The Seven Best Events on This Week's Culinary Calendar

Get gras this week.EXPAND
Get gras this week.
Courtesy Steuben's
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We've got food fun for you every day this week, from Mardi Gras celebrations to wine drinking to free tacos for the hungry.

Keep reading for the best food and drink events over the next five days, as well as more events to plan for in the weeks ahead.

Monday, February 15
Food access and advocacy group Front Line Farming is now accepting applications for 2021's beginning farmer apprenticeship. The program, which runs from May 24 through October 8, is designed to educate apprentices about composting, planting from seed, irrigation systems, pest management and harvesting (among many, many other things) through twenty hours a week of hands-on farm work as well as classes and seminars. Stipends will be paid to those who are selected for the program. The apprenticeship is open to aspiring BIPOC growers. Applications are due by Monday, February 15; find the application and more details here.

Snooze's caramel pecan roll pancake is our pick for Pancake Day.EXPAND
Snooze's caramel pecan roll pancake is our pick for Pancake Day.
Courtesy Snooze

Tuesday, February 16
It's apropos that National Pancake Day (Tuesday, February 16) falls on Fat Tuesday. This year, all Snooze locations are offering a pair of pancakes so enticing you'll want to devour both — and that will definitely have you donning your most stretched-out sweatpants. The day's specials are a red velvet flapjack with a cream cheese center, vanilla crème anglaise and cocoa powdered sugar as well as a caramel pecan roll pancake with a cinnamon swirl baked into a buttermilk cake that's topped with caramel, sweet cream and candied pecans. All sales of the specials will go to No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate child hunger. Don't want to dine in? Order takeout or delivery on Snooze's app (available to download on its website).

After the inevitable sugar crash from the morning's pancake frenzy, go savory with Mardi Gras specials. Jax Fish House is running food and drink specials — jambalaya, char-grilled oysters, hushpuppies, po' boys, king cake beignets, Sazeracs, Abita brews and monster 22-ounce Hurricanes — all day for in-house, takeout and delivery dining. Bonus: Jax handles its own delivery, so you won't be supporting odious third-party delivery services (and if you're outside the delivery zone, Jax will still try to get grub to your doorstep if you call). Visit the Jax  Fish House website for the full menu and  to make reservations and order online.

Both locations of Steuben's (532 East 17th Street in Denver and 7355 Ralston Road in Aurora) are running Mardi Gras menus from Tuesday, February 16, through Sunday, February 21. Get hushpuppies, étouffée, beignets and — again — giant Hurricanes that serve six. Visit the joint's website to book a table or place a takeout or delivery order.

Sommelier Kendra Anderson samples a cocktail as she judges 2020's Speed Rack bartending contest.EXPAND
Sommelier Kendra Anderson samples a cocktail as she judges 2020's Speed Rack bartending contest.
Linnea Covington

Wednesday, February 17
National Drink Wine Day technically falls on February 18, but you know the tea: Since March 17, 2020, every day has been National Drink Wine Day. So we're not going to complain too much about the fact that the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board is hosting a livestream in honor of the day 24 hours early — especially not since the event also honors Black History Month. Black sommeliers Kendra Anderson (formerly the owner of Bar Helix) and William Davis will join Denver author, certified barbecue judge and current CWIDB member Adrian Miller for a tasting of the Centennial State's wines, as well as discussion about racial diversity and equity in the wine industry. Register for the free webinar on Zoom, or watch it live on the Board's Facebook page.

Thursday, February 18
Nonprofit food truck Kitchen One for One is on the move in Denver. The mobile kitchen is expanding its operations from Idaho Springs and Evergreen to the Mile High City on Thursday, February 18, when it will pull up at the Saint Francis Center, 2323 Curtis Street from 5 to 7 p.m. There the truck will hand out tacos at no charge to people in need. Kitchen One to One funds its Thursday giveaways through income from taco sales earlier each week; get more info on its website as well as the Kitchen One for One Facebook page.

The Seven Best Events on This Week's Culinary CalendarEXPAND
Courtesy Dairy Block

Friday, February 19
From Friday, February 19, through Friday, April 2, the Dairy Block, at 1800 Wazee Street, is pushing out weekly seafood specials in honor of Lent. (Are you on firmer moral ground if you stay home during a pandemic or you don't eat meat for six weeks? Discuss.) In what the Dairy Block is dubbing FRYDays on the Block, participating restaurants will offer dishes like fried red snapper (Kachina Cantina); scallops with sunchoke purée, truffle pea sauce and lemon (Foraged); and tuna poke bowls and lobster rolls (Milk Market). Blanchard Family Wines and Seven Grand will also be offering discounts. Find out more on the Dairy Block's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink fun...

