This week you can sip wine and snip flowers, sample a quartet of burgers and vote for your fave, or visit one of the few beer festivals this summer. As we head into the middle of August, here are some of the food and drink events you won't want to miss this summer.
Monday, August 10
Snipping fresh flowers for a bouquet is self-care — there's no question about that. Drink a glass of wine while you're doing that, and you've just taken home the gold in the treat yourself Olympics. From 6 to 8 p.m. every Monday and Thursday through mid-September, the Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery (3200 Larimer Street) and its adjacent Infinite Garden are inviting you to tiptoe through the tulips and cut your own bouquet for $15. Take advantage of IMT's specials during garden hours, $5 cans and 20 percent off bottles, and your evening just got sweeter smelling (and tasting). And if you think your attempts to put together a posy will result in a scraggly bundle of weeds, sit back with your wine while gardener Amy Berryman creates a custom bouquet for you. Visit the garden's website to book your time among the blooms or pre-order your arrangement.
Wednesday, August 12
Civic Center Eats is finally back; even COVID-19 couldn't cancel the annual food truck frenzy altogether. The pandemic delayed the start of the gathering by three months, and it's making up for lost time by adding dinner hours. The moveable feast returns on Wednesday, August 12, and will take place every Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and again from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., through October 15. Of course, the whole event will look a little different this year. Instead of twenty or so trucks all at once, five trucks will set up near the Greek Amphitheater, and each of the four weekly sessions will rotate vendors, adding variety for returning customers. Visit the Civic Center Eats website for event details and a roster of trucks.
Wildly popular Tacos Tequila Whiskey has been slinging its eponymous food in Highland, City Park and Governor's Park for years now — and despite the taqueria's expansion, each outpost has remained busy and buzzy, with waits for its flavorful tacos common. Now there's another spot where you can nab the goods: Moxy Hotel Cherry Creek at 240 Josephine Street. From 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, guests on the hotel's bar patio can order from a limited menu of guac, salsas and tacos (pollo asado, tuna, fried cotija and carne asada). Visit the Tacos Tequila Whiskey Instagram page for menu details and updates.
We've been to Burger Battles before, but we'll be honest: The August heat is stifling and 2020 has already been a hell of a slog. We're exhausted — but we're still in the mood for burgers (okay, we're always in the mood for burgers). Instead of braving long lines, a crowded venue and the smell of testosterone sizzling every time a patty hits the grill, we much prefer the kinder, gentler Burger Scuffle that's running every Wednesday through September 2. From 7 to 10 p.m., Highland Tap & Burger's expanded patio at 2219 West 32nd Avenue is hosting a tourney to determine which is the juiciest, most succulent, most creative burger on the block (the first week's competitors included the winning French dip cheeseburger with Swiss cheese and bacon; an Italian-inspired version with Taleggio, soppressata and pepperoncini; a patty topped with pork belly confit and smoked mayo; and a Mexican-style burger with rajas, queso, tortilla strips and bacon aioli). Nab a ticket on Eventbrite ($20) and you'll get samples of all four creations, loaded fries and one cocktail.
Thursday, August 13
What's better than a whole-roasted juicy duck with crispy, crackly, perfectly caramel-colored skin? That bird prepared and plated for you by someone else. And Ace Eat Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue, is slowly getting back to normal(ish) with the return of its Peking duck Thursday starting August 13. While the deadline to pre-order your duck for this week has already passed, you can still call the eatery at 303-800-7705 to order pick-up on Thursday, August 27 (the deadline is Friday, August 21). The lucky ducks who planned ahead will get a whole bird, light-as-air mu shu crepes, scallions, cucumber and a pair of sauces (hoisin and apricot chile) for $42. The feast serves three (or four if you can get together three friends who don't mind engaging in the "That last bite's yours" dance), is available for dine-in or takeout, and is worth every penny.
Friday, August 14
Coloradans would do almost anything to attend their beloved beer festivals this summer — including risking a public outing to sample a bottomless batch of brews. If you're willing to take the risk, you'll want to book a room in Vail for the night of Friday, August 14, because the Vail Craft Beer Classic will soldier on that day. The fest takes place in a park adjacent to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (522 South Frontage Road South, Vail) and will run differently than standard beer festivals, of course: Attendance is limited to 175 people during each of two ninety-minute sessions (Friday at 4 and 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m.); everyone will be required to mask up while obtaining their beers and will only be allowed to imbibe once they're settled on the lawn with their drinking buddies. We can't guarantee there won't be any lines, but they will be spread out with six-foot indicators on the ground, as will brewery reps. Find details on the fest's website, where you can also pick up tickets ($49), but hurry — both sessions on Saturday, August 15, have already sold out.
