January’s California Restaurant Month is an excellent time to sample the work of the best chefs, restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries all over the Golden State. But you don’t need a high-end palate or a huge wine vocabulary to make the most of the events from the Bay Area to Southern California and everywhere in between.
Case in point: The East Bay town of Concord, which offers a pretty irresistible spin for its third annual Restaurant Week (Jan. 17–26): Comfort Food Week runs the gamut of culinary experiences, but keeps it delightfully crowd-pleasing.
For starters, the town is home to about 25 different cuisines—including participants such as steakhouse Brasas do Brazil, the Indian-Nepalese Momo N Curry, and the Latin-abuelita cuisine of Canasta Kitchen.
There are also special pop-up events throughout the week, highlighting some of the best food and drink the town has cultivated. And the “week” actually starts two days early, with a Jan. 15 event at local craft brewer Epidemic Ales.
Embracing the comfort food theme, there is, of course, a Taco Tuesday, hosted by Rancheros Taqueria. On Wednesday you can do Breakfast for Dinner at Digger's Diner, where the wide-ranging breakfast menu admittedly includes a ribeye steak, albeit with eggs and hash browns.
Thirsty Thursday goes down at wine bar Residual Sugar, where the philosophy is that “wine need not be stuffy or pretentious.” Concord Tap House, which has 24 rotating taps of local and regional craft beer, hosts the Friday FryDay event; as a preview, its regular menu includes lots of fries, tater tots, egg-roll-style lumpia, and corn-fritter “dots.”
The week wraps up with a buttery bang—the “Sweet Treat Yourself” event at Concord’s Out the Dough, which specializes in scoops of (don’t worry, totally safe to eat) cookie dough. Stop by and choose from flavors like classic chocolate chip, Greek Goddess (sugar-cookie dough, flecked with house-made baklava), or the Twisted Chocoholic’s Dream, with extra dark cocoa, chocolate chips, and marshmallow fluff.