Chocolate and Holiday Festival Returns to the Rollins Center of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino

PLUS: Rehoboth’s Delaware Distilling Company expands gin, vodka and rum distribution to liquor stores.

Cuckoo for Cocoa

Nov. 30 brings the eighth annual Chocolate and Holiday Festival to the Rollins Center of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Visit several chocolate and candy exhibitors, watch an amazing ice-carving contest, view a one-of-a-kind candy and gingerbread village created by Dover Downs chefs, and shop the arts and crafts marketplace for gifts and specialty foods. While you’re there, see the Delaware Hospice Festival of Trees. Instrumentals and choral performances will be featured, in addition to dance presentations by Delaware Ballet Company. Who loves chocolate more than Santa? He’ll be there, too. 800-711-5882,

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Next up for Delaware Distilling Company in Rehoboth Beach: wider distribution of its small-batch gin, vodka and rum. That means you’ll soon see DDC products in your local liquor store, in addition to the 50-plus restaurants that serve them now. Haven’t been to DDC yet? Think brewpub, with spirits instead of beers. As for said spirits, “They’re done the right way,” says owner Zack King, which means they’re distilled on site, without additives or artificial ingredients. When you sip a DDC rum, you’ll taste the product of distilled black strap molasses, not the inferior white sugar that many large makers use. Stop in, or look in your local package store. 645-8273,

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Nov. 19 brings Women and Wine to Lupo di Mare in Rehoboth Beach. If you’re not tempted by day boat scallops with Brussels sprouts, porcini, candied pancetta and pumpkin vinaigrette paired with Masi Cosmopolitan Rosso del Veronese—but, wait, you are tempted. The menu goes like that through four more courses. Book it quick at 226-2240. The dinner benefits The Alzheimer’s Association. Next week at sister restaurant Northeast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View, check out the Thanksgiving cooking demo. Enjoy drinks and small bites while learning how the pros get it done. Reserve at 537-1785.

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Stress Less

The answer to all our Thanksgiving dilemmas: Root Gourmet. If you’re anywhere near the beach and in need of The Meal, Root is offering various options for parties of all sizes at all prices. Order by Nov. 23 for Nov. 27 pickup. There are fruit and cheese platters, various homemade soups, like roasted tomato and white bean, and appetizers such as olive tapenade. Desserts include homemade pies—delicious pumpkin and seasonal apple, to name two—as well as cookie trays. The Thanksgiving Feast serves 1 to 12 for $179, which includes a whole roasted natural turkey, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash puree, green bean almondine, cranberry sauce and bread. You can buy a feast for smaller groups, too. Less stress? You bet. Hide the containers—no one will ever know you farmed out the prep. 727-5664,

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Beach Eats

If you haven’t heard already, Eating Lewes is here. Like its sister, Eating Rehoboth, participants will be led on an eating and drinking tour of a few of the town’s finest restaurants. The remaining Lewes culinary walking tour happens Nov. 21. You’ll be squired about by founder Deb Griffin and foodie-musician Paul Cullen of Sonata Wines. Eating Rehoboth, which debuted early last summer, was a smash with tours continuing to sell out each weekend. Hop on before they end later this month. Don’t miss the fun.

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2014 Ethnic Food Survey

Do you have a favorite ethnic restaurant in Delaware? We’d love to hear more about it. Just take a minute to fill out our survey. One lucky winner will win a gift card to a local restaurant! Vote through Dec. 6. Click here.

And check out our last ethnic dining special here. Here’s a taste:

The Rise of Pan-Asian 
Eating at a good pan-Asian restaurant should be the gastronomic equivalent of an hour-long tour of Asia. Given the stark rise in popularity of mixed-bag Asian places, Delaware diners have become more than willing tourists. At Kenny’s Pan Asian Cuisine in Bear, the menu ranges from China and Japan to Malaysia and Thailand. Jasmine in Wilmington has a few Korean favorites on its menu. Rather than specialize in one ethnic fare, pan-Asian cuisine selects dishes from everywhere. It gives Kenny’s owner Kenny Wang the freedom to get creative with his menu. That, in turn, he says, gives his customers more freedom to choose. “The style and presentation of the mix allows us to be more contemporary versus the old styles of Asian food,” Wang says.

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Cultured Pearl Restaurant 
301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8493 • Featuring a menu that’s dotted with Japanese and American classics and a dining area dotted with bamboo, soft lights and Koi ponds, the Cultured Pearl is a true comfort dining experience. The sushi menu, overseen by chef Kiyomi Yamanaki, contains the house favorite Cultured Pearl roll with tempura tuna, scallops, avocado, cream cheese and cucumber. Fusion entrées include the cashew chicken with bell peppers, scallions, and cashews in a sweet-and-spicy sauce over jasmine rice.

Jasmine Restaurant 
3618 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 479-5618 • The menu features eclectic elements of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food. The sleek interior and incandescent lighting scream high end, but it’s not uncommon to find families with kids dining there. The expanded Jasmine Lounge has even provided North Wilmington a bona fide cool place to hang out.

Kenny’s Pan Asian
 Cuisine Governor’s Square II, 1255 Quintilio Drive, Bear, 838-1725 • Customers flock to Kenny’s for its fresh take on General Tso’s chicken and fried rice, but regulars come back for the mammoth Kenny’s Delight: whole lobster tail, chicken, beef, scallops and vegetables. More adventurous devotees go for the crispy whole red snapper with spicy mango sauce. One can’t-miss dish is the volcano roll, a concoction of tuna, crabmeat and cucumber, lightly fried and assembled lengthwise to form a mini-mountain—with lava of spicy mayo sauce and tiny red Tobikko caviar.

Mikimotos Japanese Restaurant 
1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638 • Haven for the downtown Wilmington crowd and crown jewel in owner Darius Mansoory’s collection of Cherry Tree restaurants, sleek Mikimotos is a true collaborative effort of sushi chef Al Chu, executive chef Sean McNeice and sous chef Darin Clower. The results are original fusion creations that are fun, fresh and mouth-watering. Take for instance the not-safe-for-search-engine Hairy Mexican, with its fried shrimp, avocado, crabstick and eel sauce. There are also bento boxes and dim sum, as well as entrées such as schichimi-blackened salmon.

Potstickers Asian Grill 
1247 Churchmans Road, Newark, 731-0188 • With its heavy wood tables, warm, red glowing hanging lamps and Buddha statues as far as the eye can see, Potstickers blends Cantonese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese with a European flair. The restaurant’s inspired take on the angry tuna roll is black peppered tuna and avocado. And you can’t leave without sampling some actual potstickers—part crispy, chewy, all savory—stuffed with pork, chicken, Shanghai shrimp or Peking duck.

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