Here’s a great summer camp for kids who love food:  Tender Greens has two five-day cooking classes geared for kids.  June 22 to 26 for ages 7 to 11 and July 27 to 31 for ages 12 to 16.  The classes will be held at the restaurant from 9 to 10:30 am and cost $75.  Kids will learn to make salads and dressings, pizza,  sandwiches and ice cream.  Classes will be taught by executive chef Pete Balistreri and pastry chef Susanna Brandenburg and after all that learning…lunch is included.  Space is limited, for information:  619-226-6254 and ask for Pete or Susanna.

The Better Half , rumors to the contrary, is very much in business.  Chef/owner John Kennedy has revamped the interior to a “Baroque, over the top” look  and tweaked the menu to a French New Orleans style bistro food.  Their wine list list now also includes full bottles and some older vintage wines that Kennedy has on his “Over Achievers” list.  The restaurant is closed Monday.  For more information:  619-543-9340.

We’re hearing Urban Solace will have an Encinitas location in a new shopping center that will house a Whole Foods.  More info soon.

If you’re still wondering what to do New Year’s Eve, here are some suggestions:  Support your favorite neighborhood restaurants where you may be able to sit at the bar if they’re already booked for dinner, or think about early drinks and then home with friends–you cook or get food to-go.   It’s a good way to stay close to home, enjoy the evening and support the restaurants. Party–even in these woeful economic times–and everyone wins.

The possibilities are numerous for celebrating with many venues offering early and late seating and prix-fixe dinners of three plus courses at reasonable prices. So rather than list every place that sent Buzz a release (and many who didn’t post anything on their websites or send an email), here are some of my top picks.

Downtown/Gaslamp/Little Italy: Crescent Heights Kitchen & Lounge, Quarter Kitchen, TabuleBacchus Wine Market (3 to 6pm tasting), Anthology and Enoteca Style for cheese, chocolate and Champagne.

Coronado: The Hotel Del celebrates the 50th anniversary of the movie Some Like It Hot,  Eno and 1500 Ocean also at the hotel, Candelas (Ferry Landing and Gaslamp).

East CountyBarona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino, Frida Mexican Restaurant and many other local area restaurants.

North Park: Urban Solace, Sea Rocket Bistro, Alexander’s on 30th and The Linkery, not to mention the newest wine bar Splash.  At the opposite end of 30th is Jaynes Gastropub and around the corner on Adams, the wildly popular Farm House Cafe.

Point Loma/Liberty Station:   The Pearl HotelRoseville, Solare RistoranteTender Greens (perfect also for a party at home as you can order online for take-away), The 3rd Corner (also in Encinitas) Pomodoro in the old Luna Notte spot, no website: Phone: (619) 523-1301) and Mellow A Wine Bar.

Hillcrest/Bankers Hill: The Better Half, Modus, Wine Vault & Bistro, Avenue 5 Restaurant & Bar, Hexagone,(no website, 619-236-0467), Laurel Restaurant & Ba and Bertrand at Mr. A’s,

La Jolla/Del MarThe Marine Room, Nine-Ten Prospect, Market Restaurant & Bar, and The Grand Del Mar

Downtown has a new chic dining room:  Crescent Heights Kitchen & Lounge at the corner of India Street and Broadway.  The contemporary room (designed by the same firm that did Blanca in Solana Beach) matches the modern American menu that features mussels with flavored chorizo in an addictive broth, lovely charcuterie and cheese plates (and you can choose your meats and cheeses), along with Parmesan fries, skinny onion rings, sliders and lots more.  Three of us sampled most of the above on a quiet Saturday night…We’d all go back.  Open for lunch and dinner, closed Sunday.  655 West Broadway, 619-450-6450.

Arterra’s general manager, Tom Mastricola moves on for an, as yet, undetermined location.  Sara Hanson moves from The Pearl to take Tom’s place.

Up in Hillcrest, The Better Half can help get over the shock of the stock market drop and still eat well with a three-course dinner for just $15.  Called the “Stressed Economy Blue Plate Special” the dinners are available from 5 to 7 pm daily.  You can choose flat-iron steak, snapper, wild game meatloaf or pasta, along with soup or salad and, of course, dessert.  Pretty damn good deal at a place with a wonderful selection of half-bottle wines. 127 University Ave., Hllcrest, 619-543-9340.

Blue Boheme in Kensington will preview their Papa Nanou menu (even though the restaurant is not yet ready) on October 19.  It’s a prix-fixe menu for $48 and reservations can be made online or at 619-255-4167.

One of the nicest little neighborhood eateries, The Better Half in Hillcrest, just began serving Sunday brunch from 10am to 2pm. Haven’t tried it yet, but my guess is it will be good, given the terrific press it’s been getting.

New in Liberty Station, stashed away near Trader Joe’s is Tender Greens that serves salads, sandwiches and plates for $10…and uses local produce, bakery goods (including Con Pane’s cibiatta), humanely raised meats and sustainable seafood. To drink you’ll find boutique wines and local microbrews. Haven’t had a chance to check it out…but certainly will soon.

Candela’s, the well-known downtown Mexican restaurant with sophisticated upscale Mexico City style food, opened at on Coronado’s Ferry Landing with views of the city. Note to the locals who live on the Island…you can get a 20% discount on your meals for a year. Check out the website.

Nearby at the Ferry Landing (and at their Del Mar location) at Il Fornaio, features a menu with regional dishes of Sardegna through July 20.