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The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Add a little fun(gi) to your CSA box this summer.EXPAND
Add a little fun(gi) to your CSA box this summer.
Courtesy Sugar Moon Mushrooms
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Get ready to usher in another sunny weekend with a cooking class, spring cocktails, mushroom madness or poutine in a parking lot.

After chewing over the details for those events, keep reading for more fun things in the weeks ahead, including May the Fourth food and drink specials and a recently rescheduled kitchen takeover that had us drooling back in March before it was canceled.

Friday, April 9
The Seasoned Chef, a cooking school at 999 Jasmine Street, has a few spots left for its Taste of Tokyo cooking class at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 9. For $185, you and your sous chef will learn how to make not one, not two, but three iconic Japanese preparations: sushi, both savory (crab roll, shrimp tempura roll, spicy tuna roll) and sweet (chocolate-banana); tempura veggies; and chicken ramen. The three-hour class comes with a sake cocktail. Find out more details and check the calendar for future classes at the Seasoned Chef website.

Community supported agriculture shares (CSAs) aren't quite a dime a dozen this time of year, but they are plentiful. The latest to catch our eye is Frontline Farming's summer CSA, which runs from July 5 through August 18. This year, the share includes the option to add on locally grown, pesticide-free mushrooms: a mix of lion's mane, royal trumpet, black pearl and oyster ’shrooms. (The farmer, Irving Reza of Sugar Moon Mushrooms, previously worked at GrowHaus and rescued its mushroom cultures when the building was condemned last year.) A single share feeds two people and, with a four-ounce mushroom add-on, runs $458 for seven weeks. A double share and eight ounce add-on are also available. To ensure your share, sign up here. Pick-up locations are 2861 52nd Avenue (Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.); 7000 Garrison Street in Arvada (Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.); and 1650 Birch Street (Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon).

Ring in spring with pastel purple drinks and live music.EXPAND
Ring in spring with pastel purple drinks and live music.
Courtesy Poka Lola Social Club

Saturday, April 10
Poka Lola Social Club, 1850 Wazee Street, is bringing live music to its lobby every Saturday night in April from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition to new spring cocktails (including the Butterfly Effect, with butterfly pea flower-infused purple Family Jones gin, St. Germain, rosemary and honey syrup and lime; and the PS. I Love You, with vanilla-infused Family Jones vodka, Grey Goose, passionfruit liqueur, lime and sparkling wine), you can get your groove on with guitarist and vocalist Giles Ober (April 10), Eli Theo Band (April 17) and Andy Babb and Laura Elle Music (April 24). Take a look at the bar's website for details, including its full cocktail list.

You can make poutine out of anything, including tripe (as in the version pictured above, from the late, great Rebel Restaurant). Poutine Me doesn't go whole hog, and uses more accessible ingredients.EXPAND
You can make poutine out of anything, including tripe (as in the version pictured above, from the late, great Rebel Restaurant). Poutine Me doesn't go whole hog, and uses more accessible ingredients.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, April 11
It's fair to say that if anyone had predicted the pandemic, isolation, rise of Zoom and attempted government overthrow that overshadowed the last twelve months, we would have thought they were insane. When put into context, driving to Castle Rock to eat poutine at a car repair shop while listening to a brass band sounds positively pedestrian. Yet on Sunday, April 11, that's exactly what you can do, as food truck Poutine Me, Tivoli Club Brass Band and the Colorado Hip Replacements (a Tragically Hip cover band) will converge upon 1 Stop Tire & Auto Service, 414 Wilcox Street in Castle Rock. The occasion? National Poutine Day. The hijinks start at 3 p.m.; details are on Facebook.

Spaghetti Western Sundays are back at Brass Tacks, the LoDo cocktail bar at 1526 Blake Street. Practice your steely Clint Eastwood stare as you order classic red-sauce dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm, and sausage and peppers, among others. Entrees are served with sides of garlic bread, garden salad, dessert, a fist full of dollars (okay, we made that one up) and a welcome spritz for $30. And because it's Brass Tacks, you won't want to miss out on the themed cocktails, such as the Spaghett (an Aperol spritz made with beer instead of prosecco) or Italian margaritas, limoncello daiquiris and specialty beers. Spaghetti Western seatings begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, and will continue weekly for the good, the bad and the ugly alike. Visit Brass Tacks online for more details.

Keep reading for more food and drink happenings:

The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This WeekendEXPAND
Courtesy Blanchard Family Wines

Sunday, April 18
Three words: breakfast banana split. To get it, visit Tock and book your seat at Blanchard Family Wines, 1855 Blake Street, on Sunday, April 18. Oh, you need more details? Sounds fake, but okay. Blanchard is  collaborating with Palisade's Sauvage Spectrum winery for a Colorado bubbles brunch, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For $55, you'll get three courses: the aforementioned split, with banana, berries and honey-vanilla yogurt; a pulled-pork Benedict with barbecue Hollandaise, sweet-potato purée, cornbread and a 62-degree egg (that's Celsius, and it's the perfect temperature); and French toast topped with both honey and maple syrup. Each course will be paired with a different sparkler, and the winemaker will be on hand to talk about his creations. You know what to do.

