Things to Do

The Nine Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The ladies at Speed Rack aren't messing around.
Speed Rack
The ladies at Speed Rack aren't messing around.
Denver Restaurant Week starts on February 21, but you don't need to wait to explore Colorado's liquid assets; the next few days are filled with activities for those who crave wine, cocktails, beer or boba. Keep reading for the nine best food and drink events around town over the next five day, then plan ahead for more fun through mid-March.

click to enlarge The Post Brewing Co. celebrates Presidents' Day with a homage to No. 26. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
The Post Brewing Co. celebrates Presidents' Day with a homage to No. 26.
Danielle Lirette
Monday, February 17
America's political climate is currently so contentious that even celebrating Presidents' Day seems fraught. So what's a patriotic chicken joint to do when the holiday comes around? The Post Brewing Co. has the solution: Look back over a century in our country's history to pay homage to a man so long dead that he can't inspire the  violent emotions of more recent heads of state. Hence, all Post locations are running Teddy Roosevelt Week from Monday, February 17, through Sunday, February 23 (with the exception of the Rosedale outpost on South Broadway, which is celebrating through Friday, February 21). Honor the square dealing, rough riding, pince nez-wearing conservationist, trustbuster, Nobel Peace Prize winner and, oh, yeah, Republican, with food and drink specials. Enjoy a mint julep (Roosevelt's favorite drink) or a pair of cocktails made with Yellowstone Whiskey (a nod to the man's impact on the National Park Service — he doubled the number of national parks during his presidency). Also on the menu are Badlands boar chili, a Rough Rider elk brat and presidential bison short rib. And if you bring in the dusty, sepia, overpriced Old West photo you and your posse dressed up for that one time — framed and ready to hang — you'll be rewarded with a day pass to Rocky Mountain National Park (better use it before all the national parks are gone). Visit the Post's website for details.

Drink pink on Monday, February 17. No, we don't mean pink wine (we have at least eight weeks before the onslaught of "Rosé is the hot new drink this spring!" headlines). Instead, the date marks the return of Speed Rack, the frantic, all-female speed-bartending contest that raises money for breast cancer research. Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, hosts two dozen Denver mixologists to see who can craft the tastiest drink in the least amount of time under pressure. The judging panel includes chef/restaurateur Caroline Glover (Annette), sommelier/bar owner Kendra Anderson (Bar Helix), wine director/great hair-haver Mary Allison Wright (Morin), and Jason Patz (bartender at Williams and Graham). Get your tickets, $25, on the venue's website; they include samples of boozy punches and bites, and all proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations the Pink Agenda and Bright Pink. That's a better deal than rosé any day of the week.

click to enlarge We don't know what's coming out of the Bindery's kitchen on February 18 — but we can guarantee it will be delicious. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
We don't know what's coming out of the Bindery's kitchen on February 18 — but we can guarantee it will be delicious.
Danielle Lirette
Tuesday, February 18
The bright-white open kitchen at The Bindery, 1817 Central Street, always turns out such beautifully balanced food, we don't even have to know what they're serving on any given night to wholeheartedly recommend a meal there. So there's no better way to spend Tuesday, February 18, than in the dining room awaiting the next plate of the eatery's five-course wine dinner. Starting at 7 p.m., vintner Christoph Künzli, who owns winery Le Piane in Italy's renowned winemaking region of Piedmont, will uncork five of his creations. Menu details aren't yet available, but you can make reservations for the $150 feast by calling the restaurant at 303-993-2364 or emailing [email protected]. See the Bindery's Facebook page for more info, including the vintages you can expect to taste.


click to enlarge Clockwise from left: Coffee N' Donuts, Crème Brûlée, Strawberry Jack, Texas Praline. - SNOOZE
Clockwise from left: Coffee N' Donuts, Crème Brûlée, Strawberry Jack, Texas Praline.
Snooze
Wednesday, February 19
Despite the now national reach of Denver-born Snooze, locals are still fiercely loyal to to the breakfast joint, its elaborate flapjacks and pre-lunch cocktails; crowds outside the door are a given, even on weekdays. So this year, the chain is extending its annual Pancake Day celebration (which raises funds for community gardens through sales of a special stack) from a single day to an entire week. From Wednesday, February 19, through Tuesday, February 25, you can stop in any day — or every day — and indulge in the day's flavor. Offerings are both sweet and savory (try the King Cake topped with lemon anglaise, blueberry mascarpone and festive Mardi Gras-colored raw sugar, or the Local Garden Cake made with zucchini and carrots and served with sambal), and 100 percent of sales from the daily special will go to nearby gardens. To see which organization your local Snooze is supporting and the week's entire slate of flavors, visit the Facebook page of each individual Snooze outpost.

