Coffee, cows, competitions and Christmas markets: There are copious culinary comings and goings this week. Check out seven of our favorites from Monday, November 13, through Friday, November 17, plus a few more to plan for in November and December.
Monday, November 13
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a hungry diner in possession of a few dollars must be in want of a bowl of ramen. On Monday, November 13, Departure, 249 Columbine Street, is taking Jane Austen's famous words to heart with its Ramen Showdown. The restaurant is gathering five of Denver's top chefs (Steve Redzikowski of Acorn, Lon Symensma of ChoLon and Cho77, Tommy Lee of Uncle and Hop Alley, Corey Baker of Sushi Ronin and Departure's own Gregory Gourdet) to compete for the title of Shogun. You, gentle diner, will receive five tasting bowls and dessert for just $30, with a sake flight available for an additional $20. The contest starts at 6 p.m., with the victor announced at 10 p.m. Reservations are required; call 720-772-5020 to secure yours.
So you want Thanksgiving dinner without the family and fuss? Understandable. Go to Work & Class, 2500 Larimer Street, on Monday, November 13, for its Thanks & Giving feast. The dinner, which benefits Work Options for Women, starts at 6:30 p.m. and will include all your Turkey Day favorites: bird, stuffing, taters, veggies and dessert. You'll also get recipes from chefs Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class) and Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja) for each dish, so if you have a change of heart and want to impress guests, you'll be able to re-create their delicious food — and pretend it's all yours. For $95, that's a hell of a deal (you can't put a price on outdoing your annoying sister-in-law). Chef's counter tickets are sold out, but you can still get restaurant seating at eventbrite.com.
Author Alex Prud'homme may not have the name recognition of his most famous subject, Julia Child, but there's no doubt he knows her life and her stories intimately. Child's great-nephew grew up near her and co-authored her memoir, My Life in France; his new book is from the perspective of her husband, Paul Child. France Is a Feast pulls together hundreds of Paul Child's photographs documenting their time in France during the late 1940s and '50s. Prud'homme will be at the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, on Monday, November 13, at 7 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of the book, and he's sure to have plenty of tasty tidbits about America's favorite cook. Say it with us, now: Bon appetiiiiiit!
Tuesday, November 14
If your drug of choice is caffeine, you'll want to swing over to this year's Cherry Roast on Tuesday, November 14, at Commonwealth Coffee Roasters, 5225 East 38th Avenue. From 6 to 9 p.m., the third edition of the annual barista competition puts competitors through the grinder with five rounds, including latte art, a signature drink, tastings and rapid-fire order prep. Just $10 will get you in the door as a spectator, with all proceeds going to the International Women's Coffee Alliance. Interested in competing? The Roast is open to all female, trans, genderqueer and gender non-conforming baristas; check out the event's Facebook page for details. Note that the registration fee is $20 and is capped at thirty contestants.
Wednesday, November 15
Threads Worldwide is continuing its Full Bellies, Full Hearts dinner series with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and feast on Wednesday, November 15, at Mesob Ethiopian, 1422 Poplar Street. While we can't quite describe the cuisine as finger food, there's surely no more interactive and fundamentally satisfying way to eat than scooping up bits of spicy meat and veggies with nothing more than spongy, tangy injera and your very own hands. You'll also be benefiting the African Community Center; reps of the non-profit organization will be on hand to discuss how they assist refugees in building safe and sustainable lives in the U.S. Your ticket prices of $30 covers food, tax and tip and a $5 donation to the ACC (although you're on your own for drinks — luckily, Mesob boasts some tasty Ethiopian beers). Go to eventbrite.com for details and tickets.
Thursday, November 16
It seems that Christmas decorations are on the shelves earlier and earlier, and now the National Western Stock Show is getting in on the early-bird game. This year you don't have to wait until January to start planning your Stock Show experience. The First Annual Meat and Greet, benefiting Future Farmers of America, will bring a real farmer-to-table feast to the National Western Stadium Arena, 4655 Humboldt Street, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 16. For $75, guests will enjoy twelve courses celebrating Colorado beef, pork, lamb, goat and other products prepared by four top chefs; an open bar; live music by Loose Change; and the chance to bid on a behind-the-scenes one-on-one package with a Stock Show exhibitor. Get tickets and more details at eventbrite.com.
Friday, November 17
There's just something about the Denver Christkindl Market that sets it apart from other holiday fairs around town. It could be the outdoor venue: The annual celebration fills Skyline Park at the 16th Street Mall and Arapahoe Street, where shoppers enjoy crisp winter air while being warmed by glühwein or hot chocolate. Or it could be the live entertainment every evening, ranging from the Denver Philharmonic to traditional Teutonic tunes to dancers. But other fairs have entertainment and interesting venues, so we think that special something could simply be tradition. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from cynicism about commercialism and family drama, and simply celebrate the season with food, drink and easy fun. And even if you can't muster any joy for the upcoming holiday, Christkindl has something for you, too: Krampus will be on hand to correct your attitude. The shopping and revelry begin Friday, November 17, and continue through Saturday, December 23; hours and a list of vendors are available at denverchristkindlmarket.com.
And if you're planning ahead...
Saturday, November 25
Sold Out: Saturday, November 25, is almost a month after Halloween, but die-hard fans of dressing up can still scratch that itch at the 100 Men Who Cook's Black Tie Fundraiser, which has a masquerade ball theme this year. The organization's mission is to raise money for grassroots nonprofits, and this year's beneficiaries are Jazz C.A.F.E., a music and leadership program for middle and high school students; Boys' Day, a mentoring program for young African-American boys; and Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, a multicultural, inclusive academic and social-enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors. The Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street, will host the ball, which will include live music, dancing and, of course, food from the aforementioned "Gentlemen Chefs." Tickets range from $50 to $150 and are going fast at eventbrite.com.
Thursday, December 7
It's no secret that Bravo's Top Chef came to Colorado to film its fifteenth season earlier this year. You can finally start planning your watch party, as the show will premiere on Thursday, December 7, at 8 p.m. The contestants traveled from Sports Authority Field to Telluride to Aspen Food + Wine and were tasked with preparing everything from the innocuous Denver omelet to the infamous Rocky Mountain oyster. Tune in to see how they fare — as well as to catch a glimpse of local legends (and a former winner!) Alex Seidel, Hosea Rosenberg, Jennifer Jasinski and Frank Bonanno.
Saturday, December 16
Put up the aluminum pole, brace yourself for the Airing of Grievances and start training for the Feats of Strength — it's Festivus! And while traditional Festivus dinners involve covertly sipping from a flask while those around you look on soberly and disapprovingly, Denver Beer Festivus gives you the opportunity to celebrate the season with like-minded lushes. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, join your real tribe at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard. Tickets will run you $40 to $65 and are already on sale at denverbeerfestivus.com. ’Tis the season!
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