Both Cart-Driver locations are offering additional giving opportunities during Dining Out for Life.EXPAND
Both Cart-Driver locations are offering additional giving opportunities during Dining Out for Life.
Michael Emery Hecker

Friday, April 23
Denver Restaurant Week is back, starting Friday, April 23. Through Sunday, May 2, book a seat at one (or more!) of 200 Denver-area restaurants offering prix fixe menus for $25, $35 or $45. The event, generally held in February and March, has been moved to spring to take advantage of Denver's renowned sunny days and warmer weather — even though the definition of "patio weather" has been greatly expanded over the past year. Our favorite participants? Konjo Ethiopian, the Bindery, Spuntino, Coperta and Bastien's. Find yours on the Restaurant Week website.

Project Angel Heart, the nonprofit organization that provides medically tailored meals for people living with serious illnesses, is now in the second year of revamping Dining Out for Life, its signature fundraiser. Normally, participating restaurants donate a portion of their sales for a single day in April to Project Angel Heart — but with restaurant dining rooms shuttered last year and many eateries still on life support, some changes are in order. In 2021, the event has been expanded to run from Friday, April 23, through Sunday, May 2, and restaurants are not being asked to donate. Instead, diners who eat in or take out from nearly 100 Denver restaurants are being asked to make a donation directly to the nonprofit. Of course, some restaurants are able and willing to help out a little extra, so some will be offering cocktails and menu items with a portion going to the Project; setting up an additional line to collect customer donations; or donating a smaller percentage than in past years. Details and participating eateries are up on the event's website

Sunday, April 25
Starting Sunday, April 25, chefs Bo Porytko of Misfit Snackbar (inside Middleman at 3401 East Colfax Avenue) and Royce Oliveira of To the Wind Bistro (at 3333 East Colfax Avenue) will trade kitchens and characters for Freaky Sunday, a pop-up swap that spans two weekends. On Sunday, April 25, from 4 to 10 p.m., Oliveira will take over Misfit's tiny food-service window inside Middleman and channel Porytko's frankly unhinged and fiercely delicious style as he turns out bar snacks like peanuts in barrel-aged Worcestershire sauce and mole duck nachos dusted with crema powder and fermented black bean powder. Sunday, May 2, will find Porytko cooking a six-course meal with beer pairings in To the Wind's relatively spacious kitchen. For $85, you'll get refined and beautifully plated courses, including kielbasa Scotch quail eggs in a nest of fried sauerkraut and a sweet pea curd topped with smoked whipped cream and candied cardamom pistachio. Seatings are at 5 and 8 p.m., and reservations are required; make yours by emailing misfitsnackbar@gmail.com. Keep an eye on Misfit's Instagram page for upcoming details. NOTE: This event was rescheduled from early March, when it was canceled unexpectedly.

Baere Brewing and Snactackular crews know how to celebrate May the Fourth.
Baere Brewing and Snactackular crews know how to celebrate May the Fourth.
Carly Wiesenberg

Tuesday, May 4
No one is neutral about Star Wars. Whether you're a casual fan, one of the racist jackwagons who drove poor Rose Tico off social media and out of the last cinematic exercise in fan service, or just someone who wants to cuddle Baby Yoda, we guarantee that you have at least one opinion about the franchise. What better way to express it than on Tuesday, May 4, at Baere Brewing, 320 Broadway, over a pint of C-3(i)PA and a plate of tauntaun tacos? The brewery is releasing its West Coast IPA in a Star Wars-themed can (themed glassware will also be available), and from 3 to 9 p.m., Snacktacular will be serving up tauntaun (pork belly) tacos, That's No Moon (a jumbo cheeseburger) and the Sando Calrissian (grilled cheese). Reservations aren't required; just show up. And may the fork be with you.

Thursday, May 13
For years, Westword celebrated the Denver dining scene at Feast, an annual eating extravaganza that filled the McNichols Building with tables hosted by local restaurants sampling their best dishes. Given the pandemic, Feast has pivoted and turned into Feast To-Go, a drive-thru event at Stanley Marketplace (2501 Dallas Street in Aurora) on May 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. that will again celebrate the city's resilient restaurants. At Feast To-Go, you'll be able to try food from a dozen restaurants and trucks that we’ve honored with Best of Denver awards over the past few years, along with beverages; you can enjoy your goodie bags and restaurant samples at an impromptu picnic or simply take them home...without ever leaving your car. Tickets are now on sale here.

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

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