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Diner’s Notebook: Holiday events to fill your stocking and your belly

BY ANTHONY TODD | FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

As soon as Thanksgiving ends, it’s time to start planning for the holidays. Baking, shopping, planning and decorating; a never-ending whirl of activity seems to pervade December in Chicago.

Luckily, there are some great holiday events happening around the city that will keep you fed, entertain your kids and help you finish your gift shopping. Here are a few of my favorites.

Split some Yule Logs

Every year, Café des Architectes and the Sofitel Water Tower throw a pastry festival of epic proportions. Some of Chicago’s best pastry chefs, including chefs from Japonais, NoMi Kitchen, Perennial Virant, the Publican, Boka, Blackbird and mk, will compete to create the most exciting version of Buche de Noel (Yule logs) at this year’s Holiday Rock & Roll. For just $45, guests can sample all of them, vote for their favorites and enjoy drinks and music. Tickets are available now at eventbrite.com.

Get a HoliDose of Cheer

Wouldn’t it be great if you could do all of your holiday shopping on one place? At Dose Market, you can. HoliDose, the special December edition of the food and fashion marketplace, is on December 14, and features over 100 different vendors serving everything from cocktails to couture. If you get out of there without checking off half the people on your list, you’re doing something wrong. Advance tickets are $8.

The Level Two egg nog gin flip is among the "12 Cocktails of Christmas" at the Hyatt. | LEVEL TWO PHOTO

The Level Two egg nog gin flip is among the “12 Cocktails of Christmas” at the Hyatt. | LEVEL TWO PHOTO

Take a Break from Shopping

The Mag Mile can be an exhausting place during the holidays, what with the crowds and the shoving and the spending. The best way to relax? A great cocktail. That’s why Level Two at the Hyatt Mag Mile has a special cocktail menu, aptly named the Twelve Cocktails of Christmas, to help you relax. Drinks include seasonal flavors like gingerbread, peppermint, clove, cider, eggnog and sugarplum. Each cocktail is $12, and the menu is only available from December 14 through December 25.

Gaze at the Lights and Have a Beer

ZooLights at Lincoln Park is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I never miss it, and it always gets me in the spirit of the season. The only thing that could improve the fun? Some great drinks. While hot cider and some craft beers are available every night (ZooLights is open select nights from November 28 – January 4), on December 3, ZooLights turns into BrewLights, presented by Louis Glunz Beer. For $40, guests get samples of a dozen different craft beers, plus access to the lights, the animals and the fun. Buy tickets now at lpzoo.org.

Anthony Todd is a local freelance writer.