Belly up to the bar at Lost Coast Brewery (617 Fourth St., Eureka) for a hearty bowl of Eight-Ball Stout beef stew ($10.49). The signature stout (available on tap, of course) gives the old-fashioned beef, potato, carrot and onion flavor depth without too much bite. It comes with sourdough bread and dollop of sour cream to send things in a stroganoff direction. If you do sit at the bar, ask for one of the little shelves a regular whipped up so you can balance your dish on the railing.
Local lore has it that Jack London once got into a brawl in the bar that's now the Oberon Grill (516 Second St., Eureka). Enjoy the nostalgia of the grand old room and warm up with the clam chowder ($6). This is not the goopy stuff you can stand a spoon in — this is the real thing. It's made with fresh cream and plump, tender clams from Humboldt Bay.
End on a sweet note with warm double-fudge chocolate cake ($10) at Plaza Grill (780 Seventh St., third floor, Arcata). A thick slice of dark chocolate layer cake is always lovely, but the rich frosting on this one is warmed to just this side of hot fudge. Perfect with the side of vanilla ice cream. Plan on sharing, but expect to test the bonds of friendship. Whatever. You have your cake to keep you warm.