MONDAY: Lavish Christmas Dinner at Earth & Ocean

Never mind visions of sugarplums: how about oysters, venison, truffle risotto, and "tangerine dream?"

 DiningEarth & Ocean Christmas Dinner Perhaps you've just got way too much to do for Christmas, what with the shopping and decorating and partying and all, and the idea of cooking your very own holiday meal just seems like one more chore crowding your to-do list. Or maybe you just want to indulge in a really good dinner, splurging for the holiday. Either way, Earth & Ocean chef Adam Stevenson has a selection of three-course menus to tempt you. Starters include a half-dozen oysters on the half shell, chanterelle bisque, steak tartare, and beet salad with braised ox tongue. Main courses range from a grilled venison chop or roast pheasant to more veggie-friendly options, including a truffle risotto and a quinoa and forbidden rice cake (made with quinoa, black Himalayan rice, braised leeks, and a butternut squash–pine nut sauce). With four desserts to choose from, including a tiramisu charlotte and a "tangerine dream" (tangerines filled with frozen cointreau soufflé, tangerine compote, orange spice black tea truffles, ginger snaps, and black tea honey syrup), you can't go wrong. Bring a substantial appetite, and good luck making some difficult menu decisions. Whatever sweet and savory options you choose, Earth & Ocean offers more than decadence on a plate—it's a way out of the kitchen on this so often overdone holiday. Or perhaps this lavish meal is just another way to overdo it, in grand style. Earth & Ocean, 1112 Fourth Ave., 264-6060, $58–$72, depending on entrée. 5–9 p.m. Sun., Dec. 24–Mon., Dec. 25. ADRIANA GRANT

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