The official St. Patrick's Day might be just a few days away, but before you eat your weight in corned beef and sail away on a sea of stout, we've got plenty of eclectic culinary events in Denver. There are classes on everything from sopes to sushi, drinks ranging from sour beers to Sazeracs, and dinners boasting rodents and rieslings. Be adventurous, intrepid Denverites! Here are the fourteen best food and drink events from March 13 through March 17. (Watch for a separate St. Patrick's Day list later this week.)
Monday, March 13
Start the week off on a high note at Barolo Grill, 3030 East Sixth Avenue, with the Denver FIVE kickoff dinner at 6 p.m. Passed appetizers include smoked black cod arancini and octopus panna cotta, followed by entrees such as sea urchin risotto with shiitake mushrooms and tortellini stuffed with fennel-braised short rib with black garlic with pickled salsify root. Wine pairings will also be poured, thanks to Barolo owner Ryan Fletter, who happens to be a sommelier. For the full menu and tickets ($70), head over to eventbee.com. It's all downhill after this extravaganza.
Grab your honey for dinner and a movie at Bistro Vendôme tonight. The restaurant (1420 Larimer Street) is thoughtfully streamlining your dating experience by screening French or foodie films along with a three-course prix fixe menu every other Monday through the end of April. Tonight's offering is Ratatouille, a slam dunk for anyone who doesn't mind a rodent or two in the kitchen — as long as the little rats know how to cook. Seatings are at 5:30 and 8:15 p.m. and will set you back $55; call 303-825-3232 for information. See the restaurant's website for more details and a full schedule of upcoming films.
Go grocery shopping today at Whole Foods, and 5 percent of the proceeds from your purchase will be donated to Slow Food Nations and the Slow Food Denver micro-grant program. The grant program aims to fund local growers, producers and nonprofit organizations that support improvements in Colorado's food system with relatively small amounts, ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 (though a small grant can often make a big difference to local organizations). Get more information about the grant program, including past recipients, at the program website.
Tuesday, March 14
Heads up, vegans: Denver Deep Dish, 1200 West 38th Avenue, has heard your wailing and lamentations ("Where are all the vegan buffets?") and will be putting on an all-you-can-eat shindig just for you tonight. Twelve bucks gets you all you can eat of at least four vegan pizza options, with additional drink specials in the house. There are three seatings (5:45, 7 and 8:15 p.m.) and tickets are required; head over to brownpapertickets.com to grab yours.
It's Pi Day, nerds (and anyone who loves pie, so...everyone!). Drop by Sugarmill at 2461 Larimer Street for a slice of tropical pie with coconut cream for just $3.14 on 3/14. If you're not into tropical flavors, you can pick up more traditional versions (lemon meringue, mud pie, apple, berry crumble and gluten-free cookie) for $5 per slice or $25 for the whole pie — which isn't as mathematically beautiful, but is still a sweet deal.
Sweet Cooie's and Little Man Ice Cream will also be serving up pie for 3/14, courtesy of Wednesday's Pie. Stop by either location (3506 East 12th Avenue and 2620 16th Street, respectively) from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. to savor a slice of caramel apple, chocolate hazelnut mousse or piña colada cream served à la mode for $7, $3.14 of which will be donated to local schools.
The Way Back continues Tuesday's Test Table, a dinner series devoted to trying out dishes that are in the running to be added to the regular menu. Make your way to 4132 West 38th Avenue on the second Tuesday of each month to nab the experimental bites as a prix fixe menu for $45 or à la carte; the menu for tonight boasts grilled polenta with salt cod and yak-liver tagliatelle. Service starts at 5 p.m., and while reservations aren't required, you can guarantee your spot by calling 720-728-8156.
Wednesday, March 15
If you go to Mexico City, chances are you'll get your fill of street food at market stalls and sidewalk grills, even if you do hit some high-end restaurants while you're there. You may even prefer the casual, everyday interaction with an abuela making tortillas over a server waiting on you at a white-tablecloth joint. Learn to re-create the street food flavors you crave at Stir Cooking School's Mexico City Street Food class happening today from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m at 3215 Zuni Street. Get your hands dirty making roasted poblano guacamole, carnitas tacos and a pollo torta with Oaxacan cheese, beans and avocado. Tuition is $75; registration and more info can be found at the school's website.
You can't swing a growler around without hitting a beer dinner in Denver these days, but some of them stand out as special, don't-miss events. That's the case tonight, when chef/restaurateur Troy Guard invites Fort Collins saison specialist Funkwerks into his flagship eatery, TAG, at 1441 Larimer Street. Enjoy four courses and two passed appetizers, each paired with beers from Raspberry Sour to Dark Prophet, all for $58 a person. Enjoy TAG's eclectic fusion fare, with the likes of tuna carpaccio and veal sweetbreads with charred turnips and truffle purée (yes, that's all on one plate) or a Long Island duck duo plated with cascabel chile, orange, white beans and kale. Call the restaurant at 303-996-9985 for reservations. For more information, visit tag-restaurant.com.
Bistro Barbès, 5021 East 28th Avenue, continues its Wednesday night wine dinners this week with a six-course menu paired with six Kivelstadt Cellars wines. The winemaker will be hosting, answering questions about the wine, and guiding those unsure of how to eat and drink through the dinner, which starts at 6 p.m. RSVP to 720-398-8085; the cost is $80.
Thursday, March 16
Starting tonight and running through Sunday, Williams & Graham may seem a bit different. That's because the space at 3160 Tejon Street will be taken over by San Francisco bar Trick Dog: The Dog's music and menu will replace the usual W&G vibe. Reservations won't be available for these four nights, so just head over (we recommend getting there early; doors open at 5 p.m.) for a fun twist on the Denver classic.
Tired of rolling loose, floppy sushi rolls at home? Fear not, grasshopper: Zengo's sushi-rolling class to the rescue! Class starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the restaurant at 1610 Little Raven Street, where you'll learn to craft tight and tidy rolls thanks to Zengo's own sushi chef. As a reward for your efforts, you'll receive a sake pairing with each roll. Tickets are $65 and available at eventbrite.com; see the event's Facebook page for more information.
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Feeling generous and hungry? Check out Great Chefs of the West tonight, the annual fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation, at the Denver Marriott, 1701 California Street. Beer, cocktails and wine will be paired with dishes from top Denver restaurants including the Squeaky Bean, Rioja, Mizuna, Bar Dough, Hop Alley and many others. There will also be a silent auction and live jazz, so put on your pearls and dancing shoes and get swanky. Tickets are $200 and can be purchased on the event website, which also includes a complete list of participating restaurants and chefs.
Friday, March 17
Love the Jazz Age — the flappers, the blues, the bathtub gin? You're in luck: The McNichols Project is kicking off its explorations of past eras tonight with the Jazz Project at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. For $30, you'll get live jazz from the Dave Devine Trio, art exhibits, period decor, classic Prohibition-era cocktails, and appetizers. Additional food will be available for purchase. Get your Gatsby on from 7:30 to 10 p.m.; tickets can be purchased at the event website.
Do you know of an event that belongs in future culinary calendars? Send details to email@example.com. For more activities around town, see our calendar.