This weekend has an international flair to it, with fairs and fare from across the world making up the bulk of our upcoming events. But don't worry, we've got the lowdown on some local love as well. Without further ado, here are our five favorite events on the culinary calendar from Friday, October 20, through Sunday, October 22.
Friday, October 20
If heaping platefuls of international food and toe-tapping world music by the Tito Malaga Band sound like your kind of Friday night, check out Colorful Colorado: A Celebration of Diversity on Friday, October 20. This fundraiser for the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning takes place at the Institute's offices, 1373 Grant Street, from 6 to 9 p.m. and will also include the presentation of Spring's Intercultural Champion Awards to local activists and organizations. Tickets, $65, are available now at eventbrite.com.
If it's true that you first eat with your eyes, then surely the dish on which your food is presented should look better than your parents' old, avocado-green Corelle plates, right? Enter Martin Kastner, the designer behind the one-of-a-kind serviceware at Chicago's Alinea and the famous Porthole Infuser (see the video above). Kastner is giving an artist's talk at Studio Arts Boulder, 3550 Frontier Avenue, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 20, and while there won't be any food at the event, it's a great chance to hear about the relationship between design and cuisine. Tickets are only $10; find out more at studioartsboulder.org.
Saturday, October 21
The Village Exchange Center, a community center and multi-faith worship space designed to serve immigrants and refugees in Denver and Aurora, opens on Saturday, October 21, and the pop-up market R Bazaar is part of its grand-opening celebration. Stop by the center, 1609 Havana Street in Aurora, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to sample a wealth of international food; you'll find elusive Syrian cuisine from Zeytoon Syrian Catering, Ethiopian food and coffee from Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant and Konjo Ethiopian Coffee, South American sweets from Dolce Nelly, and falafel from the Falafel King food truck. In addition, there will be jewelry, clothing, arts and natural skin-care products from immigrant vendors; find a complete list at rbazaardenver.com. And admission is free, so there's no reason not to travel around the world without leaving town this weekend.
The fast-growing Baha'i faith is still unfamiliar to most Americans, but its teachings include figures most Westerners have heard of: Buddha, Christ and Muhammad, among others, are all considered manifestations of God, and one of the faith's primary principles is unity of humanity and of the world's religions. To this end, the Baha'i Center of Metro Denver, 225 East Bayaud Avenue, is celebrating the 200th birthday of the religion's founder, Bahá'u'lláh, with the Light of Unity Festival. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, gather in the street in front of the center for a free fair boasting Mexican and Bollywood dancers, Persian music, a bouncy castle and crafts for the kiddos, and international food trucks. Learn more at denverbahais.org.
Sunday, October 22
Backyard on Blake, 3040 Blake Street, will turn into a smorgasbord of Denver dining on Sunday, October 22, when it hosts 5280 Dines. The food festival promises small plates from top restaurants in town, cocktail pairings and live music from 6 to 9 p.m. Get your tickets, $75, now at 5280.com.
Planning ahead? Here are some tasty options to consider beyond the weekend...
Thursday, October 26
Project Angel Heart's venerable gala, A Taste for Life, is scheduled for Thursday, October 26. Not only do the funds raised from the tasting and silent auction go to a great cause, but guests will enjoy one of the best food festivals in town: Troy Guard's soon-to-be-opened FNG will be cooking up a storm, as will Hop Alley, Panzano, Osteria Marco, Old Major and plenty of other Denver faves — and it will all take place at the gloriously roomy Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street, where the lines are short, the drinks are flowing and the seating is plentiful. Get tickets, $150, and more details at projectangelheart.org.
Wednesday, November 1, through Friday, November 3
Denver's traditionally a beer town, but if you're an oenophile instead of a hophead, you'll be happy the Denver International Wine Festival is coming to Denver from Wednesday, November 1, through Friday, November 3. The three days include a Grand Vintners Dinner with wine by Kovács Nimród and food by Radek Cerny; the Pairsine Chefs Fine Food and Wine Pairing Competition, where you'll enjoy twenty bites paired with gold-medal-winning wines; and the Grand Tasting, the showcase event with more than eighty wineries and distilleries pouring samples of delicious beverages. Tickets to individual events range from $95 to $175 and are available now at denverwinefest.com. Now, that's something to toast to!
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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 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 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. Now 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 cooking 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.