Ask the Critic: Season's eatings

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Now that the venerable Wellshire Inn (3333 South Colorado Boulevard), long the go-to spot for special occasion dining on the Big Three restaurant holidays, has closed down its regular restaurant service and gone event-only, a reader wants suggestions for Christmas dinner/

I generally spend my Christmases at home, surrounded by my loving family, doing what all good Mick Catholics are supposed to be doing on Jesus's birthday: sitting on the couch, complaining about the weather, worrying over all the ridiculous expense people have gone to, then drinking away the frictions of close contact with the extended nuclear unit and passing out before dinner. If, for some reason, I'm after a restaurant-cooked meal at all, it's the classic A Christmas Story-style, last-minute Chinese dinner or (as happened on one notable occasion), some turkey loaf, potato flakes, sour vegetables and half-frozen pie at a greasy spoon diner, shared with the long-haul truckers, pissed off waitresses and angry loners.

But okay, accepting as fact that some people out there actually manage to have happy Christmas dinner experiences with their families and friends, and accepting that some of these people choose to take their hidden bitterness, petty jealousies and drunken uncles out into public on Christmas Day, where should those who previously brought the party to the Wellshire go now?

Are there other restaurants in town that have discovered a way to make a buck off the traditional Christmas dinner of roasted turkey, baked ham and Christmas goose with dysfunction sauce?

Answers below. Bonus points for embarrassing stories of Christmases past, particularly if they involve the Wellshire, which closed to the public last December. And double bonus points for anyone who knows of a place that'll be serving head-on Peking duck on Christmas Day.

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