Two longtime Denver traditions mark this weekend: the Smoking of the Weed and the Running of the Cherry Creek. There are plenty of other things going on, too, some of which won't even require to you to light up or lace up. Here are eight of the best food and drink events over the next three days, as well as more dates to mark on your culinary calendar.
Friday, April 20
We've written about Austin-based sushi bar Uchi's expansion to Denver before. And while we may not be on the edge of our seats over another culinary import descending on the Mile High City to universal fangirling while simultaneously overshadowing excellent local options, there's no doubt that diners can't get enough of the hype. Make up your own mind at two Uchi pop-ups at the Source, 3350 Brighton Boulevard. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 20, Uchi apps will be passed at RiNo Yacht Club, while hometown-hero bartender McLain Hedges mixes drinks. The event is free, with a cash bar, but reservations at eventbrite.com are required. And on Saturday, April 21, Uchi will offer a seven-course dinner with cocktail pairings for $95 at the Source; spots are still available for the 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. seatings, but they're going fast, also at eventbrite.com.
If you care about 4/20, you've probably already got plans for the day that will render you incapable of appreciating fine dining this evening. That's why TAG, 1441 Larimer Street, is lowering the sophistication of its usual menu at the same time it's elevating the usual munchies. The 420 Dinner will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, with fancy versions of your favorite midnight snacks: Think Flamin' Hot Cheetos fried pickles; a haute Hot Pocket stuffed with lobster; tater tots topped with lamb ragout and dates; and a Ho Ho made with hazelnuts, satsuma oranges and dacquoise. Reserve your seat, $74.20 (of course), by calling 303-996-9985.
Saturday, April 21
Rise and shine, girls and boys! Despite its unfortunate proximity to 4/20, Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, kicks off bright and early, as Twist & Shout opens its doors at the eye-rubbing hour of 8 a.m. This matters because 1) vinyl is the only way to listen to music, man, and 2) the sooner you snag some records, the sooner you can head over to Avanti Food & Beverage and start drinking. From 2 to 7 p.m. a slew of special Dogfish Head beers will be on tap (including 2013 Rhizing Bines imperial IPA, 2016 World Wide Stout, and both 2015 and 2018 120 Minute IPA ), and if you purchased a record at Twist & Shout, you'll get $3 off your first pint of 60 Minute IPA or SeaQuench Ale. You'll also get the chance to win a limited-edition Crosley record player as well as one of just a hundred 7" pressings of Wayne Coyne's The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon; find out more at Dogfish Head's website.
For a mellower day (and one that will satisfy your desire to sleep in and sleep off any residual munchies), learn to make pasta like a nonna at Palizo Italiano's pasta-making class on Saturday, April 21. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., chef Alvaro Granados will transform the kitchen at 1472 South Pearl Street into a hands-on classroom to teach you how to transform flour, water and eggs into perfect al dente noodles. The class ($65) includes lunch, pasta to take home, and a wealth of knowledge that would make Lidia Bastianich proud. Reserve your spot by calling 720-379-8595 or emailing info@PalizoDenver.com.
The Denver Gluten-Free and Allergy-Friendly Expo will fill the National Western Complex from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, and again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. For $5 to $35, you can sample gluten-free products, study more than 100 brands from around the country, and listen to educational lectures. Find out more and get tickets here.
Sunday, April 22
Tired of the tedious trek to your standard brunch destination for the same eggs and bacon dishes you've had every Sunday for the past six weeks? Fish N Beer, 3510 Larimer Street, is usually locked up tight during brunch hours, but this Sunday, April 22, the crew will offer a one-day-only brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. While the normally seafood-heavy fish house won't serve an entirely aquatic brunch, you'll be able to fill up on Potato N Lox (kind of like hash browns with thin-sliced smoked salmon) or Octopus N Avocado toast with braised tomatoes and scallions. For something more fowl than fish, there will be the Dirty Bird Benedict, which turns out to be buttermilk biscuits topped with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese and habanero Hollandaise. And while you'll have to spring for your own entrees and drinks, the restaurant will pass out complimentary house-baked sweet treats and pastries.
So you're registered for that Denver tradition, the Cherry Creek Sneak. Before you brave the morass of construction and lousy parking that is Cherry Creek (especially on a weekend with a major event), you'd better plan how you're going to make it out alive before you dehydrate or starve to death. Not to worry: The Cherry Creek Beer Garden and Moxy Bar, 240 Josephine Street, are giving 20 percent off food and drinks to racers (or walkers; we don't judge) all day Sunday, April 22. So make sure you fortify yourself and replace all those electrolytes before you battle the walking dead to get out of the ’hood.
The Slow Food Nations festival is returning to Denver this July, but food fans eagerly awaiting that event may not realize that Slow Food Denver puts on events throughout the year. On Sunday, April 22, the chapter is celebrating Earth Day with Earth Day Dig In at Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, 3200 Larimer Street. For $25, guests will hear a presentation from John Coykendall, master gardener at Tennessee's Blackberry Farm; see a screening of the documentary Deeply Rooted: John Coykendall's Journey to Save our Seeds; dine on a lunch of New Orleans-style red beans and rice and Frozen Matter ice cream; and witness a seed-saving demo from Seeds Trust, an organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture through maintaining heirloom, open-pollinated seeds. Get your tickets at eventbrite.com.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Thursday, April 26
The 24th annual Dining Out for Life is just around the corner. On Thursday, April 26, more than 230 Denver and Boulder restaurants and breweries will donate 25 percent of their sales to Project Angel Heart, an organization that prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, so you can enjoy a great meal while doing a good deed. Plan ahead by making a reservation at one of the participating eateries, some of which will donate a percentage of bar sales, as well. Visit the Dining Out for Life website for a list of all restaurants taking part.
Sunday, April 29
The world is full of great rivalries: Broncos vs. Raiders, Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton, Roadrunner vs. Wile E. Coyote and, of course, East vs. West and Denver vs. Boulder. The latter two will be decided definitively on Sunday, April 29, with Rumble in the Rockies. The Riverside, 1724 Broadway in Boulder, will host an Iron Chef-style cook-off, with a team representing Boulder and Western cuisine (helmed by Aracana's Kyle Mendenhall) facing off against chefs from Denver repping Eastern cuisine (led by Ryan Gorby of Cho77). Each team will have an hour to prepare two dishes, after which they will be tasted and judged by audience members and professional eaters alike. After the showdown, you'll be treated to a screening of the Chinese comedy Cook Up a Storm, which depicts the eternal battle between good and evil...er, street food and fine dining. Find out more and buy your ticket, $30, at the event's Facebook page. Dinner and a movie was never this dramatic.
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Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16
You've got to be wildly optimistic to make plans for a weekend six months away, but sometimes the event merits the commitment. Such is the case with the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. There's beer, blues and incredible views, yes, but there's also the six-hour drive from Denver, not to mention the challenge of finding accommodations that won't have you wailing like an old drunk who's out of hooch and whose woman took his dog and left. The festival runs from Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16, with more than fifty breweries pouring at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 15. Three-day festival, camping and late-night show passes are on sale now ($30 to $200), and single-day tickets ($70 to $75) go on sale June 13 on the festival's website. Don't wait to make your purchase: VIP and RV camping passes are already sold out.
Watch for our weekend culinary calendar on Friday. If you know of a date that should be on these calendars, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.