All I want for Christmas is a reservation Finding a meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day isn't easy, but it's possible, starting with hotel restaurants.

In its new home at the W Minneapolis - The Foshay, Manny's Steakhouse (825 Marquette Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-339-3900) is serving its full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Bank (88 S. 6th St., Minneapolis, is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner on the 24th, and lunch and dinner on the 25th. On Christmas Eve, Chambers Kitchen (901 Hennepin Av. S., Minneapolis, is serving its a la carte menu but also preparing a three-course meal for $55; the same fixed-price meal will be served on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, Cosmos (601 1st Av. N., Minneapolis) is offering a four-course meal for $45. The St. Paul Grill (345 Market St., St. Paul, is serving its standard menu at lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve, with a special (and nearly booked) fixed-price meal stretching from late morning to early evening on Christmas Day.

Outside the hotel circuit, the Monte Carlo (219 3rd Av. N., Minneapolis, 612-333-5900) is serving lunch and dinner both days, as is Market Bar-B-Que (1414 Nicollet Av. S., Minneapolis,; the Market's west suburban outpost (15320 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka) is open for lunch and dinner Christmas Eve and dinner on Christmas Day. Dinkytown's Shuang Cheng (1320 4th St. SE., Minneapolis, 612-378-0208) is keeping its regular lunch and dinner hours on both the 24th and the 25th.

The Lexington (1096 Grand Av., St. Paul,, Grand Avenue's grande dame, is open for lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve. Common Roots Cafe (2550 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis, closes at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve but is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Day. Rainbow Chinese Restaurant & Bar (2739 Nicollet Av. S., Minneapolis, is serving Christmas Eve dinner. The Bryant-Lake Bowl (810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, is closed Christmas Eve, but will open at 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Oh, and greasy spoon lovers, take note: both Mickey's Diner (36 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-222-5633) and Flameburger (2534 Rice St., Little Canada, 651-483-8444) are open 24/7/365.

At the newsstand In its January issue, Bon Appetit magazine hails not one but two Twin Cities restaurants. The Strip Club Meat and Fish (378 Maria Av., St. Paul, made the cut as one of 10 hot "new American taverns." Then, as a part of its "restaurant trend of the year" segment -- breakfast -- the magazine called out Red Stag Supperclub (509 1st Av. NE., Minneapolis, and published the recipe for chef Bill Baskin's flaxseed waffles with berries and honey cream. Baskin, however, has left the restaurant; Brian Hauke is now running the kitchen.

On the subject of 2009 food trends, Bon Appetit places its bets on peanut butter desserts, ricotta cheese and, in the wine department -- surprise, surprise -- "great bargain bottles." Meanwhile, Food & Wine magazine steps out on a limb and declares 2009 will be the year of economizing (split entrees, etc.) at pricey restaurants, chef-owned grocery stores and butcher shops, and the return of '80s culinary superstars; ingredients to watch out for include baby goat, mortadella, anise hyssop and buckwheat.

A comforting idea A heat-and-serve chicken pot pie; dullsville, right? Not in the hands of Bess Giannakakis, owner of the Colossal Cafe (1839 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis, 612-729-2377), who does the classic comfort-food dish proud with a monster-size portion that's all flaky pastry, tender chicken and root veggies. It's just $10, plus 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Two caveats: They're available on Fridays only, and supply is limited.

Around town The latest restaurant casualty: Three Fish, the seafood-focused restaurant on Excelsior Boulevard in south Minneapolis.

The tiny piece of real estate at the back of Dinkydale -- previous home to, among other places, the Dinkydale Deli, Burrito Loco and Chowgirls -- never stays empty for long. The latest tenant: a branch of Uncle Franky's (1316 SE. 4th St., Minneapolis,, the swell hot dog and burger joint.