Not sure what you're hungry for this week? There's a wealth of eclectic food and drink happenings around town over the next few days, from industry-insider discussions about compensation models to West African and French fare to an entire menu centered on cheese. Keep reading for the skinny on all of these, plus a few future and ongoing events to keep on your radar.
Monday, July 6
Before COVID-19 hit the hospitality industry hard, one of the major concerns for Colorado bars and restaurants this year was the increase in minimum wage and the effects on front- and back-of-house employees as restaurant owners deal with its long-term impacts on the industry. Just because the economy has been shaken up (and continues to shift minute by minute) by a virus doesn't mean the issue of prosperity for all restaurant workers is now irrelevant. As the inherent instability of the current hospitality model has so devastatingly laid bare, the question of the industry's sustainability may be even more timely. On Monday, July 6, industry nonprofit organization Resilient Restaurants is hosting a webinar analyzing financial statements from restaurants that have maintained the traditional tipped wage model as well as eateries that have adopted tip pooling and separate service charges. Restaurateur Edwin Zoe (Chimera Ramen, Zoe Ma Ma) will open up his books to attendees; the 3 to 4 p.m. meeting is free, but you must register to attend. Do so on Eventbrite or the Resilient Restaurants Facebook page.
Tuesday, July 7
Boulder's Arcana, 909 Walnut Street, only reopened for in-house dining this week, but it's already got a brand-new pop-up on the calendar. From Tuesday, July 7, through Sunday, July 12, the kitchen will be serving food from Modou Jaiteh, the chef/owner of Jacaranda, a kitchen at Rosetta Hall turning out West African (and African-influenced Southern) fare. The menu includes stone fruits — apricots, plums and peaches — spiked with basil and berbere, an intensely fragrant Ethiopian spice; smoked eggplant with palm oil, black-eyed peas and habaneros steamed in banana leaves; and halibut served with crab jollof rice and lobster sauce. Call 303-444-3885 to book a table on Arcana's patio, but if you miss out on a seat, don't worry; you can also pre-order the menu for takeout. Stay up to date on Arcana's Instagram page.
The Modern Eater podcast begins its Summer Dinner Series on Tuesday, July 7, with weekly five-course dinners through the end of August put together by Colorado chefs and beverage producers. Carrie Baird (formerly of Bar Dough, currently Rose's Classic Americana) kicks off the festivities; other highlights include Jesusio Silva (Misaki Sushi and various concepts inside Broadway Market) on July 28; Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class) on August 4; and Brother Luck (Four by Brother Luck, Lucky Dumplings) on August 11. Both Baird and Rodriguez are finalists for this year's James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mountain region. See the entire lineup and purchase tickets ($200 for a table for two, $400 for a four-top) on Eventbrite. Dinners take place on the patio of Pizza Republica, 890 14th Street, at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 9
Chef Frank Bonanno's burrata is famous as one of the first in the city to grace tables regularly, and on Thursday, July 9, he's devoting an entire meal to the cheese at his Italian eatery Luca. For just one night, the kitchen at 711 Grant Street is offering an à la carte menu in which every dish includes the mild, creamy, cow's-milk cheese encased in a balloon of mozzarella. Expect a simple ball of burrata served with olive oil and focaccia; lobster and burrata ravioli; filet mignon with rosemary polenta and burrata fonduta; and espresso gelato with sweet burrata, among others. Dine-in service begins at 5 p.m., though if you'd prefer the comfort of your own kitchen table, you can opt to take out a four-course meal that includes all the dishes listed above for $60 per person. Visit Tock to book a table in the dining room or reserve your meal for pick-up.
RiNo's Ironton Distillery, 3636 Chestnut Place, begins its summer outdoor movie series on Thursday, July 9, with a screening of 1987's The Princess Bride, the movie that launched Robin Wright's film career as well as decades of memes featuring Mandy Patinkin's magnificent mane. This year, tickets are required (a mere $5 on Eventbrite), and the distillery will be serving themed beverages and bites for each show. Setup begins at 8 p.m. and the screening starts as soon as it's dark enough. Notable installments in the series (which runs the second and fourth Thursday through October 22 and is presumably based around cult classics — or just "classics" if you're over the age of 35) include The Big Lebowski (August 27), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (October 8) and Halloween (October 22). Visit Ironton's Facebook page for the full lineup.
Friday, July 10
That trip you had planned to France this summer? Sorry, mon chou, your vacation plans — as well as the rest of 2020 — are on the back burner for the foreseeable future. The next best thing? Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street, which is still welcoming well-behaved (i.e. mask-wearing, hand-washing, socially distancing) Americans. On Friday, July 10, Stir is hosting a cooking class for couples based on summertime in Paris; the menu includes a characteristically intriguing selection of dishes like Alsatian bacon and onion tart, potatoes Lyonnaise, Cornish game hen fricassee with tarragon, and lavender-blackberry ice cream. Visit Stir's website to sign up for the 6:30 p.m. class; $80 per person gets you three hours of instruction, a full dinner with drinks available for purchase from the bar, and the chance to — temporarily — leave the kitchen fire that is America behind.
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 well and truly rolls around, you'll be an expert at cooking (and eating) fall favorites.
Keep reading for a selection of ongoing weekly events....
The City of Aurora is doing its part to make sure kitchens are stocked with a weekly Wednesday mobile food pantry that will run through August 26. Aurora residents can show up at locations around the city starting at 10 a.m. to receive a box of free groceries that can be used to make up to nine meals. The city's goal is to distribute 1,000 boxes per week; the first week of the pantry's operation, supplies were exhausted within an hour, so eligible families (all Aurora households with proof of residency) should plan to be punctual. Emergency food supplies for homeless citizens as well as pet food and supplies will also be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Distribution locations change every week; visit the City of Aurora website for future locations and complete details.
Popular pop-up shopping destination Denver Bazaar has had to rethink its business model — after all, tipsy shopping and close talking in a bustling market space aren't exactly copacetic these days. So the bazaar has teamed up with local producers and restaurants to shift operations online while giving consumers the same access to local food, drink and handmade items. Visit Denver Bazaar's website to order farmers' market items, cocktails and family meals, then schedule your pick-up location and time. Current locations are Esters (2201 Oneida Street) on Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger (1565 North Raleigh Street) Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Mister Oso (3163 Larimer Street) Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Belleview Station Tap & Burger (4910 South Newport Street) Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market is looking to add more items and locations, so stay tuned to its website; also note that orders must be placed no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the current week, or Thursday for the weekend.
Beast + Bottle, 719 East 17th Avenue, is turning the sidewalk in front of its Uptown restaurant into a drive-by farmers' market on Saturdays. Since many of the region's markets are closed to in-person browsing, Beast + Bottle has teamed up with Longmont's Ollin Farms to offer produce boxes for pick-up every Saturday. Order and pay online between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Thursday; different veggies are available every week (previous boxes have included rhubarb, radishes, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, mixed and mustard greens for $30), and you can add on items like fresh asparagus, microgreens, local honey, hot sauce, pickles and peanut butter. Then pull up to the loading zone outside the restaurant on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon (you must wear a face mask) for contact-free pick-up. Details are up on Beast + Bottle's Instagram page.
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