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Zone in on your zen (and blow off tax day) on Wednesday, April 15, when Parallel Seventeen, the modern Vietnamese restaurant at 1600 East 17th Avenue, rolls out a special a la carte menu to celebrate the birthday of Oh, Ye Great Buddhist, Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, who was born on April 8, 1029 BC (by most estimates, anyway) and died eighty years later (reportedly from eating rotten food) on February 15, 949 BC.

Buddha's birthday is observed all over the world. In Vietnam, it's marked by parties and parades.

At Parallel Seventeen, you'll have to settle for food pickings from exec chef Mary Nguyen. Buddha and Buddhists are predominantly vegetarian, although someone, somewhere,allegedly proffered a saying that Buddhists will eat whatever's apparently they're flexible. And so is Nguyen's happy birthday to Buddha menu, which runs through April 18.

Here's the dish:

Diver scallops, tomato and ginger relish
Green papaya and mango salad
Wonton-wrapped prawns
Saigon sizzling crepes

Rice noodle rolls
Coconut-encrusted cod with mango chutney, cilantro coulis, pea tendrils and poached apricots
Pan-seared snapper with braised lotus root and lemongrass ratatouille
Bamboo steamer basket
Udon noodles with a red curry coconut sauce

Pear three ways
Coconut soup with lemongrass, tapioca, adzuki and mung beans

To reserve your spot, call 303-399-0988.

By Lori Midson

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