A pair of wine dinners and a pair of festivals anchor the culinary calendar this week; there's even an homage to Julia Child and free ice cream sundaes. Here are the seven tastiest events from August 14 through August 18, with six more to plan for.
Monday, August 14
Austrian wines are a good bet for summer drinking, as they're primarily (though not exclusively) white. To get a taste of the vinous variety that Austria offers, consider Frasca Food and Wine's evening of Austrian favorites on Monday, August 14. The restaurant, 1738 Pearl Street in Boulder, will be doing what it does best: pairing food and wine so seamlessly, it's as if they were made for each other. This four-course prix fixe menu ($55) will be accompanied by wines from producers Ingrid Groiss, Emmerich Knoll and Franz Weninger (an additional $40-$50). Seatings start at 5:30 p.m.; call Frasca at 303-442-6966 to guarantee your spot.
Tuesday, August 15
As the patron saint of French cooking in America once said: “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” And you, too, dear reader, are never too old to master the basics of Gallic cuisine, especially if you enroll in Stir Cooking School's Celebrating Julia Child workshop on Tuesday, August 15. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., you'll whip up cheese quiche, soufléed potatoes, coq au vin and chocolate roulade in honor of the statuesque chef's birthday. The cost is $80 per person — a small price to pay for the amount of butter and cream you'll be using to delicious effect. Reserve your spot at stirtolearn.com — and bon appétit!
Wednesday, August 16
If you've been intrigued by the wine dinners at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse but are wary of the admittedly high price point, now's your chance to do some bargain shopping. From Wednesday, August 16, to Tuesday, September 5, the Greenwood Village location, 8100 East Orchard Road, will celebrate twenty years in business with a four-course wine dinner for just $97 (a nod to 1997, its natal year). Diners will be able to pick and choose from apps, entrees and sides as well as wines for each course. Call 303-796-0100 or go to delfriscos.com for reservations.
Thursday, August 17
If you have to go grocery shopping, you might as well do it at a Natural Grocers location. Because on Thursday, August 17, the chain is celebrating its 62nd year in business, and is offering free ice cream sundaes (dairy and non-dairy, of course) and root beer floats at all its locations from 4 to 6 p.m. They say you shouldn't shop for food on an empty stomach, right? Find the store closest to you at naturalgrocers.com.
Raise a glass while chowing down at the Eleventh Annual Corks & Forks on Thursday, August 17, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy a selection of fine wines and sample dishes prepared by chefs representing favored foodie haunts like Tamayo, Habit Doughnut, Stoic & Genuine, Blue Island Oyster Bar and Angelo's Taverna, to name but a few of the establishments vying for the prestigious Golden Fork and Golden Cork Awards. Guests can bid on a wide array of shopping treasures at a silent auction, boogie to live music, or simply take in the majestic city views that surround the DaVita World Headquarters rooftop terrace (2000 16th St.). It's not all sensory indulgence at Corks & Forks, however, as a portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Visit nscd.org to learn more and buy tickets, $60-$105.
If you're a regular in Denver bars and breweries, chances are you've seen the governor (formerly Hizzoner) out and about at least once. Now's your chance to get up close and personal with Hick at Brews and Bites with Governor Hickenlooper on Thursday, August 17. The beer pairing event takes place at the Governor's Mansion, 400 8th Avenue, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and allows guests access to the rooms and gardens of the residence while enjoying beer brewed by the man himself (with assistance from Strange Craft Brewing) along with fifteen beer and food pairings. Breweries on hand will include Epic, Strange, Cerebral, Ratio and the underrated Baere. Tickets ($75) are on sale at coloradoshome.org.
Friday, August 18
So you moved to the suburban-style enclave of Stapleton, and now you deeply regret the lack of urban amenities like food trucks in your life. Food Truck Friday can make you feel urban without having to leave your slice of lawn-fronted paradise. Quilted Park, 5477 Willow Street, will host the Little India Food Truck, WongWayVeg and Gigi's Cupcakes of Littleton from 5 to 8 p.m. So bring your kids and a blanket and settle in for a picnic in the park. You'll even be home in time to watch 20/20.
