Contribute to a trio of local fundraisers, shop in person and skip slaving over the stove this weekend with these seven sweet (and savory!) happenings on our food and drink calendar. Then keep reading for more events worth putting on a future culinary alendar.
Friday, July 17
Element Knife Co., a local knife shop specializing in Japanese cutlery, has put together a basket of blades and accessories that will be raffled off to benefit Black Lives Matter 5280. Purchasing a $10 ticket enters you in a drawing for the bundle, which includes an elegant chef's knife, a sharpening stone, tongs, tweezers, the most adorable skull-shaped spoon in the history of spoons, and more. Snap up as many raffle tickets as you like, to increase your odds of winning, on Element's website (the prize package is valued at $500) before a winner is randomly chosen on Monday, August 31. A second raffle is planned to benefit the family of chef Brandon Foster, a beloved and well-known fixture in Denver's dining scene, who died unexpectedly earlier this month; keep an eye on the shop's website for updates.
There's more to southeast Asian food than pho and panang curry, and while Vietnam and Thailand are well represented in the minds of adventurous diners, neighboring countries are often given short shrift when considering the region. On Friday, July 17, expand your mind and your palate at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts' Southeast Asian street food class. Some familiar dishes are on the menu (chicken satay and dipping sauces from Indonesia; som tam, or green papaya salad, from Thailand), but you'll also be whipping up Malaysian laksa (coconut curry and tamarind soup with noodles), Laotian khao tom (sweetened sticky rice steamed in banana leaves), Filipino turon (fried bananas) and more. Visit Cook Street's website for the complete (and completely mouth-watering) menu and to register for the 6 p.m. class ($119).
Who's the best judge of cauliflower in all of ’Murica? Us, that's who: National chain Chipotle has tapped Denver as one of just two test markets (the other? Wisconsin) for its new menu item, cauliflower rice. Now you can get your baby-arm-sized burrito with grilled and riced cauliflower — seasoned with lime juice, cilantro and salt — rather than the familiar seasoned white rice that took the town by storm nearly thirty years ago. Call ahead to your nearest location to ensure that it's offering the menu item (just 54 restaurants in the country are hawking the brassica) and be prepared to pony up a $2 surcharge for a taste.
Saturday, July 18
Brunch — the booziest of meals — is slowly making a return to the Denver dining scene as restaurants cautiously expand their hours. On Saturday, July 18, Edgewater Public Market, 5505 West 20th Avenue, is launching brunch service with a surprisingly affordable menu; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, you can knock back a Bloody Mary, Irish coffee or Aperol spritz from Roger's Liquid Oasis for just $6 each. In fact, the most expensive drink on the list rings in at $10 — and that's for two (count ’em, two) witbiermosas from Barquentine Brewing Co. (the market's resident brewery). The tight but equally reasonable food menu tops out at $13, with items like green chile or caramel apple pie pizzas; a salmon croissant with chive cream cheese; an Ethiopian burrito (you knew it had to happen sooner or later at a food hall with a real Ethiopian restaurant as a vendor) with eggs, jalapeño, garlic, potatoes and berbere-spiced beef tibs; and a decadent Brie Benedict crepe with oozy cheese, ham, over-easy egg and Hollandaise. Seating — including expanded outdoor space as well as on the rooftop with views of Sloan's Lake — is first come, first served.
If you've shopped all of Etsy (and possibly Amazon) since March, you're not alone — and you're probably desperate for some in-person retail therapy. Denver Bazaar is finally returning with an IRL marketplace on Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19. Sloan's Lake Summer Bazaar, 1565 Raleigh Street, will be opening with some changes to accommodate COVID-19 (extra-wide streets, socially distant vendors and a two-hour shopping window), but with the same mix of craft, food and fashion vendors. Also making a return is the Shop & Sip ticket, $20, which now gets you unlimited spritzes, margs or beer while you shop. Guests who aren't looking to get snockered can guarantee their entry with a $5 advance purchase. Tickets for two-hour shopping blocks — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday — are available on the Bazaar's website. Also keep an eye on the marketplace's Facebook page for a list of vendors.
Sunday, July 19
Sunday, July 19 is National Ice Cream Day, but (more important) it's also going to be muggy and creeping up on ninety degrees: perfect weather for indulging in an ice-cold cone. And most important, it's the day that ice cream shops across Denver and Boulder are donating proceeds from sales to nonprofit organization Sophie's Neighborhood, which was founded by Hosea and Lauren Feder Rosenberg (Blackbelly, Santo) after their three-year-old daughter, the eponymous Sophie, received a diagnosis (just one of thirty in the world) of Multicentric Carpotarsal Osteolysis (MCTO) Syndrome. Participants include Sweet Action Ice Cream and both locations of Frozen Matter, all of which will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from Sophie's Strawberry scoops; Steuben's Uptown, which includes all frozen treats (including shakes, floats and popsicles) in its offerings; and Stapleton's ChoLon, where sales of Vietnamese coffee ice cream and doughnuts will benefit the organization. For a complete list of the nearly twenty participating sweet shops, visit Sophie's Neighborhood website, where you can also get the skinny on future fundraisers.
