It's a dog's life.
It's a dog's life.
Brandon Marshall

The Nine Tastiest Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

It's an animal-centric week on the Denver restaurant scene: Rabbits, pigs and dogs make appearances, but only one of them ends up on your plate. Guess which one? Here are nine of the best events on the culinary calendar from Monday, September 11, through Friday, September 15.

Get ten of these for $20 at Quality Italian this week.
Get ten of these for $20 at Quality Italian this week.
Westword file phot

Monday, September 11
You're going to cancel your afternoon meeting today, right? We hope so, because Quality Italian's Wine Week will render you totally incapable of going back to the office, much less discussing SEO or pretending to like Derek in Accounting. The week of wine kicks off on Monday, September 11, and runs through Sunday, September 17; diners at the stylish spot, 241 Columbine Street, will be able to sample ten wines for just $20 when purchasing lunch or brunch. So clear your calendar and make your reservation at qualitybranded.com. Cheers to the work week!

Troy Guard and Los Chingones are gearing up for National Taco Day on October 4. Why is this important for you (after all, every day is taco day in Denver)? Well, the popular spot is soliciting your recipes through Thursday, September 28. Submit your taco idea via this form, and you could have your creation sold at all three locations early in October, with the opportunity to become the taco titleholder and have your dish on the menu for the entire month. So gather up your carnitas, chayote and chiles, and get cooking!

These blondes prepare for the Dog and Owner Look Alike contest.EXPAND
These blondes prepare for the Dog and Owner Look Alike contest.
Brandon Marshall

Tuesday, September 12
It's getting cooler, but market season isn't over yet, fellow locavores. The Broomfield Farmers' Market, 1700 West 10th Avenue, runs through September 26, and on Tuesday, September 12, it's putting on the inaugural Not Your Westminster Dog Show. In between stocking up on staples like sweet corn, melon, eggplant and chiles (all of which are currently in season), your furry family member can compete for titles including Best Trick, Biggest Under- or Overbite and the dubious honor Dog and Owner Look Alike. A full list of the canine categories is on the market's event Facebook page. The market runs from 4 to 7 p.m., giving Fido plenty of time to sweep the competition and still be able to sniff out crumbs on the kitchen floor while you're making a seasonal, home-cooked meal.

Wednesday, September 13
What do you call it when you sit down for a drink with Peter Rabbit? Hoppy hour, of course! Wonderland Brewing Company, 5450 West 120th Avenue in Broomfield, is hosting Peter and his very large extended family on Wednesday, September 13, for a hoppy hour to benefit Colorado House Rabbit Society. From 6 to 8 p.m., bring your bunny to the brewery to hobnob with other buns; you can sip brews and purchase your little lagomorph (no, we didn't make that word up!) its own snacks from the rescue. And if you're not a rabbit owner? Go anyway, because nowhere in town is going to be nearly as adorable as Wonderland (the White Rabbit may make an appearance; no word on Alice.). Details are up at coloradohrs.org.

Food Fight 2017 won't be nearly as messy as the food fights you remember from your elementary school days, but it will be a lot more satisfying — in more ways than one. First of all, you won't be flinging gray mystery meat across the room. In fact, there won't be any mystery meat, just chefs and bartenders bringing their best to compete for best appetizer, main course, dessert and cocktail. We're most excited for the cocktail competition, which pits mixologists from new kid on the block Citizen Rail against the always excellent Union Lodge No. 1. Secondly, the event is a fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation. And finally, you won't spend your noon hour stuck in a linoleum-clad room full of screaming children while hair-netted lunch ladies look on; this food fight runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, at the BAC Appliance Center, 1880 West Oxford Avenue in Englewood. Tickets ($75 or $125) are on sale now at cheffoodfight.com.

Pants are off for a good cause at Laws Whiskey House this week.EXPAND
Pants are off for a good cause at Laws Whiskey House this week.
Laura Shunk

Thursday, September 14
Jennifer Jasinski's upcoming new restaurant, Ultreia, still doesn't have an opening date, but eager diners can get a preview when Bistro Vendôme, 1420 Larimer Street, switches gears and trades classic French cuisine for Iberian pinxtos on Thursday, September 14, and Friday, September 15. The current menu promises small plates of acorn-fed ham aged for four years, cedar plank mushrooms with black-garlic aioli, and shrimp griddle cakes. Call the restaurant at 303-825-3232 for reservations, and check out the full menu at ultreiadenver.com.

