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The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The black drink you're having with Berkeley Donuts should be stout, not coffee.EXPAND
The black drink you're having with Berkeley Donuts should be stout, not coffee.
Thomas Kolicko
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This weekend brings breakfast beer, spring brews, Beard-y fare and Baja wine. And for those who are following the brouhaha that ensued when Governor Jared Polis declared Saturday, March 20, MeatOut Day, we present two facts. First, you can eat whatever you please on Saturday. Second, National Agriculture Week (which is currently being promoted by the Colorado Beef Council) runs from Friday, March 19, through Tuesday, March 23. So carnivores who are so dedicated to their cause that they can't stomach the thought of someone else not eating meat for a 24-hour period can take solace in the fact that their dietary choices have been granted a full week of celebration, not just one measly day. The Colorado Beef Council, not to be upstaged by hummus and baby carrots, launched its Beef Sticks for Backpacks program to get the meat out to kid in danger of experiencing hunger or missing meals throughout Colorado.

Keep reading for the best events on the culinary calendar over the next few days, as well as days to come:

Friday, March 19
If you think the only things worth drinking in Mexico are lagers and margaritas, listen up. The country has been making wine since the Spanish invasion (that would be the 1520s), and after trying for what seems like 500 years (but was only five), Lola Coastal Mexican has succeeded in importing Baja California wines to Denver. On Friday, March 19, the restaurant, at 1575 Boulder Street, is offering a four-course wine dinner in celebration. Tables for four and six are available for $340 or $510 (don't spit out that shwag you're drinking right now — that works out to a reasonable $85 per person) at 5:30 and 8 p.m. The menu includes a mezcal cocktail; octopus with salt-cured cactus and habanero vinaigrette; fideuà, which is similar to paella, but made with pasta instead of rice; short ribs with mole negro, plantains and rice with cashews and golden raisins; a chocolate-chile torte; and wine pairings. Book your table now on Tock.

Spring has sprung at Dos Luces (pictured here pre-COVID).EXPAND
Spring has sprung at Dos Luces (pictured here pre-COVID).
Pirie Associates

Saturday, March 20
Berkeley Donuts is celebrating one year in business on Saturday, March 20 (looking back, we suspect the timing could have been better — or maybe it couldn't have been better.). Nevertheless, the doughnut shop inside Hops & Pie, 3920 Tennyson Street, is doing what we've all done at least once in the past twelve months: opening a beer at 7:30 a.m. Cerebral Brewing made a salted chocolate caramel stout to accompany the doughnut of the same name, and it will be tapped when Berkeley opens. Not sure about ordering stout with your doughnut instead of a cup of joe? Number one: How dare you? Number two: At $7, that pint is the same price as your fancy pour-over. There's never been a better way to kick off a (w)hole day of drinking. 

Everyone remembers the collective desire of humanity for 2020 to end almost as soon as it began. And while we're not feeling quite as desperate for time to move faster during 2021, there is a palpable jonesing for spring and summer — not to mention warm weather and widespread COVID vaccinations — to just be here, already. Dos Luces Brewery, at 1236 South Broadway, can't do anything about pandemics or weather patterns, but it is enthusiastically welcoming spring on Saturday, March 20, with a vertical tasting of six Túpac Amaru III imperial chichas. The 2019 and 2020 vintages have been brewed with sour cherry, mango and chile de arbol, and pomegranate, and have been aged in bourbon and rum barrels. Ticket holders will also be able to taste the newest release, a black chicha aged in brandy barrels. Purchase tickets for the 3 p.m. tasting for $20 each on the brewery's online storefront. Don't want to spring for the tasting? Stop by any time between noon and 10 p.m. for pours of the new release and empanadas from the Oh My! Empanada food truck.

