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Local spotlight on the weekend

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D.C. COOKS

This year's Metro Cooking Show is just like the Food Network -- except you don't have to watch it on a TV to smell and taste what's cooking. Some of the biggest names in the culinary world are planting themselves at the Convention Center for two days of nonstop food tastings, cooking lessons and holiday entertaining workshops. The city's top mixologists will be highlighting their favorite beverages and nearly 400 specialty food exhibitors will be showcasing their products. Top chefs include "Everyday Italian" star Giada De Laurentiis, "Top Chef" judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, "The Chew's" Michael Symon and Carla Hall, and "Next Food Network Star" winner "The Sandwich King" Jeff Mauro.

Ticket packages include a two-day pass with access to all celebrity presentations as well as VIP tickets to meet some of the stars. For more information, go to MetroCookingDC.com.

WINTER DINING

D.C.'s creative fine-dining restaurant Poste Moderne Brasserie has transformed its upper patio into a wintery cocktail lounge, but you'll need your warm winter jacket to experience their new seasonal sips and courtyard menu. Lead bartender Jason Wiles has created some exclusive cocktails just for patio visitors, which include the Smokin' Bacon Hot Chocolate with bacon-infused Bulleit Bourbon, the Flip You For Real concocted with Maker's Mark, apple cider and caramel, along with a selection of spirits and wine for sipping. The new specialty menu offers some nostalgic favorites like S'mores Fondue, Classic Cheese Fondue, mac and cheese, and more.

The launch of this "Cour de L'hiver" begins Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Warm blankets and heaters will be provided and sample cocktails will be served for just $5. For more information, visit postebrasserie.com.

HARMONIC HISTORY

World-renowned harpist Mercedes Gomez is gracing D.C. with her presence Friday evening with a must-see musical performance. Her repertoire incorporates Mexico's diverse musical history with arrangements of traditional Oaxacan music, an interpretation of Mexican composer Ponce's "A Pesar de Todo" and a rendition of "Sonoroson," an electro-acoustic piece by Mexican composer and songwriter Javier Alvarez.

Gomez is currently a harp professor at Mexico's National Conservatory and is an active member of Mexico's UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra. She's also a praised children's author, has traveled the globe, and is the composer of "Panteon de Fiesta," a play that has been commissioned by the Disney Music Center in 2008.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute (2829 16th St. NW). Admission is free but you should RSVP to rsvp@instituteofmexicodc.org.

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