ON THE PLATE
Caf頃ampagne Bring the whole crowd and dig in to a communal potful of roast duck in brandy cream sauce as the main dish of a three-course prix fixe meal in the style of France's Normandy. The "country family affair" menu kicks off with a dandelion-apple salad topped with bacon and poached egg, and concludes with a rich caramel rice pudding. $30. Tuesday dinner only through April, 5-10 p.m. 1600 Post Alley, 728-2233.
Piatti The dainty potato dumplings known as gnocchi are featured in special dishes on chef Paul Marks' menu this month: baked with sage and Parmesan in a pine nut brown butter (appetizer portion $6.50), flavored with spinach and ricotta in a red pepper pur饠garnished with tangy watercress ($13.95), and formed from buttery Yukon Gold potatoes bathed in toasted walnut cream and tossed with fresh chives ($12.95). 2800 N.E. University Village, 524-9088.
IN THE GLASS
Free Washington wine tastings Each week, a different Washington winery offers samples of its wares at a Friday happy hour from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Alexis Hotel's Painted Table. Featured wineries for April are Wilridge (April 5), Claar (April 12), Bridgman & Washington Hills (April 19), and Harlequin (April 26). 92 Madison Street, 624-3646.
River Run Organic Rye Ale "Brewed in the Republic of Cascadia," Fish Brewing uses tangy Hallertauer hops and a touch of rye malt to spice up this unusual seasonal special. Widely available in bottles (about $7 a six-pack) and on draft through Labor Day.
April 7 The 15th annual Taste of the Nation raises funds for organizations that combat hunger in the Puget Sound area. Leading chefs, winemakers, brewers, and coffee roasters contribute their wares and expertise to a party that also features a live auction and a "Wheel of Giving" game. $85. 6-9 p.m. at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel, Sixth & Pine, reservations 545-3663.
April 9 Sip martinis made with Cascade Mountain juniper berries and pure Northwest spring water at a premier tasting of products from the vats of Oregon's Bendistillery, maker of Crater Lake Vodka. Think you're man or woman enough to wrap your mouth round a hazelnut espresso martini? Don't say you weren't warned. 6-8 p.m. at Tini Bigs, 100 Denny Way (at First N.), 284-0931.
April 13-14 Visit some of Washington's largest and smallest wineries in the first-ever Passport to Woodinville. Your $15 "passport" at Willows Lodge (conveniently located near Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery) provides a map and background information, and entitles you to samples of current releases and advance barrel samples all weekend at 14 different wineries, some rarely or never open to the public. Call 425-424-2902.
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