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The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Arcana starts the week off with dinner fit for a (real) president.
Arcana starts the week off with dinner fit for a (real) president. Danielle Lirette
This week is all about beer — bookended by a couple of dinners, of course. You can get beer with children's books, beer with art (or as art), and beer with a history lesson. Not a fan of the frothy drink? Get out of town —  to dinners in Boulder or Vail. Here are five great events over the next few days, as well as other dates for your culinary calendar in the weeks to come.

click to enlarge Chef Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana explores Colorado's culinary history with ingredients and recipes. - PETER MCEWEN
Chef Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana explores Colorado's culinary history with ingredients and recipes.
Peter McEwen
Monday, July 16
In 1880, Denver welcomed former President Ulysses S. Grant to town, throwing a dinner loaded with Colorado trout, pike, prairie chicken and snipe, as well as locally farmed produce and meats. Boulder chef Kyle Mendenhall came across the event's original menu at the History Colorado Center and decided to use it as a launching point for Arcana's new Colorado Heritage Dinner series. While the original dinner served four entrees, a whopping sixteen desserts and multiple other courses, Mendenhall is paring down his version, so there won't be turtle soup or prairie chicken. But he's looking forward to re-creating the "brook trout fried with rashers" from the original menu, noting that the kitchen doesn't often get the chance to match fish with bacon. This is the first in an ongoing series. "Ideally, I'd love to do a partnership with the history museum," Mendenhall says. The four-course dinner will be available at Arcana, 909 Walnut Street in Boulder, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday, July 16, for $75; call 303-444-3885 or visit arcanarestaurant.com for reservations.

click to enlarge Diebolt is the most family-friendly taproom in town — at least on Tuesday night. - COURTESY DIEBOLT BREWING COMPANY FACEBOOK
Diebolt is the most family-friendly taproom in town — at least on Tuesday night.
Courtesy Diebolt Brewing Company Facebook
Tuesday, July 17
Any parent who's tried to have a nice happy hour out without first securing a sitter knows the struggle of bringing their brood to the brewery; kids get bored and dart around underfoot, dodging both the feet and ire of adults who aren't accompanied by ankle-biters. But Diebolt Brewing, 3855 Mariposa Street, has come up with a neat solution in its monthly Story Time. From 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, a local book rep will be on hand to read to your kiddos and hopefully stop them wreaking havoc in the taproom, while you can enjoy your beer, free from whining and dirty looks. Books will also be available for purchase; fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Sun Valley Youth Center in the form of free books. Well-behaved children, a good cause and good beer: We'll drink to that.

click to enlarge Tom Marioni wants to be your friend. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
Tom Marioni wants to be your friend.
Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Wednesday, July 18
It's rare that we recommend an event south of Parker, but the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, knows the way to our artistic hearts is through our gullets. San Francisco artist Tom Marioni has been staging his installation, The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends Is the Highest Form of Art, across the globe since he invited sixteen friends to have a drink at the Oakland Museum in 1970. Now the concept has traveled to Colorado, where it will run at the CSFAC through September 9 — and each Wednesday during the show's run, patrons will be part of the art themselves as free beer is served to from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The series opens on Wednesday, July 18, with a performance by Marioni. While admission to the Fine Arts Center is free after 5 p.m., RSVP is required; find out more at the CSFAC website.


Thursday, July 19
We've all seen the heartbreaking photos: tragic images of barrels of beer and moonshine being broken open in the streets, alcohol flooding the gutters during those dark years from 1920 through 1933 known as Prohibition. Even today, it breaks the hearts of all red-blooded, spirit-loving Americans. In response, Renegade Brewing, 925 West 9th Avenue, seems to be taking a page from Edmund Burke's book ("Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it") by hosting a lecture on Colorado's Prohibition history — which actually began in 1916. (Be careful, brewers: that's what happens when you make lousy craft beer.) Historian Sam Bock will speak starting at 6 p.m., and your $8 ticket will get you a glass of 1916, the taproom's pre-Prohibition lager. Get your tickets at Eventbrite.

click to enlarge Rain or shine, the tables at Vail Farmers' Market's farm-to-table dinner will look great. - COURTESY VAIL FARMERS' MARKET AND ART SHOW
Rain or shine, the tables at Vail Farmers' Market's farm-to-table dinner will look great.
Courtesy Vail Farmers' Market and Art Show
Friday, July 20
If you're heading for the hills to beat the heat this weekend, you don't need to skip great food and local produce. On Friday, July 20, the Vail Farmers' Market is hosting its second farm-to-table dinner of the season from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Chefs from Vail restaurants The 10th, Gessner (at Hotel Talisa), Hooked and Left Bank will be cooking up a storm on the 100 block of East Meadow Drive, where guests will indulge in Vail's rustic-chic vibe along with the food. Tickets are $115 at eventbrite.com and include beer from Vail Brewing Co. and other adult beverages. Can't get away on short notice? Plan ahead; the final dinner of the season will be happening on August 24.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation