Crisp autumn days are upon us, and this weekend boasts events to warm every part of you: fundraisers to warm your shriveled-up little soul, coffee and breakfast burritos to warm your chilly hands, and feasting with family to warm your belly and heart. Here are seven of the best events on the culinary calendar from Friday, October 13 through Sunday, October 15.
Friday, October 13
Start the weekend off right with Mexican food and magnanimity at Machete. Show up at either location (2817 East Third Avenue or 1730 Wynkoop Street) from Friday, October 13, through Sunday, October 15, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to natural-disaster relief efforts in Mexico City, Puerto Rico and Houston. Better yet, show up all three days to really make a difference — to your belly as well as to those in need.
Everyone's had those nights when they come home to a nearly empty pantry and try to make something reasonably palatable with half a jar of tomato sauce, a splash of milk, some pickled onions and three stale tortillas. No wonder cold cereal is the entree of choice for so many people. Tod Davies, author of Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking With What You've Got and Jam Today Too: The Revolution Will Not Be Catered, addresses the bare-shelf dilemma in her books, which read like a mashup of recipes, essays and memoir. She'll demonstrate her ability to make the best of a bad (or at least weird) situation at Cooking With What BookBar's Got on Friday, October 13, at the bookstore, 4280 Tennyson Street. The free event starts at 7 p.m., but get there early and buy a glass of wine: You may need it if the mystery ingredients include canned oysters and vanilla ice cream. Learn more at bookbardenver.com/event.
Saturday, October 14
If your weekend morning beverage preferences lean more towards caffeine than cocktails, the Grand Coffee Bazaar is the event for you. Taking place at Oz Architecture, 3003 Larimer Street, from 9 a.m to 1 p.m., the expo will include unlimited coffee tastings, the chance to chat with roasters, seminars, brunch bites and, yes, cocktails and beer — for when you need a depressant to take the edge off your jitters. (It's what we like to call a legal speedball.) Tickets are $40 at grandcoffeebazaar.com.
It's pumpkin time, and who cares if the Internet has a million memes about the seasonal squash and the ladies who love it? Pumpkin is delicious, and chef Paul C. Reilly (Coperta) and farmer Josh Olsen (ACRES) will be focusing on the gourd for the final Farmers Market Luncheon on Saturday, October 14. Join the two at Union Station Farmers Market, 1701 Wynkoop Street, at 11:30 a.m. and learn how to pick the best produce while hearing how chefs plan their menus around seasonal items. After you have a head full of knowledge, you'll get a belly full of food at Coperta, 400 East 20th Avenue, where you'll enjoy a three-course lunch highlighting pumpkins from Olsen's farm. The tour and lunch will run you $65 (drinks are sold separately); make your reservation by calling Coperta at 720-749-4666. And hurry, as the event is limited to 12 lucky guests.
Saturday, October 14 is the Mile High City's inaugural Breakfast Burrito Day, and Denver residents know a few things can eclipse the satisfaction of snarfing a steaming, slender, foil-wrapped burrito (preferably with too much hot sauce) for breakfast. To celebrate the momentous occasion, the patron saint of Denver breakfasts, Santiago's, will serve the iconic dish all day for the circa 1990 price of just $1.25 at all of its locations (limit five per customer — which is just barely enough to get us going in the morning). Also check out any Denver location of Illegal Pete's from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and get a free breakfast burrito. So enjoy the official breakfast of Denver, our 300 days of sunshine per year and the cannabis that falls from the sky every night, like manna from heaven, and know there's no better place to live than Denver.
Sunday, October 15
Sunday is a day of feasting with family and friends, and there's no better place to do it than at Feast, Westword's annual celebration of Denver's restaurant scene. Join us on Sunday, October 15, for great food, drinks and desserts from dozens of Denver eateries. The fun kicks off at noon (or 11 a.m., if you opt for the VIP package) and runs until 3 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. There will be something for everyone, whether you wish to indulge in Thai and Vietnamese specialties, nibble pizza and pasta or satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream and cake. In fact, you can have it all at Feast — one bite at a time. Get more information and tickets for the 21-and-over event at westwordfeast.com.
SOLD OUT: Despite the farm-to-table trend that's taken over Denver's restaurants in the last few years, it's still a fact that most people here don't have a good idea of where their food comes from. It's a problem with our country's food chain, but EatDenver and The GrowHaus are trying to change that with 2017 Harvest Week. From Sunday, October 15 to Thursday, October 19, The GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, will transform from an city greenhouse into a twee and twinkly venue where five dinners will focus on five Colorado agricultural areas. Focus on fruit from the Western Slope, fall flavors from the Front Range, chiles from the Eastern Plains, southwest Colorado fare from the Four Corners region, and vegetarian cuisine from the urban farms of Denver. Top Denver restaurants (including Root Down, Mizuna, Coperta and The Preservery) will cook for guests at 6 p.m. each night. Tickets, $85, are available at harvestweek.com.
And if you're planning ahead....
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Saturday, November 25
Saturday, November 25, is almost a month after Halloween, but die-hard fans of dressing up can still scratch that itch at the 100 Men Who Cook's Black Tie Fundraiser, which has a masquerade ball theme this year. The organization's mission is to raise money for grassroots non-profits, and this year's beneficiaries are Jazz C.A.F.E., a music and leadership program for middle and high school students; Boy's Day, a mentoring program for young African-American boys; and Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, a multicultural, inclusive academic and social enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors. The Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street, will host the ball, which will include live music, dancing and of course food from the aforementioned "Gentlemen Chefs." Tickets range from $50 to $150 and are going fast at eventbrite.com.
Thursday, November 30
Put this in your calendar: Bravo's Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen was filming in Denver this summer; now you can see the results when season fifteen of the show kicks off on December 7 with three weeks of supersized premieres as fifteen chefs fight for Top Chef title in Denver, Boulder, Telluride and Aspen. But first, catch a special episode hosted by Tom Colicchio on November 30, when cheftestants face off in a battle for the ultimate prize – redemption and a spot in back in the competition. The digital series will be available on BravoTV.com, Bravo Now, VOD and YouTube; catch the See the Top Chef promo trailer here.