Things to Do

The Best Food and Drink Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

If you hit up Frozen Matter or Sweet Action on Sunday, July 19, opt for Sophie's Strawberry and all the proceeds will go to a good cause.
If you hit up Frozen Matter or Sweet Action on Sunday, July 19, opt for Sophie's Strawberry and all the proceeds will go to a good cause. Danielle Lirette

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click to enlarge The Chocolate Lab's pork osso buco sits atop a mound of white chocolate and pea risotto. - COURTESY CHOCOLATE LAB
The Chocolate Lab's pork osso buco sits atop a mound of white chocolate and pea risotto.
Courtesy Chocolate Lab
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.

click to enlarge Is that a giant green chile in your hand or are you just happy to see me? - MARK ANTONATION
Is that a giant green chile in your hand or are you just happy to see me?
Mark Antonation
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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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation