Things to Do

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The Big Eat promises food and photo ops.
The Big Eat promises food and photo ops. Danielle Lirette

Too broke to go on vacation this summer? You can still hit Mexico twice this week — plus Vietnam, Japan and Naples — with food and drink events around town drawing inspiration from international locales. More of a homebody? Check out everything independent Denver restaurants have to offer at the Big Eat. Either way, you'll find something delicious.

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The sauce on the left is nuoc cham, and it will definitely leave your kid's fingers sticky.
Mark Antonation
Monday, June 17
Desperate parents frantically scrambling for something to occupy their kids on Monday, June 17, will want to check out the Ross-Broadway Library's Sticky Fingers Cooking Class from 3 to 4 p.m. Instructors will introduce little ones from five to twelve to Vietnamese cuisine, making nuoc cham (the ubiquitous  tangerine-colored dipping sauce that's a little sweet, a little salty and a little fishy) and tra dao (peach iced tea). Kids will learn how to chop, measure and mix, so not only will they be full when they get home, but you can put them to work helping you make dinner. The class is free, but you'll need to register with the library, 33 East Bayaud Avenue, at 720-865-0135. Take a look at the branch's Facebook page for more info.

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Get these guys for just one Harriet Tubman on June 18 — International Sushi Day.
Courtesy Bamboo Sushi
Tuesday, June 18
Take a trip to the Far East on Tuesday, June 18 — it's much closer than you think. Bamboo Sushi, 2715 17th Street, is offering its Green Machine roll (tempura long beans and green onions, avocado and cilantro-chile aioli) with albacore plus a glass of Bamboo sake for just $20 to celebrate International Sushi Day. It's a $9 savings from the regular menu price, and a seat on the eatery's serene patio will transport you to an elegant Japanese garden.

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Marco's Coal-Fired is going vegan on June 19.
Danielle Lirette
Wednesday, June 19
Mezcal aficionados who haven't been able to get a reservation for Adelitas' popular One Night in Oaxaca dinners have double the chances to snag their seat at the table for this week's edition. Both of the restaurant's locations are hosting the event: Littleton on Wednesday, June 19, and Denver on Thursday, June 20. The $75, five-course menu includes a Casa Cortés Mezcal cocktail with each dish; we're most looking forward to the squash-blossom tlacoyo, beef ribs in guajillo and ancho chile sauce, and duck confit with parsnip purée and olive relish. Reservations are required for the 6:30 p.m. meal; make yours at 303-778-1294, and find the entire menu here.

The Ballpark outpost of Marco's Coal-Fired, 2129 Larimer Street, is courting plant-based eaters on Wednesday, June 19, with its first-ever vegan dinner. For a mere $35 — including tax and tip — you'll get balsamic-glazed mushroom crostini, tomato soup, salad, a choice of vegan pies (options include eggplant caponata; caccio e pepe with cauliflower béchamel, asparagus and mozz; arugula pesto with pine nuts; and roasted onions, peppers and mozz), Kahlúa cake with coconut ice cream, and a cocktail. Buy your ticket and select your seating time (6:30, 7 or 7:30 p.m.) on the pizzeria's website.

Thursday, June 20
Get ready for the Big Eat, the biggest celebration of local independent eateries in town. Over sixty restaurants, breweries and distilleries will gather in the outdoor galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Champa streets, to put out unlimited food and drink pairings that reflect Denver's true food scene, with nary a campy Rocky Mountain oyster or national chain in sight. Instead, there will be mainstays that have been upping Denver's game for decades (Vesta, Duo, TAG) as well as newcomers bringing inspiration from across the globe (Liberati, Cirque Kitchen). While national chains are finally starting to look to our city as a viable market, we've had everything we need here all along — and the Big Eat proves it. Tickets are $65; get them and find out more at eatdenver.com.

Friday, June 21
Boulder's Arcana, 909 Walnut Street, is importing alumni from Noma Mexico and Arca Tulum to Colorado as it prepares to head south of the border on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, for La Arcana. The kitchen will serve a modern, four-course Mexican menu from 4 to 11 p.m., with dishes like avocado salad with hoja santa and masa mayonnaise, barbecued lamb with pomegranate salsa and housemade tortillas (courtesy of restaurateur/chef Kelly Whitaker and Noble Grain Alliance's heirloom corn) and watermelon paletas flavored with lime, chile, salt and mezcal. Mexican wine and a special cocktail menu will also be available. Dinner will run you $65; book your table on Arcana's website before tables vanish like your resolve not to fill up on bread when faced with freshly made tortillas.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation