The end of January is certainly the low time on the calendar for many people. The weather teases us by melting some snow, then dropping the temperature to under -10 C again. But we can for once look forward to February, with two new occasions lined up for the first time – Family Day (Monday, Feb. 11) and Restaurant Week (Feb. 11 to 17).

The restaurant industry is important to B.C.’s economy, with over 170,000 people employed in the sector, generating more than $10 billion in sales each year, the B.C. government has reported. While many of us can appreciate that fact, most just want to use the week as an excuse to eat.

Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal out of the proclamation of a week that is fairly inconsequential. But as a self-ascribed foodie (who isn’t?), I’m going to use this week to stuff as much restaurant food in my face as possible – not in a gluttonous way, but in a way where I can appreciate that variety of food that is offered in B.C. This variety is something the B.C. government has touted as being recognized worldwide, and that’s one of the reasons they decided to dedicate the week to restaurants.

As part of the celebrations, the B.C. government is launching a new website: discoverbcrestaurants.com. The site lists the various restaurants by community. While it offers a large sampling of the various restaurants in larger municipalities throughout B.C., it only includes Merritt’s Home Restaurant.

But in Merritt, we have an assortment of food from throughout the world, mainly from Asia. Our community has four Chinese restaurants, two (soon to be three) Japanese restaurants, a Singaporean restaurant (which also serves Chinese), an Indian take-out and an Italian-style restaurant that serves pizza, pasta and calzones. The only additions I’d like to see are Greek and Vietnamese restaurants. But who can complain about options when a community this size has so many?

And with the Chinese New Year on the day preceding Restaurant Week, there’s one more excuse to eat internationally. Sampling food from as many nations as possible seems to me like the ideal way to celebrate Restaurant Week.