If you're not spending the weekend before Thanksgiving battling shoppers at the grocery store — or even if you are — take a moment to w(h)ine this weekend at a quartet of events centered around the grape-based beverage. Here are the best food and drink moments from Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24, plus plenty more to plan for through the end of the year.
Friday, November 22
There are plenty of people out there touting the benefits of food as medicine; even a cursory Google search will reveal how to cure psoriasis, cancer, MS, the common cold and a lazy eye via diet. But what about the emotional and mental benefits of food? Specifically, how can making the food you eat lift your spirits and soothe your soul? Writer Gabi Moskowitz (author of deeply relatable titles The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook and Hot Mess Kitchen) is taking to the stage on Friday, November 22, to talk about just that. Her 7 p.m. cooking and comedy show takes place Friday, November 22, at Boulder's Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road. Tickets are just $15 on Chautauqua's website.
Saturday, November 23
Coperta (400 East 20th Avenue), the Italian eatery named after a blanket, wants to wrap you up in the warm, woolly embrace of wine this holiday season. From 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, wine director J.P. Taylor is teaching a class on holiday wines. From sparklers like cava and prosecco to German whites and French reds, you'll learn about varietals that are great for pairing with holiday dishes and giving as gifts. You'll taste five wines (along with five bites from Coperta's kitchen) and leave with the tools to make sure you and your guests enjoy the glow of a well-chosen bottle all season long. Reserve your spot by calling 720-749-4666.
Perhaps the bougie-est holiday tradition in town is the Brown Palace Hotel's Champagne Cascade, which has been delighting observers in the hotel's dressed-up atrium for more than three decades. This year, the Brown is making an entire weekend of the event with its first-ever Champagne Cascade dinner on Saturday, November 23, at 6 p.m. For a mere $275 (we warned you), you'll be seated at an intimate eight-seat table with a Moët rep next to the two-story-high pyramid of champagne coupes for a four-course meal with bubbly pairings. Highlights of the menu include scallops with cream sauce and duxelle (a savory mushroom preparation) and Dom Perignon, and seared veal with king crab and 2012 Moët Grand Vintage Rose. See the complete menu, then get your ticket for dinner on Eventbrite — and make sure you don't let an errant elbow send the tower of glasses crashing to the ground before Sunday, November 24, when the doors for the Cascade itself open at 10 a.m. Tickets to that bash are just $25 (again, on Eventbrite) and entitle you to a spot on the fourth through seventh floors, where you can overlook the proceedings; otherwise, splurge on $175 VIP tickets that include a view from the atrium's mezzanine, drinks and snacks (sorry, the Brown doesn't serve snacks, it serves hors d'oeuvres).
Sunday, November 24
Put your (very) recently acquired wine knowledge to work at Winesgiving, a wine fest hosted by Bigsby's Folly on Sunday, November 24. The winery is teaming up with Argonaut Wine & Liquor to bring more than fifty wines from around the globe to the tasting room at 3563 Wazee Street; from 4 to 7 p.m., you can sample the goods while snacking on bites from Bigsby's kitchen (free holiday feast inspiration included with ticket purchase), then order your favorites on Argonaut's website to ensure a stellar cellar through the New Year. And since the owners of Bigsby's are devout animal lovers (their beloved golden retriever was both the winery's namesake and the inspiration for its label art), a portion of your $45 ticket price goes to the Morris Animal Foundation, which funds animal health research. Find fest details — including highlights of featured wines — and a link to purchase tickets on Bigsby's Facebook page.
Yes, it's five days before Thanksgiving. Yes, we would normally scoff at a Friendsgiving event with such a loose grasp of the calendar. But this Sunday, November 24, is an industry event aimed at raising money for Community Table, an Arvada food bank. From 5 to 11 p.m., the Kirk of Highland, 3011 Vallejo Street, will host the gathering, which includes turducken, fried turkey, smoked hog, brisket and sides, plus an open bar. Donations for Community Table will also be accepted at the event, which has raised over $20,000 in the past five years for the nonprofit organization. Find out more on Community Table's website, where you can also purchase your $65 ticket.
Keep reading for future food and drink fun.
Sunday, December 1
Even the most curmudgeonly among us has to begrinchingly admit that December 1 is officially the holiday season. Thanksgiving has passed, December has arrived, and it's the time of year to enjoy glittery, glitzy, glamorous parties. Fittingly, Uchi, 2500 Lawrence Street, is kicking off the month with a champagne-and-caviar dinner at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 1. Menu details for the multi-course meal have yet to be announced, but we expect nothing less than stunning plating, effervescent bubbly that will go straight to your head, and Uchi's always-memorable Japanese food elevated by salty, briny roe from Sturia, a French caviar brand based on farmed sturgeon. Tickets, $125 (includes tax and tip), are on sale now on Eventbrite. NOTE: This event is currently sold out.
