Fundraisers, fermentation and oration are on the menu this week in Denver. From a pair of benefits that will ensure you also get a good meal to a class on kombucha to a duo of distinguished guests giving speeches, here are seven spicy events on the culinary calendar from Monday, October 9, to Friday, October 13.
Monday, October 9
Nationally known restaurateur Danny Meyer made headlines earlier this year when he announced, "Tipping is actually one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled on an entire culture," and subsequently eliminated gratuities at all restaurants that make up his Union Square Hospitality Group. Now the industry veteran is delivering the keynote address at the Colorado Restaurant Show on Monday, October 9. The show is open to the public at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, and just $25 gets you access to Meyer's presentation at 9:30 a.m., plus two days of the expo and lectures with topics like immigration-law compliance, female professionals obtaining funding, and avoiding common liquor-license violations. Register for your pass at corestaurantshow.com.
Tuesday, October 10
Local restaurateur Juan Padro made his mark with burgers at Highland Tap & Burger, but he has roots in Puerto Rico, and the flavors of that country have a way of trickling into his growing restaurant empire. On Tuesday, October 10, that trickle will become a flood when Sloan's Tap & Burger, 1565 Raleigh Street, Unit 100, hosts Giving Light to Puerto Rico. Working with leaders of the local Puerto Rican community and Third Wave, Giving Light will be serving Puerto Rican food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. all day — with 100 percent of all sales helping victims of Hurricane Maria, providing solar lanterns to Puerto Rican homes. Find out more about the lanterns at solight-design.com; for more on the fundraiser, go to the event’s Facebook page.
Ron Finley lives in South Central Los Angeles, where his propensity to plant vegetables and fruit trees in neglected road medians and dirt curbs next to city streets earned him citations for gardening without a permit and the nickname "Gangsta Gardener." He's since created the Ron Finley Project, which aims to turn his neighborhood from a food desert into a place where urban gardens occupy unused vacant lots. On Tuesday, October 10, Finley will be the keynote speaker at LiveWell Colorado's Engage in the Change fundraising luncheon. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street, will host the nonprofit, which aims to provide food justice for all Coloradans. At $150 to $200, tickets aren't cheap, but Finley promises to give a hell of a talk, as evidenced by his popular TED talk (above). Reserve your seat at eventbrite.com.
Wednesday, October 11
It's hump day, and you don't feel like cooking, do you? If you go out to eat, choose one of the restaurants partnering with Shadhika for International Day of the Girl. The nonprofit supports education and economic independence for girls in India, and has organized Meals with Meaning; a portion of sales from eateries around town on Wednesday, October 1, will go to Shadhika's efforts providing scholarships and grants. Participating restaurants are Pizzeria Locale (550 Broadway location only), California Pizza Kitchen, Tavern Wash Park, Sweet Cooie's, NOVO Coffee, Highland Tap & Burger, Biju's Little Curry Shop and Sweet Action Ice Cream. Be sure to check out shadhika.org for details before heading over, as some restaurants require you to mention the fundraiser. We guarantee you'll feel better about your week after a great meal and a good deed.
Stouts and Stories, Ales and Tales is Jefferson County Public Library's six-week foray into the breweries and beverages of Jeffco. On Wednesday, October 11, the celebration kicks off with the Craft Beer Talk and Tap Event from 6 to 9 p.m. Join noted brewers and beer experts Karen Hertz (Holidaily Brewing Co.), Tamar Banner (New Belgium), Tim Matthews (Oskar Blues) and Travis Rupp (Avery Brewing Co. and CU Boulder) for short talks, beer samples and live music at the Lamar Street Center, 5889 Lamar Street in Arvada. While the event is free, registration is required at jeffcolibrary.org; the website also has details on tappings at local breweries, a beer passport tour, and beer-centric lectures going on from now through Wednesday, November 15.
Thursday, October 12
Kombucha can be polarizing. Some love the tart flavor; others are grossed out by the culture that looks like a dead jellyfish but provides kombucha's distinctive taste. If you're of the first camp, consider hOMe Collective's Kombucha 101 class on Thursday, October 12. You'll learn how to brew the drink and flavor it to your liking. Students will take home their own brewing system for further fermentation experiments. The class runs just $30 and takes place at the collective's space, 6101 West 38th Street in Wheat Ridge. Register for class at eventbrite.com. And try not to think about dead jellyfish.
Friday, October 13
Everyone knows that fall is the season for heavier things — sweaters, socks and drinks. One of our favorite fall and winter pastimes (and make no mistake, winter is coming) is enjoying a generous pour of whiskey and a cigar by a crackling fireplace. Bonus points if there's a bear-skin rug on the floor. So prepare for the season by tasting and testing a wealth of whiskeys at The WhiskyX on Friday, October 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, will host more than fifty whiskeys, and VIP ticket holders will have access to food from premier Denver chefs Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Jennifer Jasinski (Ultreia, Euclid Hall, Rioja, etc.) and Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle and Coperta). Tickets ($75 or $125) are on sale now at thewhiskyx.com.
If you're a planner, keep reading for more food and drink events....
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Sunday, October 15
Mark your calendars: Westword's annual celebration of Denver's dining scene is moving inside and uptown. On Sunday, October 15, Feast will fill the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, with more than forty eateries that are favorites of Westword writers and readers; they'll be serving a wealth of nibbles that you can wash down with unlimited drink samples from Feast's liquor sponsors. Get more information and tickets at westwordfeast.com.
Sunday, October 15, through Thursday, October 19
SOLD OUT: Despite the farm-to-table trend that's taken over Denver's restaurants in the last few years, it's still a fact that most people here don't have a good idea of where their food comes from. It's a problem with our country's food chain, but EatDenver and The GrowHaus are trying to change that with 2017 Harvest Week. From Sunday, October 15 to Thursday, October 19, The GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, will transform from an city greenhouse into a twee and twinkly venue where five dinners will focus on five Colorado agricultural areas. Focus on fruit from the Western Slope, fall flavors from the Front Range, chiles from the Eastern Plains, southwest Colorado fare from the Four Corners region, and vegetarian cuisine from the urban farms of Denver. Top Denver restaurants (including Root Down, Mizuna, Coperta and The Preservery) will cook for guests at 6 p.m. each night. Tickets, $85, are available at harvestweek.com.
Saturday, November 25
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 non-profits, and this year's beneficiaries are Jazz C.A.F.E., a music and leadership program for middle and high school students; Boy's 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 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.