This week is a contrast between Old and New Denver. Honor the old with events at the venerable Brown Palace, a throwback to Boulder in the late ’80s (that's the 1980s to you, whippersnapper), and support organizations that have been doing good in town for three decades. On the other side of the coin, chow down at Westword's Feast, which brings some of the hottest joints in town under one roof, and celebrate the fourth birthday of a LoHi fave. Here are our picks for the best food and drink events from Monday, October 21, through Friday, October 25.
Monday, October 21
October 2015 may not sound like so long ago, but consider this: It's been that long since Rosa Linda's and Tom's Home Cookin' closed. On the plus side, Denver also gained Bar Dough that year, the Italian joint that, for a period of time, seemed a magnet for every chef in the city. On Monday, October 21, the restaurant at 2227 West 32nd Avenue is celebrating its fourth year in business with a party that includes dishes from chefs both old and new. Current chef Carrie Baird and opening team members Max MacKissock (Morin), Blake Edmunds (Señor Bear) and Chris "Cactus" Douglas will be turning out a five-course dinner that includes pasta, porchetta and pig-head terrine. Seatings for the $75 dinner are at 6 and 8:30 p.m.; wine pairings are an additional $25. For reservations, email email@example.com with your preferred time, number of guests and food restrictions. Visit Bar Dough's Facebook page for more details.
Tuesday, October 22
Before chef/restaurateur Dave Query had success with Zolo Grill, Jax Fish House or the Post Brewing Co., he owned the Gold Hill's Lickskillet Cafe in 1989. The tiny town town just west of Boulder was, as Query puts it, "a fucking pain in the ass, man," mostly because he had to truck the majority of his food up the canyon himself, as purveyors were unwilling to make the drive. But while he was slinging brunch at the cafe, Query became friends with Janos Wilder, a James Beard Award-winning chef who'd previously cooked at the Gold Hill Inn. Now the two will be back in town at the same time, sharing the kitchen at the Gold Hill Inn (although located in Gold Hill, its official address is 401 Main Street, Boulder) for one night of cocktails, music and food starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22. They'll be cooking four courses of old favorites, such as fried rabbit livers with pickled red onions, Haystack Mountain goat cheese polenta, pumpkin soup with smoked Colorado trout, mushrooms foraged from nearby hillsides, and dessert made with apples from Query's Boulder back yard. Tickets are $150 (including tax and tip) on Tock.com, with proceeds benefiting Gold Hill Elementary School.
When restaurants tout new fall menus and harvest dinners populate the calendar, you can be sure of one thing: Squash season has arrived. And while we love winter squash at any time of year, seasonal clichés can become tiresome. That's why we love Il Posto and Altius Farms for eschewing euphemism: They're serving a squash dinner — not a seasonal feast or a harvest celebration, just a squash dinner, pure and simple — on Tuesday, October 22. The evening starts off at 6 p.m. with a tour of the Altius indoor growing facility at 2500 Lawrence Street, followed by a stroll to Il Posto, 2601 Larimer Street, for four courses: delicata squash flan with saffron zabaglione, butternut raviolo with parma butter and coppa, delicata risotto flavored with tarragon and robiola cheese, and braised pork cheek with spaghetti squash croquettes. Dinner, $100, includes wine or non-alcoholic pairings, and tickets are on sale on Eventbrite.
Wednesday, October 23
Anyone who spent any of their college career in Colorado knows the Rio Grande and its fabled margaritas well. But as you get older and (hopefully) wiser, you realize the secret to a good margarita isn't in the mixer; it's the tequila. Starting Wednesday, October 23, the Rio's Denver and Boulder locations are hosting donation-based tequila tastings with the goal of educating customers about the spirit as well as raising money for local charities. The Denver location kicks off the series with tastings of Casa Noble Tequila paired with apps from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; the suggested $10 donation will go to the Denver Rescue Mission. Future tastings include Maestro Dobel at the Park Meadows location on November 6 (proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado) and Tequila Ocho at the Boulder outpost on November 19 (donations go to There With Care). Reserve your spot by calling the restaurants directly.
On Wednesday, October 23, Frasca Food and Wine (1738 Pearl Street) welcomes Walter Manzke, chef/owner of République in Los Angeles, alongside wine director and Frasca alum Sam Rethmeier. Bill Addison of the L.A. Times recently called République the Los Angeles restaurant he "recommends more than any other," so expect an impressive five-course menu for your $180 (plus tax and gratuity) seat. For that price, though, you'll also get wine pairings and a signed copy of pastry chef/co-owner Margarita Manzke's Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes. Reservations begin at 5 p.m. and can be made on Frasca's website or by calling 303-442-6966. Dishes include eggs on toast with Santa Barbara uni; Hawaii kanpachi crudo with Thai curry, persimmon, basil and peanuts; and pork belly with Imperial Kaluga caviar, cauliflower and bacon dashi.
