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Gumbo to Tom Ka

In early October, the Springs' north side welcomed a new restaurant that really should, forgive us, Thai the neighborhood together. Lanna Thai (8810 N. Union Blvd., 282-0474), located in the old Culpepper's Cajun Kitchen, serves "not sweetened, not Americanized" Thai, according to owner Varanya Meyer.

Named after Meyer's daughter, Lanna Thai offers traditional dishes like curries (look for a $6.95 curry-of-the-day lunch special) and pad Thai. Dinner prices range from $8 to $15.

Focus local

Two months past its first-year anniversary, Trinity Brewing Co. (1466 Garden of the Gods Road, trinitybrew.com) has refocused on its original concept, says chef Brian Blasnek.

"It felt like we weren't hitting the green," he says, referring to the slow food and environmental aspects the owners envisioned.

Now, Blasnek and crew say they've moved away from the tapas-style plates and added more entrées, using Colorado products from places like Venetucci Farm and Grant Family Farms, as well as from the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers. Expect more "vegetarian-centric food with vegan and gluten-free diets in mind," next to dishes like bison sliders.

100 percent chocolate

Indulge the side of you that's always said, "I wish I could eat chocolate, shop and meet Violet Beauregarde from the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" by attending the Holiday Chocolate Festival at The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., holiday.chocolate-festival.org) on Sunday, Nov. 15.

The event promises 50 vendors, wine tastings and a live truffle-making competition. Also, Julie Pech, the "chocolate therapist," will extol the benefits of chocolate and wine. Denise Nickerson (the real Violet) will sign photos all day. Tickets range from $5 to $10.

À la carte

• Embrace your inner hog farmer and attend an "Everything but the Oink" hog-processing demo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 7 at Rock Ledge Ranch (3202 Chambers Way, rockledgeranch.com). Pork-product-passionate participants will be spared the slaughter, but will learn sausage and soap-making. Entry costs $2 to $6.

• Attend the "Gingerbread and Jazz 2009" fundraiser for Child Nursery Centers (104 E. Rio Grande St., cscnc.org) from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Nov. 14. The $100 event includes eats and a gingerbread-house-building comp.

• Through Nov. 15, help the less fortunate by donating to Guitar Center's (535 N. Academy Blvd., guitarcenter.com) food drive and receive a coupon for a 10 percent discount on a single item.

Send all things chocolate to scene@csindy.com.

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