The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Tequilas of all colors are half-off at the Rio on National Tequila Day.EXPAND
Tequilas of all colors are half-off at the Rio on National Tequila Day.
Courtesy Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
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The world is topsy-turvy these days: we're celebrating baseball's opening day in July (the Colorado Rockies will meet the Rangers in Texas), Christmas in mid-summer, fine art on pizza boxes and dinner for two from Uchi for under $100. Thank god there's half-price tequila to help us cope. Here are six food and drink events that have the potential to turn your world upside down this weekend.

Friday, July 24
As far as we're concerned, there's never a bad time to drink tequila (Christmas Eve? , especially if there are tamales in the steamer. The Friday after a week of pointless meetings with micromanaging bosses? Órale. For two months straight while being stuck at home in the midst of a plague? Claro.) The best time to drink the spirit, though, is when it's half price. And so we're highly anticipating Friday, July 24, when all Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant locations will be slashing the prices of tequila pours by 50 percent in honor of National Tequila Day. Peruse the eatery's tequila list and you'll find something at every price point, from $2.50 to $125. Reservations are encouraged — especially when drink deals are this good — and can be made on the Rio's website.

The pretzels are big, but the TVs are bigger at Rhein Haus — which makes it the perfect spot for Rockies fans to watch the home opener.EXPAND
The pretzels are big, but the TVs are bigger at Rhein Haus — which makes it the perfect spot for Rockies fans to watch the home opener.
Brandon Marshall

Among other tragedies and travesties that have unspooled in 2020 is the start of baseball season;  instead of stepping up to the plate in April — with even odds on whether players would be braving rain,  snow or sunshine — the Colorado Rockies's first home opener is scheduled for July 31. Fans can get in the mood on Friday, July 24, when they celebrate the first away game, as restaurants offer long-awaited opening-day specials. Three of note are Rhein Haus (1415 Market Street), which is offering $3 Coors Lights and $10 sausage and Coors combos during the game; Sports Column (1930 Blake Street), which is practically giving away the house with $3 drafts, burgers, hot dogs and shots for every Rockies home run; and the Monkey Barrel (4401 Tejon Street), which has expanded outdoor seating — up to a hundred people — as well as drink specials and the wildly popular Adobo food truck, which serves Filipino and New Mexican cuisine like over-the-top elotes, lumpia and chicken adobo tacos.

Uchi, 2500 Lawrence Street, Ballpark's heralded and hyped sushi spot, was never an easy place to land a table; between its popularity and its price point, it wasn't exactly an every-night joint for most Denverites. Now it's even tougher to get a reservation, thanks to limited seating because of COVID-19. But starting Friday, July 24, diners can get dinner for two to go for just $98, or $78 for vegetarians, every night of the week. The seven-course prix fixe menu includes your choice of maki (spicy tuna or ham and eggs); tuna crudo with poblano, apple and chile; albacore and sea bream nigiri; and seared Wagyu served with burnt onion jus and grilled mushrooms — plus a bottle of pinot noir or sauvignon blanc. Reserve your spread (referred to as the "omakase for two" package on Uchi's website) up to a week in advance, then pick it up during regular takeout hours, which start at 4 p.m. daily.

Saturday, July 25
2020 has been such a slog, you'd be forgiven for feeling like the holidays must be just around the corner (April alone consisted of approximately 219 days). And while the weather is, oddly, not cooperating — insisting on sunshine and summer showers instead of snowstorms and subzero temps — you can still celebrate Christmas in July at Highland bakery Happy Bakeshop, 3621 West 32nd Avenue. On Saturday, July 25, stock up on holiday favorites like candy cane cupcakes, red and green macarons, iced sugar cookies and gingerbread men — all without having to turn on your oven. The best part? No one's expecting presents, so you get the whole haul to yourself.

Pizzeria Locale's packaging is as pretty as the pie inside.EXPAND
Pizzeria Locale's packaging is as pretty as the pie inside.
Courtesy Pizzeria Locale

Sunday, July 26
Sunday, July 26, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, government, public spaces, transportation and more. To celebrate, Pizzeria Locale is donating 33 percent of all orders placed on its website to Access Gallery, a nonprofit organization devoted to creating opportunities for people with disabilities to access and benefit from the arts. Make Sunday supper easier than ever by ordering high-quality, individual pies from any of Locale's three Denver locations (Broadway, West Highland and Stapleton); our favorite is the Mais, an oddball combo of mozz, crème fraîche, ham, corn and garlic oil, though there are plenty of more traditional options. In addition, your dinner will come in a box adorned with artwork by Javier Flores that might make you think twice about crumpling the cardboard and tossing it into the recycling bin without a second thought. Find out more about the art (including the Braille inscription on the box) on the Gallery's website.

