DINNER UNTANGLED: Even if you're the foodiest of foodies among your super foodie friends, alighting upon which eateries to visit in a not-too-known-to-you city can send you around the internet and guidebook shelf more than once. Do you find a place that very new and in the headlines, or a tried-and-true-and-tasty classic that's stood time's test and weathered the years, a feat that's not small in the restaurant business? If you don't know the landscape, choosing your meals out over a weekend getaway can fill you with pre-FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out, of course.) If you're a foodie FOMO-ist abiding by a vacation budget -- and we dare say everyone is abiding by a vacation budget, when vacations occur, even if you're not the hugest of foodies -- then January is your month to explore, try new things, and eat out across the state: It's California Restaurant Month. Nope, not every restaurant within our borders is going the less-money, prix-fixe-y route, but thousands will, in various cities and towns, with some places even giving their specific Restaurant Week a theme.
FOR EXAMPLE? Pasadena Cheeseburger Week and Santa Monica's Eat Well Week -- think healthy dining -- are two of the specific Restaurant Weeks popping up in January. Look also for Santa Barbara Film Feast, a crab extravaganza in Mendocino County, and a bevy of all-encompassing Restaurant Weeks, from South Tahoe to Stockton to Dana Point. As for dishes? Well, with a caboodle of participating venues, the gamut will be more than covered, but look for the bulk of participants to go the two- to three-course road, with apps and desserts in the mix, and prices to fall in the $15 to $30 window for lunch and a bit more than that for dinner.
NO FOMO: So, traveling foodies, you don't need to fear you've landed on the wrong dining experience in a new city. Just travel in January and keep the Restaurant Month list handy. Deals and popular joints? It is win and win, which is very unFOMO (a good thing).