Fat Tuesday, free pancakes, free Champagne and more on this week's culinary calendar

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Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday (and National Pancake Day), and although we may not be in New Orleans, Denver definitely knows how to celebrate. Fat Tuesday originally got its name from the practice of eating lots of rich and fatty foods before the ritual fasting for Lent, which starts Wednesday. Over time, it evolved into something far more decadent, even risqué -- but the practice of overindulging remains. There are plenty of ways to indulge in Denver before Ash Wednesday -- and for those who aren't fasting, plenty of ways to enjoy yourself the rest of the week as well. Here's a taste of what's on the culinary calendar.

See also: Fatty Brunches Across America

Monday, March 3 Jamey Fader, owner and executive chef of Lola, will be on hand at The Seasoned Chef Cooking School to teach a class on contemporary Oaxacan Mexican cuisine. The class starts at 6 p.m. and goes through 9:30 p.m. the cost is $80 per student. The coastal Mexican menu will include Lola's signature guacamole, tamales with braised spinach, black beans stewed with pork, garlic shrimp with mole verde and red rice, and Oaxacan hot chocolate. For more information or to register for the class, visit the Seasoned Chefs' website.

Tuesday, March 4 For National Pancake Day IHOP will be flipping free short stacks and asking guests for donations to help benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children and other local charities. Miss Colorado's Outstanding Teen, Caitlin Quisenberry, will even stop by the IHOP at 1595 South Colorado Boulevard to help serve pancakes for the occasion.

Snooze in SouthGlenn will also be celebrating National Pancake Day by creating a specialty pancake menu and donating proceeds from the sale of that pancake to Schoolyard Crop, a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, which promotes marketing gardens at schools. Whole Foods in SouthGlenn will also be donating 5 percent of its total sales for the day to Schoolyard.

Thursday, March 6 All three locations of Patxi's (Cherry Hills, Cherry Creek and Uptown) are celebrating the chain's one-year anniversary here in Denver with a free Champagne toast during dinner from 5 p.m. to close.

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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