There's a reason Gaetano's has lasted seventy years: Sometimes the classics are still the best.EXPAND
There's a reason Gaetano's has lasted seventy years: Sometimes the classics are still the best.
Alex Dodd

Twelve Events on the Culinary Calendar, Including Freebies for Veterans

Veteran's Day is this Saturday, so military personnel will want to pay particular attention to this calendar for four great deals. The rest of us should tune in, too; there are plenty of eclectic (and some downright odd) food and drink events from Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 12. Here are our top twelve picks, plus six more to plan for.

Rebel Restaurant becomes an Asian-inspired eatery for the next month under guest chef Gary Kim.
Rebel Restaurant becomes an Asian-inspired eatery for the next month under guest chef Gary Kim.
Westword

Friday, November 10
If you've been to Rebel Restaurant, 3763 Wynkoop Street, you know that chef/owners Dan Lasiy and Bo Porytko can get a little eclectic with their offerings — if "a little" means a boatload and "eclectic" means really freakin' crazy. For an entire month, they're bringing help to up the crazy: Visiting chef Gary Kim — of Anju Noodle Bar in Maine — will present a Korean-inspired menu beginning Friday, November 10, and running through December 10. Contact Rebel at 303-297-3902 or check the restaurant's Facebook page for details. Here's Kim's full menu:

Fried kimchi, century egg gribiche, spam $13
Fried tripe salad, Asian pear, green papaya, radicchio, maple nuoc cham $12
Mapo miso tofu, dashi pan sauce, sichuan peppercorns, fermented black bean $14
Shrimp & scallop sausage, wood ear mushrooms, lemongrass-parsnip puree, coconut togarashi $14
Toasted rice cakes, chilled cumin lamb ragout, sichuan oil $15
Fermented turnip pancake, smoked colorado bass aioli, squash BBQ $16
Buckwheat soba, lotus root, cider dashi, squash floss, quail $21
Pig head bo ssam (??) , persimmon chutney, bibb lettuce, ssamjang, sesame salt + pepper dip (market price)
Dessert: halo halo semifreddo, grape, matcha $8


MCA Denver is going all in on cupping — of both varieties — on Friday, November 10. Join the Museum, 1485 Delgany Street, for happy hour starting at 5 p.m., followed by the main event at 7 p.m., where tipsy patrons can attempt to describe the nuances of coffee (do you taste Band-Aids, tamarind, drywall?) while having suction cups applied to their bodies (shades of The Princess Bride). Think this description sounds bizarre? The actual event is sure to be even weirder. Admission is just $5 for non-members (free for members), but MCA events fill up quickly, so show up early for this one. More info is up at mcadenver.org.

Legendary Northside joint Gaetano's, 3760 Tejon Street, has been celebrating its seventieth anniversary this week, culminating in events on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, that pay homage to the restaurant's illicit past. Don't miss Friday's Mob Night, when you're encouraged to don your best Don's suit and show up for live music, burlesque and throwback cocktail specials all night. Saturday festivities start at 11 a.m. with the Mobster Brunch and lauded Bloody Mary bar until 3 p.m.; take a quick break for a costume change and return in formal attire for the evening's gala, when birthday cake will be passed out to dinner guests with, yes, more cocktails. See gaetanositalian.com for details on the celebrations.

The Impossible Burger, as served at Hopdoddy.EXPAND
The Impossible Burger, as served at Hopdoddy.
Mark Antonation

So you like meat, but you're troubled by the idea of cows dying for your dinner. Or, your doctor (that buzzkill) said no more red meat, but you're craving something juicy and red. The folks at Impossible Foods have your burger needs in mind. They've invented a faux ground beef that's incredibly realistic in texture, flavor and color (we know, because we tried one at Hopdoddy Burger Bar — just see the pic above). And on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, the company wants you to give the Impossible Burger a go. Try it for free when the Impossible Burger Tour comes to Denver. On Friday, stop by the University of Denver's Driscoll Green (near 2055 East Evans Avenue) from noon to 6 p.m. (or until burgers run out). Or go to the north plaza of Union Station (1701 Wynkoop Street) on Saturday, also from noon to 6 p.m., while supplies last.

