New winter menus at The Metro Grill and Patina Grill; the Cookie Crunch 

Tastemakers

Winter is all about comfort food. The two big-eatin' holidays hit us with a one-two punch of standard holiday grub every year. The sweet potatoes, turkey and ham are, by now, all-too-familiar favorites. But there's plenty of down time in December to take a break and try something different, yet hearty and comforting. In the Fan, has a new winter menu: Gulf Coast pot pie stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and andouille sausage, and the house paella with seafood, sausage, chicken and vegetables in a spicy lobster broth. These dishes are not going to remind you of Thanksgiving leftovers, and they're not going to leave you hungry for seconds. 353-4453. The Short Pump oasis known as is also about to implement a new list of creations. You're going to find such elegant entrees as the grilled shrimp and shiitake skewers with California rolls and miso broth, and the in-house smoked chicken with arugula, leeks and gnocchi. 360-8217. If you just can't get enough Christmas, try some new cookies. Some of the best Christmas cookies you'll ever eat will be available this Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Cookie Crunch, a benefit party for Volunteer Emergency Families for Children. Held downtown at Theatre IV, the event takes place right before a pre-opening night performance of the musical "King Island Christmas." The sinful cookies will be provided by A Sharper Palate, Jean-Jacques Bakery, Homemades by Suzanne and many others. Cookie time starts at 6 p.m. and also features a visit by Santa and a raffle prior to the show, which begins at 7 p.m. Kids are welcome. Tickets are $16. Call 379-7767 for tickets and more

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