Sunday supper: a time-honored way of beating the Sunday blahs and putting you in a good place to start the work week — unless it's approximately a billion degrees, or the last time you cranked up the stovetop you ended up with a pan more closely resembling something from the Pleistocene era than a lovely serving of risotto. On Sunday, July 19, you can beat the heat (both in and out of the kitchen) by taking advantage of the second of Two Parts' monthly Sunday Supper series. For $70 ($60 if you opt for the vegetarian or vegan meal), you get dinner and drinks to take out for two, a curated playlist to relax to, and a $10 donation made on your behalf to Denver's Juneteenth Music Festival. Super Mega Bien, 1260 25th Street, is preparing dinner, which includes braised lamb, housemade tortillas and chocolate tortas with dulce de leche mousse, and Infinite Monkey Theorem is doing drinks in the form of a four-pack of rosé. Visit the website to order and to keep abreast of upcoming efforts.
Keep reading for more food and drink events....
Monday, July 20
COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in Colorado — at the same time, unfortunately, that many people have reached the limit of their willingness to stay home and away from restaurants. But the Chocolate Lab, the only restaurant we know of where every menu item — even the savory ones — include cocoa, has a solution to the dining woes of those who can't bear staying at home one minute more but aren't comfortable eating next to another table, even if it is six feet away. On Monday nights, a party of six people or fewer can book the entire dining room at 2504 East Colfax Avenue for a five-course tasting menu with drink pairings for $150 per person. For what you'd spend on a nice dinner out in the Before Times, diners can get an entire restaurant to themselves without having to ante up the thousands of dollars a restaurant buyout would usually cost. Call the Chocolate Lab at 720-536-5037 to book a safe and delicious evening out.
Wednesday, July 22
Dallas-based chef Kent Rathbun has had a storied career covering more than three decades, nabbing four James Beard Award nominations and an Iron Chef America title and helming restaurants that run the gamut from modern American fine dining to barbecue to casual Asian eats. On Wednesday, July 22, Rathbun is bringing his skills to a wider audience as Westword's own Virtual Social Club hosts a live cooking webinar at 5 p.m. in which he'll draw inspiration from Colorado, Texas and Florida. Learn how to make a dish inspired by each region: barbecue pecan-crusted trout with grilled tomato butter sauce (Colorado); strip steak with rosemary butter and grilled onion (Texas); and snapper marinated in lime, cilantro and habanero (Florida). Register for the free online event on Eventbrite, where attendees are encouraged to make a donation to the American Heart Association in lieu of paying for the class. Amp up your cooking Rathbun-style by ordering his spice rubs by July 16 to have them in your kitchen by July 22.
Thursday, July 23
When it comes to green chiles, later is better. So those roadside tents you see shilling pale green peppers in early August? Hold your horses, partner; wait until September to procure your bushels and you'll be blessed with better flavor and more varieties. But learning how to cook with the spicy green and red veggies? That's a skill you can — and should — cultivate at any time of year. So we won't look askance at Uncorked Kitchen's Green Chile Extravaganza on Thursday, July 23. The cooking school/eatery at 8171 South Chester Street in Centennial runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and includes a boozy welcome cocktail as well as instruction on whipping up chile-corn fritters, Hatch scalloped potatoes, calabacitas (a succotash-type dish made of squash, corn, tomatoes and chiles), chile-pistachio brittle and the star of the show: green chile. (Longtime Colorado residents will forgive Uncorked's curious and redundant reference to the dish as "pork green chile stew" as long as its recipe doesn't include carrots, celery, bell peppers or other European interlopers.) Sign up for the class on the Uncorked Kitchen website ($95 per person), and by the time chile season truly rolls around, you'll be an expert at cooking (and eating) fall favorites.
Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16
October's Flatirons Food Film Festival has officially been moved online, and so have the events leading up to it. Instead of in-person fundraisers — which are replete with boozy shmoozing that has a way of torpedoing everyone's best social distancing intentions — the Fest is hosting a series of ten Zoom cooking classes from Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16, where you'll learn how to turn out evergreen classics like sourdough bread and the perfect steak, as well as more esoteric topics like the folklore surrounding shiitake mushrooms and how to make shio koji (a fermented Japanese marinade) and tahchin (an Iranian rice dish with a deep golden, crunchy crust). Each ninety-minute class costs $30 (or buy all ten for $250); visit the Fest's Facebook page for the complete schedule and Eventbrite to purchase your tickets.
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