Chef Laurent Mechin makes a special effort to appeal to plant-based eaters.EXPAND
Chef Laurent Mechin makes a special effort to appeal to plant-based eaters.
Courtesy Jill's Restaurant & Bistro

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

If you're still upright come this morning, congratulations. Do yourself a favor by starting out the week with a plate full of plants, then move on to baby billy goats and boozy book clubs. Here are the six best events over the next five days, plus more happenings worth putting on your culinary calendar for the months ahead.

Jill's Earth Day vegan tasting menu includes a glass of wine for the bargain price of $29.95.
Jill's Earth Day vegan tasting menu includes a glass of wine for the bargain price of $29.95.

Monday, April 22
Start out the week by celebrating your mama — and, no, you didn't forget about Mother's Day (that's May 12; stop panicking). We're talking about Mother Earth, because Monday, April 22, is Earth Day, so it's a great day to mark the occasion with a clean, healthy meal. Jill's Restaurant & Bistro, 900 Walnut Street, offers weekly dinners on Monday nights, and on this Earth Day, 100 percent of the proceeds of the night's tasting menu will go to the nonprofit Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., $29.95 gets you a glass of wine and four Earth-friendly courses. Your mother would be so proud. Call 720-406-9696 for details and reservations.

Comal chef Tim Bender in the kitchen with program participants.EXPAND
Comal chef Tim Bender in the kitchen with program participants.
Mark Antonation

Tuesday, April 23
Regular readers know how much we love Comal Heritage Food Incubator: Both its delicious food and its mission to train immigrant women in technical, culinary and business skills have captured our hearts. The kitchen's monthly Impact Dinners are an evergreen source of hard-to-find ethnic dishes, and this month's dinner on Tuesday, April 23, is an extra-special meal: Exec chef Tim Bender is leaving the project, and the 6:30 p.m. spread is being prepared by five program participants (each will cook one course) showcasing what they've learned at Comal. Bosnian meza (an appetizer spread), fattoush and harira (Syrian soup and salad), birria de puerco with homemade tortillas, and jaj bl firin (Iraqi chicken with biriyani) will all be served, along with wine and cocktail pairings. Tickets to the feast at 3455 Ringsby Court will run you $75 or $125 on Eventbrite; VIPs get seating at the chef's counter with additional drinks and bites like doro wat and aguachile.

Wednesday, April 24
It's springtime: Tulips are blooming, birds are chirping and baby animals are looking their adorable best. While some of us in Denver may mistake feral Chihuahuas roaming the ’hood for a new generation of free-range wildlife, Boulderites have more bucks and...well...bucks, and can visit baby billy goats at Mountain Flower Goat Dairy, 3420 Broadway Street, in the People's Republic. Specifically, take a lunch break from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, to take a tour of the urban dairy (the only one within city limits) and to feed the rambunctious kids. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for kids of your own (the two-legged kind) under five; snap up your spot on Eventbrite. Can't make it this week? There are a handful of other dates to enjoy the baby animals before they move on to new herds; find them all on the dairy's website.

Thursday, April 25
Despite what mustachioed and man-bunned college students may think, the history of brewing didn't begin the first time they lifted a local pale ale to their lips and angels broke into song. It didn't even begin with the Reinheitsgebot. No, brewing goes way, way back, to at least 5000 BC. On Thursday, April 25, the CU Museum of Natural History (in the Henderson Building at 15th Street and Broadway in Boulder) is disabusing aspiring brewers of their role in the brewing world at News of Old Brews, a dinner, tasting and lecture with Noble Grain Alliance co-founder Mona Esposito and Grossen Bart brewer Walter Bourque. They'll discuss heritage grains and their role in kvass, a beverage traditionally fermented from rye bread in Baltic and Slavic countries. Get your ticket ($35) on the Museum's website: You'll never be so happy to feel so insignificant.

If ever there was a book to read while knocking back a stiff drink (or three), it's Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man. Take a drink every time our hero Nick Charles does, and you'll have a swell night in the ER having your stomach pumped. For an evening of slightly less intense but equally appropriate noir entertainment, visit Denver Distillery, 244 South Broadway, for the Get Lit Pop-Up Book Club, where from 6:30 to 8 p.m. you can do your damnedest to keep up with the Charleses while discussing Hammett's final novel; local crime authors will be on hand to lead the discussion. Haven't read the book? With a few judiciously placed nods and murmurs, you can probably get away with only having seen the movie, but remember: Asta isn't a terrier in the book — she's a schnauzer! Find clues on the Denver Distillery Facebook page, and start exercising your liver as well as your detecting muscles.

Friday, April 26
Got a great idea for your food business? Make the best gluten-free, grain-free crackers seasoned with the tears of baby seals that your brother's roommate's cousin's best friend has ever tasted? Get over to the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Breakfast With the Pros on Friday, April 26, to figure out how to fund your great food venture. From 8:30 a.m. to noon, attendees at the CDA office, at 305 Interlocken Parkway in Broomfield, will see presentations on grant writing tips, rural development programs and funding resources as well as an open panel discussion and time for networking — all for just $20 if you show up in person (there will be food!) or $10 if you opt to attend via Google Hangout (you don't have to put on pants!). Get the details and your ticket on the CDA's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Chefs Dana Rodriguez and Nadine Donovan (second and third from the left) will join female chefs from SAME Cafe, D Bar, Euclid Hall and more for Women Cook.EXPAND
Chefs Dana Rodriguez and Nadine Donovan (second and third from the left) will join female chefs from SAME Cafe, D Bar, Euclid Hall and more for Women Cook.
Danielle Lirette

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), Shelia 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.

Hop Alley is donating 25 percent of its bar and food sales to Project Angel Heart on May 2 — so eat up with a clean conscience.EXPAND
Hop Alley is donating 25 percent of its bar and food sales to Project Angel Heart on May 2 — so eat up with a clean conscience.
Danielle Lirette

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.

Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.EXPAND
Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.
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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