Ski trips: Head north to Stowe, Vt., this winter to try Alpine Hall and Tipsy Trout at Spruce Peak, at the base of the Stowe Mountain Resort (7412 Mountain Road). Alpine Hall serves comfort food: mac and cheese with buttery Ritz, lamb shank, bucatini and meatballs, tomato soup, duck confit grilled cheese. Tipsy Trout is all about seafood, from clam chowder to crab dip to octopus tostadas.
Soft openings: Harvard Square’s Wusong Road (112 Mt. Auburn St.) is quietly open in the old Les Sablons space, with 50 seats and a limited dinner menu Tuesday through Saturday. On the first floor, a Hong Kong-style deli with barbecue rice plates will debut during the second week of January. In the meantime, head upstairs to try American-style Chinese food (summer rolls, Peking ravioli, chicken fingers) and tiki drinks.
Competitions: If you’re looking for a unique way to support restaurant workers, take part in a friendly culinary competition on New Year’s Eve. COJE — the group behind Boston restaurants Coquette (450 Summer St.), Lolita Fort Point (253 Summer St.), Mariel (10 Post Office Square), Ruka (505 Washington St.), and Yvonne’s (2 Winter Place) — duke it out for the most popular New Year’s Eve dish. The executive chef whose creation earns the most sales wins a week’s salary.
Try a hot and cold shellfish tower at Coquette; a 2-pound baked-stuffed green chili lobster with steak and cheese empanadas at Lolita; a Cubano cordon bleu at Mariel; wild king crab with flaming fondue at Ruka; or torched Korean lobster tail plus apps and large-format cocktails at Yvonne’s.
Field notes: Countless restaurants have closed down abruptly after staffers tested positive for COVID-19 amid the current surge. A reminder to continue to support them through gift card purchases and to be patient and be polite when they reopen.