It’s January in Vancouver and the only thing emptier than your wallet is your social calendar?      

Damp spirits? Dine out!

Damp spirits? Dine out!

Quick fix: Dine Out Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver’s annual winter gift to the locals for being nice to out-of-towners the rest of the year.

This is a sweet deal, my friends: between Jan. 14 and Feb. 1, you can treat yourself to a three-course dinner at more than 180 of the city’s best restaurants for just $18, $28 or $38 per person. Scope out the menus at the web site today and don’t wait to claim your table: the most popular eateries book up quickly and early reservations are pretty much mandatory.

If you want the full tourist-in-your-own-town experience–and let’s not ever underestimate the therapeutic properties of sleeping under 400-thread-count sheets in a bed that’s actually been made–then take advantage of the hotel packages also on offer: as little as $150 gets you a night in the Big Smoke with dinner for two.

This year I’m tempted by the menus at the one-syllable eateries: Zin, YEW, Cru and Brix. But Provence‘s lemon curd and lavender tart also has my attention…