Wednesday, December 4
What do you get when you cross two regional specialties (St. Louis barbecue and Colorado weed), former Denver Broncos and a pair of competitive eaters? That would be Rocky Mountain Hi, a mashup of two of chef/restaurateur Mike Johnson's food-service concepts, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive In. Both joints originated in St. Louis, with Hi-Pointe dubbing itself "the munchie capital of the Midwest" and Sugarfire expanding outside the region only in 2018. But on Wednesday, December 4, the two menus are colliding at the Westminster Sugarfire outpost, 14375 Orchard Parkway, for a Mile High-themed menu, with items like bacon blunts (bacon-wrapped mac and cheese), the Denver Burncos (a burger stuffed with cheese and burnt ends), the Dabwood (a burger served with brisket, turkey, bacon and hemp aioli), and Hot Cheeto mac and cheese cupcakes. There will also be appearances by former Broncos including Mark Jackson (you can beg him to take the field again; he'd probably be an improvement to this year's team), and competitive eaters vying to ingest as many pounds of food as they can in twenty minutes. The fun starts at 11 a.m., with the celebrity appearances at 5 p.m. Visit Sugarfire Westy's Facebook page for more details.
Thursday, December 5
It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season — something much better. It's truffle season, when bristly hogs and adorable curly-haired doggos snuffle through the forest, uprooting pungent fungi. Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, is passing the harvest on to you with its truffle menu, available only at dinner from Thursday, December 5, through Saturday, December 7. The à la carte dishes range from $12 to $42 and include options like savory two-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano ice cream with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved truffles; prime rib with white Italian truffles and rich mushroom jus; an Umami Bomb Burger made of dry-aged beef, aged cheddar and truffles; and Japanese rice with Wagyu beef jerky and truffle shavings. Make your reservation by calling 303-444-3622.
Folks who don't drink booze but love the bar experience (the giant ice cubes, the tiny umbrellas) can scratch their itch on Thursday, December 5, at Dry Curious, a mixer for the sober and "sober curious" (also known as light drinkers). From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the space at 3899 Jackson Street will be the site of three non-alcoholic beverage stations, plus a panel discussion on sobriety. Tickets, $25, are available now on Eventbrite.
Saturday, December 7
Inspired by the Populist's June bake sale to benefit Planned Parenthood, Safta, 3300 Brighton Boulevard, is taking up the torch on Saturday, December 7, with a second Planned Parenthood fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to Safta's pastry chef, Liliana Myers, vendors will include bakers from Reunion and Moxie Bread Cos., Blackbelly, Dio Mio and Work & Class. Most items will ring in at $5, with a selection of Myers's holiday pies — pumpkin, sweet potato, bourbon pecan and apple baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend) — for $25 or $30. All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and if you'd like to raise more than the Populist's effort (a whopping $25,000), we recommend lining up at Safta's Counter very, very early to purchase tokens, which can then be used to buy baked goodies.
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Saturday, December 14
Of all the reasons to get rip-roaring drunk, the holidays are high on the list. Between awkward, mandatory office parties, gift-giving expenses and anxiety, fraught family dynamics and endless repetitions of Last Christmas (though the Wham! music video is a legit classic that should be viewed once and only once each December — sound is optional), it's no surprise that many of us want to shut down our brain cells with some tasty ethanol. For those who don't even celebrate the holiday, the endless hoopla surrounding snow and Santa is even more painful. Enter Festivus, the holiday anyone can celebrate, with traditions that appeal to our universal human nature. Add beer, and you get the Denver Beer Festivus, where the Feats of Strength are fueled by Denver breweries' favorite beers. This year, the aluminum pole is being set up on Saturday, December 14, at Major Studios, 3881 Steele Street; come ready to air your grievances from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets, $45 or $60, are for sale on the event's website.
Wednesday, December 18
Sarto's Wednesday, December 18, dinner isn't technically a Feast of the Seven Fishes (it's not happening on Christmas Eve, and it doesn't include seven seafood dishes) but if you're not a purist, it'll be close enough — and by "close enough," we mean "delicious." The Jefferson Park kitchen at 2900 West 25th Avenue is turning out six courses, including salt cod gnocchi tater tots with lemon aioli, lobster bisque and spaghetti with a spicy shrimp puttanesca sauce. Even dessert includes the fruits of the ocean with a bottarga (cured fish roe) crumble over vanilla gelato. Make your reservations for the 6:30 p.m. dinner by calling 303-455-1400; the cost is $75, with optional wine pairings for $35.
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