Sunday, August 20
Tacolandia brings more than forty restaurants, taquerias and food trucks together at Civic Center Park for one glorious day of tacos — from the tastiest traditional street-style eats to more modern creations. Celebrate Mexican cooking and culture with food, drinks, music and art. The price of admission gets you unlimited tacos from 4 to 7 p.m. from the likes of Garibaldi's Mexican Bistro, Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Panaderia y Taqueria Contreras, Tortas ATM, Los Chingones and many more, along with entertainment and a cash bar. VIP pricing includes early admission at 3 p.m., two drink tickets and access to a VIP lounge with exclusive tacos from Lola Coastal Mexican. Get your tickets at westwordtacolandia.com, y nos vemos a Tacolandia!
Saturday, August 26
Another beer festival in Denver isn't anything new, but the Levitt Pavilion Denver, 1380 West Florida Avenue, is. And you can enjoy the city's newest concert venue at the Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival on Saturday, August 26. From 4 to 7 p.m., you'll get unlimited beer from the likes of FATE Brewing Co., Platt Park Brewing Co., Declaration Brewing Co. and Cerebral Brewing. After the beer is gone, you can sober up to a free concert by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Unlike most of the events at the venue, this isn't free to the public; tickets will run you $25 or $65 for VIP (includes private restrooms, catered snacks, a goody bag and up-close seating for the show). Check out the Facebook event page for all participating breweries, and get your tickets at levittdenver.org.
Thursday, August 31
The 5th Annual Chef and Brew Festival returns to Exdo Event Center, 3500 Walnut Street, for a night of indulgence on Thursday, August 31. Participating restaurants will team up with local breweries to pair small plates with craft beers — and each team will provide at least two different plates and two different beers, giving guests a whopping 40 pairs to sample (so far). Teams to watch? Wit's End Brewing Co. and Hearth & Dram, Ratio Beerworks and Fish N Beer, and Crooked Stave and Citizen Rail. The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and will set you back $49, though a VIP ticket will get you in an hour early (and at $69 is probably worth it to beat the crowd). Get your tickets and a full list of competitors at chefandbrew.com.
Saturday, September 2
Salida is better known for FIBArk than fermentation, though that's changing with Wood's High Mountain Distillery and the annual Brewer's Rendezvous, now in its 21st year. And on Saturday, September 2, the town rounds out its alcohol portfolio with the 6th Annual Salida Winefest. Eighteen Colorado wineries will set up shop in beautiful Riverside Park from 1 to 6 p.m., where attendees can spread out on the banks of the Arkansas River while sipping their way through unlimited wine samples. If you're a locavore oenophile with early-onset grumpiness (is there any other kind?), we suggest hitting this festival sooner rather than later, so you can spend the next six years complaining about how much better the fest was when nobody knew about it. Tickets are a steal at $20; get them at salidawinefest.com.
Tuesday, September 5, through Sunday, September 10
The Denver Food + Wine Festival is less than a month away, and if you're considering hitting any of the events this year, it's time to get moving. Tickets are on sale now, and depending on what whets your appetite, they'll set you back a very reasonable $40 to a steep $195 — and there's even a VIP Grand Tasting ticket available for $250 if you want to go all-in. Our pick? The Culinary Cinema Series will screen the documentary Barbecue on Tuesday, September 5, at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. The movie is sure to make your mouth water, which won't be a problem, as the $40 ticket includes bites from Hearth & Dram, Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que and the Nickel; drinks will be available for purchase at the theater's bar. Snag tickets and find the rest of the festival's schedule at denverfoodandwine.com.
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Thursday, September 14 through Sunday, September 17
Fall is grape-harvesting season in the Centennial State, and it seems every mountain town is celebrating the season with a wine festival in August and September. From Thursday, September 14, through Sunday, September 17, it's Breckenridge's turn to lure the bikers, hikers and drinkers up the hill with gorgeous fall weather and great wines at the Breckenridge Wine Classic. There are luncheons, seminars, tours, hikes, tastings and bike rides to be had — all of them geared toward highlighting the beverage of honor. The best part about Breckenridge's celebration? Its proximity to Denver: You'll barely have to spend ninety minutes commuting to feel like you're in a different world (though the drive back to Denver might be a different story). A full schedule is up, and tickets ($55 to $145) are on sale now at breckenridgewineclassic.com.
See the Westword calendar for even more food and drink events, and if you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to email@example.com.