It's a big, boozy weekend, with whisky from around the world, beer on skis and twice the bottomless brunch drinks making appearances between a pizza party and a donation drive. If you're out and about, you're sure to find some tasty event to tickle your fancy And, oh, wash your hands. (As cancellations occur because of coronavirus concerns, we will add notices to listed events rather than remove them from the calendar.)
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.
What's better than free pizza? Not much. There's a reason the gambit's been used to lure students to school-sponsored events and placate disgruntled employees for decades — and this weekend, you don't even need to put up with your insufferable boss and greedy co-workers to get in on the action. Starting Friday, March 13, Crush Pizza & Tap, 1200 West 38th Avenue, is celebrating five years in business with three days of deals and diversions. Purchase any drink and get a free slice on Friday (come early; the giveaway only lasts until 250 slices have been doled out), then prepare your pie hole for a full day of events on Saturday, including free birthday cake, Rice Krispie treats all day, a kids' DIY pizza club at 11 a.m. ($12), a spicy wing challenge at noon, and a raffle to win a year of free pie at 4 p.m. Finally, fill up on green eggs and ham breakfast pizza — we're approaching St. Patrick's Day, after all — at Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the pizzeria's Facebook page for details.
Saturday, March 14
NOTE: This event has been canceled since it was scheduled at a Denver Public Library, which is currently not hosting public gatherings as a coronavirus precaution. This week, the GrowHaus, the nonprofit community farm and market that's served the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood out of a cheery, brightly painted building on York Street for a decade, was forced to close the building indefinitely due to structural issues. While the on-site growing operation and market are currently closed, other operations — including classes, weekly food box distribution and the organization's annual seed swap — are carrying on as usual. So on Saturday, March 14, the GrowHaus' seed swap will be held at the Valdez-Perry Branch Library, 4690 Vine Street, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event has been significantly abbreviated due to the last-minute change of venue (there won't be any live music or food), but you'll still have the opportunity to attend a seed-starting workshop at 1:30 p.m. and to trade organic and heirloom seeds with other gardeners. Take a look at the GrowHaus' Facebook page for details, and show up to support one of the most impactful and dynamic food nonprofits in the city.
NOTE: The town of Frisco posted this cancellation message on its website: "BrewSki has been cancelled out of an abundance of caution and based on guidance from Summit County Health. Full refunds will be issued in the next two days. Wash your hands, get outside for some fun, wash your hands again, and see you in 2021!" Despite the delightfully warm weather we've been experiencing the last few weeks, it's still winter in Colorado, and that means skiing. Enjoy some spring skiing and suds on Saturday, March 14, as the town of Frisco holds its fifth annual BrewSki, a beer festival on skis. The party kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Frisco Nordic Center, 616 Recreation Way, where you'll take to the trails, stopping at eight brewery tents for refreshments along the course. The tents close down at 4 p.m., but but don't worry: The tasting continues until 5 p.m. at the fest's after-party. Costumes are (forcefully!) encouraged; find out more and register ($30 online, $35 on site the day of) on the town's website.
Sunday, March 15
Somewhat lost in the panic surrounding the arrival of the coronavirus in Colorado is a central truth (and it's not that washing your hands with vodka is a legitimate alternative to hand sanitizer): Older people and those with chronic illnesses are most likely to bear the brunt of the illness. These are the same individuals who may have difficulty making it to the grocery store to stock up on healthy food, so the Action Center, a Jefferson County nonprofit, is hosting a food drive in anticipation of increased demand on Sunday, March 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. Stop by the donation center at 8755 West 14th Avenue in Lakewood with non-perishable food items (peanut butter, hearty soup, cereal, canned fruit, and pasta and sauce are specifically requested) to help stock the food pantry's shelves so that people who are most at risk will have resources if they become infected. Now, doesn't that feel better than dashing from store to store in a panic searching for toilet paper? Find out more on the Action Center's Facebook page.
If you're unwilling to practice any significant form of social distancing (especially when it comes to brunch), at least make sure your body is awash in prosecco (which won't ward off a virus, but may calm your anxiety for the morning). Sarto's, 2900 West 25th Avenue, is helping you with this mission every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of March with its BOGO deal on bottomless mimosas and bellinis. For $18, you'll get not one, but two flutes to be filled with bubbly and juices over and over and over again. Visit Sarto's website for details.
Keep reading for upcoming food and drink fun....
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 wine provided by Wines off Wynkoop), 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.
Saturday, March 21
NOTE: These events have been canceled as a precaution during the coronavirus state of emergency. Italy has prosciutto and Spain has jamón ibérico, both of which are sought after and savored by discerning Stateside diners. But America has its own version of cured pork — country ham — and Allan Benton, of Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, is one of the country's foremost purveyors of pig so succulent you won't let your mom anywhere near it for fear she'll egregiously overcook it come Easter dinner. And while you usually have to order the goods from Tennessee, on Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, March 22, the hams are arriving in Denver for a lavish Allan Benton tribute dinner and a casual meet and greet. Saturday night, Acorn, inside the Source at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is hosting a three course, family-style meal with dishes like cornmeal lavash with pimento cheese, pickled shrimp with ham cracklings and peach vinegar pie; get tickets for a 6 or 7 p.m. seating ($100 without booze, $145 with) on Eventbrite. The next afternoon, join Benton at Isabel (also at the Source) from 2 to 4 p.m. for a less fussy but no less flavorful event that includes bacon-washed cocktails, more bites from Acorn, and stations for both shaved ham and caviar; tickets are $65 on Eventbrite.
Tuesday, March 31
NOTE: This event has been canceled as of March 13. On Tuesday, March 31, the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, will host the fifth annual Eat Colorado Food Show, where food buyers and producers can connect. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., approximately 100 Colorado growers, food and beverage makers and distributors — including Ela Family Farms, ACRES at Warren Tech, Cooper's Small Batch Hot Sauce, Happy Leaf Kombucha, Wood's High Mountain Distillery, Polidori Sausage and Strava Craft Coffee — will be on hand to discuss their products. In addition, expect speakers talking about the Colorado grain industry and the increasingly popular "zero proof" beverages and gathering spots. Attendance is free and open to the public; register on the event website.
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, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, April 27
NOTE: This event has been postponed due to the coronavirus state of emergency. It will be rescheduled for a later date. 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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