Pajamas, poke, pulque and pictures are on the menu this weekend, but if you're not into any of those, you can still score great deals for Leap Year and savor smooth-as-silk mole. Here are five of the best food and drink happenings in town this weekend, plus plenty more fun through April.
Friday, February 28
Does poke and pulque sound like an uncommon combo? On Friday, February 28, visit the Green Mile, where Dos Luces Brewery and nearby poke purveyor Turtle Boat are teaming up for a five-course beer dinner starting at 7 p.m. The taproom, at 1236 South Broadway, is hosting the feast, which goes well beyond raw fish in a bowl: Pairings include a cheese board with boozy lime agua fresca; braised oxtail and mofongo with pulque; pan-seared tilapia paired with chicha; and panna cotta served with new release jamaica pulque. Visit Dos Luces's website to see the entire menu and purchase your $65 ticket.
Saturday, February 29
The convoluted calendrical contrivance known as Leap Year is upon us again; at least this year it falls on a Saturday — prime time for celebrating with food and drink. Let's start with the poor saps who were born on February 29 and arguably don't reach legal drinking age until they're 84: To make up for your troubles, Spanky's Roadhouse (1800 East Evans Avenue), Reiver's Bar & Grill (1085 South Gaylord Street) and Roadhouse Boulder Depot (2366 Junction Place, Boulder) are all offering a free meal and drink to Leap Day babies. Meanwhile, everyone can enjoy Resolute Brewing Co.'s Leap Beer specials, which are worth taking a trip to the Centennial taproom at 7286 South Yosemite Street: For every full pour you purchase, you'll get a Crowler to go for just $4 (limit — of course — four). Finally, Improper City, 3201 Walnut Street, is hosting a throwback bash celebrating every decade from the 1970s to present day. We're no horologists — we're not even mathematicians — but we're pretty sure four years isn't the same as ten years; nevertheless, you're encouraged to don a costume and show up starting at 7 p.m. for music and drinks from the respective decades (tequila sunrises, Cosmos, Amaretto sours and more). Details are up on the venue's website.
Everyone who's eaten mole knows the heady, fragrant sauce made of chiles and chocolate is addictive — but even the most ambitious home cook can quail when faced with the mile-long list of ingredients and pages of prep required for the recipe. That doesn't leave many options other than restaurant dining or (horror) canned, concentrated mole paste that's probably been sitting on the grocery store shelf since the Nixon administration. But on Saturday, February 29, you can get your mole fix — or get your first taste of the famed Mexican dish — at Re:Vision's mole festival. The community development organization and food co-op, 3800 Morrison Road, is bringing together both pro and home cooks to sample their recipes from 1 to 4 p.m.; you can expect Honduran-style mole, sauce from the owner of local mole powerhouse Tarasco's and mole using cacao from Denver's own Cultura Craft Chocolate. There's no entrance fee, though tasting tickets will run you $10 for six or $25 for 16 on Re:Vision's website, or $2 each at the door.
Dale Carnegie's lesser-known book, How to Irritate Friends and Influence Diners, is no doubt the inspiration for today's modern wave of amateur Instagram shutterbugs. But if you want some pro tips, think about the food photography workshop taking place at Rio Grande, 1525 Blake Street, on Saturday, March 29. From 2 to 4 p.m., enjoy snacks and drinks — but only after you've put a professional photog's tips and tricks to the test. Learn to work angles and lighting to make that enchilada look as sexy, seductive and delicious as she was meant to be, for just $35 on Eventbrite. In the meantime, our best tip for getting fabulous food pics and making sure you still have friends and family willing to dine with you? Always snap your companion's food first, and if they're approaching hangry, tread softly.
Sunday, March 1
This weekend marks the Whiskey Biscuit's third anniversary, and the purveyor of carbs both liquid and solid is celebrating for two whole days. The bar's third annual pajama brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 1; now there's no need to change from your PJs into slightly less comfy but infinitely more socially acceptable yoga pants for the meal. Show in up your nightwear without shame — all we ask is that you slap on some deodorant and brush your teeth. And on Monday, March 2, show up after 3 p.m. for some serious deals: All of the joint's weekday specials will be in effect until close. So expect happy-hour pricing, burger and bourbon deals ($7 for a cheeseburger and fries, $3 for a pour of Benchmark bourbon), half-price wings and whiskey, and an additional 20 percent off for anyone who works in the medical field. Visit the Biscuit's Facebook page for more details, including how to enter for a ten-person happy-hour giveaway.
Keep reading for upcoming food and drink fun....
Wednesday, March 4
With the presidential administration and USDA currently laying siege to their own citizens by preparing to remove approximately 700,000 people currently receiving Federal SNAP (food stamp) benefits, hungry Colorado citizens (who are already less likely to access benefits they're entitled to than those in 42 other states) are at a huge disadvantage. That's why a coalition of over thirty anti-hunger advocates — including Hunger Free Colorado, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting people to food resources and lobbying for legislative change — has created Hunger Action Day on Wednesday, March 4. At 8 a.m. participants will meet at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 1370 Grant Street, for training before relocating to the State Capitol for meetings with legislators. RSVP to the event on its website, and visit HFC's website for more details about the day, including the organization's legislative goals for the year.
Thursday, March 5
The annual kickoff to the Boulder International Film Festival, CineChef, returns on Thursday, March 5, with a literal battle of the sexes (there are knives involved, after all). It's the men versus the women as the chefs go head to head at Boulder's Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street; each team will turn out film-inspired fare, with guests voting on the most scrumptious cinematic bites. Participating chefs include Linda Hampsten Fox (the Bindery), Becca Henry (ChoLon) and Chris Royster (Flagstaff House). Further details and tickets for the 5:30 p.m. event ($100 or $145) are up now on the festival's website.
