The Brown Palace in its younger years. Look at all that parking!
The Brown Palace in its younger years. Look at all that parking!
Courtesy of Denver Public Library

Six Great Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The culinary calendar is overflowing this weekend: The Brown Palace, pierogi and posies top our list of proceedings from Friday, August 11, through Sunday, August 13. We've included the six best here, as well as five more to plan for.

Like the hotel itself, the Brown Palace's 125th anniversary beer, brewed by Strange Craft, is imperial and brown.EXPAND
Like the hotel itself, the Brown Palace's 125th anniversary beer, brewed by Strange Craft, is imperial and brown.
Colin Bridge

Friday, August 11
The doors to the Brown Palace opened on August 12, 1892, and they've never been locked since — though decades ago, the entrance moved from busy Broadway to Tremont. To mark its 125th birthday, the Brown Palace is celebrating all weekend long with a wide range of events. You can go big with the seven-course, $150 Anniversary Dégustation Menu in the Palace Arms, offered Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 12; try a special afternoon tea with music in the Atrium Friday, August 11, through Sunday, August 13 (prices start at $40); or just stop in the lobby anytime through the weekend to see a free display of historic artifacts, including Thomas Edison's signature on the register! Overnight package deals are also available; for the complete lineup, go to brownpalace.com. At the very least, stop in and enjoy the hotel's 125th anniversary beer, an imperial brown ale brewed by Strange Craft Beer Company.

On May 8, a devastating hailstorm ripped through the metro area, hammering Lakewood particularly hard. The entire Colorado Mills mall has been closed ever since — but there are signs of life once again. Yard House, on the east side of the mall at 14500 West Colfax Avenue, will have a grand reopening celebration on August 11 starting with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony with Lakewood government dignitaries and Yard House representatives. Then at 11 a.m., the public will be welcomed back in to once again partake of beers from 130 tap handles. Darcy Coghill, director of operations for the company, says that in addition to roof repairs, all of the drywall, flooring, woodwork and booth seating needed to be replaced, so guests will see a new color scheme and new flooring and finishes. Otherwise, it will be the same Yard House that west-siders have enjoyed since the restaurant opened in 2003.

Saturday, August 12
Costumes, dancing, singing and beverages — sounds like a cabaret night or maybe dinner theater, right? Throw in some pierogi, cabbage rolls, kielbasa and potato pancakes, and what you actually have is Denver's annual Polish Food Festival, held at the Saint Joseph Polish Catholic Church, 517 East 46th Avenue, on Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13. Don't miss the pierogi-eating contest at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday (or again at 3 p.m. on Sunday, if you have room), and enjoy Polish beers and culture throughout both days. The event runs from noon to 9 p.m. the first day and noon to 7 p.m. the second, with a full lineup of folk musicians and dancers both days. Admission is free, but the food, homemade pastries and beers will cost you, so bring some cash so you won't go home hungry. See polishfoodfestival.org for the schedule and menu.

Cherry Creek North is heating up, with scads of new restaurants and bars drawing locals and visitors alike. With so many new choices, keeping up with the latest bites is no easy proposition, but you can cover a lot of ground in one evening at Cherry Creek North Food & Wine, a celebration of the neighborhood's best eats served up from 6 to 9 p.m on Saturday, August 12, on Fillmore Plaza (100 block of Fillmore Street). Tickets are available at several levels, including VIP admission, which gets you through the gate an hour early; go to cherrycreeknorth.com to view your options. Worried about hitting the wine side of the festival a little too hard? There are also Halcyon Hotel discounts available on the website so you can indulge to your heart's content before heading up to your room.

If you're a jazz fan in Denver, you're no doubt familiar with KUVO and its blend of jazz, blues and Latin rhythms. The radio station's annual fundraiser, Live at the Vineyards, is happening Saturday, August 12, and will tempt listeners (and diners) with music from Bobby Watson's All-Star Quartet & Kansas City Jump Band, as well as food from more than twenty restaurants. Balistreri Vineyards, 1946 East 66th Avenue, will host local favorites including Brider, Departure, Biju's Little Curry Shop and supper club Nocturne, and guests will enjoy wine tastings and a silent auction as well. The oh-so-sophisticated evening kicks off at 6:30 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. for VIPs — and tickets ($75 to $125) are on sale at kuvo.org.

Learn how to cook with edible nasturtiums with Mossflower.EXPAND
Learn how to cook with edible nasturtiums with Mossflower.

Sunday, August 13
When was the last time you held a bouquet of flowers to your nose and were transported by scents of grass, dirt, water and whatever flower was in your hands? If you buy your flowers at the grocery store, like most of us do, it’s probably been a while. Mossflower wants to change that by providing seasonal flowers grown by Colorado farmers (yes, really — check the website for provider bios) in lieu of imported blooms, which often have inferior life spans and aroma. And to showcase her products, owner Gina Hemmings will present an interactive workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 13. At Cooking With Flowers: Afternoon Tea With Sweet and Savory Bites, guests will prepare three dishes using edible flowers like nasturtium and lavender, and will sip on Infinite Monkey Theorem wine, as the class takes place at the winery's Stanley Marketplace location, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. Purchase tickets, $55, at mossflower.net.

And if you want to plan ahead...

Share a beer with Hick at Brews and Bites.EXPAND
Share a beer with Hick at Brews and Bites.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, August 17
If you're a regular in Denver bars and breweries, chances are you've seen the governor (formerly Hizzoner) out and about at least once. Now's your chance to get up close and personal with Hick at Brews and Bites With Governor Hickenlooper on Thursday, August 17. The beer-pairing event takes place at the Governor's Mansion, 400 Eighth Avenue, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and allows guests access to the rooms and gardens of the residence while enjoying beer brewed by the man himself (with assistance from Strange Craft Brewing) along with fifteen beer-and-food pairings. Breweries on hand will include Epic, Strange, Cerebral, Ratio and the underrated Baere. Tickets ($75) are on sale at coloradoshome.org.

Sunday, August 20
Tacolandia brings more than forty restaurants, taquerias and food trucks together at Civic Center Park for one glorious day of tacos — from the tastiest traditional street-style eats to more modern creations. Celebrate Mexican cooking and culture with food, drinks, music and art. The price of admission gets you unlimited tacos from 4 to 7 p.m. from the likes of Garibaldi's Mexican Bistro, Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Panaderia y Taqueria Contreras, Tortas ATM, Los Chingones and many more, along with entertainment and a cash bar. VIP pricing includes early admission at 3 p.m., two drink tickets and access to a VIP lounge with exclusive tacos from Lola Coastal Mexican. Get your tickets at westwordtacolandia.com, y nos vemos a Tacolandia!

Take a road trip to Salida for the Salida Winefest.EXPAND
Take a road trip to Salida for the Salida Winefest.

Saturday, September 2
Salida is better known for FIBArk than fermentation, though that's changing with Wood's High Mountain Distillery and the annual Brewer's Rendezvous, now in its 21st year. And on Saturday, September 2, the town rounds out its alcohol portfolio with the 6th Annual Salida Winefest. Eighteen Colorado wineries will set up shop in beautiful Riverside Park from 1 to 6 p.m., where attendees can spread out on the banks of the Arkansas River while sipping their way through unlimited wine samples. If you're a locavore oenophile with early-onset grumpiness (is there any other kind?), we suggest hitting this festival sooner rather than later, so you can spend the next six years complaining about how much better the fest was when nobody knew about it. Tickets are a steal at $20; get them at salidawinefest.com

Tuesday, September 5, through Sunday, September 10
The Denver Food + Wine Festival is a month away, but if you're considering hitting any of the events this year, it's worth planning ahead. Tickets are on sale now, and depending on what whets your appetite, they'll set you back a very reasonable $40 to a steep $195. Our pick? The Culinary Cinema Series will screen the documentary Barbecue on Tuesday, September 5, at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. The movie is sure to make your mouth water, which won't be a problem, as the $40 ticket includes bites from Hearth & Dram, Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que and the Nickel; drinks will be available for purchase at the theater's bar. Snag tickets and find the rest of the festival's schedule at denverfoodandwine.com.

Sip in superb scenery in Breckenridge.EXPAND
Sip in superb scenery in Breckenridge.
Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Events

Thursday, September 14 through Sunday, September 17
Fall is grape-harvesting season in the Centennial State, and it seems every mountain town is celebrating the season with a wine festival in August and September. From Thursday, September 14, through Sunday, September 17, it's Breckenridge's turn to lure the bikers, hikers and drinkers up the hill with gorgeous fall weather and great wines at the Breckenridge Wine Classic. There are luncheons, seminars, tours, hikes, tastings and bike rides to be had — all of them geared toward highlighting the beverage of honor. The best part about Breckenridge's celebration? Its proximity to Denver: You'll barely have to spend ninety minutes commuting to feel like you're in a different world (although the drive back to Denver might be a different story). A full schedule is up, and tickets (ranging from $55 to $145) are on sale now at breckenridgewineclassic.com.

See the Westword calendar for even more food and drink events, and if you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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