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Maria Empanada is celebrating the fifth year at its South Broadway location by giving away the goods on April 15.EXPAND
Maria Empanada is celebrating the fifth year at its South Broadway location by giving away the goods on April 15.
Courtesy Maria Empanada

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

It's a week of deep discounts, sweet sixteen parties, Westerosi-style battles to the death, and a pair of philanthropic dinners, so no matter your motivations — penny pinching, armed conquest or do-goodery — there's something for you on the culinary calendar from Monday, April 15, through Friday, April 19. Here are seven great events, plus three more in the months to come.

Mici's caprarola pie is 8 percent cheaper on April 15.EXPAND
Mici's caprarola pie is 8 percent cheaper on April 15.
Courtesy Mici Handcrafted Italian

Monday, April 15
Maria Empanada, the city's premier purveyor of puffed Argentinean pastries, opened two new storefronts in recent months, but the original dining room has been holding down the corner of South Broadway and East Louisiana Avenue for half a decade now. And to celebrate its fifth anniversary at the spot, the bakery at 1298 South Broadway is giving away a free café con leche and pastry all day on Monday, April 15. The doors are open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., so load up on flavors (we guarantee you can't eat just one of owner Lorena Cantarovici's perfectly seasoned creations) and sit a spell while you savor the taste of her homeland.

You've put it off as long as possible, but this is the day a hefty payment is due to Uncle Sam. Luckily, there are a handful of places in town hoping to soothe the sting of Tax Day. All five metro locations of Mici Handcrafted Italian will pay Denver's combined sales-tax rate of 8 percent in the form of an 8 percent discount on all orders, including carry-out or delivery; if you're ordering online, use the code "TAXDAY19" to save yourself some dough. You can also save some coin by tracking down a Kona Ice truck at locations around town; they'll be handing out a free shave ice to all comers. Find out exactly when and where the trucks will be on Kona Ice's website. And finally, the most appealing deal of all: While the Crafty Fox, 3901 Fox Street, isn't open on Monday, it's extending the healing hand of discounted booze to its customers from Tuesday, April 16, through Thursday, April 18, with 8 percent discounts on all beer and food.

Tuesday, April 16
Unlike the bratty teens that ruled MTV a decade ago (and briefly, ignominiously returned in 2017), Bistro Vendôme is giving back to you on its sixteenth birthday. On Tuesday, April 16, the French restaurant at 1420 Larimer Street is offering confit de canard — duck leg confit with roasted veggies, orange vinaigrette and red-wine gastrique — for just $16 instead of its usual $26. As if that deal isn't enough, there will also be a selection of wine bottles for the same price. Doors open at 4 p.m. for happy hour, so savvy diners will go early to snag a seat on the peaceful patio, where they can parlay $3 Diebolt French ales and $6 daily cocktails into a full meal that will still cost you less than your third outfit of the night.

Last year's sold-out Dos Casas benefit was held at Lola; this year, the Grant-Humphreys Mansion is hosting.EXPAND
Last year's sold-out Dos Casas benefit was held at Lola; this year, the Grant-Humphreys Mansion is hosting.
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, April 17
What makes wine natural? That's a big topic of debate in the wine community, but if you want to find out for yourself, come to the Colorado Natural Wine Week Grand Tasting at Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, on Wednesday, April 17, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This is the sixth year for the vinous event, so the organizers are bringing their A game, with hundreds of American and international wines available for tasting, all poured by pros who can discuss natural wine until you're ready to shout "Just shut up and pour!" Tickets, available at conaturalwineweek.org, are $50 each, or $90 for two, and include a $15 card for food at any of the Zeppelin Station food hall counters.

