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Around Town:
Sprouting in the newly revamped Mint Plaza comes Chez Papa Resto (414 Jessie at Mint), offspring of the successful Potrero Hill bistro Chez Papa. After delays pushed back the opening date several times, general manager Tonino Drovandi confirms that Monday, March 31, is opening day. “The menu’s still evolving,” he says. “The reason we’re not opening until the 31st is because we’re doing some extensive tastings this week, really dialing in on the new menu.” As for personal favorites, Drovandi dropped descriptions of two delicious-sounding dishes: “We do little grilled lamb chops with ratatouille and lavender salts. And one of our staple dishes at Chez Papa is the lamb daube; it’s a meat stew with lamb braised in red wine. Really nice.”

As SF Weekly’s Meredith Brody very wisely says, “There’s more than one way to fill a couple of slices of bread.” With that in mind, she scoured the city last week in search of the most perfect sandwiches, and reports back triumphant. Between the graciousness of the staff and the simple elegance of the sandwiches, North Beach’s Petite Deli (752 Columbus at Filbert) is a great stop: Try the Young’s chicken sandwich ($6). Ike’s Place (3506 16th St. at Sanchez) is another amazing spot to grab lunch, as much for its huge, messy sandwiches as for its extensive vegetarian and vegan options. For Brody’s full dose of sandwichology, be sure to check the new issue of the SF Weekly, on newsstands today.

Weekly Planner:
This Thursday, March 27, Wine Enthusiast magazine hosts the second annual Toast of the Town San Francisco at the War Memorial Opera House (401 Van Ness at McAllister) — an event that promises far more wine, food, and music than any human being could possibly consume in a single evening. More than 500 domestic and international wines and spirits will be on hand, with food pairings from 30 of the Bay Area’s finest restaurants, including local favorites Chez Panisse, Tartine Bakery, Fifth Floor, and Plumpjack Cafe. Local jazz quartet Loosewig will hold down the beat, and a silent auction offers the chance for delectable take-home goodies, with proceeds benefiting the San Francisco Food Bank. Tickets run $95 for the tasting, $185 for the VIP treatment.

Date Night:
Salty and sweet is a taste combination as old as time. This Friday, March 28, the Hip Tastes Salty and Sweet Tasting at Sugar Cafe (679 Sutter at Taylor) gives this inseparable pair a moment to shine with a showcase of concoctions from the likes of Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake and Orson), single-origin chocolates from European chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, Rocky Road inspirations from Droga, and — taking up the slack on the salty side — selections from Estrellita’s Snacks and Botanas Felicitas. To wash it all down, there’ll be a variety of wines chosen for their fit with sweet and salty. 7:00-10:00 p.m., $30.

Night Cap:
While Bay Area wine lovers have a veritable nonstop pipeline of tastings and special events to keep their glasses full, partakers of the harder stuff may feel a bit left out. Well, not this week. Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29, the Ninth Annual Whiskies of the World Expo drops anchor in San Francisco with more single malt whiskies, bourbons, and specialty spirits than you can shake a stogie at. The two-day boozefest kicks off Friday night at the Le Meridien Hotel (333 Battery at Clay), where you can brush up on your education with seminars and classes at the Whisky University ($61.50 per course). On Saturday, hop aboard the San Francisco Belle, docked at Pier 3 (Embarcadero and Washington), and put your learning to the ultimate test: the tasting extravaganza ($110 per person).

Coming Soon:
It's time again to make the rounds of new joints, starting with something sweet in SoMa. Self-serve purveyor Icebee (829 Mission at Fourth St.) is the latest addition to San Francisco’s burgeoning frozen-yogurt game. In the Castro, the space formerly occupied by Ararat Mediterranean has quickly sprouted the new Italian osteria Poesia (4072 18th St. at Castro), where southern Italian favorites prevail.


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