Keep reading for future food and drink events....
Saturday, August 15
Chef Hosea Rosenberg's daughter, Sophie, is just three, but she already has Boulder and Denver's restaurant community wrapped around her little finger. Nonprofit organization Sophie's Neighborhood launched earlier this year with the mission of raising money to research multicentric carpotarsal osteolysis (MCTO). Sophie is one of just thirty people worldwide diagnosed with the illness, and the organization bearing her name has already collected approximately $300,000 in donations. But with a fundraising goal of $2 million for 2020, there's no time to slow down, so an online auction is scheduled for Saturday, August 15. Bidding opens at 12:01 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., but you can preview the catalogue now on the auction website. There are currently over seventy items available, including a $9,000 Viking grill; virtual cooking and cocktail classes with fellow Top Chef alumni Jennifer Carroll and Fabio Viviani as well as local fixtures Alon Shaya, Bryan Dayton and Daniel Asher; private dinners from Maine Shack, Steuben's Food Truck and the Bindery; travel packages (including an African safari!); and more, with new items still being added.
With City Park Jazz and Levitt Pavilion streaming shows this summer in lieu of hosting live performances, the time-honored practice of smuggling booze into the park alongside your picnic, blanket and camp chairs for a concert under the stars hasn't been on the agenda for fans this summer. But now you can re-create the experience (sort of) on Saturday, August 15, at Tunes at Twilight. Is it in the heart of the city? Well, no — but it is at the gorgeous Lyons Farmette, an intimate and private farm at 4121 Ute Highway in Lyons. Is it free? Definitely not, but of the $150 ticket price, $47 will go to musicians and music-related small businesses; $25 will go to restaurant and bar staff; and the remaining $84 will benefit nonprofit organization Can'd Aid, specifically its music outreach programs. Americana band Trout Steak Revival is providing the tunes, A Spice of Life Catering is serving boxed picnic dinners, and Oskar Blues and Infinite Monkey Theorem will be selling beer and wine. Find out more and reserve your spot on the Can'd Aid website.
Sunday, August 16
The last time you went to a drive-in movie, you probably noshed on hot dogs and soggy French fries. If you were lucky, you snuck in a flask (for everyone but the driver) and a bag of burgers from Sonic. But on Sunday, August 16, you can enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at the Holiday Twin drive-in, at 2206 South Overland Trail in Fort Collins. The movie theater is partnering with chef Kevin Grossi of the Regional for a white-tablecloth, silver-screen experience from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Instead of dropping popcorn between the car seats, you'll pull up next to a four-top and enjoy a three-course meal before the movie — 1988's The Great Outdoors — starts. The menu includes grilled sweet tea chicken (or roasted carrots for vegetarians) accompanied by smoked cabbage remoulade, potato salad purée, and sour-beer pie with white-chocolate pretzel brittle for dessert. And yes, there will be popcorn, but you won't have to sweep it out of your car after the show. Tickets are $200 per car and include a meal for up to five people, with drinks and bottles of wine available for purchase. Visit the Regional's website for the full menu and to purchase your ticket.
Saturday, August 22
Chef Tom Coohill's namesake restaurant at 1400 Wewatta Street is perfectly positioned to take advantage of outdoor dining; its proximity to the bridge spanning the South Platte River has made it a popular destination for Beats on the Creek in prior years. While the 2020 concert series was canceled, diners can still sit under the stars on Saturday, August 22, at an al fresco wine dinner with seating set up on the bridge. Guests at the five-course dinner can expect a selection of six wines from around the globe poured alongside courses like lobster salad with duck breast and citrus-truffle emulsion; roasted guinea hen with porcini mousse, black mission figs and port reduction; and harissa-spiced lamb loin with dates and braised heirloom potatoes. Call 303-623-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot for the 7 p.m. meal, which will run you $115.
Know of an event or activity that belongs here? Send information to email@example.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.