Chef Taylor West has been bringing sushi to housebound Denverites since March with live-streamed sushi-rolling classes, and since Colorado Sake Co. reopened in May, he's been shilling sashimi, maki and nigiri at its taproom. But come Sunday, July 26, West is welcoming diners with a five-course menu that focuses on a completely different style of Japanese cuisine: kushiyaki, or skewered and grilled meat. Denver Comedy Lounge, 3559 Larimer Street, will host three seatings — at noon, 2 and 4 p.m.; the menu includes wings in a strawberry and spicy chile glaze; miso salmon with Japanese curry; and koji-marinated steak served with togarashi potatoes and garlic-soy caramel. Secure tickets ($60 for a table for two or $100 for a table for four) on Eventbrite.

Keep reading for future food and drink happenings....

Monday, July 27
Toasting with mezcal can be a celebration of life, an honoring of those who have died, or a lifting of the palate before a good feast. Experience all three at Adelitas' Mezcal Vago dinner on Monday, July 27. Mezcal Vago's master distiller, Aquilino Garcia Lopez, passed away earlier this year, so the Mexican eatery's separate mezcal bar, La Doña, at 13 East Louisiana Avenue, is honoring his life's work with five of the distillery's products and food to pair with each one. Enjoy watermelon salad, tostada de aguachile, sope de panza (pork belly), snapper a la Veracruzana, and chocolate enchiladas, all while sipping Vago's Elote, Cuixe, Mexicano, Tepextate and Tobala mezcals from specific years. The dinner is $75 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 303-778-1294. "Preference is given to parties of four due to COVID-19, although we will try our best to accommodate everyone," the restaurant says.

Saturday, August 1
As the summer draws on, it seems everything restaurant-, bar- or booze-related shifts underfoot with dizzying speed — and farmers' markets are no exception. The latest for the popular Union Station Farmers' Market, 1701 Wynkoop Street,  is the introduction of curbside pick-up. Shoppers who can't snag an in-person shopping spot (or just don't want to leave the air-conditioned comfort of their car) can order between 8 a.m. Tuesday and noon Thursday on the market's website and will be assigned a pick-up time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Tuesday, August 4
It's hard to launch a new business under any circumstances, but it's even more daunting during these (say it with us, all together now) unprecedented times. And while plenty of people have taken advantage of the past few months of reduced — or no — work and loads of time at home to crank their creativity up to 11, there's a difference between fine-tuning your hot sauce recipe and actually getting a share of that big salsa money. So Colorado Proud is hosting a series of free Zoom workshops dedicated to the down-and-dirty details of running a brand. Tuesday August 4, brings a conversation with grocery product buyers about how to get store placement; Tuesday, August 11, is a discussion about how to grow your baby business; and Tuesday, August 25, tackles how to strengthen your brand for greater visibility and appeal. Each session runs from noon to 1 p.m. and requires attendees to register in advance; do so at the Colorado Proud website.

Kelly Whitaker (left, of Basta, Dry Storage and the Wolf's Tailor) is teaching a class on heirloom-grain pan pizza on August 16 during the Flatirons Food Film Festival.EXPAND
Kelly Whitaker (left, of Basta, Dry Storage and the Wolf's Tailor) is teaching a class on heirloom-grain pan pizza on August 16 during the Flatirons Food Film Festival.
Mark Antonation

Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16
October's Flatirons Food Film Festival has officially been moved online, and so have the events leading up to it. Instead of in-person fundraisers — which are replete with boozy shmoozing that has a way of torpedoing everyone's best social distancing intentions — the Fest is hosting a series of ten Zoom cooking classes from Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16, where you'll learn how to turn out evergreen classics like sourdough bread and the perfect steak, as well as more esoteric topics like the folklore surrounding shiitake mushrooms and how to make shio koji (a fermented Japanese marinade) and tahchin (an Iranian rice dish with a golden, crunchy crust). Each ninety-minute class costs $30 (or buy all ten for $250); visit the Fest's Facebook page for the complete schedule, and Eventbrite to purchase your tickets.

Know of an event or activity that belongs here? Send information to cafe@westword.com.

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