Appetite: WashBag is back!

Plus: Top Chef scallops, James Beard dinner, and more
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As long-time San Francisco resident and writer, I'm passionate about this city and obsessed with finding and exploring its best food-and-drink spots, deals, events and news, in every neighborhood and cuisine. I started with my own service and monthly food/drink/travel newsletter, The Perfect Spot, and am thrilled to share up-to-the minute news with you from the endless goings-on in our fair city. View her last installment here.

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NEW RESTAURANT OPENINGS

Herb Caen glory days hang on as North Beach's classic WashBag returns
Herb Caen would be proud. When Washington Square Bar & Grill closed last year, many mourned the loss of one of SF's most beloved classics, a preferred hang-out of the aforementioned Caen, local writers and politicos ever since the '70's. Under new ownership, Liam and Susan Tiernen of Tiernan's (www.tiernans.com), the historical spot returns with brasserie menu intact. Pull up to the long wood bar or dine on white tablecloths as you order the famed WashBag burger on Dutch crust bun. Bartender Michael McCourt is also back... so bring on the Mad Men-reminiscent martini lunches!
Washington Square Bar & Grill
1707 Powell, SF.
415-433-1188

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EVENTS - FOODIE DINNERS

March 18-20 - Jamie Lauren creates a four-course scallop dinner in honor of her Top Chef run

Ok, all you Top Chef fans, Jamie Lauren is back to her home base of Absinthe, with an ode to Fabio's "Top Scallop" comment by cooking a special, four course Scallop Tasting menu (reserve quickly - it's sure to fill up fast!) Beginning with Bay Scallop Crudo, moving on to Scallop Clam Chowder, then a Hokkaido Grilled Scallop with sunchoke puree, artichokes, erbette chard and Meyer Lemon, finishing up with Seared Dayboat Scallops with asparagus, creamed green garlic and fava beans. Now you can pretend you're a Top Chef judge, giving props to our very own Jamie.
5:30pm throughout dinner service
$75, not including beverages, tax or gratuity
Absinthe
398 Hayes Street
415-551-1590
www.absinthe.com

March 16 - Splurge for a James Beard Dinner at Fifth Floor
Food fanatics, save up your pennies (and then some) for a rare James Beard Foundation dinner at Fifth Floor, themed on the Cuisine of Southwestern France. The event honors famed cookbook author (and James Beard Award-winner), Paula Wolfert. Fifth Floor Sommelier, Emily Wines, selects wine pairings for the decadent six-course meal, including dishes like Foie Gras with shallot confit and quince compote or Braised Rabbit with sauteed crepes and dried plums. Headed up by Fifth Floor and Aqua's Laurent Manrique, each course is created by a different chef: Jennie Lorenzo and Lionel Walter (also of Aqua and Fifth Floor), Ariane Daguine of D’Artagnan in NYC, Jean Pierre Moulle of Chez Panisse and Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade. Whew, what a line-up! That crew can cook me dinner any time.
6pm reception; 7pm dinner
$165, including wine pairings ($150 for James Beard members)
Fifth Floor
12 4th St., SF
415-348-1555
www.fifthfloorrestaurant.com
www.jamesbeard.org

3/23-3/25 - Incanto's annual Head-to-Tail Dinner returns

Incanto has long been my favorite Italian restaurant in the Bay Area, bar none, and when it comes to whole hog and offal, Chris Cosentino was doing it long before it was trendy.

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