You can expect beautifully plated starters at Blackbelly's Farm to Feast dinner.EXPAND
You can expect beautifully plated starters at Blackbelly's Farm to Feast dinner.
Courtesy Blackbelly

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Temperatures are sizzling, and meat will be too this weekend — whether it's of the barbecued, barbacoa, lamb or vegan varieties. Here are six of the best meat (and meatless!) events for the next few days; keep reading for some fun food happenings to put on your calendar for the weeks ahead.

The Blackbelly Butcher team breaks down a whole Buckner Farm lamb.EXPAND
The Blackbelly Butcher team breaks down a whole Buckner Farm lamb.
Mark Antonation

Friday, July 26
If you're into Texas-style barbecue (and who isn't these days?), you won't want to miss this upcoming event at barbecue supply purveyor Proud Souls BBQ & Provisions. On Friday, July 26, the shop is hosting Texas Monthly barbecue editor (now, there's an enviable job description) Daniel Vaughn in a "’Que & A" with Denver's own barbecue expert, food historian and James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller. Miller will grill Vaughn on Texas barbecue and his books, including The Prophets of Smoked Meat. A VIP reception kicks off at 5:30 p.m., with the doors open for general admission at 6 p.m. The experts at Proud Souls will provide smoky bites, and there will also be book signings. Pick up tickets, starting at $25, on the Proud Souls website. If you want to double up on barbecue, there are also a few seats left for a 1 p.m. "Burnt Offerings" lunch at Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que (2387 South Downing Street). Vaughn and Miller will both be in attendance, and proceeds from the $60 tickets will be donated to the Colorado Council of Churches. Get your tickets on the CCC website.

Boulder's Blackbelly Butcher Shop, 1606 Conestoga Street, is partnering with its main lamb supplier, Buckner Family Farm (also located in Boulder county), for discussion and dinner focused on local meats on Friday, July 26. Blackbelly's Farm to Feast event starts at 5:30 p.m. and — in addition to appetizers and a family-style dinner — includes a discussion between chef Hosea Rosenberg and rancher Clint Buckner about how the animals are raised, along with a butchery demo. While carnivores who prefer to buy their chicken in the form of nuggets and their fish in the form of fingers may be unnerved by this "know your animal, know your farmer" approach to raising and slaughtering dinner, it's essential to becoming a mindful meat eater. Book your seat for $90 (includes tax, tip and two drinks) on Blackbelly's website.

Liberati is hosting a circus as colorful as its exterior on July 27.EXPAND
Liberati is hosting a circus as colorful as its exterior on July 27.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, July 27
If you're vegan, you won't be limited to salad this weekend — at least not if you attend VegFest Colorado, which is putting on its annual two-day affair at Broomfield's 1STBANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28. Nearly 150 food, home and clothing vendors will be there, as well as lectures by authors, medical doctors, chefs and even an appearance by Patrik Baboumian, who held the title of "Strongest Man in Germany" in 2011, the same year he went vegan (so, not the guy you want to be around when you wear your "Meat is murder — tasty, tasty murder" T-shirt). The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and tickets are available on the VegFest website for $10 (they're $12 at the door).

Boulder might be known for bougie bites (Corrida, Arcana, Frasca), but not everyone in the People's Republic wants to sit down at white tablecloths for a simple Saturday afternoon meal. Enter the town's Taco Fest, which is taking over Foothills Community Park, 800 Cherry Avenue, on Saturday, July 27. From noon to 8 p.m., guests can feast on decidedly down-to-earth street food — no matter how many crema squiggles it sports, the taco remains at heart a working man's meal, and will always be best in its simplest iteration — as well as beer, bands, luchadores and tequila (if you spring for VIP tickets). Tickets run $20 to $50 on Eventbrite, with the littlest comedores (age twelve and under) getting in for free.

