Plotting a trip to Sonoma County during Christmas week? Locals recommend the "unpretentious, casual" flair at places like Cafe Citti, Fremont Diner, and El Molino Central.
Open since 1937, Buckeye Roadhouse is a stalwart along Highway 101 in Marin. Swoon over the classic Oysters Bingo broiled with spinach and garlic, and note that the bar booths are the ideal spot to enjoy your meal.
Dinner—or a drink—at Bix is a classy affair, and the tableside prep of beef tartare makes any occasion feel even more special. Tips from Chowhound: You can order tartare from the bar, but you won't get the tableside prep there; and you should ask for a mezzanine table if you'd like to avoid the clamorous bar on weekend nights.
Had enough pie at Thanksgiving? No such thing. Try the exemplary slice of pecan tart prepared by the café at Spruce; one 'hound praises the "wondrously silky caramel sauce," which sounds a lot better than the gooey, oversweet versions that some Chowhounds detest.
San Francisco is deservedly famous for Cal-Italian restaurants where house-made pasta is prized. But without a reservation (or the desire to wait in line), where do you go? Locals suggest Perbacco, Piccino, and SPQR.
The creamy, sweet cheesecake at Gregory's Gourmet Desserts is killer, one Chowhound member says. The tiny shop's only open on Wednesdays and Fridays, when you can find far-out flavors like banana pudding, "ugly duckling lemon cookie," and coconut Thai chili.
Chowdowns—shared meals organized by Chowhound participants—are a great way to sample an array of offerings at a restaurant among friendly and adventurous diners, and it seems the Sichuan chowdown at China Village exceeded expectations. Check out the write-ups and glamour shots of beloved dishes like cooked bitter melon and lamb with cumin.
If the hair of the dog cures a hangover, perhaps poutine is a worthy follow-up after a Thanksgiving feast? Those who dare hop on the cheese and gravy train say Box and Bells in Rockridge has a great version with blood pudding gravy, but you can also make your own at home with local Spring Hill cheese curds.