Culinary Calendar

The can't-miss, must-eat events of the week

Thursday, December 6

The Melting Pot's Great Lakes Holiday Beer Dinner

Great Lakes Christmas Ale has been blended with everything from ice cream to marinades. Add fondue to that list tonight as The Melting Pot throws its Great Lakes Holiday Beer Dinner. The legendary fondue restaurant will be serving a four-course beer-pairing dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. It starts with French onion Swiss cheese fondue paired with Great Lakes Burning River, followed by a winter spinach and pumpkin salad served with Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. The main course will challenge your fondue skills as you cook some orange fennel pork, sauerbraten filet mignon, peppercorn duck, roasted garlic shrimp, and potato pierogis paired with Christmas Ale. The finish is a pumpkin pie white chocolate fondue paired with Great Lakes Blackout Stout. The dinner will set you back $49, and reservations are required, which you can make by calling either location.

Lyndhurst, 216-381-2700; Westgate, 440-356-8900,

Friday, December 7

Hunger Network Best Party of the Year

This will be the Hunger Network's 23rd annual Best Party of the Year, and it promises to live up to its stellar reputation. There will be live music and a silent auction. But the real star of the event will be the food, served by a number of local restaurants, including Americano, Corbo's Bakery, Fleming's Steakhouse, Grovewood Tavern, and the Tavern of Richfield. Chef Eric Wells from Skye Larae's Culinary Services will set up action stations where guests can indulge throughout the party, which is being held at the Marriott at Key Center. In addition, a humanitarian award will be presented to the Orlando family from Orlando Bread. The party gets underway at 7 p.m. at the downtown Marriott at Key Center. Tickets, which can be purchased through the organization's website, are $89 per person through Dec. 6, or $105 at the door. This is a great way to treat your taste buds and support a worthy organization at the same time.

Sunday, December 9

Mavis Winkle's Touchdown Chowdown

The Independence sports pub is transforming its parking lot into a mini-muni lot today to host this tailgating party in the 'burbs. Realizing that a true Cleveland tailgate would not be complete without killer food, Winkle's has partnered with the hottest food trucks in town: Mavis Winkle's Paddy Wagon, StrEAT Mobile Bistro, Fired Up Taco, Zydeco Bistro, The Cleveland BBQ Company, DonutLab Cleveland, and Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery. The Chowdown is family-friendly and admission is free. Mavis Winkle's will open at 10:30 a.m., and the trucks will begin serving at 11:30 a.m.

5005 Rockside Rd., Independence, 216-525-0770,

Monday, December 10

SOHO Kitchen and Bar Dinner in the Dark

No details were available at press time about the December edition of this very popular monthly event, which offers a six-course cocktail pairing dinner created by undisclosed chefs who raise money for an undisclosed local charity. However, I can tell you that it will be held at SOHO Kitchen and Bar in Ohio City. I can also advise you that guests lucky enough to pre-book need to arrive by 6:30 p.m. Additionally, I can tell you that it costs $65 per person, and you can find updated information on the website below. It's all very tantalizing, which is exactly the idea.

SOHO Kitchen and Bar, 1889 West 25th St., 216-298-9090,

Opera Night

Brush up on your Pavarotti and bring your appetite to La Dolce Vita's Opera Night. While this is not a one-time event, it's a "can't miss" during the holiday season. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. and features two appetizers, two pasta dishes. a chicken dish, and a dessert. In between each course, guests will be treated to live opera singers belting out some beautiful classics. If you can't make it to tonight's dinner, there will be a Christmas-themed Opera Night on Dec. 17. The price is $40 and reservations are required, which can be made by calling the restaurant directly.

12112 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland, 216-721-8155

—Jason Beudert