Things to Do

The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

You don't need to get buzzed to enjoy some tasty beverages at Wednesday's Zero Proof Dinner.
You don't need to get buzzed to enjoy some tasty beverages at Wednesday's Zero Proof Dinner. Anna Regan
Embrace your inner kid with a food fight and football-game food, or go grown-up at the Colorado Bar & Restaurant Show, a wine fest, or a boozy Boulder chile dinner. Here are eight great food and drink events from Monday, September 16, through Friday, September 20, then keep reading for a handful of future food fun.

click to enlarge You're going to have to work for it at Taste of the Broncos. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
You're going to have to work for it at Taste of the Broncos.
Danielle Lirette
Monday, September 16
Monday, September 16, is the fifth year that Taste of the Broncos has taken over the Stadium-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. This year's football foodie event kicks off at 7 p.m. at 1701 Bryant Street, where you'll get the fanciest stadium food you've ever tasted, plus the chance to meet current and former players — and at $100 to $150, tickets to the event are slightly less than what you'd pay for nachos and a couple of beers at an actual game. More than thirty restaurants, including chef and Taste of the Broncos founder Troy Guard's epicurean empire, will be represented; secure your spot on Ticketmaster's website and enjoy a winning night during a season that doesn't look like it will have many more.

click to enlarge Vibrant and flavorful food from Biju's Little Curry Shop benefits Mount Saint Vincent on September 17. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Vibrant and flavorful food from Biju's Little Curry Shop benefits Mount Saint Vincent on September 17.
Danielle Lirette
Tuesday, September 17
You've gotta eat at some point today, right? Skip the stove and visit one of more than thirty eateries in town partnering with Mount Saint Vincent, a nonprofit residential treatment home for children. On Tuesday, September 17, visit any of the participating restaurants and mention the fundraiser to your server, and up to 25 percent of your purchase will be donated to the organization. So instead of a sad fast-food burger for lunch, opt for an epic sandwich from Denver Biscuit Company, followed up by some ice cream from Little Man. And rather than pouring yourself a bowl of cereal for dinner, have the bartenders at Epic Brewing pour you a beer before grabbing a flavorful curry bowl from Biju's Little Curry Shop. Take a look at Mount Saint Vincent's website for more info and a complete list of restaurants donating to the cause.

This year's Colorado Restaurant and Bar Show takes place on Tuesday, September 17, and Wednesday, September 18, at the Colorado Convention Center, and along with the usual free expo where industry folks can peruse the latest in food, equipment and technology, there will be breakout sessions with keynote speakers and local experts to keep the conversation going on hot-button topics. Among this year's keynote speakers is food writer and mental-health advocate Kat Kinsman; from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Kinsman will talk about how to bring up the topic of mental health in the workplace, and "how to get past the awkwardness to normalize the conversation." The keynote address will take place in room 401-403 of the convention center, and a $35 pass is required to attend; register online for this and other presentations, including chef Michel Nischan on sustainable food, chef Daniel Asher on sourcing locally, celebrity chef Scott Liebfried, and Beast + Bottle co-owner Aileen Reilly on growing your restaurant business.

Wednesday, September 18
On the heels of Kat Kinsman's talk at the CRB show comes a Zero Proof dinner on Wednesday, September 18. Altius Farms, above Uchi at 2500 Lawrence Street, is hosting the meal, where nearly twenty of Denver's top chefs and bartenders are collaborating on a four-course menu with non-alcoholic cocktails. Chefs from Beast + Bottle, Citizen Rail, Vesta, Potager, Jax Fish House and Project Angel Heart will be in the kitchen; while menu details are still being finalized and could change, expect high-end bites like pork-cheek rillettes, Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and housemade ricotta, rack of lamb and chocolate tart with beet ganache to be paired with crafted beverages so tasty you won't miss the booze at all. Proceeds from the dinner, $85, will go to Colorado Hospitality Outreach & Wellness; see the full chef and bartender lineup on Vesta's Facebook page, where you can also snag your ticket.

The last time you were part of a food fight, you probably ended up with cafeteria mashed potatoes in your hair (those things are a bitch to wash out). But on Wednesday, September 18, there's a food fight that won't leave you smelling like school lunch. Food Fight for Scleroderma, a fundraiser for the Scleroderma Foundation, is taking over Englewood's BAC Appliance Center, 1880 West Oxford Avenue, from 6 to 9 p.m. Unlike most food festivals, where chefs have nothing but a hot plate to bring their bites together, each of the twelve competitors will be allocated a kitchen station with all the bells and whistles, so you're sure to get some high-quality goods. Competition categories include Sip, Sweet and Savory, with contestants from Rita's Law, Temper Chocolates, Ste. Ellie, Spuntino and the Cruise Room. Visit the event website for tickets ($85 to $150) and get ready to rumble — though everyone's a winner at this food fight.

click to enlarge Infinite Monkey Theorem welcomes Mister Oso on September 19. - COURTESY INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM
Infinite Monkey Theorem welcomes Mister Oso on September 19.
Courtesy Infinite Monkey Theorem
Thursday, September 19
The Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street, is a welcoming kind of winery — not too stuffy, not too hip — so it's no surprise that the Ballpark tasting room is welcoming its soon-to-be neighbor, Mister Oso, for a wine dinner celebrating fall's grape harvest. Starting at 6 p.m., Blake Edmunds and the team from Señor Bear will give diners the first taste of the big bear's little brother (which will soon open in the former home of the Populist, just a hop, skip and a jump away) with five courses, including a mini wedge salad topped with chile-ranch dressing paired with rosé in cans; smoked beef-cheek tacos, crispy oyster mushrooms and avocados with cab franc; and pork belly with tamarind and escabeche (tart pickled veggies) with the always excellent Blind Watchmaker. Tickets are just $60 and are on sale now at the winery's website. Being neighborly has never been so tasty.

With the recent kerfuffle over the relative merits of Hatch and Pueblo chiles, it's easy to forget that these two well-known cultivars are but a drop in the ocean of heirloom capsicums grown around the globe. What about Himo Togarashi, Chiltepin, Beaver Dam, Jimmy Nardello, Manganji, Wenk and Cervena Chuska? All of these are on the menu at Zolo Grill's chile dinner on Thursday, September 19. The peppers are from Thistle Whistle Farm (say that five times fast) and they'll be served roasted, pickled, blistered, raw and candied. We're most looking forward to porchetta served with green chile made from Pueblos and a cinnamon cupcake with chocolate frosting and candied peppers. The restaurant, 2525 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, starts serving at 6 p.m.; find the entire menu and tickets, $75, on Zolo's Facebook page.
click to enlarge Combine your love of the indoors and wine at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic. - COURTESY TASTE OF VAIL
Combine your love of the indoors and wine at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic.
Courtesy Taste of Vail
Friday, September 20
If you're like us, you spend most of September vowing to get up to the mountains and see the colors — only to be derailed by that bottle of wine in the fridge on Friday night, that new restaurant you've been meaning to try on Saturday and that ensuing hangover on Sunday. This year, plan ahead to combine all of your interests (drinking, dining and saying how much you enjoy the outdoors while you're indoors, safe from bear attacks) at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic on Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21. The weekend includes Friday night wine dinners at restaurants around town, followed by Saturday morning excursions like biking, berry picking and bakasana (and other yoga poses) before the grand tasting of scores of wines from more than fifty producers. Tickets for the grand tasting will run you $85 on Taste of Vail's website, but the satisfaction of knowing you've finally — finally! — made it to the mountains in time to see the aspen turn is priceless.

Keep reading for future fall food and drink fun.

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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