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BRUTTO MAGLIONE (UGLY SWEATER)

Michelangelo Ristorante Italiano, 420 W. Magee Road, is hosting their first annual ugly sweater party on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m. Ugliest sweater of the bunch wins a prize. In addition to Mikey's great food and cocktails, there will be live music and a toy drive (bring in a toy, get a free bruschetta) taking place that evening. For more info, or reservations, give the site a hit, www.michelangelotucson.com.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND STREET TACOS

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, I use Christmas shopping as yet another excuse to go out to eat and drink. For those braving Park Place Mall, I found a gem for you. Calle Tepa has been at 6151 E. Broadway Blvd. (directly across from the mall) for a while now, but I just got there for my first visit last week. This Mexican street-food restaurant is the real deal. They have some of the best green chili pork I have ever eaten commercially, and everything I tried was fresh and delicious. Not to mention a great little salsa bar, with a good selection of house made, fresh salsas. Also, they have a full bar, and in-house infused tequilas for an extra special margarita much needed after a jean tug o' war at Old Navy. If I haven't convinced you, check out the full menu at www.calletepa.com.

REAL NATIVE TUCSON CUSINE

Barrio Cuisine, Native American Bistro, has opened at 188 E. Broadway Blvd., downtown. Self-described as "a culinary experience inspired by Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O'Odham Cuisine," it is sure to bring a taste of the food that is indigenous to our region, albeit elevated. They are serving some bistro tapas like their Dough God Trio, which includes Indian fry bread with calabacitas, and Yaqui sliders, as well as lunch and dinner. They also have a good cocktail program complete with crafted cocktails, putting a native spin on some of the old classics. Throw them a like on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barriocuisinenab.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIO!

Gio Taco celebrates their tasty taco one-year anniversary on Friday, Dec. 19. Located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Congress Street, they are sort of the front door to downtown's restaurant row. In their first year, they made Tucson Weekly's 100 Essential dishes, not once, but twice! Visit them to help celebrate, and take advantage of some great specials, including 12 Days of Tacos. For more taco goodness, visit giotaco.com.

More by C.J. Hamm

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