The Nine Tastiest Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Get close to macaws with your margarita at Do at the Zoo.
Get close to macaws with your margarita at Do at the Zoo. Courtesy of the Denver Zoo
Falafel, fermentation, fried plantains and philanthrophy are on the agenda this week. Fermented falafel? Philanthropic fried plantains? Check out the nine best food and drink events for June 12 through June 16 and get creative with your own culinary combinations.

Falafel — the only fried food you can claim is healthy. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Falafel — the only fried food you can claim is healthy.
Danielle Lirette
Monday, June 12
We're not sure exactly who this job falls to, but someone, somewhere (probably deep in the basement of the Pentagon) has dubbed Monday, June 12, International Falafel Day. Local Garbanzo restaurants probably planted that sleeper agent, as Denver locations will be treating diners to a free order of falafel with every meal purchased on June 12. Head over to the Garbanzo website for information on where to pick up the crunchy, herby nuggets of Mediterranean goodness.

click to enlarge Learn to make tostones at the Summer Soulfood Series: Caribbean Basics class. - FLICKR/ARNOLD GATILAO
Learn to make tostones at the Summer Soulfood Series: Caribbean Basics class.
Tuesday, June 13
Caribbean food is hard to come by in Denver; there are a few Cuban cafes, a Puerto Rican place and a Jamaican joint, but anything more is woefully absent. This makes the first installment of the Summer Soulfood Series especially welcome, as this hands-on cooking class will teach you how to prepare rice and beans, fried plantains and pikliz, a spicy concoction of fermented veggies from Haiti. And because the event is presented by Five Points Fermentation, students will also leave with a probiotic to ferment at home. School is in session from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13, at the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, 3401 Eudora Street. Reserve your spot at, and while it's technically a donation-only event, be a good egg and chip in to cover the costs — the recommended donation is $25 to $50.

Wednesday, June 14
Denver's event calendar is replete with opportunities to get your grub on, and while nearly all of them are worthwhile, most only benefit diners' hungry bellies. Sampling for Hope is different. It not only enlists some of the city's finest chefs and caterers to create an array of tasty bite-sized dishes for guests to sample, but the event is also served with a generous helping of altruism. The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street, is hosting the event on Wednesday, June 14, from 6 to 9 p.m.; VIP guests get to play judge, choosing favorite samples in each category. And every ticket holder can bid in the silent auction or donate $20 to participate in a raffle for a free bottle of wine. Proceeds from the sales of the $65 tickets benefit SafeHouse, a domestic-violence emergency shelter and counseling center that provides crucial support to families in crisis and facilitates their progress into permanent housing. Visit SafeHouse's website to buy tickets and learn more about the vital community services it provides.

It’s possible to stand up for racial justice and have a good time, too, which is a good reason to join the Colorado People’s Alliance’s second annual People's Party, a fundraiser and family gathering bringing diverse folks together in solidarity for the common good. The kid-friendly event will foster understanding over shared food, drinks and frozen treats by Paletería Chihuahua from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, at the City Park Pavilion, 1700 York Street. The $20 admission price (there's also a pay-what-you-can option) supports COPA’s fight for social justice; buy tickets online at

Bistro Vendôme, 1420 Larimer Street,  has one of the loveliest patios in town. Sitting in the quiet and secluded courtyard imparts a serenity and calm not found at many Denver establishments. On Wednesday, June 14, at 5 p.m., the restaurant will take advantage of the space to host a patio dinner with ingredients from Acres at Warren Tech, an organic garden tended by students at Warren Tech, a technical high school in Jefferson County. For $45, diners will enjoy a four-course menu that blends the French cuisine of Bistro Vendôme with the Iberian food of the soon-to-open Ultreia. Think baby leeks with a six-minute egg and green romesco, and rabbit confit accompanied by lemon cavatelli, fava beans and mustard sauce. Wine pairings will be available at additional cost; call 303-825-3232 for reservations, and check out Bistro's website for the complete menu.

Keep reading for more culinary events this week...

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