RESTAURANT WEEKS APLENTY: There are a few events in this world that benefit both a local and a visitor. At the top of that list is a city's restaurant week. It's the seven-day stretch (or, more commonly these days, fourteen-day stretch) where several eateries discount prices or offer good deals on prix fixe menus that show off the venue's strengths. It's good for the restaurant's nearby patrons, because they can try a new place or two or, just as commonly, return to a favorite joint for a favorite dish. But visitors benefit, because they read up on the best eats of a town in one fell swoop, and save some cash during their trip, too. And at the top of the "everyone wins" ladder is California Restaurant Month. It's no mere city restaurant week, but a full four weeks spanning much of the Golden State. This is mega, yes? We can all agree on that. And, as in years past, California's eat-focused drive is set to roll in January.
MARIN TO TEMECULA: If a place is on the California map, it is probably doing something restaurant-y during the first month of the year, from chef's dinners to wine pairings to those oh-so-nice prix fixe discounts. And if a town isn't participating, you only need drive in any direction for an hour or so to find one that is. But take note that the weeks will vary, so Irvine is Jan. 11-17 while Santa Barbara's week falls at the end of the month. Some places are going whole hog and taking the whole month, such as Monterey and Napa. Ready for dining discounts, Californians and those visiting our great state? No need to answer that; we all are.