To say Randa Vashon takes Maine Restaurant Week seriously is like saying Gen. Dwight Eisenhower planned the Normandy invasion on the back of a napkin.

Armed with her Maine Restaurant Week smartphone app and the event’s website, Vashon begins mapping out her plan of attack as soon as information on the participating restaurants is updated from the previous year.

“I click through every (restaurant), and I see who’s already loaded their menus onto their page,” she said. “That’s a big seller for me. If someone already has their menu printed so I can see what I’m getting into, I will definitely pick that one because I know that they’re prepared, they’re excited, and they’re ready to do this. They’re really welcoming our business.”

While some people are lucky if they manage to dine out once or twice during Maine Restaurant Week, which began Sunday and runs through March 14, Vashon goes out as often as she can to take advantage of special pricing and menus. Four years ago, the first year that she became deliberate (she uses the word “aggressive”) in her approach, she visited seven Portland restaurants. Her average is five, which was more of a feat when Restaurant Week was only 10 days long – Vashon actually had to take time off from work to squeeze more eating into her schedule. This year, she plans on six dinners out, and as many spontaneous lunches as she can manage.

Vashon, 32, has worked in restaurants all her life and is currently a manager at Congress Squared, the fine-dining restaurant in the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. She likes to see what other restaurants are doing – chefs often use Restaurant Week as a chance to experiment with dishes they’re considering for their spring menus. In other words, she does a bit of spying.

“I can see what they’re doing on their wine list, what they’re doing on their cocktail list, what are some fresh flavors for them for spring this year?” she said. “What are they doing that’s new and different? You have to stay current in this business because things change all the time, so it’s kind of like market research for me.”

Beyond that, she’s simply excited to try new restaurants, which seem to pop up in Portland as frequently as Kanye West at award shows.

“Sometimes you can’t keep track and you can’t keep up,” she said. “Maine Restaurant Week is a really great time for people to explore new places … because you’re not committing yourself to a whole meal. You’re doing a little snapshot.”

Well, that depends on your level of self control. Sometimes, even with three lovely prix fixe courses headed to the table, you just can’t keep yourself from ordering that extra appetizer or dessert that sounds so delicious on the regular menu. Asked if she ever orders extra courses, Vashon laughed and responded a resounding “Yes!”

Restaurant Week is also a social time for Vashon. She invites old friends to join her at the table so they can catch up on each others’ lives. (And, of course, share food.)

Vashon always chooses a mix of old favorites and new places. This year, she’s got her sights set on six restaurants. Zapoteca and Petite Jacqueline fall into the “old favorites” category. She adores the boeuf bourguignon at Petite Jacqueline. “I tell people about that dish all the time. It’s amazing.”

She also has reservations at Tiqa (the baby of the bunch), Lolita (the nubile newcomer that opened its doors in June), and at David’s Opus 10 (the grandson of David’s), which isn’t new but she’s never been. Vashon thought it would be fun to get out of town this year, so she’s taking a road trip to Camden with the sous chef from Congress Squared to check out 40 Paper.

Tips for the rest of us? Vashon recommends researching menus beforehand and always making reservations.

“It’s such a great scene. People should really take advantage of these two weeks,” Vashon said. “There is so much flavor out there in Portland right now. This is such a great time to kill the cabin fever.”