There's a wealth of options for discerning diners this week: From the luxe to lowdown, there's something for every palate and price point. Here are six of the best food and drink events in Denver from Monday, April 23, to Friday, April 27.
Monday, April 23
La Rioja is in Spain, but Denver's Rioja, 1431 Larimer Street, isn't limiting itself to wines from the famous region; on Monday, April 23, the restaurant is hosting Napa winery Duckhorn Vineyards for dinner. The wine starts flowing at 7 p.m. and will carry diners through six delectable courses such as scallop ceviche, quail with chestnuts, cherries and mascarpone risotto, ribeye with spring ramps, poached lamb with tea and fregola, and more. While the price tag for dinner ($150) may seem high, it's a downright bargain when you consider that many of the high-end producer's bottles go for close to $100. Make this Monday memorable; grab tickets at brownpapertickets.com before the event sells out.
Tuesday, April 24
You may have gone on an epic bender involving tequila shooters on spring break that one year in college, but hopefully you've matured as a drinker and now realize that a good tequila merits the same appreciation as a fine whiskey. If not, shame on you, and get yourself over to Tryst Lounge, 1322 15th Street, on Tuesday, April 24, for a primer in tequila cocktails. From 5:30 to 8 p.m., ten Denver bartenders will compete in the Make It Exotico Cocktail Competition to see who can whip up the tastiest drink using Mexico's most beloved export. You'll enjoy free apps and cocktail samples, and hopefully learn that there's way, way more to tequila than shots and margs.
Wednesday, April 25
Top Chef finalist Carrie Baird was tragically eliminated from the competition earlier this year over some bull balls and bison stroganoff — but she's landed on her feet as the executive chef at Bar Dough. And on Wednesday, April 25, she'll be the first Denver chef to take over Boulder's Pizzeria Locale, 1730 Pearl Street. The one-night-only menu is slated to include meatballs made from a mixture of 7X beef, pork belly and pancetta; housemade garlic and parmesan focaccia; a clam pizza drizzled with chile oil; a white pie topped with creamed leeks, chiles and fennel; and pork-shank pizza with ramp pesto. Reservations start at 4:30 p.m.; get yours at localeboulder.com or by calling 303-442-3003.
Despite being constantly told to make sandwiches, women who work in professional kitchens often aren't given the credit they deserve. But on Wednesday, April 25, it's a different story as women's work is celebrated at the Female F&B All-Star Dinner at Old Major. From 5 to 9 p.m., twelve bad-ass broads will be commandeering the kitchen and bar at 3316 Tejon Street for a seven-course dinner. Chefs and bartenders from Old Major, Work & Class, Annette, RiNo Yacht Club, Bar Helix and more will put on a lavish spread for $55 ($80 with wine pairings). Find the complete chef's lineup on the restaurant's Facebook page, then call 720-420-0622 for reservations. And, boys, count yourself lucky if any of the ladies in charge make you that sandwich — it'll be the best damn sandwich you've ever had.
Thursday, April 26
The 24th annual Dining Out for Life is here. 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. You still have a few days to make a reservation at one of the participating eateries, but if you didn't plan ahead, show up anyway and have some drinks while you wait — some restaurants will donate a percentage of bar sales as well as food sales. Visit the Dining Out for Life website for a list of all restaurants taking part.
Friday, April 27
The simple act of dining al fresco is an act of faith in Denver, especially in the spring. Il Posto, 2601 Larimer Street, has already postponed its patio opening once (because of snow!) so we're cautiously optimistic that Friday, April 27, will be sunny and clear. And to celebrate the return of porch-sitting, the Italian eatery is offering free bites and an Aperol spritz to those hardy souls who brave the elements between 5 and 7 p.m; Campari and Aperol cocktails will also be on special. See Il Posto's Facebook page for details, and remember to dress in layers, kids.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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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.
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.