Now's a great time to put your money where your mouth is; nearly every one of our favorite food events this week benefits a good cause. Choose your ideal recipient (hungry and homeless families, sick dogs or public museums) and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with doing good while having fun. Cash donations are always welcome, too — we've linked to each nonprofit's website so you can contribute directly. Here are our picks for food, drink and philanthropy from Monday, September 18, through Friday, September 22.
Monday, September 18
Chef/restaurateur Troy Guard (owner of TAG, Los Chingones and Mister Tuna, to name a few) has been a key player in Taste of the NFL for several years, as well as the force behind Taste of the Broncos. Now in its third year, this winning celebration of Denver restaurants will take place on Monday, September 18, at Sports Authority Field, 1701 Bryant Street. You’ll sample bites from thirty restaurants while Broncos cheerleaders, past and current players, and even Miles the Mascot serve as sous-chefs and mingle with the crowd. The event is a benefit for Food Bank of the Rockies, and general admission tickets ($100 each) will get you in the gate at 7 p.m. for food and drink; early-bird admission ($150) will grant you entry at 6:30; and a VIP pass ($300) will open the doors to a pre-event happy hour at 5:30 in the Broncos locker room, followed by access to the main event at 6 p.m. Get your tickets at ticketmaster.com.
Tuesday, September 19
Rustle up your best friend and make your way over to Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery, 3563 Wazee Street, on Tuesday, September 19, for Yappy Hour. You'll have to keep your pal on a leash and on the patio, though...oh, did we not mention it's your best friend of the four-legged variety? You can bring your human BFF, too, but from 5 to 7 p.m. Bigsby's is going to the dogs, with 10 percent of the day's proceeds being donated to Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting research to advance veterinary medicine. Human customers will enjoy dog-themed goodie bags and raffle prizes, while canine companions can indulge in (non-alcoholic) dog wine from Apollo Peak and frozen peanut butter yogurt. Prepare for one hairy night.
The RAW (Re-Imagining the Arts Worldwide) Project got its start in Miami in 2014, bringing art awareness and participation to public schools through murals. Now RAW is coming to Denver — and you can help out simply by drinking a beer. On Tuesday, September 19, order a beer at Baere Brewing, 320 Broadway, and 10 percent of the day's profits will be donated to the organization, which is now targeting Denver schools. Stop in for a cold one between 4 and 10 p.m. and chat with the RAW Project organizers.
Wednesday, September 20
Get a hell of a deal on Wednesday, September 20, at Zuni Street Brewing Company's Hops for Habitat fundraiser. From 5 to 8 p.m., the brewery at 2355 West 29th Street will be offering a free beer to anyone who makes a donation directly to Habitat for Humanity, donating $1 of every beer sold to the nonprofit and providing a free taco bar courtesy of El Camino. There's no cover for this event (though registration at eventbrite.com is encouraged) — so just think of all that money you can save on food and drink and put directly toward a good cause. Now that's cause for cheers.
Thursday, September 21
You may already know about the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Science Lounge; the monthly lecture series pairs serious science with delicious drinks, so you can expand your mind while imbibing (instead of obliterating your brain cells). On Thursday, September 21, the topic is the science of beer — specifically, how different yeast strains affect your pint. The museum, at 2001 Colorado Boulevard, will provide a cash bar and expert lecturers from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets ($13 for members, $15 for non-members) are on sale at dmns.org. Prepare to amaze (or bore) your friends with your newfound knowledge.
If, despite your best efforts, your kid is convinced that buffaloes have wings, then the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) deserves some of your money. The organization runs a working farm south of Castle Rock, where people of all ages can go to learn where their food comes from. Luckily, you can support CALF while having fun at the 3rd Annual Cork and Pork on Thursday, September 21. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., Mike Ward Maserati, 1850 Lucent Court in Highlands Ranch, will host live music, beer, wine and unlimited pork small plates for just $50. If you're feeling generous, opt for the VIP ticket ($100), which not only allows 6 p.m. entry, but gives you the unusual opportunity to help deliver whole hogs to chefs prior to the event. Both tickets and more details are at thecalf.org.
Friday, September 22
Hygge is still a thing. And while driving an hour to eat dinner doesn't necessarily meet our definition of cozy simplicity, there's no doubt that the Hygge Dinner at Silver Plume's Bread Bar on Friday, September 22 will be a fun night. The Regional's Kevin Grossi will be cooking, and the $135 price tag includes tax, tip and a slew of extras: In addition to the 7 p.m. meal and wine and cocktail pairings, diners will get a preview of the documentary Finding Hygge, a Q&A with the filmmakers and a tribute to Silver Plume's historic past. The quaint bar is at 1010 Main Street in the mountain town, so if you don't want to drive, you can book a ride from Denver for an additional $25 when you purchase your dinner ticket at hyggelife.com.
Keep reading for more food and drink events in the weeks ahead....
Wednesday, September 27, through Sunday, October 1
Boulder's Flatirons Food Film Festival is turning five this year; in its relatively short history, it has built a following based on movies packed with images of cameras slowly panning over gorgeously plated food and earnest chef interviews — in short, food porn. This year's lineup doesn't disappoint: From documentaries about the legendary James Beard to a con man scamming the high-end wine market to foodie classics like Ratatouille and Eat Drink Man Woman, the festival has something for everyone. You can even get your little ones involved with a farmers' market tour and cooking demo geared toward kids. Most events are $10, and a pass for the entire festival is a steal at just $65. Check out flatironsfoodfilmfest.org for details.
Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4
The Den brothers are throwing a party, and you'll want to add it to your social calendar. On Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4, the roof of the parking garage at the corner of South Pearl Street and East Florida Avenue will turn into a veritable Japanese street fair from 5 to 9 p.m. Not only will Toshi and Yasu Kizaki be providing food from Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, but they've called on twenty of their Japanese chef friends to hop the pond and lend their talents to the rooftop party. Expect ramen, yakisoba noodles, the hard-to-find-in-Denver okonomiyaki, yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) and lots, lots more. Tickets are $75 and include three drinks (additional beverages will be available for purchase). And this party is for a good cause (or three) — proceeds benefit hurricanes Irma and Harvey relief efforts in Florida and Texas, as well as earthquake relief efforts in Kumamoto, Japan, the hosts' hometown. As with every party the Kizakis host, this one is likely to sell out, so check out sushiden.net asap for details and tickets.
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.
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 with more than forty eateries that are favorite of Westword writers and readers; they'll be serving unlimited samples that you can wash down with unlimited samples from Feast's liquor sponsors. Get more information and tickets at westwordfeast.com.
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Sunday, October 15 through Thursday, October 19
Nights are getting cooler — you may have even broken out your fall quilt already. That means it's the perfect time to start planning for EatDenver's 2017 Harvest Week. This year, the week of dinners will highlight two to three farms per night, representing five of Colorado’s farming regions. The lineup: October 15, Western Slope; October 16, Front Range; October 17, Eastern Plains; October 18, Four Corners; October 19, Urban Farm. All dinners are at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, which transforms from an industrial urban farm into a suprisingly twinkly and comfortable dinner venue. Tickets, $85, are now on sale at harvestweek.com.