Sunday, February 21
If your love affair with boxed wine is waning at the same time your income is soaring, enroll in Frasca's series of wine classes. Each lesson includes six bottles of wine, a workbook, a pre-recorded course video and access to a live Q&A. Visit Tock to choose from one of three classes (or sign up for them all, though at $350 a pop, you'd better be one loaded learner): the Rhône Valley (Q&A scheduled for Friday, March 19); Reisling (Q&A takes place on Friday, March 26); and soil and minerality (Q&A on Friday, April 2). You'll pick up your course materials on Sunday, February 21, so you'll have a month to sip, study and mull over questions before the Q&As (all of which are scheduled at 5:30 p.m.). Pick-up locations in both Denver and Boulder are available; visit Frasca's website for details.

Show up to Lola's walk-up window for free tequila (don't bring your kid, though).EXPAND
Show up to Lola's walk-up window for free tequila (don't bring your kid, though).
Courtesy of Lola Coastal Mexican

Monday, February 22
You'll want to be one of the first sixty folks at Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street, on Monday, February 22. The restaurant is celebrating National Margarita Day by giving away airplane bottles of Casamigos Tequila to sixty lucky borrachos at its walk-up window, which opens at 4 p.m. You'll also be able to grab free elotes (Mexican street corn) while supplies last. Even if you miss the giveaway, you'll still be able to snag double margs to go for $12. If you choose to dine in, Lola will be offering a lamb barbacoa taco special. 

Thursday, February 25, through Sunday, February 28
If you've been itching to attend a beer or wine festival (sitting on your couch surrounded by dead soldiers from the last week doesn't count), you'll want to snag tickets to Fade 2 Black now. Like, right now. Like, go buy them on the event website and then come back and read the rest of the description of this weekend devoted to drinking beer and wine made by Black producers. The festival launches Thursday, February 25, with a beer dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. with brews from California brewery Crown and Hops. The four-course wine dinner is Friday, February 26, and includes five different wines. Saturday, February 28, brings the grand tasting, with over twenty beers and wines, appetizers and live music, from 2 to 6 p.m. And this all takes place outside your house, at Peak Beverage, 4375 Brighton Boulevard. And if you've truly grown roots in the past twelve months, you can still opt for virtual beer and wine tastings on Sunday, February 28. Tickets for the in-person events run from $75 to $125 and are very limited (just thirty are being sold for each dinner and fifty for each grand tasting session). Find out more on the event website.

A stunning green potato nettle soup; its cousin, green aquacotta, is on the Bindery's Great Chefs of the West menu.EXPAND
A stunning green potato nettle soup; its cousin, green aquacotta, is on the Bindery's Great Chefs of the West menu.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, March 4 and Thursday, March 11
The annual Great Chefs of the West is usually a gala fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation, but this year it looks different. For one thing, it's happening on two nights: Thursday, March 4, and Thursday, March 11. And for another, it will also benefit participating restaurants: the Bindery, Woodie Fisher, Guard and Grace, Jovanina's Broken Italian, Hop Alley and Four by Brother Luck. Purchase tickets ($125 per person or $225 per couple) on the event website, and choose from prix fixe menus from the above eateries (all offer on-site dining as well as takeout options), cocktails and wine. You'll also get a cookbook of the restaurants' recipes and access to a silent — really silent — auction and awards ceremony. 

Thursday, March 11
On Thursday, March 11, Mythology Distillery is joining forces with the Crescendo Society, a group of dysfunctional siblings endowed with superpowers and raised by an emotionally distant, demanding father as a vigilante...oh, wait, wrong press release. In any case, the Crescendo Society (which we prefer to think of as a super-secret, under-35, militant cheerleading troupe rather than the "young professionals society" of the Colorado Symphony) will be joining symphony musicians as well as Mythology for a virtual cocktail class with live musical performance at 7 p.m. Purchase your cocktail kit for $35 ($25 for a second kit) and you'll get four ounces of three different spirits, plus the rest of the drink ingredients, the cocktail demo and a chat with musicians after their performance. The deadline to order is Friday, March 5; cocktail kit pick-up is at the distillery's tasting room, 3622 Tejon Street, during regular business hours (4 to 8 p.m.) from Monday, March 8, through Thursday, March 11. Get details and tickets on the Colorado Symphony website.

Wednesday, March 24
Denver's Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center generally hosts its expansive JAAMM (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music) Festival over several months in the fall, with live cultural events across the city. In 2020, of course, that was upended. The silver lining: The fest is going on for a full twelve months (starting last year and well into 2021), and all programming is virtual. On Wednesday, March 24, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, food historian and deeply engaging Instagram presence Michael Twitty will discuss the holiday of Passover. Tickets for the 7 p.m. lecture, $18, are on sale now at the festival's website, where you can also see previous events on demand.

Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Send information to cafe@westword.com.

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