Denver is home to an embarrassment of riches this week. From casual bar gatherings to fancy dinners with the most well-known chefs in town to detailed butchery demos to costume-clad beer drinkers, there's something for just about everyone. Here are the seven best food and drink events from Monday, May 14, through Friday, May 18, as well as a few more to put on your calendar for the weeks ahead.
Monday, May 14
This year's Denver Five — a team of influential chefs and beverage experts throughout Colorado — is rallying for its second event of the season: K-Town, a five-course dinner of Korean-ish food and drinks. Bar Helix, 3440 Larimer Street, will host the event on Monday, May 14, at 6 p.m. The menu will be headed by Elan Wenzel (of Sushi Sasa and Element Knife Company) and includes Korean fried chicken, whole fried snapper with fermented chiles and ramps, and bo ssam (slow roasted pork belly with kimchi); cocktails, including the aptly named Worker's Party, will be mixed by Steven Waters, of the late Black Eye Cap Hill and the upcoming Run for the Roses at the Dairy Block. Get your tickets, $60, and see the complete menu at Eventbee.
Tuesday, May 15
If you've been mulling over the idea of heading up to Lafayette's new cider house restaurant, Acreage, but aren't willing to endure the trek up the Boulder Turnpike, today's your lucky day. Culinary director/chef Daniel Asher will be bringing his charcuterie to Stem Ciders, 2811 Walnut Street, on Tuesday, May 15. Starting at 5 p.m., you can get housemade chorizo, blood sausage, Portuguese sardines and aged prosciutto with four ciders for $20; see more at Stem's Facebook page. And whether the traffic going to RiNo is as crappy as driving up U.S. 36 during rush hour? You'll have to decide that for yourself.
Wednesday, May 16
Lamb is the red-headed stepchild of America's meat market. While consumption of poultry (terrible, bland poultry) has soared over the past few decades, Americans' hunger for red meat and pork has declined — and lamb is such a tiny percentage of the market that a third of U.S. citizens say they have never tried it. Which is a damn shame, because the fluffy little guys are delicious. Find out exactly how delicious on Wednesday, May 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., when Blackbelly Butcher hosts its latest installment of Bites With Butchers. The shop, at 1606 Conestoga Road in Boulder, will demonstrate lamb butchery focusing on the middle of the animal while guests tastes some bites made from those cuts: ribs with celery glaze and orange; back loin carpaccio with rhubarb and pistachio; offal liverwurst; kafta made with belly and heart; and a rich lamb caldo made with the bones. Tickets ($70) and future event dates are available at Squareup.
Wednesday, May 16, is a special night for Comal Heritage Food Incubator, 3455 Ringsby Court, as it welcomes back one of its original participants, Silvia Hernandez, to cook this month's Impact Dinner. Hernandez will be pulling inspiration from traditional Oaxacan cuisine, so starting at 6 p.m., diners can expect huarache de nopales (a tostada of sorts similar to the Mexican state's tlayuda, but served on a seared cactus leaf) and Colorado lamb à la Mexicana with pickled veggies. Tickets are $75 and include drink pairings; chef's counter tickets are still available for $125 and will get you exclusive bites and cocktails. Pick yours up at eventbrite.com; proceeds, as always, benefit Focus Points Family Resource Center, which serves low-income families in northeast Denver.
School lunches conjure up strong images for most of us — none of them good. Soggy chicken nuggets (with ketchup...so much ketchup) and limp, brownish iceberg lettuce spring to mind. And when you consider each school has an average of $1.25 to spend on each meal, it's not hard to see why cheap, processed food is the go-to. But it's possible — though challenging — to create fresh, appetizing meals that meet the USDA nutritional guidelines, which is what the nonprofit Chef Ann Foundation is working toward. To that end, four of Denver's best chefs will battle it out at the Real School Food Challenge fundraiser on Wednesday, May 16. From 6 to 9 p.m., join Max MacKissock (Bar Dough, Señor Bear), Cindhura Reddy (Spuntino, Namkeen), Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Alon Shaya (the soon-to-open Safta) at Big Trouble at Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, while they compete to create the tastiest dish on a public-school budget. You can make a suggested donation of $100 to the Foundation at Eventbrite.
Thursday, May 17
If you haven't started making your Comic Con costume, it's probably too late (you'll have to go store-bought, loser). Luckily, it's never too late to herald the arrival of a good party, which is what Breckenridge Brewery and Stoney's Bar and Grill, 1111 Lincoln Street, will be doing on Thursday, May 17, with the release of this year's Comic Con Beer, Razznarok. Be one of the first 200 people through the doors at 7 p.m. and you'll get a free, limited-edition Comic Con pint glass with your order of the raspberry witbier. Find out more on Facebook.
Friday, May 18
The travelling drinker's circus that is the Whisky Extravaganza is rolling into town on Friday, May 18, and fans of the beverage will want to clear their calendars for the evening (and a good part of the next day, probably). Starting at 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons, 1111 14th Street, attendees will be able to sit in on one of three master classes — The Common Sense of Scents, Blind Tasting Without Bias and American Single Male 101 — and the drinks start flowing at 7 p.m. General admission tickets, $135, include unlimited drinks and bites and souvenir glassware, and are still available at thewhiskyextravaganza.com, along with event details. Our advice if you want to party with the 1 Percent? Be on your best behavior: This hoity-toity event even has a dress code.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Thursday, May 24
The fight is on! No, it's not a cockfight (though there will certainly be some of that, especially after all the whiskey is consumed), it's Chicken Fight!, Denver's celebration of fried yardbird. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, the pecking order will be established as Birdcall, Injoi Korean Kitchen, the Post, Au Feu and more go head to head. River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, hosts the unlimited food-and-drink fest (so plan ahead, as the second-most hotly contested death match will be for parking); tickets will run you $69 to $125 at the Chicken Fight! website.
Saturday, May 26
There are plenty of great restaurant patios in town, but one of our favorites doesn't show up on many lists; that's because it's at the MCA Denver, which isn't known as a dining destination. But on Saturday, May 26, the warm, wooden rooftop patio decorated with succulents at 1485 Delgany Street will host Block & Larder and Colorado Cider Company for MCA Dinner Society. For $125, guests will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Cleon Peterson's Shadow of Men exhibit, as well as a four-course menu with cider pairings and a snack to take home (or eat in the car on the way there). These events always sell out, so snap up your ticket at eventbrite.com while you still can.
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