News Why not grab a free cup of coffee? The first "Starbucks Coffee Break" is 10 a.m.– noon Wed., March 15. Starbucks locations will pour free, 12-ounce cups of coffee—there might even be a few vendors in the street with "giant coffee backpacks" to surprise commuters. The Starbucks at Sixth and Union will hold a special brewing demonstration. Cookies get political. Vote yea or nay on the Occidental Square renovation by purchasing a shortbread cookie either in the shape of a saw or leaf at Grand Central Bakery, 214 First Ave. S. Note: voting results will not restore the trees cut down on Mon., March 6. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Advance registration or reservations are recommended for most of the following events. Prices exclusive of tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted. New on the Scene The Great Harvest Bread Co. store in Sand Point has new owners, a new look, and new coffee (Peet's). The store will close for a remodel at 4 p.m. Fri., March 10, then reopen at 6 a.m. Saturday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony follows at 10 a.m. The store will offer honey whole-wheat bread at 50 percent off and complimentary cookies and coffee all day. 5408 Sand Point Way, www.greatharvestsea.com. SAND POINT Fine dining can can mingle with live entertainment, and will will, as Can Can debuts an Italian- and Mediterranean-influenced menu during its grand opening celebration March 11–12. The restaurant's resident musicians and dance troupe will perform, leading up to renowned mezzo-soprano Angelina Réaux. Can Can resembles an early-20th-century Parisian nightspot and plans to showcase singers, magicians, dancers, musicians, and other entertainers while maintaining a focus on high-quality food and drinks. Regular hours begin March 14. $30 (food/drinks extra). 7 p.m. 94 Pike St., 206-652-0832, www.thecancan.com. PIKE PLACE MARKET FenomenA Wine Bar tailors wines and foods to suit the geographic region of artists featured in its art gallery (currently featuring Russian graphics and Israeli artists). The wine bar is also serving Eastern European hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Live music on Saturdays and happy hour on Thursdays. 200 Roy St., Suite #104, 206-213-0080, www.fenomena.us. QUEEN ANNE Feel good getting your daily caffeine fix at Icon Coffee, which opened in October. The independently owned shop serves 100-percent USDA-certified organic coffees and teas, and its interior space was designed using salvage materials, eco-friendly recycled products, and sustainable-growth wood. 4301 Fremont Ave. N., 206-632-3535. FREMONT A bit of aloha in Renton: several weeks ago, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue began enticing haoles and islanders alike with its fusion of Asian, Hawaiian, and American food (barbecued beef, garlic mahi mahi, kalua pork, musubi, loco moco, chicken katsu . . . ). 20 S.W. Seventh St., Renton, 425-227-6980, www.hawaiianbarbecue.com. RENTON Restaurant Crémant, catering to resident Francophiles, is scheduled to open this week with an inexpensive menu of French home-style cooking, served in a secluded, small brick house in a garden. Très bon. 1423 34th Ave., 206-322-4600. MADRONA On the Plate Wednesday, March 8 Twenty-two top chefs (William Anderson of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse; Bruce Ross of Columbia Tower Club; J.J. Johnson of Whole Foods . . .) unite for the eighth annual Flavors of Seattle, an evening of epicurean excellence to benefit the American Liver Foundation. The gala features an opening cocktail reception, hors d'oeuvres samples from all the chefs, and a silent and live auction. $250. Grand Hyatt Hotel, 721 Pine St., 206-443-3805. DOWNTOWN Saturday and Sunday, March 11–12 Broccoli lovers rejoice! Vegfest—the country's biggest vegetarian festival—will offer over 500 different foods to sample, cooking demonstrations, and a tasting and entertainment area for kids. $5. Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 305 Harrison St., 206-706-2635, www.vegfest2006.org. SEATTLE CENTER Sunday, March 12 Chef Ethan Stowell challenges professionals and amateurs to a chili cook-off at Union Restaurant. Guests are invited to eat all the chili (and beer!) their bellies can hold, then vote for the top three recipes. $25. 