The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Travel the globe this weekend: From Pyeongchang to Kerala to the great (distilling and brewing) state of Colorado to Polynesian pig, there's a world of food and drink options out there. In fact, there are over 200 alone courtesy of Denver Restaurant Week, which begins today and runs through March 4, with eateries around the area offering special deals. In addition to all those DRW options, here are six special events this weekend, as well as more in the weeks to come.
Friday, February 23
Little Machine Beer is playing against type on Friday, February 23, with an Olympic Big Air Viewing Party. Join the folks from Never Summer Industries at the taproom, 2924 West 20th Avenue, to watch Silverthorne native Chris Corning compete in the men's big air finals. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with the first hundred fans through the door entitled to a free Never Summer T-shirt; a raffle will also benefit SOS Outreach, an organization mentoring at-risk youth through adventure sports. See Facebook for more info, and start limbering up your drinking muscles — and liver — for the performance of your life. 

If you're bitter about Denver Restaurant Week — all those interlopers lured from the suburbs by $25 prix fixe menus have no right to right to usurp a seat that rightfully belongs to you, urban foodie — then hit up the bar at Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, February 23, for a drink that matches your disposition: Fernet. Amaro aficionado and co-owner Elliot Strathmann collects vintage bottles and has even made a hobby of creating his own digestifs, so the bar will be offering flights of the beverage (modern, vintage and housemade) for just $12. There will also be Fernet truffles ($1), Fernet and Coke ($5) and Fernet gelato ($1.50) on special through Sunday, March 4 or until supplies run out. So get over there quickly to indulge in bitterness — in both emotional and liquid form. 

Chef Dave Hadley (Chopped  winner and alum of Biju's Little Curry Shop) spent much of the last two months travelling around southern India after a three month stint at Thailand's famed Gaggan. He returned to the Mile High City a few weeks ago, and is bringing the flavors of the state of Kerala to the tastebuds of the Wild West in his pop-up restaurant on Friday, February 23, and Saturday, February 24. Kallu (named after a tart Indian palm wine) will occupy the Biju's dining room at 1441 26th Avenue from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; if Hadley's Instagram page is any indication, expect gorgeous — and spicy — Kerala beef, dosa and chicken ularthiyathu (chicken with coconut and chiles). No word yet on whether the namesake beverage will be on tap, but even if it's not, Kingfisher will be on special for just $2. Details are also up on Facebook.

Saturday, February 24
This town has had its own culinary identity for years now; despite that, Denverites still tend to go gaga over every regional chain that lands in the Mile High City (we're looking at you, Torchy's and In-N-Out Burger). Perhaps it's a lingering cowtown inferiority complex, or perhaps it's because of the waves of transplants dragging their hometown allegiances across state lines in overstuffed luggage. Whatever the case, get ready for more food frenzy on Saturday, February 24, when restaurateur Danny Meyer's burger joint Shake Shack will pop up at The Source, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in advance of the opening of its upcoming Denver outpost. RiNo Yacht Club will be serving Brooklyn Brewery's ShackMeister Ale, brewed especially for the eatery, to go with your burger and fries. Diners are required to RSVP at (though strangely, that won't guarantee you entry, so show up early), and be sure to bring your credit card, as cash will not be accepted.

Beer festivals are for pusscakes (okay, they're really not, as anyone who's ever been to one — or even gotten trashed on 3.2 beer — can attest). But if you really want to prove your liver's prowess, get a ticket to the Hearts & Trails Spirits Festival on Saturday, February 24. From 4 to 7 p.m., the Colorado Distillers Guild is uniting a slew of local distilleries under one roof at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue, for an out-and-out bacchanal. Among our favorites are Wood's High Mountain Distillery, Leopold Bros. and Bear Creek Distillery, which will be joining over forty other moonshiners in serving unlimited spirit samples and cocktails. Food trucks Baba's Falafel and Boar & Castle will be on hand to help you soak up the booze as you sip your way around the state, and if you spring for VIP tickets (which include early entry at 3 p.m.), you'll be fed by Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que. Tickets will run you $45 to $75 and are on sale at

click to enlarge Adrift's bar will transport you to somewhere south of the equator. - WESTWORD FILE PHOTO
Adrift's bar will transport you to somewhere south of the equator.
Westword file photo
Sunday, February 25
Adrift, 218 South Broadway, has been a refuge since it opened in 2012: In the summer, it's a respite from endless construction delays and fiery asphalt along Broadway, and in the winter, it's an oasis from bitter gusts of  wind and half-melted snow. Starting Sunday, February 25, the tiki bar and eatery hopes to tide you over until spring with its Last Sunday Luaus. For $25, you'll relax in Adrift's dimly lit interior from 4 to 8 p.m. with an all-you-can-eat kalua pork buffet, Hawaiian side dishes, and beautiful, dangerously delicious tiki drinks. To complete the illusion — or just help you prep for your next vacation — Polynesian dancers will be on hand giving hula lessons. If you miss this week's event, fear not: You'll have a second chance to join the fun on March 25 and April 29.

Keep reading for more tasty events beyond this weekend.