If you've never had a pupusa, what's your deal, man? Set things right at Aurora's Pupusa Festival.EXPAND
If you've never had a pupusa, what's your deal, man? Set things right at Aurora's Pupusa Festival.
Mark Antonation

Saturday, November 11
The local Salvadoran community will be out in force at the Pupusa Festival, a family-friendly cultural get-together anchored by what might be the Central American nation’s most popular export: fat, delicious pancake-like tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat or beans (sometimes all three at once) and served with salsa and a spicy pickled cabbage slaw called curtido. Hosted by the Eco Folklorico Cuscatlan dance group and Aurora’s multicultural Village Exchange Center, a nonprofit serving area refugee populations, the fest offers a mini-taste of pupusas and other Salvadoran dishes, dance performances and games, and will take place at the Village Exchange Center, 1609 Havana Street in Aurora. Immerse yourself in a new culture on Saturday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission is free. Learn more at visitaurora.com.

Saturday, November 11, is Veteran's Day, so check out this quartet of food freebies for veterans:
If you're active duty or retired, show up at Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1747 Wynkoop Street, for a free burger on the house. The joint's doors open at 11 a.m., and vets are welcome until it closes at 10 p.m. No word whether the recently released Turducken burger special (a chicken, duck and turkey patty with cranberry sauce and fried green beans on a stuffing bun) will be included in the promo (word on the street is that it's amazing), but even if it's not, all Hopdoddy's burgers are delicious, so you really can't go wrong.

Both locations of The Post Brewing Co. (105 West Emma Street, Lafayette or 2027 13th Street, Boulder) and its two sister eateries, the Post Chicken and Beer (1258 Hover Street, Longmont and 2200 South Broadway), are giving away two pieces of some of the town's best chicken and a can of beer to veterans. The deal will be available at the Boulder location from 4 p.m. to close and at the other three Post outposts during brunch, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Eight Colorado Zoe's Kitchen locations are offering a free entree to active-duty service members and veterans during regular business hours from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Just make sure you remember that all-important military ID to cash in on the deal.

Veterans who provide proof of past or current military service can get a free entree at any of the Tavern locations; see the Tavern website for locations and hours.

We've written about SAME Cafe's mission before: No one who comes through the doors of the nonprofit restaurant will be denied food based on their ability to pay. Customers pay what they can, and those without money can volunteer in exchange for a fresh, mostly local and organic meal. But even nonprofits have financial obligations. That's where SAME's Seasonal Meal fundraiser comes in. On Saturday, November 11, $40 will get you a four-course dinner at the normally lunch-only spot at 2023 East Colfax Avenue. Seatings begin at 6:30 p.m., and while the menu isn't yet available, previous meals have included creative dishes like radishes with butter, bacon and pickled mustard seeds, as well as grilled leeks with pistachio yogurt. Find out more and reserve your spot at soallmayeat.org.

Fire spinners and beer: What could possibly go wrong?EXPAND
Fire spinners and beer: What could possibly go wrong?
Brandon Marshall

There are quite a few reasons to check out Left Hand Brewing Company’s Nitro Fest on Saturday, November 11. First and foremost, there’s the beer. The fest is only pouring nitro beers, whose creamy, smooth-as-silk texture will lure fans of the particular style like moths to a flame. More than forty breweries from around the globe (including outfits from Japan, China and South Korea) will be pouring pints ranging from classic cool-weather ales such as milk stouts and barleywines to the frankly bizarre-sounding piña colada pale ale and a nitro Berliner Weisse. The event’s circus acts, fire spinners, jam band/EDM mashups and costume contest should also entice plenty of free spirits to make the trek to Longmont, where the fun happens at Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Avenue in Longmont, from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets start at $75 ($45 for DD) at lefthandnitro.com, where you can also find inspiration for this year’s costume theme. Don’t want to get stuck in Longmont overnight? No worries — you can get round-trip transportation from Denver for an additional $40. Cheers!