6 p.m. 1400 First Ave., 206-838-8000. DOWNTOWN Through March The Wellington provides live jazz to accompany its southern cuisine Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, with Korla Wygal, Ray Baldwin, Reggie Jenkins, Sam Chablis, and Deems Tsutakawa on the bill this month. 4869 Rainier Ave. S., 206-722-8571, www.thewellington.biz. COLUMBIA CITY Ongoing You say you want an evolution? Well, you know, Grand Central Bakery has reached a new realm of menu enlightenment with its new focus on "flavors of the season." For instance, tomatoes will be offered only during their peak, and Grand Central will use products from local farmers, like certified-organic eggs from Rickman Gulch Farm in Eastern Washington and cheeses from Seattle's Beecher's Handmade Cheese. New sandwiches and other creations are already being served—but don't fret, the old faves are still available. 1616 Eastlake Ave. E., 206-957-9595, or 214 First Ave. S., 206-622-3644, www.grandcentralbakery.com. EASTLAKE/PIONEER SQUARE The Grapevine Thursday, March 9 PCC samples some of its new releases and recent finds from its favorite Washington wineries. $5. 6:30–8 p.m. 7504 Aurora Ave. N., 206-547-1222, ext. 191. GREEN LAKE Saturday, March 11 Purchase art from local painter Dennis Evans or a two-day winemaking package (with a 30-gallon barrel of wine!) at the 15th annual Washington Wines Festival, to benefit the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and Washington Wine Education Foundation. Tickets include dinner and dancing. $400. 4 p.m. Columbia Tower Club, 701 Fifth Ave., 206-236-6167. DOWNTOWN Sunday, March 12 "Toast the View" at the Space Needle, with Columbia Winery's Otis Chardonnay and Cabernet as the featured wines, a souvenir glass, and jazz from the Primo Kim Trio. $5 (in addition to observation deck ticket). 4–7 p.m. 400 Broad St., 206-905-2100, www.spaceneedle.com. SEATTLE CENTER Ongoing, Mondays Not that you needed an excuse to drink on Monday, but now you have one: Diners can enjoy their own bottle of wine with no corkage fee every Monday night at Union Restaurant. 1400 First Ave., 206-838-8000, www.unionseattle.com. DOWNTOWN Back to School Wednesday, March 8 Learn the simple art of roasting—the easiest and best way to concentrate and seal in succulence—as you prepare spicy marinated shrimp, chicken, beef fillet, new potatoes with garlic and rosemary, fall vegetables, and brown-sugar glazed potatoes with vanilla ice cream. Bring knives and an apron. $45. 6–9 p.m. Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway, Room BE2119, 206-587-5424. CAPITOL HILL Thursday, March 9 From sangria and tapas to paella and sherry, Culinary Communion explores Spanish cuisine in a three-part series featuring Moorish (March 9), Castilian (March 16), and Basque (March 30) food. $210. 6–9 p.m. California Avenue and Thistle Street, 206-284-8687, www.culinarycommunion.com. WEST SEATTLE Monday, March 13 George De Pasquale of the Essential Baking Company will share the technical secrets of his wonderfully flavored artisan breads, such as honey-orange rosette, rosemary/olive, sweet potato walnut, and classic rye. $60. 6:30 p.m. 2900 N.E. Blakeley St., 206-528-8192. UNIVERSITY DISTRICT Emerald Isle in the Emerald City Sunday, March 12–Saturday, March 18 For the 15th year, Mitchelli's Gallery Bar creates an Irish-Italian melting pot with the only corned-beef and cabbage pizza in town, in honor of the owner's grandmother, Elizabeth Muldoon. Happy hour, with half-price Irish pizza and $1 off Guinness, is 4–6 p.m. 84 Yesler Way, 206-623-3883, www.mitchellis.com. PIONEER SQUARE Friday, March 10–Sunday, March 19 The Irish drink other things besides Guinness—like tea! So join the Perennial Tea Room for samples of different Irish tea every day, from Bewley's of Dublin to Barry's of County Cork. 1910 Post Alley, 206-448-4054, www.perennialtearoom.com. PIKE PLACE Friday, March 17 Each McCormick & Schmick's restaurant celebrates St. Patrick's Day in style: the Fish House & Bar (722 Fourth Ave.) features bagpipe players from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., and live Irish music from 8 to 11 p.m., while Harborside on Lake Union (1200 Westlake Ave. N.) counts down to St. Patrick's Day with $1 Irish coffee from 10 to 10:30 p.m. daily all week, and on the big day offers a limerick contest (6 p.m.), a raffle, drink specials, and Irish pipers and dancers. The Seafood Restaurant (1103 First Ave.) celebrates with kilt-wearing waitstaff and, yes, more bagpipe serenades. www.mccormickandschmicks.com.