Taking a break from his busy work week, Santa Claus will be at the Rosewood Sand Hill's Library Lounge for the next two Saturdays (Dec. 14 and 21). At this special holiday tea, children get to enjoy hot cocoa, tea sandwiches, and cookies; listen to Santa read from holiday classics like How the Grinch Stole Christmas; and take home a teddy bear souvenir. (1:30-3:30 p.m.; $55 per child, free for adults). Meanwhile, kids of all ages can admire the spectacular gingerbread village from the Rosewood pastry chef Melissa Root on display until December 26. The 90-square-foot edible village used 800 pounds of gingerbread, 750 pounds of candy, and 700 pounds of royal icing to complete. 2825 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park; (650) 561-1500.
With winter's arrival around the corner, the emerging restaurant row of Laurel Street in Downtown San Carlos continues to heat up. Le Tajine is the latest new destination, a cozy 32-seat space serving traditional renditions of Moroccan cuisine. As the name implies, tagines are at the heart of the menu. Among the ten tagines are the m'rouzia with lamb marinated in ras el hanout, the kefta with beef meatballs and eggs in a tomato sauce, and vegetarian and fish options. You'll also find an assortment of couscous dishes with various meats and a seasonal vegetable stew. Meat kebabs, a handful of salads and starters, and a trio of bastillas round out the menu. Bread is baked in-house and all desserts are as well. Its hard to pass up the briwats, phyllo-dough pastry filled with almond paste and drizzled with honey. 663 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 622-9830.
Corner Bakery Cafe continues its emergence on the Peninsula with a new Foster City cafe now open on the heels of a Palo Alto location in September. Order hot breakfasts or made-to-order sandwiches and salads at the counter, then your meal will be brought to you. All menu items are under $9 and never take more than five minutes to be ready. Signature items include the three salad plate, the chicken pomodori panini, and cinnamon crme cake. The menu includes 100 different meal combinations under 600 calories. 977 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City; (650) 458-5511.
With a massive menu divided into more than 20 categories, 100% Sweet Cafe is now open in San Mateo, the first outpost of the eclectic San Francisco restaurant. Its a challenge to pinpoint a particular cuisine or theme when menu options include garlic bread, Russian borscht, clam chowder, Korean iron pot, spaghetti carbonara, and mango shaved ice. One category is even called "magic curries." Sweets are indeed an important part of the experience, enjoyed as Hong Kong-style cakes, puddings, "coconut juice cold noodles," waffles, and pearl milk teas. 205 E. 4th Ave., San Mateo; (650) 777-7199.