There's a reason store-bought tomatoes don't taste like heirlooms.EXPAND
There's a reason store-bought tomatoes don't taste like heirlooms.
Linnea Covington

Sunday, November 12
Anyone who has never grown tomatoes in their back yard (and let's be honest, that's most of us) has no idea what a tomato is supposed to taste like. We're resigned to grocery-store fruit, which — even if they're plump and vermilion and purchased at the height of summer — have the texture of al dente pasta and taste of...nothing. If you're interested in how all tomatoes came to be winter tomatoes, go see biochemist Harry Klee's Sunday, November 12, lecture at Lory Student Center in Fort Collins: "Why Don't My Tomatoes Have Any Flavor?: A Case Study in Industrial Agriculture." From 3:30 to 5 p.m., the former Monsanto scientist will address just that question, as well as current approaches to improving tomato flavor. It's a bit of a drive, but it's free and will prove fascinating to anyone interested in industrial food development and production. Get more information at colostate.edu, then start planning your summer veggie garden ASAP.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Lunch has arrived at Departure's sleek dining room and bar.EXPAND
Lunch has arrived at Departure's sleek dining room and bar.
Mark Antonation

Monday, November 13
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a hungry diner in possession of a few dollars must be in want of a bowl of ramen. On Monday, November 13, Departure, 249 Columbine Street, is taking Jane Austen's famous words to heart with its Ramen Showdown. The restaurant is gathering five of Denver's top chefs (Steve Redzikowski of Acorn; Lon Symensma of ChoLon and Cho77; Tommy Lee of Uncle and Hop Alley; Corey Baker of Sushi Ronin; and Departure's own Gregory Gourdet) to compete for the title of Shogun. You, gentle diner, will receive five tasting bowls and dessert for just $30, with a sake flight available for an additional $20. The contest starts at 6 p.m., with the victor announced at 10 p.m. Reservations are required; call 720-772-5020 to secure yours.

So you want Thanksgiving dinner without the family and fuss? Understandable. Go to Work & Class, 2500 Larimer Street, on Monday, November 13, for its Thanks & Giving feast. The dinner, which benefits Work Options for Women, starts at 6:30 p.m. and will include all your Turkey Day favorites: bird, stuffing, taters, veggies and dessert. You'll also get recipes from chefs Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class) and Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja) for each dish, so if you have a change of heart and want to impress guests, you'll be able to re-create her delicious food — and pretend it's all yours. For $95, that's a hell of a deal (you can't put a price on outdoing your annoying sister-in-law). Chef's-counter tickets are sold out, but you can still get restaurant seating at eventbrite.com.

This handsome champion steer might end up on your plate, if you're lucky.EXPAND
This handsome champion steer might end up on your plate, if you're lucky.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, November 16
It seems that Christmas decorations are on the shelves earlier and earlier (we've even seen some for sale before Halloween this year), but what about the National Western Stock Show? This year you don't have to wait until January to start planning your Stock Show experience. The First Annual Meat and Greet, benefiting Future Farmers of America, will take place at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, on Thursday, November 16, when guests will enjoy twelve courses of Colorado beef, pork, lamb and goat, an open bar, live music, and the chance to bid on a behind-the-scenes, one-on-one package with a Stock Show exhibitor. Find tickets ($75) and details at eventbrite.com.

2% of the chefs.EXPAND
2% of the chefs.
100 Men Who Cook

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 nonprofits, and this year's beneficiaries are Jazz C.A.F.E., a music and leadership program for middle and high school students; Boys' 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 Stapleton 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, December 7
It's no secret that Bravo's Top Chef came to Colorado to film its fifteenth season earlier this year. You can finally start planning your watch party, as the show will premiere on Thursday, December 7, at 8 p.m. The contestants traveled from Sports Authority Field to Telluride to Aspen Food + Wine and were tasked with preparing everything from the innocuous Denver omelet to the infamous Rocky Mountain oyster. Tune in to see how they fare — as well as to catch a glimpse of local legends (and a former winner!) Alex Seidel, Hosea Rosenberg, Jennifer Jasinski and Frank Bonanno.

Denver Beer Festivus 2016.
Denver Beer Festivus 2016.
Lindsey Bartlett

Saturday, December 16
Put up the aluminum pole, brace yourself for the Airing of Grievances and start training for the Feats of Strength — it's Festivus! And while traditional Festivus dinners involve covertly sipping from a flask while those around you look on soberly and disapprovingly, Denver Beer Festivus gives you the opportunity to celebrate the season with like-minded lushes. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, escape your family and join your real tribe at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard. Tickets will run you $40 to $65 and are already on sale at denverbeerfestivus.com. ’Tis the season!

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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