Spuntino's elk tartare is on the menu at chef Cindhura Reddy's James Beard Taste America dinner.
Spuntino's elk tartare is on the menu at chef Cindhura Reddy's James Beard Taste America dinner.
Linnea Covington

Sunday, March 21
It's been a long time since any of the famously fancy James Beard dinners were held in a Denver restaurant (and it will probably be a while before any are held again). But on Sunday, March 21, you can join the James Beard Foundation's virtual Taste America event along with nine other major food cities around the country. Denver residents will pick up a three-course meal from Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue, that consists of chef/co-owner Cindhura Reddy's always-fantastic focaccia with ricotta; rabbit confit with saffron cavatelli (a vegetarian option with turmeric-roasted cauliflower is also available); elk tartare; and vanilla and mango custards topped with cardamom-pistachio crumble. Cocktails, wine and Spuntino's housemade amaro will accompany the meal. You'll also get access to online cooking demos and the JBF's national broadcast at 6 p.m. Order your ticket ($95 per person or $175 per pair) on the JBF website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Door Prize's buttermilk pie may make an appearance at its next pop-up.EXPAND
Door Prize's buttermilk pie may make an appearance at its next pop-up.
Courtesy of Door Prize

Wednesday, March 24
On Wednesday, March 24, EatDenver is resuming ED Talks, its version of TED Talks, after it was canceled in 2020 because of (gestures broadly)…all this. And for the first time ever, the lectures are open not only to restaurant and bar owners and employees, but to the public as well. Log in to Zoom from 9 to 11 a.m. to see six short presentations (just ten minutes each!) from industry insiders and experts. Three speakers have already been announced, with Marcus Samuelsson — familiar from stints on Top Chef Masters as well as his cookbooks and his own show, No Passport Required — headlining. Other topics of conversation include mental health in the restaurant business and how avocado toast is related to anxiety (the $16 price tag might have something to do with it). Find details (including the full lineup) and register for the free webcast on the EatDenver website.

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, Michael Twitty, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, food historian and deeply engaging Instagram presence, will discuss the holiday of Passover and the common histories of exodus in both Jewish and African-American communities. 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.

Sunday, March 28
Door Prize, the roving meat-and-three project, is making an appearance at Fort Greene, 321 East 45th Avenue, on Sunday, March 28. From noon to 5 p.m., the kitchen will be dishing up the Southern tradition of...well, a meat of your choice with three sides. The menu hasn't been announced, but previous pop-ups offered barbecue chicken, meatloaf, pickled shrimp, ribs, sweet potato casserole, grits and gravy and buttermilk pie. Follow Door Prize's Instagram page for more details.

Don't do it, dude. Don't touch the cucumbers.
Don't do it, dude. Don't touch the cucumbers.
Ashton Ray Hansen

Saturday, April 3
Boulder County Farmers' Markets (BCFM) didn't die off during COVID, and they're returning much closer to their usual opening dates this year — in the case of Boulder and Longmont, on Saturday, April 3. Both markets will be open for in-person shopping every Saturday through late November: in Boulder from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 13th Street between Arapahoe Avenue and Canyon Boulevard, and in Longmont from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road. Certain restrictions from last year are still in place (no dilly-dallying, no pets, no fondling the melons, no music), and shoppers are still encouraged to pre-order and reserve their shopping/pick-up time. However, in a nod to normalcy, customers without a reservation will be accepted (though they may have to wait a bit for entry). The markets will continue to offer curbside pick-up and delivery, and other markets are expected to open in May (Boulder's Wednesday night market and Denver's Union Station) and July (Lafayette). See BCFM's website for complete details.

The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend
Courtesy Cocktail Caravan

Wednesday, April 7
Spring is the time of year to sign up for community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. But what if you the idea of receiving a box full of fresh fruits and veggies every week makes you want a drink because you're never going to use up that bundle of chard that takes up your entire crisper drawer? Good news! You can now get less "agriculture" and more "sweet, sweet booze" in your CSA with Cocktail Caravan's community supported cocktail (CSC) program. Sign up on the bartending service's website and you'll get a bottle of freshly pressed mixer made with ingredients from local farms each week, starting Wednesday, April 7. Each bottle makes five cocktails (or non-alcoholic cocktails). Mixers combos such as grilled Palisade peach, thyme and lemon, or cucumber, ginger, serrano, lime and basil. The CSC runs nine weeks and will cost you $144. You can also sign up for summer or fall shares (also nine weeks, also $144), or save by getting the whole season through October 6, for $392.

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

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