This week brings the start of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar's annual Oyster Month (which is soldiering on despite the pandemic), as well as 303 Day, a gala fundraiser in the comfort of your own home (wear a gown and slippers, skip the heels), and a seafood collab — just because.
Keep reading for more on those events, as well as other culinary happenings through March that you won't want to miss.
Monday, March 1
This year marks the second consecutive year without the High West Oyster Fest, the (previously) annual celebration that brought oyster shucking and slurping contests to the landlocked folks of Denver. But Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is still forging ahead with Oyster Month for all of March. From Monday, March 1, through Wednesday, March 31, "oyster virgins" (heh) can nab their first bivalve experience for free at any of Jax's locations; choose from fried, chargrilled or on the half shell. After that, enjoy a free oyster for every dozen you order (or, if you can't down a dozen, opt for orders of six and get your sixth half-dozen for free). There are also drink specials, including a free bottle of bubbly with an order of select oyster sampler platters. Visit the Jax Fish House website for details, then reserve your table on Tock.
Wednesday, March 3
Celebrate 303 Day (that's Wednesday, March 3, for everyone who arrived in Denver for the pot in the last two weeks) by scoring $3.03 tacos at Que Bueno Suerte, 1518 South Pearl Street. The special is on during dinner service, from 4 to 10 p.m., and includes any taco on the menu. Our pick? The over-the-top pancita with tequila-braised pork belly and tamarind salsa. Visit the restaurant's website to make reservations.
Thursday, March 4
The annual Great Chefs of the West is usually a gala fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation, but this year it looks different. For one thing, it's happening on two nights: Thursday, March 4, and Thursday, March 11. And for another, it will also benefit participating restaurants: the Bindery, Woodie Fisher, Guard and Grace, Jovanina's Broken Italian, Hop Alley and Four by Brother Luck (in Colorado Springs). Purchase tickets ($125 per person or $225 per couple) on the event's website, and choose from prix fixe menus from the above eateries (all offer on-site dining as well as takeout options), cocktails and wine. You'll also get a cookbook with the restaurants' recipes and access to a silent — really silent — auction and awards ceremony.
Foraged, 1825 Blake Street, is hosting a wine dinner on Thursday, March 4, with wines from California producer Orin Swift. The four course feast is heavy on seafood and spices, with dishes like striped bass with orange, pistachios and white soy ponzu; escolar with sake and soy marinade; squab with porcini mushroom powder and potato ragu; and Moroccan-spiced lamb. The reception starts at 6 p.m., with the first course hitting the table at 6:30 p.m. Call Foraged at 720-826-2147 to reserve your seat at the table for $120 per person.
Friday, March 5
On Friday, March 5, and Saturday, March 6, hit up East Coast-style seafood joint Rock N Lobster Roll, inside Edgewater Public Market (5505 West 20th Avenue in Edgewater), for a collaboration with coastal Mexican food truck Bits & Pieces con Cerveza. The chefs of the two eateries have put their heads together to create a menu that includes aguachile with Hatch green chiles; a ceviche trio that comprises scallops with salsa amarilla and spiced almonds, shrimp with lemon aioli and salsa borracha and lobster with salsa Veracruzana and avocado; and tacos stuffed with grilled octopus, scallops with papaya and red chiles, lobster and habanero-carrot slaw and mushrooms and esquites (grilled street corn). Visit Bits & Pieces' Instagram page to see the full menu before you show up — no reservations needed! — for a seafood feast.
Keep reading for future food and drink happenings.
Sunday, March 7
Starting Sunday, March 7, chefs Bo Porytko of Misfit Snackbar (inside Middleman at 3401 East Colfax Avenue) and Royce Oliveira of To the Wind Bistro (at 3333 East Colfax Avenue) will trade kitchens and characters for Freaky Sunday, a pop-up swap that spans two weekends. On Sunday, March 7, from 3 to 10 p.m., Oliveira will take over Misfit's tiny food-service window inside Middleman and channel Porytko's frankly unhinged and fiercely delicious style as he turns out bar snacks like whiskey-boiled peanuts with five spice, and mole duck nachos dusted with crema powder and fermented black bean powder. Service is first come, first served. Sunday, March 14, will find Porytko cooking a six-course meal with beer pairings in To the Wind's relatively spacious kitchen. For $85, you'll get refined and beautifully plated courses, including tandoori duck à l'orange (curried duck confit, orange chutney, garam masala creamed spinach) and winter Waldorf salad (pickled apples and celery, apple butter, candied walnuts). Seatings are at 5 and 8 p.m. and reservations are required; make them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Check Misfit's Instagram page for upcoming details.
