Ingrid Hoffmann, host of the Food Network’s Simply Delicioso, signs Simply Delicioso: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist Monday at 7:30 PM at the Evanston Borders.

Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery is all around town next Tuesday and Wednesday. From 7-9 PM Tuesday, he’ll lead a tasting of “funky beer and stinky cheese” at Sheffield’s along with cheese expert Dave Phillips. The $25 fee includes a sampling of 12 Dogfish Head brews, 8 of them on tap, and ten cheeses from The Cheese Stands Alone. Wednesday he’ll be at Delilah’s from 9 PM to midnight leading a vertical tasting of more than 20 of his company’s craft beers; there’s no cover.

Wednesday at 7 PM, the Chicago Foodways Roundtable hosts a lecture, Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, served along with a family-style dinner (ordered off the menu) at Lao Sze Chuan. Historian Timothy Brook, an apparent polymath who holds the Shaw Chair in Chinese Studies at Oxford, will discuss the significance of details in Vermeer’s paintings—such as why the officer in Officer and Laughing Girl is wearing a hat—and how they illuminate the “history framed within the painter’s works.” The lecture’s free; the food’s not. Reservations requested. 847-432-8255 or

Joey Tensley of Tensley Wines in Santa Barbara, California, leads a tasting of six of his syrahs Wednesday from 6-7:30 PM at Custom House. The wines will be paired with hors d’oeuvres including braised lamb shoulder with winter root vegetables and dark chocolate, fennel salumi with buffalo mozzarella and pickled eggplant, and house-cured steelhead with shaved fennel and blood orange vinaigrette. $40.

Also Wednesday, Vinci hosts an Umani Ronchi wine dinner, featuring wines and food from Marché. Three of the four courses include wine pairings (dessert doesn’t); it’s $45.

Ever had a meal you were making go horribly wrong? The folks at Fiddlehead Cafe want to hear about it, in 200 words or less. They also want your favorite original, unpublished ethnic recipe (presumably not the one that figures in your disaster story). First prize for both contests is dinner for two at the restaurant; runners-up get a wine flight for two. Amateur cooks only. Entries should be sent to by February 29.