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Are You Gonna Eat That? The Best Chefs, the Best Food, the Best Prices: Restaurant Week Returns for a Bumper Crop of Cities

Food, glorious food! Some people can't get enough of sports, some clothes, others trash TV. Me? Give me the chance to cook, eat, discuss or read about food, and I'm happy. Thus, I'm pleased to report the first of several restaurant weeks this year in a quad of cities starting this month.

If you're not sure what a restaurant week is, it's simply this: restaurants in a particular destination get together (usually with a little help from the local tourist board) to promote their cuisine for a set period of time and for a set--and temporarily much more affordable--price. Often, these include the restaurants that would normally be out of most middle class citizen's budgetary constraints or the ones that you might choose to splurge on for special occasions.

Here's a quick rundown of the four promotions going on in January and February. These events are very popular and reservations at most participating establishments are not only required, but are filled quickly.

Washington, D.C.: January 13-19 (seven days)

This event is the only one that currently runs an actual week. You can order lunch and/or dinner from prix fixe menus (appetizer, main course and dessert) at 87 different eateries opening their doors to locals and tourists alike. Lunch runs $20.03, and dinners go for $30.03. As with all specials, these prices do not include drinks (alcoholic or otherwise, although tap water is always free), tax or tips. (I do encourage you to tip. The wait staffs will not only be extra busy during these periods, but the cut prices cut into the real earnings of any wait job--the tip. If you feel otherwise about tipping, I encourage you to stay home.) For a list of participating restaurants and to make reservations online 24/7, go to

Vancouver: January 24-February 2 (10 days)

You can order dinners-only off prix fixe menus from 62 restaurants in this British Columbian town for either $15 or $25. Better deal, but you'll find about only two-thirds of the participants have their menus and contact information online at

San Francisco: January 11-31 (21 days)

The longest-running of the bunch, which gives you plenty of time to choose one (at least one) from the list of over 150 restaurants in the city that gives New York stiff competition for the title of culinary capitol of America. Lunches run $19.95; dinners $29.95, but you must pay with a Visa card to get the deal. If you like garlic, I suggest putting the Stinking Rose at the top of your list. Visit for complete details.

New York City: January 27-31 (five days)