Looking for a mid-week pick-me-up with some of the biggest chef names in town? Dos Casas, the annual fundraiser for Brent's Place, which provides free long-term housing and support for families who must travel to Denver for medical treatment, is your gig on Wednesday, April 17. Paul C. Reilly (Coperta), Alex Seidel (Mercantile & Provision), Sheila Lucero (Jax Fish House), Lisa Bailey and Keegan Gerhard (DBar) and Troy Guard (Los Chingones) are just a handful of the chefs serving a five-course menu that last year included bites like goat birria with homemade tortillas and grilled swordfish served with beef cheek Frito pie. The shindig takes place at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, 770 Pennsylvania Street, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and will run you $200; tickets are on sale now at the Dos Casas website.

Thursday, April 18
"Valar morghulis!" Or maybe it's "Valar margaritas!" Mister Tuna, 3303 Brighton Boulevard, is celebrating the final season of Game of Thrones on Thursday, April 18, with a chef throwdown where swords (okay, chefs' knives) will clash in an Iron Chef-style battle from 10:30 to 11:55 p.m. You probably won't get a taste of Lord Manderly's meat pie or direwolf-shaped bread, but you can practice your Valyrian with your fellow GoT fanatics while enjoying passed appetizers and drinks. The main event will see two Denver chefs turn three mystery ingredients into a variety of small plates and appetizers in thirty minutes to impress the judges. The winner will receive a custom blade from Carbon Knife Company, so cheer them on or yell "Shame!" Call Mister Tuna at 303-831-8862 for details, and purchase your $10 tickets at nightout.com. Night gathers, and now your watch begins.

Cirque Kitchen's food is pretty as a picture.
Cirque Kitchen's food is pretty as a picture.

Friday, April 19
It's already time to start planning your spring garden dinners in the Mile High City. One of the first spring feasts to hit the table this year is on Friday, April 19, at Kingman Estates Winery, 800 East 64th Avenue. Chefs Samantha New (Éclat Culinary) and Brandon Becker (Cirque Kitchen and Spirits) are teaming up to turn out an impressive nine-course meal, with wine pairings crafted from grapes grown entirely in Colorado, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fresh ingredients like melon will be served with chicory, speck and riesling, while heavier courses of beef and morels with merlot will be accented with seasonal ramps. Tickets, $138, include tax and tip, with 10 percent of sales going to No Kid Hungry, and are on sale now on the winery's website, where you can get a peek at the entire menu.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Chef Caroline Glover (seen here at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market) will be at Women Cook on April 29.EXPAND
Chef Caroline Glover (seen here at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market) will be at Women Cook on April 29.
Linnea Covington

Monday, April 29
Take an evening to support aspiring female chefs at Work Options for Women's Women Cook event on Monday, April 29. The culinary training program for hard-to-employ women offers three programs (all at no cost to participants) ranging from four weeks to two years long; the dinner presents a handful of the top names in Denver's professional kitchens coming together to cook at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, to support their sisters just getting started in the food-service industry. Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class), Caroline Glover (Annette), Carrie Baird (Bar Dough), Sheila Lucero (Jax Fish House) and Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel (Spuntino) are just a few ladies giving their time and considerable talents to the feast, so don't miss out on tickets, $125, on WOW's website.

Buy lamb jerky and sweet-potato tots from Beast + Bottle's new menu on May 2, and 25 percent of your bill will go to Project Angel Heart.EXPAND
Buy lamb jerky and sweet-potato tots from Beast + Bottle's new menu on May 2, and 25 percent of your bill will go to Project Angel Heart.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, May 2
Good food, good cause: On Dining Out for Life day, restaurants donate 25 percent of sales (sometimes food, sometimes food and drink) to Project Angel Heart, which provides medically tailored meals for Coloradans living with serious and chronic illnesses. Thursday, May 2, marks the 25th year of the fundraiser, and more than 250 eateries will be participating. For a complete list of those restaurants — or to sign up your own place to join the effort — go to the Dining Out for Life website.

Tacolandia has your sweet tooth covered as well as your taste for tacos.EXPAND
Tacolandia has your sweet tooth covered as well as your taste for tacos.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, August 17
Save the date: Tacolandia will return to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks. Although tickets aren't yet on sale, get this on your calendar before your summer weekends start filling up, and watch westwordtacolandia.com for updates.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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