Leong, includes a four-course cooking demonstration, wine pairings, recipes and a tasting of everything Chef Russell makes. The next class, Nov. 8, features Crab Meat Ceviche, Warm Spinach Salad (with boiled egg, mushrooms, onions and bacon drizzled with a warm balsamic dressing), Pork Tenderloin Schnitzel and Pecan Pie. For $65, it’s an evening out and an opportunity to make new friends all in one package. For reservations, call 737-1177 …

Sam Choy’s kicked off its annual Oyster Fest Oct. 22 with more than a dozen oyster-filled dishes. Every year the restaurant flies in oysters daily during the two-week festival, and this week’s dishes, created by Chef Aurelio, include Baked Oysters Rockefeller and Steamed Oysters Asian Style. Live Kumamoto oysters also are a daily feature at the Nimitz Highway location. The tiny Kumamoto oyster was originally found in Kumamoto Bay on Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan. Now successfully cultured in the Pacific Northwest, the Kumamoto is an extremely small oyster (usually about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long), with incredibly sweet and succulent meat and a deliciously briny liquor. Sam Choy’s will be serving Kumamoto oysters on the half shell, and also will offer oysters hibachi-grilled, panko-breaded, smoked or served up in a po boy sandwich. Order up a dozen with a pint of freshly brewed Aloha Brewing Company beer for a perfect pairing.

Happy eating!

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