Restaurants.com sells discounted gift certificates. Right now, you pay $4 for a $25 gift certificate (or more for larger ones). You print it from your computer, and it's good for a year. No shipping charge. No hidden fees. The only hitch is that your bill has to be at least $35 to use the certificate and some restaurants restrict their use to Sunday to Thursday. (The certificates are normally $10, but they're discounted now.)
Mrs. HowChow and I used a certificate on Sunday at Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville. We paid $22 (with tip) for an appetizer, two dinners, dessert, soda and cafe con leche. Normally, we wouldn't have eaten that much. But then, normally we woudln't have gone to Cuba de Ayer, so everybody wins. This appears to be a way to impress customers, and it worked on us because we loved the tres leches cake.
This is a great way to try somewhere new or indulge on appetizers and dessert at Cuba de Ayer, LeeLynn's, the Diamondback Tavern, and other local places. Click here for a list of the participating restaurants in Howard County. (Hat tip to Adventures in Baltimore Restaurants, which turned me on to this.)