You can't go wrong with wontons, wine, whiskey or Yucatecan food, all of which are on the menu for the week ahead. Here are Westword's picks for the best food and wine events over the next six days, plus a pair of happenings worth putting on the September calendar.
Monday, August 24
Beer festivals are as rare as a clear blue sky these days, but the folks putting on the third annual Brews and Blues festival at the Grove at Stapleton (2980 Syracuse Street) have found just about the safest way for you to enjoy live music and beer in public. The free fest will be set up drive-in style from 4 to 6 p.m., so you'll be provided with a parking space for a live blues performance and craft-beer tasting, or you can drive through and pick up beers to take home. The performance will be broadcast on Facebook Live if you don't want to hang out, but RSVPs are required whether you're picking up beer or planning to stay. Read more details and register for a spot on the Brews and Blues Eventbrite page. The Grove is an active senior apartment community, so festival attendees can also discuss lease deals with management while enjoying music and beer.
Tuesday, August 25
Last July, Italian restaurant Spuntino teamed up with Bo Porytko (formerly of Rebel Restaurant, currently of Misfit Snackbar) for a Yucatán-inspired dinner that transported diners to a Mexican beach. On Tuesday, August 25, the pair is reviving that meal for a much-needed respite from life in the U.S. of A. Technically, you can still hop on a plane and disembark south of the border, but do you really want to take that chance? The next best option is a four-course meal under Spuntino's comfortable and spacious outdoor tent at 2639 West 32nd Avenue. The current menu includes grasshopper elotes with mint crema and and spicy chapulines; suckling pig roulade in arbol chile adobo with chicharrones, chorizo and cashews; and a plate of dueling tacos, with Porytko and Spuntino's chefs, Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel — both James Beard Award nominees this year — each turning out a heretofore unknown taco in the interest of friendly competition. Spaces for the 8:30 p.m. seating are still available for $90 per person on Spuntino's website.
Wednesday, August 26
Wine Wednesday is fine and all, but it's so 2018. In 2020, every single day ends in uncorking (or uncapping) a bottle of something boozy. Our newest Hump Day obsession is Wonton Wednesday, hosted by Adobo food truck, which is currently serving food at the Monkey Barrel, 4401 Tejon Street. From 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26, get two-for-one fried wontons — choose from pork or green chile varieties — for $2. Online ordering is required; place yours on Adobo's virtual storefront, where you can also nab delicious burgers, enchiladas and smoked, smothered fries (just in case 24 wontons aren't a sufficient dinner plan).
Thursday, August 27
Blanchard Family Wines, 1855 Blake Street, hasn't cut back on events since it's reopened for dining in. On Thursday, August 27, it's teaming up the Storm Cellar, a winery in Hotchkiss, to pair white and rosé wines with Colorado-inspired dishes. Diners will be seated al fresco in the Dairy Block alley and will get to enjoy rosé with Tender Belly bacon crostini; dry riesling with smoked trout salad, radishes and candied pepitas; a white blend with lemon basil chicken skewers; and a 2018 reserve riesling with cheesecake, local honey and peach coulis. Reserve your spot for the 6:30 p.m. dinner on Tock for $125 per person.
Friday, August 28
Despite decades of popular opinion and line-standing tradition, an ice-cold can of sub-premium beer isn't the only — and certainly isn't the best — beverage pairing for barbecue. On Friday, August 28, Russell's Smokehouse and sister bar Green Russell (both at 1422 Larimer Street) are proving just how sophisticated a night of ’cue and cocktails can be with their Whiskey Business virtual dinner. Capacity restrictions make hosting dinner in the tight subterranean spot impossible, so the virtual supper bell rings at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. That's when you'll dig in to three courses (roasted corn salad, St. Louis-style ribs and whiskey cake) accompanied by three mixed drinks (an Old Fashioned, a Brooklyn and a Smokehouse Sour). Two people can feast for $145; place your order on Tock for pick-up between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 29
Everyone needs a little extra help these days — restaurants, nonprofit organizations, your neighbors, your own damn self. The Denver Box, a new project launched by the Lion Project, aims to spread the love around. Each month, the organization teams up with a local restaurant to create a meal that feeds four. Think of it as an elevated boxed lunch, with the money you pay for the meal ($100) split equally between participating restaurants and nonprofit organizations. The debut Denver Box has been put together by Ash'Kara and includes the Israeli eatery's housemade pita with a quartet of dips (hummus, muhammara, baba ganoush and labneh), salad with avocados and za'atar dressing, saffron rice, veggie and chicken kabobs, and the intriguing Golden Colada cocktail (rum, pineapple, lime, turmeric yogurt and ras al hanout simple syrup). Order your box on the Lion Project's website for pick-up on Saturday, August 29, at Morin, 1600 15th Street, and $50 each will be given to Ash'Kara and the Spero Recovery Center, a rehab center serving folks who are uninsured or otherwise unable to afford the high cost of residential treatment.
How long does it take to become Denver's oldest sake company? Not long at all, as it turns out. Colorado Sake Company, at 3559 Larimer Street, opened two years ago this week and now holds that honor. Help the sake brewery celebrate the occasion on Saturday, August 29, at its second-anniversary party. Three-hour time slots are available from 2 to 8 p.m.; for $75 per person, you'll get sake, sushi, door prizes and entry into a raffle for something special. Other draws include a DJ and an origami folding contest. Early bird slots are also available at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. for $65 each, and tickets for all time slots are being sold by the table (2- to 3-top, 4-top, 6-top or 8-top) to maintain physical distancing. See the event's Facebook page for details, then purchase your tickets on Eventbrite. Kanpai!
Saturday, September 19
As event producers cautiously dip their toes back into the murky waters of large-scale gatherings, they're forced to be creative about how to ensure that safety, social distancing and summer fun are all on tap in a single afternoon. Seltzerland, a traveling hard-seltzer fest that's landing in Denver on Saturday, September 19, is taking an approach as intriguing as any: Vendors and guests will tee off on Erie's Colorado National Golf Club, 2700 Vista Parkway, for nine holes of drinks. Leave your clubs at home (long metal sticks are generally frowned upon at any gathering where booze is the main attraction) for your walk along the fairway with a cohort of up to fourteen other attendees. Entry is timed in ten-minute intervals, and social distancing is required between groups as well as between vendors. While we're not sure how you'll get your seltzer samples if you're maintaining six feet from the seltzertender (is that the right word?), you're promised more than fifty different beverages and ninety minutes of fresh air and drinking with friends. Tickets are $39 for general admission, which runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. (participants are given an entry time during that window), or $79 for VIP, which goes from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and includes one cocktail, a full can of seltzer, free parking and bites in addition to samples. Visit the event website for details and to purchase tickets.
April 21 — the day government officials from Bavaria and Munich announced the cancellation of Munich's iconic Oktoberfest celebrations — was a sad day for beer drinkers around the globe. Denver's Oktoberfest was not so quick to follow, but finally put the kibosh on the Mile High City's annual dunkel drinking and dachshund racing festivities on July 31. So while large-scale gatherings have been given das Boot this year, you can still enter Breckenridge Brewery's drawing for a mini-Oktoberfest through September 12. Visit the brewery's website to throw your name in the hat to receive a private performance by the Rhinelanders (okay, as private as a Jeep hauling a three-piece band on a trailer and parking in your driveway can be), steins, brats and pretzels — all free. The beer, sadly, is not free (due to legal restrictions), but that means you can furnish whatever brews you prefer. Seven mini-bashes will be provided in Denver and Colorado Springs on Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20.
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