What to do in and around San Francisco this Christmas and New Year
Start off Christmas right with the stirring sounds of the multicultural, multifaith Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble. Then enjoy another cultural crossover at New Asia Restaurant, which is hosting the stand-up comedy event that celebrates—and sends up—the unofficial Jewish tradition of eating Chinese over Christmas. Ring in the New Year at Fort Mason's Streets of San Francisco NYE—just make sure you have the energy! When you need to rest, check out the city's latest street food success story: Bini's Kitchen, a Nepalese food truck, has a new brick-and-mortar space on Post.
December 24 | Concert
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble
With its calendar packed with rock, electronic, and hip-hop events, you may not think SOMA venue Slim's is the most spiritual place in San Francisco. But everything changes when the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble descends on the venue to perform its annual holiday concert. This is a smaller version of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, which both fall under the artistic direction of Emmy winner Terrance Kelly. The choir has contributed to albums from artists as diverse as Linda Ronstadt and MC Hammer. That the Ensemble encompasses different faiths is socially significant. However, its multicultural makeup is the real key to its unique sound, which blends operatic tones with soul stirrings. Feel your spirit stir at one of two Christmas Eve shows.
7 and 9 p.m. | Slim’s, 333 11th Mission St., San Francisco | (415) 255-0333 | From $15 | website
December 24–26 | Comedy
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy is an annual standup event in San Francisco that enjoys and makes fun of the unofficial Jewish tradition of heading to a Chinese restaurant over the Christmas holidays. The event’s chosen comics are Wendy Liebman (America’s Got Talent), Dana Eagle, Mike Fine, and Lisa Geduldig. And this year you can choose between a cocktail show with dim sum or a seven-course banquet dinner show.
Times vary | New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., San Francisco | (415) 522-3737 | From $47 | website
December 31 | Music
Streets of San Francisco NYE
Looking for a big, blowout New Year's bash? The in-the-mood-to-party people are going to convene on Fort Mason in the Marina for Streets of San Francisco NYE. Take in musical performances from Oakland hip-hop artists Amp Live and Too $hort along with Girl Talk, the Pittsburgh producer known for making marvelous mashups of unlikely artists. The energy will certainly be on high here (in part owing to an open bar?).
9 p.m. | Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco | (415) 345-7500 | From $175 | website
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New opening | Restaurant
San Francisco has never been known as a place where Nepalese cuisine is bountiful. For the last several years, the country has been represented by Bernal Heights restaurant Little Nepal and mobile food vendor and caterer Bini’s Kitchen. The latter recently debuted a permanent brick-and-mortar space downtown, so now it's much more convenient to learn the delights of such dishes as momos, juicy dumplings filled with the likes of pork and turkey.
1 Post St., San Francisco | (415) 361-6911 | website
Blend Your Own Merlot Seminar
Drive up to the idyllic Napa County town of Rutherford, where the Rutherford Hill Winery will take you through their fabulous wine caves and teach you how to blend your own bottle of Merlot. You’ll get to create a unique lable for your wine bottle and, of course, enjoy plenty of tastings during this two-hour experience. And don't worry if this isn't a convenient weekend for you—the seminar repeats every Friday and Sunday.
11 a.m.–1 p.m. | Rutherford Hill Winery, 200 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford | (707) 963-1871 | website
Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.