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The Ten Tastiest Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Banh xeo at Lotus Vegetarian ($10.99).
Banh xeo at Lotus Vegetarian ($10.99).
Danielle Lirette

Despite the generally accepted wisdom, we actually think dinner is the most important meal of the day. It's certainly the most diverse (you can have pancakes for dinner, after all), and it's still the only meal where it's acceptable to unabashedly break out some adult beverages (you've got to rename breakfast "brunch" in order to get a cocktail before noon and avoid sounding like an alcoholic, though). This week, there's a plethora of dinners: raw dinners, cooked dinners, wine dinners, beer dinners, experimental dinners, farm dinners, art dinners. Here are nine dinners to enjoy this week, culminating in a big tenth event: The Big Eat.

Check out Cho77 for a bizarre — but delicious — beer dinner.EXPAND
Check out Cho77 for a bizarre — but delicious — beer dinner.
Danielle Lirette

Monday, July 10
Love food but hate cooking? Don't want to taint your pristine ingredients with anything that might transform their God-given properties? Or maybe it's just too damn hot and you don't want to fire up the oven. Vital Root, 3915 Tennyson Street, has the solution for you: It's hosting a Raw Pop-Up Dinner on Monday, July 10. It's a deal at just $27 for four courses, which will include sliders with mushrooms, avocado mash, walnuts and coconut bacon; and a Napoleon parfait with cranberry and cherry mousse. Service starts at 5:30 p.m.; e-mail info@vitalrootdenver.com for reservations, and hurry, because previous raw dinners have sold out. The Facebook page has a complete menu for your consideration.

Scar of the Sea Wines is teaming up with Acorn, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, for a wine dinner to ease you into the work week on Monday, July 10. The evocatively named winery will provide pairings for hamachi crudo, toast topped with butter-braised porcini mushrooms, smoked trout salad and leg of lamb. Dinner starts at 6:15 p.m. and will run you $80; e-mail events@denveracorn.com to book your seat.

Dim sum is for breakfast or — at the latest — lunch, right? Not if you're Cho77. Lon Symensma and Ryan Gorby's inventive little spot, 42 South Broadway, is hosting a Dim Sum Beer Dinner with Ratio Beerworks on Monday, July 10. For $49, you'll get five courses, five beers and some truly mind-boggling international mash-ups. Think red-chile pork dumplings with French saison, bacon cheeseburger shumai with Gruyère and an American ale, and coconut barbecue duck with Thai herbs and a chocolate rye Scotch ale. Seatings are at 5:30 and 8 p.m., and tickets ($49) are on sale at nightout.com.

Yak liver tagliatelle: a previous Test Table Tuesday creation that made its way onto the regular menu.
Yak liver tagliatelle: a previous Test Table Tuesday creation that made its way onto the regular menu.
Mark Antonation

Tuesday, July 11
We've written about The Way Back's Test Table Tuesday many times before, but the kitchen just keeps coming up with daring and delicious dishes we can't resist. On Tuesday, July 11, the series presents trout en papillote with kombu and Napa cabbage; banh xeo, a Vietnamese egg crepe generally stuffed with shrimp, pork and herbs that we've loved in restaurants up and down Federal Boulevard; and the showstopper (or gut-wrencher, depending on your proclivities), Blood and Guts, a bright-red pasta made with blood in sweetbread ragu. Order all the experiments as a prix fixe menu for $45, or individually in addition to the regular menu. Reservations for the restaurant, 4132 West 38th Avenue, can be made at the website or at 720-728-8156.

Charcoal is rolling out the red carpet for South African winemaker Jasper Raats of Longridge Wine Estate; on Tuesday, July 11, the restaurant's private dining room at 43 West 9th Avenue will be the setting for a five-course Winemaker's Dinner beginning at 6 p.m. The menu is set to include crab cakes with pickled chiles, baba ganoush made from binchotan-roasted eggplants and za'atar, and hangar steak with charred corn risotto and vegetable ash, along with five wine pairings, all for just $65. To ensure your seat, call 719-359-3353.

Keep reading for more food and drink events.

Wednesday, July 12
Spuntino's Wine Corner Wednesday is back on Wednesday, July 12, with a selection of six Corsican wines, three of which are the last bottles of their respective vintages from co-owner Elliot Strathmann's cellar. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. at 2639 West 32nd Avenue, with appetizers from the kitchen included in the $42 admission price. Call 303-433-0949 or e-mail elliot@spuntinodenver.com to book your spot at the cozy bar.

If you've read anything at all about Boulder restaurants in the past few years, you're familiar with Eric Skokan's Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare. On Wednesday, July 12, Skokan is welcoming diners to Black Cat Farm in Longmont, which supplies the majority of the food to his two restaurants. He'll be giving farm tours (if you're lucky, you'll meet adorable piglets!) and preparing a three-course dinner from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Author Deborah Madison will also be on hand signing copies of her newest vegetarian cookbook (no piglets there). Tickets are $145 per person (including beer and wine) and will benefit the Flatirons Food Film Festival; get yours at eventbrite.com.

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While standing in front of one of the many abstract-expressionist works at the Clyfford Still Museum, the bright yellows, bold reds and limitless blacks conjure comparisons in your mind. Is that a perfectly composed Hollandaise sauce? A smear of tomato gastrique? The remnant tangles of squid-ink pasta on a stark white dinner plate? Contemplation turns to hunger inside the echoing, hard-edged museum; there's no immediate respite, unless you're there on Wednesday, July 12, when the Friends of Clyfford Still presents Local Tastes, an exercise in culinary artistry from a handful of Denver's top chefs. Eleven restaurants, bars and other food-and-drink establishments will present their interpretations of Still's work in edible form from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the museum, located at 1250 Bannock Street. Chat with chefs about their inspiration and enjoy delicious bites, cocktails and art, all for $40 ($30 for members of the Friends of Clyfford Still). Reservations are required; make yours at clyffordstillmuseum.org or by calling the museum at 720-354-4878.

The hipster philosophy extends to Italian winemaking, according to Firenze a Tavola, the community space below Parisi, which is hosting a Cutting Edge Italian Winemakers Wine Dinner with Mario Scanu at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12. Chef Mario Petit will create dishes to match the vintages that their creators will discuss. The dinner is $60 (excluding tax, tip and additional beverages); call 303-561-0234 for reservations.

Thursday, July 13
EatDenver is our city's trade group for independent, locally owned restaurants. Among the many benefits the organization provides to the restaurant community (job boards, food-service training) as well as Denver at large (the Dining Deck discount packs, Harvest Week), the Big Eat is the most delicious. Every year, top Denver eateries gather at the Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex to serve up their best bites. This year, more than sixty EatDenver member restaurants will participate on Thursday, July 13 — and this is the first year that the event will mark the opening of Slow Food Nations, an international celebration of traditional foods and cooking. Tickets are $65 each at EatDenver's website and include unlimited food and beverages from 6 to 9 p.m., live entertainment and a commemorative glass. If you want to eat Denver, this is the place to do it.

Check the Westword calendar for more food and drink events.

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