You've had those nights when your pants somehow went missing by the end of the evening, right...no? Just us? Well, on Thursday, September 14, you can show off your skivvies for a good cause (for a change) at Drop Your Drawers for Whiskey Business. Laws Whiskey House, 1420 South Acoma Street, is hosting a fundraiser for Underwearness, Inc., a nonprofit that provides new underwear — something most of us take for granted — to children in need. From 5:30 to 9 p.m., guests will get a whiskey cocktail and three of Laws' excellent whiskeys; food will also be available for purchase. You're encouraged to bring packages of new underwear to donate, and to imitate Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business by partying in your underpants. Tickets, $45, are on sale at eventbrite.com.

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.

Go whole hog at Hickory & Ash this week.EXPAND
Go whole hog at Hickory & Ash this week.
Mark Antonation

Friday, September 15
Kevin Taylor's latest venture, Hickory & Ash, 8001 Arista Place in Broomfield, is starting off its beer-dinner series with a bang on Friday, September 15. The Nose-to-Tail Pork & Beer Dinner honors a valiant Berkshire pig that gave its life for your dining pleasure: Mortadella with pistachio pesto, crispy head cheese with pig ear and a quail egg, and braised pork shoulder will be paired with beers from Wonderland Brewing Company (and nope, there's no rabbit on the menu). Dinner is served at 5 p.m. and will set you back $75 for five courses of porky goodness. Call 720-390-4400 for reservations and check out the Facebook page for the full menu.

Keep reading for future food and drink events...

Wednesday, September 27, through Sunday, October 1
Boulder's Flatirons Food Film Festival is turning five this year; in its relatively short history, it has built a following based on movies packed with images of cameras slowly panning over gorgeously plated food and earnest chef interviews — in short, food porn. This year's lineup doesn't disappoint: From documentaries about the legendary James Beard to a con man scamming the high-end wine market to foodie classics like Ratatouille and Eat Drink Man Woman, the festival has something for everyone. You can even get your little ones involved with a farmers' market tour and cooking demo geared toward kids. Most events are $10, and a pass for the entire festival is a steal at just $65. Check out flatironsfoodfilmfest.org for details.

Ototo will be providing food for the Annual Den Roof Party.
Ototo will be providing food for the Annual Den Roof Party.
Danielle Lirette

Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4
The Den brothers are throwing a party, and you'll want to add it to your social calendar. On Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4, the roof of the parking garage at the corner of South Pearl Street and East Florida Avenue will turn into a veritable Japanese street fair from 5 to 9 p.m. Not only will Toshi and Yasu Kizaki be providing food from Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, but they've called on twenty of their Japanese chef friends to hop the pond and lend their talents to the rooftop party. Expect ramen, yakisoba noodles, the hard-to-find-in-Denver okonomiyaki, yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) and lots, lots more. Tickets are $75 and include three drinks (additional beverages will be available for purchase). As with every party the Kizakis host, this one is likely to sell out, so check out sushiden.net asap for details and tickets.

Winter is coming. Drink whiskey.EXPAND
Winter is coming. Drink whiskey.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, October 13
Everyone knows that fall is the season for heavier things — sweaters, socks and drinks. One of our favorite fall and winter pastimes (and make no mistake, winter is coming) is enjoying a generous pour of whiskey and a cigar by a crackling fireplace. Bonus points if there's a bear-skin rug on the floor. So prepare for the season by tasting and testing a wealth of whiskeys at The WhiskyX on Friday, October 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, will host more than fifty whiskeys, and VIP ticket holders will have access to food from premier Denver chefs Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Jennifer Jasinski (Ultreia, Euclid Hall, Rioja, etc.) and Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle and Coperta). Tickets ($75 or $125) are on sale now at thewhiskyx.com.

Sunday, October 15 Through Thursday, October 19
The temperature has dropped, which means it's the perfect time to start planning for EatDenver's 2017 Harvest Week! This year, the dinners will highlight two to three farms per night, representing Colorado’s most verdant farm regions. The lineup: October 15, Western Slope; October 16, Front Range; October 17, Eastern Plains; October 18, Four Corners; October 19, Urban Farm. All dinners are at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, and tickets, $85, are now on sale at harvestweek.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 cafe@westword.com.

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