click to enlarge Broadway Market is trying to reduce what you put in these bins by using food scraps in delicious bites. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Broadway Market is trying to reduce what you put in these bins by using food scraps in delicious bites.
Danielle Lirette
Thursday, February 20
We've all been suckered into it: Tossing that big plastic tub of greens into your shopping cart at the grocery store, only to load it into the fridge when you get home and promptly forget about it for a week — when the leaves are limp at best and slimy at worst. Households are by far the biggest source of Denver's food waste (contributing 41 percent of it), but restaurants aren't immune, either. On Thursday, February 20, the vendors at Broadway Market, 950 Broadway, are teaming up with Slow Food Nations and the City of Denver to reduce the amount of food they throw away by creating a tasting menu out of commonly discarded kitchen scraps. Show up promptly at 5 p.m. (the first fifty guests get four dishes); at 5:30 p.m., chefs will talk about the food, let you know how to re-create their bites at home and discuss the Market's steps toward food waste reduction. Details about the free event are available on Broadway Market's Facebook page.

It's a rare day when you can go to the Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Drive, without having to protect your ears from the unbridled shrieks of children's joy (indistinguishable from all their other screams) and your shins from tiny bodies careening into them. So mark your calendars for Thursday, February 20, when the museum is only letting kids over the age of 21 through the doors for its annual Ales, Apps & Barrels of Fun bash. From 7 to 10 p.m., you can wander the halls with beer in one hand and bites in the other; your fellow museum-goers will know how to share (we hope!) and you'll actually get the chance to interact with the exhibits for a change. Let's just hope everything's been disinfected thoroughly — but if it hasn't, maybe the booze (from local outfits like Little Machine, Briar Common, Epic and Comrade) Tickets, $40, are available along with a full list of participating breweries on the Museum's website.

click to enlarge The Family Jones is serving a $35 meal for Denver Restaurant Week. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
The Family Jones is serving a $35 meal for Denver Restaurant Week.
Danielle Lirette
Friday, February 21
An offshoot of the Slow Food movement, the first Slow Wine Guide was published in 2010 and covered only Italian wines; a decade later, it's expanded into California and Oregon. And on Friday, February 21, the Slow Wine Tour lands in Denver. The free tasting is open only to industry folks (business cards and work credentials are required for entry), highlights products from nearly 65 vineyards, and takes place at Asterisk, 1075 Park Avenue West, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the Slow Wine website for more details and a list of producers that will be in attendance, then hit up Eventbrite to RSVP.


Feisty old women are a delight to watch, and — provided their razor-sharp tongues aren't aimed at you — a hoot to hang with. Grandma, the titular, chain-smoking character in the film Lucky Grandma, is no exception, even when she unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a gang war after an ill-advised stint at the casino. Join her for a night of boba and beer on Friday, February 21 at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, where she'll light up the silver screen at 7 p.m. But starting at 6 p.m., Tea Street and Cerebral Brewing will pop up in the theater's lobby so you can raise a glass to women who live by their own rules and don't take shit from anyone, even Chinatown gang bosses. The happy hour is free to attend; find info about the movie on Denver Film's Facebook page. Film tickets are $15 on the Sie website.

For ten days in late February, Denver eateries are going to be crammed with diners seeking great deals. Yes, Denver Restaurant Week returns on Friday, February 21, and runs through Sunday, March 1; both longstanding institutions and trendy hot spots will be serving multi-course prix fixe menus offered at just $25, $35 or $45. Visit the event website, where you'll find scrumptious pics of some of last year's most delectable dishes, as well as over 200 participating restaurants and their 2020 menus (some of our favorites include AJ's Pit Bar-B-Q, Il Posto, the Nickel and Denver Milk Market). And while you may not have any luck trying to snag an online reservation at this late date, don't be shy about giving the eateries on your list a call to check for any last-minute cancellations.

Keep reading for future food happenings....