Culinary calendar for the week ahead: Valentine's Day to the Docent Dinner #3

The week's starting off with a big, heart-shaped bang and winding down with chili cook-offs and docent dinners. Here's a taste of what's ahead:

Monday, February 14:

There are far too many Valentine's Day events to list here; check our online listings to see all the heart-warming opportunities..

Tuesday, February 15:

Chef Daniel Asher prepares a weekly five-course, raw vegan dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. at Root Down, 1600 West 33rd Avenue. The dinners are $42, by reservation; call 303-993-4200 or visit www.rootdowndenver.com.

Casselman's Bar & Venue, 2620 Walnut Street, offers Taco Tuesdays -- free ground-beef tacos available from 6 p.m. until they run out. For more info, call 720-242-8923 or go to www.casselmans.com.

Wednesday, February 16:

Forest Room 5, 2532 15th Street, is this round's host for Denver Happy Hour, which features free appetizers and happy hour cocktails at a different restaurant each month, plus a chance to network and explore Denver. The fun runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; for details, to to www.denverhh.com.

Seven Cups, 1882 South Pearl Street, presents "Are There Tannins In My Tea?" Donna Fellman will answer questions about the chemistry of tea at 7 p.m.; admission is free. Call 303-777-2877 or visit www.sevencupsdenver.com.

Thursday, February 17:

Learn the basics of making sausage while cutting, grinding, seasoning, stuffing and tying your own selection of salumi at "Personal: Salumi: Dry Sausage," a class at Il Mondo Vecchio, 1174 South Cherokee Street. Admission is $110 and the class runs from 6 to 8 p.m.; call 303-744-6328 or visit www.ilmondovecchio.com.

Q's, 2115 13th Street in Boulder, hosts a Celebration of Heritage and Merit, featuring cuisine inspired by the American Western heritage. It starts at 6 p.m. and costs $75; call 303-442-4880 or visit www.qsboulder.com.

The Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, presents a "Planting the Spring Garden" class, where you'll learn about season extenders, soil prep, food-safe pest control and more. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and costs $36 to $41; pre-registration is required. Call 720-865-3500 or visit www.botanicgardens.org.

Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, is cracking the first keg of its 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year Release, a Scottish-style strong ale created by 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year Bill Howell. Call 303-297-2700 or go to www.wynkoop.com.

Amendment XXI Wines, 2548 15th Street, presents a Single Malt Scotch Tasting with Robert Sickler, who will guide participants through Scotland's portfolio. It starts at 5 p.m. and is free; call 303-477-5646.

Friday, February 18:

Play It Forward, a talent showcase benefiting Women With a Cause and featuring food prepared by the Women Chefs of Colorado, gets under way at 6 p.m. at the Seawell Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; sign up at www.womenwithacause.com.

Mirada Fine Art Gallery, 5490 Parmalee Gulch Road in Morrison, hosts a belated Valentine's Dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $165 per person -- but if you purchase a piece of art before your meal is over, your dinner could be free! For info, call 303-697-9006 or visit www.miradafineart.com.

Avery Tap Room, 5757 Arapahoe Avenue Unit B1 in Boulder, presents the Boulder Strong Ale Festival through Saturday, February 19, with more than eighty different strong beers (greater than 8 percent ABV) from some of the best breweries across the country. Admission is $35; call 303-440-4324 or visit www.averybrewing.com.

Saturday, February 19:

Bacaro Venetian Taverna, 921 Pearl Street in Boulder, presents the Enzo Boglietti Wine Dinner, four courses based on Italy's Piedmont region paired with Boglietti's wines. It starts at 6 p.m.; call 303-444-4888 or visit www.bacaro.com.

Bristol Brewing, 1647 South Tejon Street in Colorado Springs, hosts the Firkin Rendezvous from 1 to 5 p.m. Call 719-633-2555 or visit www.bristolbrewing.com.

Sunday, February 20:

MaxFund presents a Chili Cook-Off at the Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake Street, at 1 p.m.; admission is $10, and proceeds benefit MaxFund. Call 303-308-1795 or visit www.maxfund.org.

Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge, 930 Lincoln Street, presents the Docent Dinner #3, part of a series of monthly guided dinners through the art of Dazzle (both on the walls and in the kitchen). This month, artwork by Ginny Bettendorf and Angela Kalyvianakis will be featured. Admission is $25, $35 with wine pairings; call 303-839-5100 or visit www.dazzlejazz.com.

For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings -- and if you have information for a culinary event you'd like included in our online calendar, send it to cafe@westword.com.

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