Thursday, October 24
For the past three decades, the nonprofit Women's Bean Project has helped women who are chronically unemployed because of addiction, poverty, abuse or prison time change their lives through a transitional employment program, and the Project is celebrating its anniversary with an open house on Thursday, October 24. From 4 to 8 p.m., guests at the WBP headquarters (a decommissioned firehouse at 3201 Curtis Street) can sample the organization's spice, soup and snack mixes in the form of black bean soup shooters, fresh guacamole and salsas, spicy elote with lime and cotija, and two kinds of tacos: chicken, cheese and chile and sweet potato and poblano. If you go, you'll be able to chat with program graduates who have completed six to nine months working in the Project's production facility, plus at least sixty hours of classroom work focusing on life skills like financial and computer literacy, nutrition and wellness, sobriety and recovery, and reproductive health and education. An RSVP is required for the free event; register on the Women's Bean Project website.
Feast, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver restaurant scene, will make its delicious return to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on a new day and time: 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, October 24. As always, though, Feast will be a true feast for the senses, with music, beverage samplings and dishes from more than thirty favorite restaurants. Among those signed on to sample their food are Uchi, Rose & Thorn, Snooze, CRUSH Pizza & Tap, La Fillette, Latke Love, Turtle Boat, Sushi Cup, Neighbors Wine Bar, Sushi Cup, Jackdaw, The Veggie Whisperer, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, 5280 Burger Bar, Aloy Modern Thai, Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, El Coco Pirata, Esters Neighborhood Pub, GQue BBQ, Lucky Mary's Baking Company and Little Man Ice Cream. This year, VIP ticket-holders will again be treated to a special menu courtesy of the world-renowned Matsuhisa. Bites from Matsuhisa will include spicy tuna crispy rice, chicken gyoza, black cod miso in limestone lettuce, and more, as well as special VIP cocktails to complement the menu. VIP tickets also include early entry into the event at 6 p.m. and a VIP gift bag. Buy tickets and get more info at westwordfeast.com; see the complete lineup of restaurants serving here.
Friday, October 25
Haunted hotels are nothing new — especially in Colorado, where the Overlook drove poor Jack Torrance mad and spawned both a film franchise and an epic King vs. Kubrick feud. Thankfully, while Denver's Brown Palace Hotel has had its fair share of scandal and unexplained phenomena, having a drink at the bar isn't likely to send you on an axe-wielding rampage. So the Brown, 321 17th Street, is hosting a haunted happy hour on Friday, October 25, at 5:30 p.m. Start in the bar, where Lloyd will mix you some spirited beverages and the kitchen will turn out seasonal tricks and treats, then head out on a tour of the hotel's eeriest nooks and crannies. And because the haunts that flit down the nearly 130-year old hallways come from an earlier, more millinered time, you're encouraged to show up in a frighteningly festive chapeau. Tickets, $80, are on sale on Eventbrite.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Thursday, November 7
For a unique take on dinner and a show, consider dining at Morin on Thursday, November 7. Starting at 6 p.m., the upscale French restaurant is hosting a benefit for Central City Opera, one of the oldest professional opera companies in the country and, at 87 years old, a Colorado institution long before slot machines invaded Clear Creek Canyon. Chefs Carrie Baird (Bar Dough, Top Chef) and Max MacKissock (culinary director at Morin, Señor Bear, Bar Dough and more) will be serving up cooking demos alongside a multi-course seated dinner; the excellent natural wines and creative cocktails you'd expect from beverage power couple Mary Allison Wright and Mclain Hedges; a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour; and performances from Central City Opera singers. Tickets ($250) are on sale now on the Opera's website.
Friday, November 15
Our state has been described as the "Napa Valley of beer" for decades now, but the continuing growth of the Colorado wine industry means it could be inching toward being known as the Napa Valley of wine. Okay, not really, but there are currently over 130 outfits making wine and mead in a state better known for its varietals of weed. On Friday, November 15, History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, will host Colorado UnCorked, a tasting of wines that triumphed at this year's Governor's Cup competition. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., chefs from Julep, Logan Street, Woodie Fisher and Grand Junction's Bin 707 will craft bites to pair with fourteen wines. Awarded wineries include Denver and Boulder's Bonacquisti and BookCliff, as well as the Western Slope's Carlson and Plum Creek; varietals range from Cab Franc to Nebbiolo to vermouth and Riesling. Snag your tickets ($45 or $85) on Eventbrite, where you can see the complete list of award winners.
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