It's a savory stroke of thinking-big-ness that California Restaurant Month falls in January. The end of the year has an inordinate amount of hubbub, and people are doing the party-out/cook-at-home thing.
But straight-up restaurant eating? It has its day, or 31 days come the first month of the year, when few schedules are as packed as they were in December. Towns and counties around the state will host eat-out deals, with Santa Monica putting a timely twist on the proceedings: The city's Restaurant Week is called Eat Well Week.
It's one of the more focused and thematic of all the restaurant weeks, and you can guess from the date it begins -- Sunday, Jan. 4 -- and its very name that the eight-day event is all about healthy food choices while dining out.
Oh, and saving money, too. A number of eateries in the area, from The Albright to Seasons 52, will have special Eat Well Week dishes, entrees and appetizers and desserts that help those New Year's resolutions stay intact.
M Street Kitchen is offering a vegan curry for a nickel under eighteen bucks and Stella Barra Pizzeria has a Bloomsdale Spinach & Kale pizza pie, complete with roasted garlic and young pecorino.
And at Rawvolution? It's a sweet entry: Mint mocha hot chocolate with a bevy of interesting ingredients, including a hint of cayenne pepper.
These are dishes and drinks "specially crafted for Eat Well Week," so if you want to try something, best pick your restaurant and get there between Jan. 4 and 11.
Of course, Eat Well Week should truly be every week, as a life choice, if our most common resolutions are to be followed. Combining that concept with dining out takes some knack, and some menu-reading skill, but Santa Monica is leading the charge on this front during the wider California Restaurant Month.
Can an Eat Well Week in several other cities be down the pike? Restaurant Weeks are popular and here to stay, but going thematic with a healthy twist at the start of the year seems as wise a choice as making a wise choice while eating out.