Maine Restaurant Returns to add some pizzazz to your March

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logoDespite the snow and frigid temps, my winter hibernation is over. I’m swinging back into Maine Travel Maven mode with a reminder about Maine Restaurant Week, March 1-10, 2014, an event guaranteed to brighten March, whether it comes in like a lamb or a lion, and no matter if it’s snow on the ground or mud in your eye.

Dozens of restaurants statewide (although the majority are along the coast and clustered in Greater Portland) are participating in this annual event. Participants offer fixed-price menus at $25, $35, $45, or $55 (book early to avoid being shut out of the most popular restaurants). You can search for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free menus as well as by price and location on the MRW site. There’s even an app for it now.

Adding to the fun are several major food-related events (details on all available on MRW site, which lists other specialty events, too):

• The Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off, Fri., Feb. 28, 2014, 7-9 a.m. at Sea Dog Brewing Company,  South Portland; tix $20-22:50

• BOWL BIG Bowling Tournament, Sun., March 2, 2014, 2-5 p.m. at Bayside Bowl, Portland. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine. Team entry fee: $100,

• The Pancake Race, Tues., March 4, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at  Maine Craft Distilling, Portland. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine. Team entry fee: $40,

• The Signature Cocktail and Dessert Event, Sun., March 9, 2014, 5:30-8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz, Scarborough. Proceeds benefit Preble Street Resource Center. Tix $45-$50.

Finally, don’t miss the special rates offered by the Inn at Brunswick Station, Brunswick; Camden Harbour Inn and Hartstone Inn in Camden; Captain Jefferds Inn, Kennebunkport; Kennebunk Inn, Kennebunk; Portland Harbor Hotel and Portland Regency Hotel, Portland; and the Rangeley Inn & Tavern, Rangeley. And while it’s not listed on the MRW site, the Inn by the Sea, in Cape Elizabeth, has a great MRW room deal, too.