Kids are back to school — and whether they're sitting in a classroom, staring at a tablet in your living room or braving the dreaded "hybrid" model, you need a drink and some you time. Hell, even if you don't have a little one at home, you need some self-care. Head back to school yourself, and learn how to wield a knife with deadly precision; avoid rubbing your eyes after you've chopped a green chile; and turn out fajitas so delicious you'll never go to On the Border again. Get all the details below, along with info on plenty of other tasty happenings this week and beyond.
Monday, August 31
It's too damn hot to cook. Even though temps have dropped from last week — it's still too damn hot. It's always too hot to cook when fried whole-belly clams are on the menu, as they are at Steuben's, 523 East 17th Avenue, through Friday, September 11. The eatery is serving six ounces of Ipswich whole-belly clams (the belly's the softest, most tender part of the bivalve — much as it is on humans) with slaw and tartar sauce for $20. Make a reservation on OpenTable for one of two patios at Steuben's and pretend you're on the shore...kinda? It's the best vacation you'll get this year.
Everyone in need of comfort (and that's everyone) is jonesing for homey fried chicken, and restaurants are responding — not that an eatery named Birdcall is going to be cooking up anything other than yardbird. Now you can get some of the cheapest (and best!) fried chicken sandwiches in town along with the freshest local beers when the Union Station outpost (inside the Whole Foods Market at 1701 Wewatta Street) launches its brand-new beer garden on Monday, August 31. Take a seat on the streetside patio from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends for one of 25 different beers as well as breakfast every day (breakfast brews, anyone?). Get details and pics on the joint's Instagram page.
Tuesday, September 1
Regular readers of this calendar are already familiar with our affinity for Mexican fare. Whether it's tacos, burritos, ceviche, carne al pastor, sopaipillas — no matter the heat level, no matter the absence or presence of gringo influences, we're here for all south-of-the-border flavors and favorites. On Tuesday, September 1, you can learn how to whip up those dishes in your own cocina at Uncorked Kitchen's Mexican Fiesta cooking class. For $69, you'll learn how to prepare carne asada fajitas, elotes (Mexican street corn slathered in chile and crumbly cheese) and crunchy, deep-fried churros with chocolate dipping sauce. Class runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Centennial school's classroom, 8171 South Chester Street. Sign up now on Uncorked's website.
Wednesday, September 2
Make it over Hump Day with the help of the Family Jones and the folks behind the Wolf's Tailor and Bruto. Join Family Jones head distiller Rob Masters as well as bartender Nick Touch for a family dinner that won't devolve into talk of politics or religion, on Wednesday, September 2. Place your order for a cocktail kit that serves ten to twelve (includes Atticus Jones rye, Palisade peaches, lemon cordial and fresh mint) plus two banh mi sandwiches that come loaded with chicken-liver mousse, pork and garden-fresh herbs — or with mushroom pâté, tomatoes and herbs, if you're a plant-based eater — for $90, and you'll also get access to a Zoom happy hour from 6 to 7 p.m. that includes a mixing demo and cocktail class. Place your order on the Family Jones website by noon on Monday, August 31, and you can pick up the goodies between 2 and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2.
Thursday, September 3
Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street, is heating things up on Thursday, September 3, with its Hatch green chile cooking class. While we here at Westword haven't minced words about either the flavor or the propaganda surrounding the New Mexican capsicum or its northern cousin, the Pueblo chile, the fact remains that Hatch beats Colorado's own Pueblo purveyors when it comes to name recognition. So we can't really blame the homegrown Stir for capitalizing on the success or our southern neighbor — not when its menu includes chile queso; chicken and chile enchiladas; citrus and chile shrimp skewers; chile, black bean and corn salad; and even green chile brownies. Class runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $80 per person, so belly up to the cooking school's bar for an ice-cold lager (or fill your flask with milk and sneak it in) for a cooking class that will really light a fire in your belly. Sign up on Stir's website.
Friday, September 4
If ever there was a year that deserved to be stabbed in the eye with a foreign object, it's 2020. Whether you're using your chef's knife to come for the forces of evil that took T'Challa and carefree indoor dining from us, or you just want to slice some summer squash, you'll learn something at the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts knife skills class on Friday, September 4, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., at 43 West Ninth Avenue. Learn (or brush up on) the basics and get a few pro tips while you turn out a three-course dinner including strawberry, apple and walnut salad; roasted chicken with veggies; and a dessert. The cost is $119 and includes wine pairings; visit Cook Street's website to enroll.
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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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