Everybody wants to get together for the holidays: a pre-Christmas drink here, a post-Hanukkah brunch there. But between dealing with family commitments, holiday shopping, and roaming packs of vacationing school children, the idea of planning an endless parade of heartfelt home-cooked meals becomes less and less fun. If you're looking for the Christmas Day/NYE experience, check out this list of 10 Ways to Eat Out For the Holidays. For those who don't want to lift a finger until the big day, here are three opportunities to go forth and revel with minimal effort.
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thu, Dec 21, Rally Pizza, $30. Kids welcome. No reservations needed.
My warm feelings toward this Vancouver pizzeria are already well-documented. Now Rally—owned by former Ken’s Artisan Pizza co-owner Alan Maniscalco and Shan Wickham—are using the Winter Solstice as an excuse to unleash a day of Italian three-course prix fixe meals complete with “Shortest Day/Longest Night”-themed cocktails, and sparkler-aided revelry. Thirty bucks nets you orange and olive-studded ricotta salata salad, salt cod fritters, and housemade “red, white, and green” lasagna—and zero dishes to clean up afterwards. It’s worth the drive north if only for the words “sparkling boozy shake,” which involves prosecco, black raspberry syrup, and Wickham’s criminally creamy frozen custard. Plus, they are promising glow sticks. How can your kitchen table compete?
Biwa DIY Nabe Kits
Available Dec 22–31 (closed Dec 24–25) at Biwa. $35 for ingredients, $60 for ingredients with nabe pot. Reserve 24 hours in advance by emailing [email protected].
Few dishes satisfy control freaks who also enjoy warm liquids more than nabe aka Japanese hot pot. Biwa sees your desire for simmering soup brimming with tasty treats and raises you the ability to slurp said dish in your pajamas (alongside other people you are comfortable wearing pajamas with). From December 22–31, the longtime local restaurant will offer Nabe Kits to-go for $35 each. Reserve your kit 24 hours in advance and receive the goods to make vegetable miso, pork and clam, or chicken kimchi nabe (it should feed 2–4 people depending on your gluttony level). Sets include broth, vegetables, meat, noodles and directions. But, you scoff, "I can just drive to Fubonn or Uwajimaya, gather all the ingredients myself, and spend hours prepping all the elements for this stockpot adventure!" And in less busy months, that would be the sensible choice. But it is December. It is cold and wet and maybe it’s OK to just say: “Screw it. Happy Holidays to me,” and shell out the money to let Biwa do the delicious work for you. For $25 more, they’ll throw in the nabe pot for you to keep.
Christmas Eve’s Eve Celebration
1–4 p.m. Sat, Dec 23, Finex, 2236 NW 21st Ave
OK, stick with me on this one. Local company Finex makes covet-worthy cast iron pans and griddles. I bet you’d like to own one. Also, I bet you’d like bison chili, fine ales, wine, and apple cider for a late lunch. Achieve both goals on December 23, when Finex throws open the doors of its Northwest Portland factory for a festive party complete with factory tours for nosy kitchen nerds, special shopping deals, and a bunch of good grub and drinks (for purchase). So, if you brought your friend or family member, plied them with a glass or two of Durant Vineyard pinot, and then gently suggested you’d love that 12-inch hexagonal skillet with lid on display on sale two feet away from their face—well, good things happen to those who scheme ahead.