When you think of food prepared in an industrial strip mall that also houses storage units, you might think of a soulless ghost kitchen. But that couldn't be further from the truth for Riceboxx, a Cambodian and Filipino pop-up helmed by chef Pannah Son and baker Lariza Amon. The pair have previously offered Sunday meals for pick-up only out of their commissary kitchen in Aurora — think garlic noodles, lumpia, adobo chicken and fish sauce-glazed wings — but on Sunday, March 7, they'll be operating out of Brass Tacks, 1526 Blake Street, in downtown Denver. The meals (which have been selling out at lightning speed) must be pre-ordered; for March 7 only, get your grub by ordering on the Brass Tacks Tock menu. On the menu are lumpia, Filipino chicken skewers, a Cambodian burger and spicy chicken sandwich (both accompanied by garlic-Sriracha-mayo fries) and ice cream sandwiches made with ube (Filipino purple yam) shortbread ice cream sandwiches. You'll be able to schedule your pick-up at half-hour intervals between 5 and 9 p.m., and can take it to go or eat in at the bar. For future pop-ups, follow Riceboxx on Instagram and be ready to move quickly when it announces an ordering window.
Thursday, March 11
Chef Taj Cooke, who's recently been popping up with his Jamaican cuisine at places like Bruto and Pony Up, is launching a new monthly dinner series at downtown spot French 75, 717 17th Street. He'll be taking over the kitchen — sort of; French 75's owner Frank Bonanno will be turning out food alongside Cooke — on Thursday, March 11, with 5:30 and 8 p.m. seatings. Menu details are still forthcoming, but with just thirty seats available for each time slot, you don't want to sleep on reserving your table; do it now on Tock. There will be six courses and drink pairings from Mythology Distillery (which is suddenly everywhere, all at once — see below). March already scheduled to the max? You can also book your seat for future feasts on Thursday, April 8 (with Natascha Hess of the Ginger Pig and Carrie Baird, formerly of Bar Dough), and Thursday, May 13, (with Jesusio Silva of Misaki Sushi and the upcoming Golden Mill). Find out more on the Supper Club website.
On Thursday, March 11, Mythology Distillery is joining forces with the Crescendo Society, a group of dysfunctional siblings endowed with superpowers and raised by an emotionally distant, demanding father as a vigilante...oh, wait, wrong press release. In any case, the Crescendo Society (which we prefer to think of as a super-secret, under-35, militant cheerleading troupe rather than the "young professionals society" of the Colorado Symphony) will be joining symphony musicians as well as Mythology for a virtual cocktail class with live musical performance at 7 p.m. Purchase your cocktail kit for $35 ($25 for a second kit) and you'll get four ounces of three different spirits, plus the rest of the drink ingredients, the cocktail demo and a chat with musicians after their performance. The deadline to order is Friday, March 5; cocktail kit pick-up is at the distillery's tasting room, 3622 Tejon Street, during regular business hours (4 to 8 p.m.) from Monday, March 8, through Thursday, March 11. Get details and tickets on the Colorado Symphony website.
Tuesday, March 16
Tuesday, March 16, marks twelve months since the first time Denver restaurants were shut down to indoor dining because of COVID-19. On that date, celebrate at least one eatery that's managed to survive the past year: American Elm, 4132 West 38th Avenue, is hosting a Duck COVID dinner. The $85-per-plate meal includes four courses of duck preparations, including deviled duck eggs, seared foie gras with maple gastrique and cherries, duck confit with blood orange jus, and duck egg custard. See the full menu and reserve a spot on Resy.
Sunday, March 21
It's been a long time since any of the famously fancy James Beard dinners were held in a Denver restaurant (and it will probably be a while before any are held again). But on Sunday, March 21, you can join the James Beard Foundation's virtual Taste America event along with nine other major food cities around the country. Denver residents will pick up a three-course meal from Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue, that consists of chef/co-owner Cindhura Reddy's always-fantastic focaccia with ricotta; rabbit confit with saffron cavatelli (a vegetarian option with turmeric-roasted cauliflower is also available); elk tartare; and vanilla and mango custards topped with cardamom-pistachio crumble. Cocktails, wine and Spuntino's housemade amaro will accompany the meal. You'll also get access to online cooking demos and the JBF's national broadcast at 6 p.m. Order your ticket ($95 per person or $175 per pair) on the JBF website.
Wednesday, March 24
On Wednesday, March 24, EatDenver is resuming, ED Talks, its version of TED Talks, after it was canceled in 2020 because of (gestures broadly)…all this. And for the first time ever, the lectures are open not only to restaurant and bar owners and employees, but to the public as well. Log in to Zoom from 9 to 11 a.m. to see six short presentations (just ten minutes each!) from industry insiders and experts. Three speakers have already been announced, with Marcus Samuelsson — familiar from stints on Top Chef Masters as well as his cookbooks and his own show, No Passport Required — headlining. Other topics of conversation include mental health in the restaurant business and how avocado toast is related to anxiety (the $16 price tag might have something to do with it). Find details, including the full lineup as it's announced, and register for the free webcast on EatDenver's website.
Denver's Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center generally hosts its expansive JAAMM (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music) Festival over several months in the fall, with live cultural events across the city. In 2020, of course, that was upended. The silver lining: The fest is going on for a full twelve months (starting last year and well into 2021), and all programming is virtual. On Wednesday, March 24, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, food historian and deeply engaging Instagram presence Michael Twitty will discuss the holiday of Passover. Tickets for the 7 p.m. lecture, $18, are on sale now at the festival's website, where you can also see previous events on demand.
Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Send information to email@example.com.
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