Sunday, March 8
Celebrate International Women's Day with some of the baddest broads behind the bar and over the broiler as the Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th Street, hosts a female-forward reception and marketplace on Sunday, March 8. Join just a few of Denver's exceptional chefs, bartenders, artists and entrepreneurs from 4 to 7 p.m.; there will be plenty of passed apps from Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class), Jen Jasinski (Ultreia, Rioja and more), Kodi Simkins (the Wolf's Tailor) and Mel Schmidt (Death & Co.) Alex Jump, HB(artender)IC at Death & Co., is also creating a special cocktail for the event. Your ticket, $45 on Two Parts, gets you all you can eat, one cocktail and the opportunity to shop from stylish female-owned businesses. Additional drinks will be available for purchase, with all of the afternoon's profits (excluding marketplace purchases) going to nonprofit girls' development organization Girls, Inc.
Thursday, March 12
A wealth of Denver's A-list restaurants are uniting under one roof on Thursday, March 12, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation at its annual feast, Great Chefs of the West. Starting at 6 p.m., Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, will play host to talent from Death & Co., Mercantile, the Bindery, Dos Santos, American Elm, El Five, Woodie Fisher and over fifteen other restaurants and bars serving their most extravagant bites and beverages. And while tickets aren't cheap at $200, you'd spend that much on Lyft rides alone trying to navigate from one end of town to another to hit up each and every participating eatery. Find out more about the event on the NKF website.
If you want to do good and drink well on Thursday, March 12, but don't much care for the company of humans, drive up to Golden's Foothills Animal Shelter, 580 McIntyre Street, for its Wine & Wags fundraiser. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., the rescue will open its doors to local wineries including Infinite Monkey Theorem and Blanchard Family Wines, blues band the Delta Sonics and fellow animal lovers. While that may sound like too many Homo sapiens to endure in one evening, take heart: There will be plenty of adoptable members of the Canis familiaris and Felis catus species to meet. All proceeds from the $25 tickets (which include six wine tastings and all the animal love you can handle) go to the shelter; get yours now on the shelter's website and get ready for a night of fine wine and furry family members-to-be.
Friday, March 13
The touring whiskey-tasting festival Whisky Extravaganza has become Whiskies of the World in 2020, but otherwise much remains the same about the high-end event that's landing in Denver on Friday, March 13. The dress code, for instance, still encourages female guests to don "blouses and slacks" — so, whiskey-loving women, better raid your mom's wardrobe in search of clothing that no one in Colorado has worn since 1983 (if you can find a vintage pink power suit with padded shoulders and a peplum jacket, all the better). But provided your vestments pass muster at the door, you'll be treated to the same expansive tasting, with more than 200 brands, light appetizers and the chance to register for tasting classes. The event runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons, 1114 14th Street, and tickets ($100 or $150) are on sale now at Whiskies of the World's website. Pro tip: Use code PIGLOVE (don't ask) to save 20 percent at checkout.
Thursday, March 19
City Park's SAME Cafe, 2023 East Colfax Avenue, is celebrating fourteen years in business this year; it's a major accomplishment for any restaurant, made even more impressive because the cozy lunch spot is a nonprofit, donation-based eatery that has never put a price on its menu. Diners pay what they can, either in greenbacks or volunteer hours, and regardless of financial status, everyone enjoys healthy food while being treated with dignity. And in keeping with its mission, the enterprise's annual fundraiser on Thursday, March 19, the So All May Eat Gala, is an egalitarian affair: Attire is "Colorado dressy," which means anything from cargo pants to custom gowns, and while tickets cost $75 (which includes small plates from SAME chefs and students in the cafe's Cook to Work culinary education program; desserts from local sweet shops, including the Inventing Room; a silent auction; and spirits from Laws Whiskey House), there are also pay-what-you-can and volunteer options. The fun runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Space Gallery Annex, 95 South Cherokee Street; find all the details on SAME's website.
Tuesday, March 31
You might think Steamboat Springs is too far to travel for dinner, but when some of the state's best chefs are converging there for a five-course feast for a worthy cause, you should think twice. On Tuesday, March 31, Aurum Steamboat, 811 Yampa Street, is hosting a meal to benefit chef Patrick Ayres of the Periodic Table, who was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer at just 32. A team of mountain chefs from Steamboat and Breckenridge (including Ayres himself) will take on visiting chefs that include Caroline Glover (Annette), Josh Niernberg (Bin 707 Food Bar in Grand Junction) and Alex Seidel (Mercantile & Provision); both Glover and Niernberg were recently announced as semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundations Best Chef Mountain region (Seidel took home the title of Best Chef Southwest in 2018). Diners will receive two dishes in each course — one hot, one cold, both using the same theme ingredient — then vote as a table as to which preparation they prefer. To reserve your spot for this fundraiser, $250, contact organizer Ellen Campbell by phone at 510-301-5200.
Monday, April 27
A woman's place is in the (professional) kitchen, according to Women Cook. The sixteenth annual fundraiser for Work Options for Women, a nonprofit organization providing free culinary training to women, is scheduled for Monday, April 27, and the chef lineup is a veritable who's who of the Denver restaurant scene: Liliana Meyers (Safta), Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel (Spuntino), Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class), Penelope Wong (Yuan Wonton), Caroline Glover (Annette) and many more will be turning out their best bites from 6 to 9 p.m. at EXDO Event Center (1399 35th Street). Tickets ($75 for standing room, $125 for general admission on WOW's website) include all you can eat and drink, plus the satisfaction of knowing you're helping someone on the road to a delicious career.
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