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New restaurants and happenings

Restaurant and food happenings this week

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There must be something about the increased daylight and warmth in the air that makes folks want to give a little extra—there's a full plate of charity events around the Triangle this week that will lighten your heart and wallet as your belly grows full.

Opera lovers should be happy to partake in the Pucccini Wine and Opera Dinner at The Grape at Cameron Village (403 Daniels St., Raleigh, 833-2669, www.yourgrape.com) on Tuesday, April 3, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Five wines will be paired with four courses—and an aria will be sung with each wine pouring. Tickets are $100, which includes a $50 tax-deductible donation to the Opera Company of North Carolina. Call 792-3855 for tickets.

And this next one could be a dream come true: Competing in a Girl Scout cookie-eating contest has surely made a number of Do Before I Die lists, and now is your chance to overindulge while convincing yourself it's all for charity. The monthly eating contest at The Borough (317 W. Morgan St., Raleigh, 832-8433) will be Monday, April 2, at 8 p.m. and will include, yes, Girl Scout cookies. The first 10 people to sign up can enter, and the $5 entry fee goes to The Humane Society.

Weaver Street Market (101 E. Weaver St., Carrboro, 929-0010 www.weaverstreetmarket.coop) has combined its Annual Spring Wine Show with fund-raising for their Cooperative Community Fund. There are two opportunities to taste wines from around the world at discounts up to 44 percent off regular price: Saturday, March 31, 1-5 p.m. in Carrboro or Saturday, April 7, 1-5 p.m. at the store in Southern Village. Help grow WSM's Cooperative Community Fund with your $5 ticket. Saludos Compay will play South American music, and there will be hors d'oeuvres.

The mother of all gastro-charity events is Sunday, April 1, in the McKimmon Center at N.C. State University when the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities in Raleigh presents A Toast to the Triangle. The event includes more than 50 of the Triangle's restaurants, caterers and purveyors of fine wines and specialty beers. Ice-skating legend Kristi Yamaguchi is this year's honorary toast chair. The food competition includes best first course, entrée, dessert, visual theme and presentation plus the annual People's Choice Award.

Gourmet popsicle store Locopops (2600 Hillsborough Road, Durham, 286-3500) has opened a second shop on West Franklin Street in the Courtyard of Chapel Hill, same hours as the Durham location.

Orientspiration (Falls River Town Center, 10940 Raven Ridge Road, Suite 122, Raleigh, 846-0910, www.orientspiration.com) is conducting a tea-tasting party Saturday, March 31, 1 to 4 p.m. Black mango, citron green, orange and peppermint teas are to be featured.

La Farm Bakery (Preston Corners, 4248 Cary Parkway, Cary, 657-0657, www.lafarmbakery.com) will have its oatmeal-raisin and chocolate chip cookies featured as the snack of the day on Thursday, March 29, on the Food Network's new talk show, Rachel Ray. And check out La Farm's cooking classes this week: April 1 for children; April 3 for Easter baking; and April 4 on French pastries.

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