Local legend Tom Breszny will be at Michael's on Main Tuesday Dec 11th. Photo by Chip Scheuer.

Wok’n the Wok: In the domain of the totally unexpected, a recent email from entrepreneurial legend Tom Breszny arrived with a mouth-watering invitation. Brezsny, you might recall, was one of the original partners in the former India Joze empire when it filled the Art Center dining rooms in downtown Santa Cruz. Brezsny usually ran the front of the house, but did his stints in the kitchen as well, soaking up spicy expertise from maestro Joseph Schultz himself. Breszny also pitched a smokin’ hot softball, almost in the same league, metaphorically speaking as the legendary Bo Tigh, but that’s another story. Breszny has decided to indulge in what he calls a “one-day reprise into the wild world of Pan-Asian pyrotechnics. A wok on the wild side for one night exploring the mysteries of Plate Techtonics where worlds and cuisines collide along the Pacific Ring of Fire. A whimsical tour of the Pacific Rim—at least as I remember it.” What all of this means is that Brezsny will appear as Guest Chef at Michael’s on Main on Tuesday December 11th, 6:30-8:30pm. We can expect some exotic dishes exploring Pacific Rim culinary tropes, “dishes that will bear some resemblance to those a few people may remember if they were around downtown Santa Cruz in the early ’80s.” Well I was, I do and I will definitely be there on Dec. 11th. Rita and her Venetian glass necklace will be there too—how ’bout you? Call 831.479.9777 for reservations.

Pizzeria Avanti: Yes, we are loving the re-framing of this landmark dining room, with its $8-a-glass wine list, inexpensive and enlightened salads and antipasti, and big, bountiful pizza pies. The place feels more spacious than ever, with more comfortable chairs and lower decibels. These are all reasons to hunker down with friends and out-of-town guests for a casual dinner out. Res? 831.425.1807.

Sparkle Plenty: Let your holiday “to-do” list include some palate-tingling Champagne tasting with Hiram Simon @ Soif on Dec.9th at 2pm ($20). Think of it as a warm-up for the holidays. Besides, you need to update your house sparkling wine selections—Champagne, as you already know, goes with everything, and that makes it one of the top gift ideas in the solar system. And a few hours with Simon will help tune your own palate toward a fuller appreciation of the gift Dom Perignon gave to a very grateful world. Call 831.423.2020 or email alyssa@soifwine.com to reserve your spot.

Tasting the Summit: Dotting the top of the mountains along Summit Road, the five Santa Cruz Mountains Summit wineries are opening their doors and tasting rooms this coming weekend, December 8 & 9, from noon to 5pm. The group includes Burrell School Vineyards, MJA Vineyards, Regale Vineyards, Silver Mountain and Villa del Monte, all small, atmospheric vineyard-and-winemaking operations. You’ll find tastings, artisan gift opportunities, finger foods, music—and, of course, fine, local wines (at holiday prices) to please the picky wine-lover on your holiday gift list. The stupendous views available from Summit Road are worth the outing alone. For more information, see the group website at www.thesummitwineries.com.