Chinook Book cover_SEA_email.jpg
Chinook Book -- the thickset compendium of discounts at area businesses which meet the Portland publisher's sustainability standards -- is preparing to launch its latest

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Should Diners Buy a Chinook Coupon Book?

Chinook Book cover_SEA_email.jpg
Chinook Book -- the thickset compendium of discounts at area businesses which meet the Portland publisher's sustainability standards -- is preparing to launch its latest edition at a blow-out party next week. But is the $20 book a smart buy for diners?

More than 70 restaurants and cafés are listed in the book's dining section (grocery deals are classified separately.) A Chinooker who played his coupons right could collect $500 in free food and drink--assuming he was willing to outlay $1350.

It's impossible to determine the exact value of the book's dining deals, since users are apt to order differently when using their "50 percent off" and "buy one entrée, get an equally-priced entrée free" coupons. The above calculation is based on mid-priced items on participating eateries' menus.

But there's no requirement that coupon buyers redeem every come-on in the book. To maximize savings, a diner could purchase the $10 mobile-only version of the book and head for The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where The Georgian is offering two $16 express lunches for the price of one. That's the most generous deal in the book, dollar-wise, but the percentages at coffee shops are especially enticing. While the coupons are cumulatively good for about 38 percent off total bills, all of the listed cafes--numbering nearly a dozen--offer a 2-for-1 or half-off deal. That makes the book a pretty good investment for two coffee-drinking friends.

The best bargains may be reserved for VIPs, though: Next week's launch party, which spokesperson Eileen Lambert confirms isn't open to the public, features free sushi from Mashiko; free geoduck from Xinh's Clam & Oyster House; free wine from Snoqualmie Winery; and free beer from Elliott Bay Brewing. Confirmed tightwads might consider forgoing the coupon book and finagling a spot on the guest list.

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