There's something in the air that makes us want to go out and celebrate (in a totally responsible, masked, socially-distanced manner, of course)...but we just can't put our finger on what it is.
In any case, here are seven great food and drink happenings this week, which sees the start of a special Denver Restaurant Week, plus more events in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 9
On Monday, November 9, Stanley Marketplace kicks off a three-week-long canned food drive. Three businesses inside the mall at 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora (Create Cooking School and clothes retailers June Ruby and Steele Angel) will be accepting donations of non-perishable food through Monday, November 30. Contributions will go to We Don't Waste, which collects unused food from caterers, restaurants and other venues and distributes it to Front Range food banks and other nonprofit organizations. If you donate during the drive, you'll get 10 percent off at the aforementioned businesses. Find out more on the Stanley's Facebook page, where you'll also see what items cannot be accepted, like (and we can't quite believe this needs to be said) opened or expired food.
Tuesday, November 10
Seven Grand, the whiskey bar at 1855 Blake Street, is hosting a class on bourbon basics on Tuesday, November 10. From 7 to 8:30 p.m., you'll be led through a guided tasting and learn the history of America's brand of whiskey, then head home with a "keepsake" bourbon 101 booklet (in case you taste a bit too enthusiastically and end up forgetting what you learned). Tickets, $20, are for sale on Eventbrite, along with an optional branded whiskey tasting glass.
Wednesday, November 11
On November 14, 2010, Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth opened its doors to much fanfare...and then shuttered almost immediately because of a devastating kitchen fire. A decade later, the restaurant is weathering an even bigger challenge, but is still taking a week to celebrate its tenth anniversary. From Wednesday, November 11, to Sunday, November 15, the eatery, at 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, is combining a birthday party with its annual truffle week. In-house diners can order from a greatest-hits menu that includes fried pickles; duck-liver pâté with plum preserves; gnocchi with egg yolk, Gruyère fondue and truffles; lamb Bolognese; the "umami bomb" dry-aged burger with truffle aioli and crispy maitake ’shrooms; and many, many others. White and black truffle upgrades will also be available. Oak is open from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner on those days; book your seat on OpenTable.
Veterans Day falls on Wednesday this year (it falls on November 11 every year), and a number of joints around Denver are offering specials for former (and in same cases, active) members of the military. All Post Brewing Co. locations (Lafayette, Longmont, Denver and Boulder) are giving vets a free pint of pilsner, and both Denver and Littleton outposts of Bacon Social House are giving vets who dine in a free entree. Finally, a stable of restaurants in the area are offering 50 percent off entrees for active duty and veterans for both dine-in and takeout: The Hornet, Acova, Reiver's Bar and Grill, and Spanky's Roadhouse in Denver; Tstreet in Lakewood; and Great Divide Brewery & Roadhouse in Castle Rock are all offering the deal. As always, you'll need to provide proof of service.
Thursday, November 12
On Thursday, November 12, downtown's Foraged (1825 Blake Street) is hosting a six-course wine dinner with pairings from Napa Valley's Freemark Abbey Wines. Expect salad with pistachio-crusted chèvre and Asian pears with sauvignon blanc; kabocha gnocchi, pine nuts, brown butter and sage accompanied by chardonnay; grilled venison and veggies with sesame-juniper salsa and merlot; and short rib, mushroom confit and mole negro with cabernet. Tickets are $100 per person plus tax and tip for the 6:30 p.m. dinner; secure yours by calling the restaurant at 720-826-2147.
In lieu of First Bite, Boulder County's annual fall restaurant week, 2020 brings the publication of A Bite of Boulder, a cookbook with over forty recipes from thirty area restaurants. Half of the proceeds from cookbook sales will go directly to the featured restaurants, so in addition to getting your hands on recipes from Japango, West End Tavern, Santo, Corrida, Oak at Fourteenth and more, you're helping support your local faves. The book will be released on Thursday, November 12; you can pre-order yours for $29.99 now on the First Bite website. And from November 12 through November 15, you can get more bang for your buck, as nearly a dozen restaurants are offering deals like make-at-home sushi, paella and burger kits with your purchase. Complete details and prices can be found in the Launch Weekend section of the website.
Friday, November 13
Surprise! Denver Restaurant Week is just around the corner. No, February hasn't snuck up on us quite yet. Visit Denver has announced a fall version of the popular event that will run for ten days, from Friday, November 13, through Sunday, November 22. Visit the event website for participants (there are longtime faves like Ace Eat Serve and Root Down as well as newer arrivals on the dining scene such as the 5th String and Attimo Wine on the list) and menus at the $25, $35 and $45 price points. And with Denver restaurant capacity a quarter of what it usually is, reservations are more important than ever. Make sure you're making yours with individual eateries.
Keep reading for more tasty happenings beyond this weekend...
Sunday, November 15
The Spice Girls may have sold out when they announced they were no longer about girl power (now it's the watered-down "people power," blecch), but Sunday Vinyl, 1803 16th Street, is still keeping the faith...as far as faith goes when it comes to Top 40 music. On Sunday, November 15, the wine bar and restaurant is hosting a Sunday Vinyl Session with sommelier Maia Parish, who will be serving a flight of bubbles from all-female producers, and DJ Desire, who will be spinning tunes from female artists (though not necessarily the Spice Girls). Reservations are available from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tock; the $60 ticket price (plus tax and tip) includes the aforementioned bubbles and beats, as well as three bites from the kitchen.
Tuesday, November 17
As the nights get darker earlier and colder quicker, the spicy, peppery, warming bite of mezcal is more welcome than ever. (Who are we kidding? We love mezcal anytime.) And it will be dark at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, when American Elm hosts a dinner in partnership with Mezcal Vago, evoking flavors from warmer, happier climes (where they're not still holding their breath for election results). The three-course meal includes grilled octopus with eggplant purée and zucchini fritters; pork ribeye with cheesy smoked grits and achiote jus; and buttermilk pie with horchata whipped cream. You'll get all that, plus four copitas of mezcal, for $135 per person plus fees. Find the full menu and buy your ticket (there are just 35 seats available, so ándale) on Resy.
Wednesday, November 18
Rioja, 1431 Larimer Street, is hosting its penultimate wine dinner of 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18. The dinner will focus on the Spanish region of Jerez, which is generally associated with sherry (jerez is "sherry" in Spanish) but also produces non-fortified wine; wine pairings cover two of these varietals. The five-course menu includes an almond Napoleon with cured salmon; rabbit two ways (confit and pancetta-wrapped loin) and apricot-butternut purée, pickled squash and spinach gnudi; cheese tortelli with quince and hazelnut and golden raisin agrodolce; and duck breast with five-spice gyoza. Tickets for the in-house dinner are $125 plus tax and tip on Tock; diners can also opt for an at-home version for $90, which includes food and finishing instructions (wine pairings are available for an additional cost). Diners ordering the virtual version will pick up their meal kits between Wednesday, November 18, and Friday, November 20; orders must be placed two days in advance.
Thursday, November 19
It's (maybe?) a Christmas miracle. This year hasn't brought many good things, at least in the realm of restaurants and bars, but on Thursday, November 19, Miracle Bar marks its return to Colorado. The wildly popular Christmas-themed pop-up bar is bringing four locations to life in Boulder, Denver and Louisville. While technically space will be reserved for walk-ins, anyone who's tried to get a table in years past knows reservations are a must. Visit Miracle Bar's website for locations, hours and reservation info.
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