This weekend kicks off the first-ever fall Denver Restaurant Week, and also includes such tasty activities as coffee classes, a casual beer dinner, a bake sale and girl power (though not of the Brit-pop variety).
After you've digested all that, keep reading for future food and drink happenings in the days leading up to Turkey Day (see our list of Thanksgiving deals here).
Friday, November 13
Surprise! Denver Restaurant Week is here. No, February hasn't snuck up on us quite yet. Visit Denver has created 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 (including 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) and menus at the $25, $35 and $45 price points. 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, or order your meal to go.
Saturday, November 14
You need a cup or three of joe to get you up in the morning, right? Us, too. And apparently so does everyone else in Denver, because Saturday, November 14, boasts a pair of coffee-centric events. Show up at 49 West 11th Avenue at 8 a.m. (relax — there will be coffee) for a brew-your-own open house hosted by Roam Bravely, a small-producer coffee subscription service based in Denver. The open house runs until 1 p.m., and you can sample the brews and hear about upcoming brewing classes offered by the company. Then hit up Copper Door Coffee Roasters not too far away (900 West First Avenue) for an introductory class on coffee roasting from 9 to 10 a.m. Tickets for the class, $25, are on sale now on Eventbrite.
On Saturday, November 14, Englewood market/garden/cafe Grow & Gather, 900 East Hampden Avenue, is hosting a casual and ultra-local beer dinner — inside its own greenhouse. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests will nosh on comforting fall faves like butternut squash soup and roasted Brussels sprouts, bacon vinaigrette salad, sliders and falafel, all paired with brews from local outfits 4 Noses, Outer Range, Burns Family, Avery and Black Shirt. The pairings have been put together by Tim Ryan, just a regular guy who really, really likes beer (he's gamely described as a beer enthusiast, consumer and unpaid promoter in the event description). Tickets, $150, are on sale now on Eventbrite, where you can also find the full menu and pairings.
Sunday, November 15
Improper City, the food-truck roundup at 3201 Walnut Street, is hosting a fall bake sale on Sunday, November 15, from 2 to 5 p.m. After staggering out of brunch, you're sure to need some carbs to soak up all those bottomless Bloody Marys, so hit up the patio for hand pies from Bubby Goober's (with a name like that, as they say, the flavors like salted caramel apple, bourbon pear with chai glaze and cherry-amaretto have to be good); maple nut, chocolate sprinkle and pumpkin cheesecake doughnuts from Pandemic Donuts; cupcake jars from Flick of the Whisk in pumpkin chocolate chip, funfetti, Oreo and more; and Flourshop cookies in too many flavors to list — though we will shout out lemon-lavender, brown-butter oatmeal and pecan and double peanut butter varieties. Entry is free, but please RSVP on Eventbrite.
The Spice Girls may have sold out when they announced that 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.
Keep reading for more tasty happenings beyond this weekend...
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 means "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 (beverage pairings are available starting at $6 for cocktail and sherry pours and $38 for bottles of wine). 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.
It's pie season! (Really, it's pie season all year round, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are the most socially acceptable times of year to be so effusive.) On Wednesday, November 18, fellow pie enthusiasts City Bakery and Denver Beer Co. are teaming up for a virtual beer and pie pairing. For $50, you'll get three six-packs (of Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch, Pretzel Ambassador Amber Lager and Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Porter) to pair with three pie flavors (mixed berry, pecan and pumpkin). You won't, sadly, get three nine-inch pies — but you will get one one-third of a full-sized pie in each flavor (and you can always upgrade with a second Frankenpie for $25). Place your order on Denver Beer Co.'s website, then pick up your haul between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at either DBC taproom: 1695 Platte Street or 5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada.
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.
Saturday, November 21
Take in dinner and a show without ever leaving the house — except to pick up your dinner, if you live outside DiFranco's delivery area. On Saturday, November 21, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra is streaming a 2017 performance of Italian composer Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome. The free event begins on Zoom at 7 p.m., when restaurant owner and namesake Ryan DiFranco logs on before the show to discuss the red, white and pink wines he's chosen to pair with the performance. Pre-order your vino (each bottle comes with an appetizer and rings in at $30 or less) for pick-up at 955 Lincoln Street or delivery starting Sunday, November 15, on DiFranco's website; sandwiches and the eatery's excellent pasta entrees will also be available for purchase. Visit Eventbrite to register.
Sunday, November 22
Go loca(vore) on November 22 by buying your Sunday night spread from two small Denver producers: Sfoglina Hand Milled Colorado Pastas and Moon Raccoon Baking Co. No actual ringtails will be cooked up for the takeout and finish-at-home dinner, which includes handmade mafaldine (ribbon-like dried pasta), Bolognese sauce, sourdough focaccia and yuzu-cornmeal cookies. Dinner is $25 per person (pre-order on Sfoglina's website by Wednesday, November 18), and your feast will be available for pick-up at Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street, between 2 and 5 p.m., where you can snag a bottle of wine to accompany the food. Take a look at Moon Raccoon or Sfoglina's Instagram pages for more details.
Wednesday, November 25
You love seltzer, which probably means you're in the demographic currently getting all the blame for Colorado COVID cases skyrocketing. Stick it to those self-righteous Gen-Xers by staying home on Wednesday, November 25 (otherwise known as Drinksgiving) by both indulging in your love of hard seltzer and staying home and — in a turn of phrase that makes us green with envy that we didn't coin it — "seltzering in place" with the 2020 Fizz Fight festival. Early-bird pricing for both GA and VIP party packs are currently in effect; for $40 or $50 (regularly $55 or $65), you'll get sixteen seltzers plus a hard kombucha for VIPers, delivery of your booze, and access to a 7 p.m. live stream where you can vote for your faves and play drinking games during interviews with a lineup of C-list reality TV "personalities" (drink every time someone uses the word "influencer"). Visit Fizz Fight's website for details and tickets.
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.