It's patio season! The Rockies home opener this week and the promise of better weather (maybe — this is still Colorado, after all) have prompted a passel of patio parties this week, as well as a pop-up dinner, a class on poteen and festival of piddocks. Get out there and paint the town!
Monday, April 3
Want to sniff and sip like a Scot? Check out the Whisky Ambassador Program being offered at Finn's Manor — which just won our award for Best Whiskey Bar. Finn's (2927 Larimer Street) is doing the title justice by being the only U.S. location offering this accredited training program, which covers the history and economic impact of Scotland's national drink as well as whiskey distilleries worldwide. You'll also learn about making whiskey mixers and cocktails and the ins and outs of tasting. Tuition isn't cheap at $300, but the program runs a full day (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and promises real credibility, as you'll be required to pass both a written and practical exam. And isn't the prospect of knowing more about your drink than everyone around you priceless? Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com; find out more about the program itself at thewhiskyambassador.com.
Tuesday, April 4
So you missed National Oyster on the Half Shell Day last week — what's a mollusk lover to do? Why, head over to the High West Oyster Fest at the Boulder Theater tonight, of course. While you may not think of the Mountain West as a hotbed of bivalves, Jax Fish House is turning the tide with oyster eating and shucking contests, Oyster Bay wines, Emersum Oyster Stout from Odell Brewing and plenty of oysters on the half shell, shrimp, gumbo and jambalaya. Tickets ring in at just $35 and are available at ticketfly.com or at Jax Fish House, 928 Pearl Street in Boulder. Doors open at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, tonight at 6 p.m. See Jax's website for more details, including information on the reigning oyster eating and shucking champions. Know your competition, folks.
History and food buffs alike will appreciate The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas, the new book by James Beard award-winning Denver author Adrian Miller. Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover, the writer will discuss and sign copies of his book, which tells the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards and servers for every president since George Washington.
A treasury of information about cooking techniques and equipment, this book includes twenty recipes for which black chefs were celebrated. Surveying the labor of enslaved people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of employment after Emancipation, Miller highlights how food-related work slowly became professionalized and the important part that African-Americans played in that process.
Can't make it to the signing? Request an autographed copy here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality Italian will begin lunch service today, continuing Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; a separate midday menu will be available from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. A small selection of the restaurant's dinner menu — like the chicken parm pizza for two — will be available at lunch, along with a roster of new sandwiches and salads. So if you're in the Cherry Creek neighborhood, stop in for a fra diavolo lobster roll or a QI burger topped with pickled peppers and Calabrian mayo.
Wednesday, April 5
Cirque Kitchen + Spirits is chef Brandon Becker's modernist restaurant pop-up that promises "a creative, interactive" dining experience. Becker is teaming up with the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, for Formation One Dinner, a seasonal five-course tasting dinner complete with a cocktail social hour. The dinner will be set inside the GrowHaus's 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, and guests will learn about the facility's mission to provide healthy and inexpensive food for the neighborhood. A portion of each $75 ticket will be donated to the GrowHaus. Cocktails will be served starting at 5 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6. Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com, and more information about the GrowHaus can be found at thegrowhaus.org.
For 23 years, Carmine's on Penn, at 92 South Pennsylvania Street, has been a family dining staple, with generous helpings of Italian cuisine delighting one generation after the next. To celebrate the union of food and fellowship, Carmine's Family Table welcomes diners for a prix fixe dinner paired with a chef-recommended wine for only $40. Starting today, diners at a community table can share both plates and fond memories on the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the restaurant's website to learn more, or call 303-777-6443 for reservations. In keeping with Carmine's focus on community, the restaurant will donate $5 per plate to Warren Village, a nonprofit helping single-parent families become economically self-sufficient.
Spuntino kicks off an intimate approach to wine tasting tonight with Wine Corner Wednesdays, a new way to enjoy some of the Italian eatery's absolute favorite wines in a casual setting. Spuntino will host four to six guests every other Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the corner of the bar, pouring a flight of wines from a single producer, region or theme. Depending on the number of attendees, three or four wines will be opened, at a discount from the standard wine-menu prices. Guests can order dinner à la carte, and there will also be complimentary bites from the kitchen. This week's selection will be Salvo Foti, from the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Tickets are $40 per person, and seats will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Guests may request anywhere from one to all six seats.
Keep reading for more food and drink events...
Thursday, April 6
Stella's on 16th opened at 1550 Wewatta Street just a couple of months ago, but it's already expanding — sort of. A patio kick-off party is on deck today from 4 to 8 p.m.; expect tracks from DJ Ginger Perry, beer tappings, specials on rosemary Greyhounds and bourbon, honey and mint lemonades, and the debut of the eatery's happy hour and spring menus. The patio, with more than 100 seats, promises ample space for guests to soak up the sun and recover from a grueling day at the rat race.
Cheese + Provisions is Sunnyside's go-to purveyor of the best cheese from around the world. Not only can you stock up on all your cheese needs at the well-stocked shop, but you can learn about cheese and wine pairings while indulging in samples. Tonight from 7 to 9 p.m., get a Cheese 101 education, where you can taste seven different styles of cheese and learn how to select the perfect wine for each. Classes are limited to twenty participants and cost $50 per person (beverages not included); buy tickets on twoparts.com.
Friday, April 7
Coloradans are a hardy bunch — we don't need 80 degree days to sit on a patio. And who cares if it's early April and we might still get snow? April is patio season, dammit, and patios will open — rain, shine, snow or hail. Lucky Pie, at 1610 16th Street, kicks off its patio party today at 11 a.m. with a New England IPA collaboration between Epic and Telluride Brewing, as well as tappings of Los Locos Mexican Lager, Tart ’n Juicy Sour IPA, Freaky Fish Belgian IPA and Russell Kelly Pale Ale. Leave work early (or better yet, call in), because a patio day is as good an excuse as a snow day to treat yourself.
Today is the Rockies home opener, and Stoic & Genuine is getting into the spirit by offering grab-and-go gourmet dogs you can take with you to the game. Stop by the patio at 1701 Wynkoop Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Italian beef sausage with onion agrodolce; pork-and-crawfish boudin with remoulade (courtesy of sibling restaurant Euclid Hall); fish-and-chip hoagies with tartar sauce; grilled oysters and Diebolt Brewing French ale (the beer's not available to go, however). Not heading to the ballpark? No problem: Avoid the crowds and overpriced beer by eating in.