If there's anywhere in town a traveling circus wagon filled with costumes and curiosities seems right at home, it's on the wide-open flagstone patio of Liberati Restaurant & Brewery, 2403 Champa Street. The enormous courtyard fountain is the perfect backdrop for aerial performances, contortionists, jugglers and stilt walkers, and on Saturday, July 27, Zabiti Circus is pulling up to the Curtis Park location from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. for a free show that includes circus workshops, a neighborhood talent show and live music. Take in the magical wagon by sipping the brewery's equally magical beer/wine hybrids, which are like nothing else being brewed in Denver. Find out more about the circus on Zabiti's website.

The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 requires bonded whiskey to be aged for four years; Laws's newest bourbon is aged for six.EXPAND
The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 requires bonded whiskey to be aged for four years; Laws's newest bourbon is aged for six.
Courtesy Laws Whiskey House

Sunday, July 28
Is older better? Maybe (Cheddar and children), maybe not (gender-based attitudes and leftovers). But in the world of whiskey, age is optimal. On Sunday, July 28, Laws Whiskey House is upping the ante by releasing a new Six-Year Bonded Bourbon to replace its Four-Year Bonded Bourbon. The release party at the distillery, 1420 South Acoma Street, runs from 1 to 5 p.m.; get there promptly, because the first hundred bottles sold will come with a limited-edition glass. Also on hand: cocktails classes every hour, whiskey and chocolate pairings, live music and the Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que truck. Get more info on the Laws Whiskey House Facebook page.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Acreage hosts the second Heritage Fire event this summer.EXPAND
Acreage hosts the second Heritage Fire event this summer.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, August 11
If you missed June's Heritage Fire event in Snowmass, you've got a mulligan, because on Sunday, August 11, the organizer, Cochon555, is hosting an encore presentation at Stem Ciders' Acreage, 1380 Horizon Drive in Lafayette. Whether it was the timing of the event or the your inability to get mountain lodging during Aspen Food & Wine that derailed your desire to feast on whole beasts roasted over open flame, you've got a second chance to enjoy expansive views and delicious food, wine and craft beer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets ($150 to $200) are on sale now on Cochon's website, where the participating chefs should be posted soon. What we're hoping to see (in addition to the smoke that definitely signals fire)? Some of Colorado's skillful female chefs rounding out the all-male lineup that was our only complaint about the June event.

Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.EXPAND
Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by thirty of the city's top cantinas (Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Los Chingones,  Kachina Cantina), taquerias (El Aguila Azteca, Antojitos La Poblanita, El Coco Pirata) and food trucks (El Moreno, Taco Block, Pico Arepa), and even the odd grocery store and sandwich shop (Carniceria Aaliyah, Torta Grill). Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.

2018's BrunchFest drew fans of sweet and savory breakfast (and sunny centerpieces) to Civic Center Park.EXPAND
2018's BrunchFest drew fans of sweet and savory breakfast (and sunny centerpieces) to Civic Center Park.

Sunday, August 25
Over 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with over twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.

Okonomiyaki, a cross between an omelet, a pancake and a pizza.EXPAND
Okonomiyaki, a cross between an omelet, a pancake and a pizza.
Mark Antonation

Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28
Den Corner knows how to throw a party, and its annual rooftop party and fundraiser only gets better with age. What started out in 2016 with a handful of chefs flown in from Japan has morphed into even more festivities, with twenty Japanese chefs hopping the pond to raise funds for Colorado's We Don't Waste and southern Japan's Kumamoto Castle Earthquake Relief Fund. This year, local chefs Carrie Baird, Ian Wortham, Caroline Glover, Dana Rodriguez, Elise Wiggins, Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly, Alon Shaya and more will join the shindig on August 27 and 28; beer, wine, cocktails and sake will be flowing, while ramen, hand rolls and Japanese street food will be plentiful. Tickets for the party, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. both nights on the roof of the Den Corner parking garage at East Florida Avenue and Pearl Street, are $90 (includes three drink tickets), $110 (includes five drink tickets), or $135 (VIP early admission at 5 p.m., plus five drink tickets), and can be purchased on Sushi Den's website, along with a complete list of participating chefs and menu details. As with everything manned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the party generally sells out, so don't delay in guaranteeing your entry.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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