The first Sahuarita Pecan Festival is chock full of pecan goodness, but we only have room here for a summary: There will be pecan cooking contests, pecan-flavored horchata, pecan-roasted turkey and chicken, and pecan-laden sweets aplenty. Nut-themed activities will be liberally sprinkled throughout, and there'll be stands selling everything from fried catfish to fine wines. Go nuts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, at 1625 E. Sahuarita Road, in front of the Green Valley Pecan processing plant. Admission is free. Visit www.sahuaritapecanfestival.com for more information.
Tucson Tamal and Heritage Festival
More than 100 food vendors will be dishing up eats at this event, which includes tamale-making contests, cooking demonstrations and two stages of live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, at AVA Amphitheater at Casino del Sol (5655 W. Valencia Road). Here's a little tamale trivia to get you in the mood: Some sources say the tamale originated between 5,000 and 8,000 B.C., and both Mayan and Incan people coveted them. Admission is free; (800) 344-9435; www.solcasinos.com/tamal.
Taste of the Desert
After discovering desert foods, the Sonoran landscape looks like a prickly produce aisle. With a little knowledge (and a sturdy pair of gloves), you could be nabbing dinner-makings from the unlikeliest of places in no time. If any of this sounds remotely interesting, head down to Woods Memorial Library, 3455 N. First Ave., at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9, for the "Taste of the Desert" program given by experts from Tohono Chul Park. Food samples and recipes will be handed out, and it's free; 594-5445.
Chopstix, which has locations at 8195 N. Oracle Road and 3820 S. Palo Verde Road, has opened a third location at 8225 N. Courtney Page Way, in the Continental Ranch area. Visit chopstixfinedining.com for more information.
A chain restaurant called Camille's Sidewalk Café has opened at 4206 N. First Ave. Think sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, smoothies, soups and desserts; 887-0345; www.camillescafe.com.
Tucson Originals Gift Certificates
The quarterly Tucson Originals gift certificate sale takes place on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 9. If you want between 25 and 40 percent off meals at 44 participating restaurants, we suggest getting up early that day and visiting www.tucsonoriginals.com. Quantities are limited, and many restaurants sell out quickly.