I don't seem to be having a much better luck than Polar Bear did 3 years ago. I've been up 3 times in August, including over Labor Day and these are my discoveries...
* Redding is the "last chance" for almost everything. If you know you don't have it by the time you get to Redding, get it there, We've eaten several places immediately off I-5 along Cypress Ave. - Black Bear Diner, Denney's @ The Vagabond (on Bechelli Ln.), and the Lumberjack. Stick with the chain, although the folks at The Lumberjack were very nice about the inedible food.
*North of Castella, but south of the Hwy. 89 cut-off is a Railroad Campground, Hotel and RESTAURANT. They're only open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening, but we had really good meal, good service, and reasonable prices. The Mr. had calamari picatta - fork tender with a luscious rich sauce. I had Chicken Florentine - which was HUGE, tasty and nicely presented. If you can catch them on the way through some weekend, they're worth the stop off.
*Dunsmuir has a sweet little diner off Siskiyou Avenue. It's small, but the food is reasonably priced, decent sized servings, and it's open 24/7. We didn't visit in the middle of the night, but they're open! We continue to hear good things about the Thai restaurant, but haven't gotten there yet.
*Mt. Shasta found us seated at Lily's for 15 minutes with nothing other than water, while an argument went on in the back. We didn't get much past that. We took a good look at Vivify - it was recommended by a Shastan; macrobiotic lunch; sushi and other items served cafeteria style at dinner. Pass. Stings...appears to be a chain, but we were able to be seated and had a decent meal. It beat our dinner at The Black Bear Diner in Redding the preceding night hands down. Interesting and unique pub-grub was available at Billy Goat's Tavern, corner of Mt. Shasta Blvd. where it goes into Downtown. They had a good selection of burgers, all of which could be up-graded to Kobe beef for $2.50 (the blue-cheese Kobe burger was fabulous), a deep-fried soft-shell crab BLT on ciabatta, buffalo wings or buffalo popper shrimp, vegan items, salads and a number of other pub-style fare. Their garlic fries are literally fried with a head of garlic, which might find its way to your garlic bread...a sliced ciabatta roll topped with Asiago and half a roasted head of garlic baked onto each half. 2 pints of brew each, a Kobe blue cheese burger, fish and chips and garlic bread came to $40 before tip - and they were open on Sunday.
I'll add to this thread as I visit other places. Lai Lai's was recommended for good, fresh Chinese food, and Vivify was recommended, but we weren't necessarily in a "cafeteria-style" mood. I'm glad to hear about The Skillet. I'll have to give that a try...I'm a sucker for good biscuits and gravy!