These chicken fingers could be in your mouth, if you make it to the grand opening of metro Denver's first Raising Cane's.
These chicken fingers could be in your mouth, if you make it to the grand opening of metro Denver's first Raising Cane's.
Courtesy of Raising Cane's

The Seven Tastiest (Non-Fourth) Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

It's a short work week for most people, but not for many of Denver's restaurateurs, who aren't slowing down a bit after their Independence Day festivities. Discover many of the Fourth of July festivities around Denver on our list of Eleven Independence Day Deals and Events; keep reading for seven more tasty, non-Fourth events on the culinary calendar this week.

Vesta's bone marrow: one of the small plates on special in July.EXPAND
Vesta's bone marrow: one of the small plates on special in July.
Courtesy of Vesta

All July
While Vesta's big birthday isn't until July 19, you'll have the entire month to take advantage of a few specials designed for the restaurant's twentieth anniversary. The enormous mixed charcuterie platter (five meats, five cheeses, candied walnuts and mustards) is on special for just $20 (normally $35), though if you aren't in the mood for charcuterie, you can choose any two small plates from the regular menu for $20. And because you'll need something to wash it down with, Vesta's own sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and Vesta Red are $20 per bottle (sadly, limited to one per table). The spot at 1822 Blake Street has influenced the Denver dining scene for years, so make your reservation early — July is sure to be a a busy month.

Frasca goes domestic in honor of the holiday.
Frasca goes domestic in honor of the holiday.
Courtesy of Frasca Food and Wine

Monday, July 3
Even Frasca, that bastion of fine Friulian dining at 1738 Pearl Street in Boulder, is getting into the patriotic spirit. On Monday, July 3, the fanciest joint in Colorado is eschewing imported wines in favor of domestic red (Zinfandel), white (Chardonnay) and brew (craft beer). A four-course, prix fixe menu is $50, plus optional wine and beer pairings for $40 to $50. And while we can quibble with Frasca's choice of beer (Blackberry Farm from Tennessee — c'mon, where's the love for Colorado suds?), no doubt the food will be executed, served and paired perfectly, as always. Call 303-442-6966 for your reservation.

Change up your lunch routine with a tour of Fairmount Cemetery.
Change up your lunch routine with a tour of Fairmount Cemetery.
Westword file photo

Wednesday, July 5
It's rare that we'd recommend a food event that requires you to bring your own lunch, but in this case, we're willing to make an exception. Fairmount Cemetery, 430 South Quebec Street, is hosting a History: It's What's for Lunch tour on Wednesday, July 5, from noon to 1 p.m. For $5, you'll get a lunchtime tour of the peaceful and verdant 127-year-old cemetery. If your interests lie in botany, you'll appreciate that Fairmount is the largest arboretum in the state, and to any astute Centennial State resident, the names on the headstones are a Who's Who of local history (Boettcher, Speer, Elitch, Emily Griffith, Buell, Loveland). Yes, you'll have to bring your own sack lunch, but it will definitely be a meal to remember (just don't pack fugu unless you intend on joining the permanent residents). Check out the event's Facebook page for details and to buy your ticket.

Keep reading for more food and drink events...

Had enough fried chicken at your Fourth of July picnics? No such thing!EXPAND
Had enough fried chicken at your Fourth of July picnics? No such thing!
Mark Antonation

Thursday, July 6
Want free chicken fingers for a year? Today's your day. Coinciding with National Fried Chicken Day, the opening of the area's first Raising Cane's, at 1108 Corporal Max Donahue Lane in Highlands Ranch, promises free food for a year to its first twenty customers on Thursday, July 6. The chicken finger-focused joint out of Louisiana opens its doors at 10 a.m.; the next eighty folks in line will get free T-shirts and coupons for Cane's. Recipients of the chain's largesse must be paying, dine-in customers and over age thirteen — but if your teenagers still insist on eating nothing but fried fowl and white bread, send them down to Cane's for the morning so that you can enjoy a well-deserved lie-in and a leisurely morning coffee. And if the person who can't get enough chicken fingers is you? Well, it'll be our little secret.

For a slightly more upscale take on the Day of Fried Bird, check out this pair of poultry specials: Max's Wine Dive, 696 Sherman Street, is offering its Southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens and Texas toast for $10 (normally $18); Max's is open from 4 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 6. And Steuben's (both the Uptown location at 523 East 17th Avenue and the Arvada outpost at 7355 Ralston Road) is putting on a clucking good deal during its twice-daily happy hours: From 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. until close, a two-piece chicken plate, fries and a beer are just $7. 

Want a free four-course wine dinner at Blackbelly? The Boulder-based butcher shop at 1606 Conestoga Street is partnering with Renzell, a new restaurant-rating website, to offer the tasting menu to Renzell members with 10,000 points. The good news? For a limited time, you can get 10,000 points just for signing up on the website, then book your table for Thursday, July 6, at 7 p.m. If the event is fully booked, don't panic:  you'll be able to cash in those points for a future event (though not necessarily at Blackbelly). If you don't mind a few more e-mails in your inbox, this is a sweet deal.

Head out to Stanley Marketplace for three days of TheBigWonderful.
Head out to Stanley Marketplace for three days of TheBigWonderful.
Courtesy of TheBigWonderful Facebook page

Friday, July 7
TheBigWonderful returns for another year, this time landing at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. The four-year-old food-truck party/craft fair/cocktail kiosk kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 7, with a beer festival that runs until 9 p.m., and food trucks, bands and a full bar keeping it going until 11 p.m. The fun continues throughout the weekend with a twilight bazaar on Saturday and a daytime bazaar on Sunday. Check the event website for the complete weekend schedule; ticket prices range from $5 to $55 depending on the day and whether you're there to shop, imbibe or both. Note: Prices increase at the door, so plan ahead to save yourself some cash.

See the Westword calendar for even more food and drink event listings.

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