It's an eclectic weekend in Denver. Beer is flowing through the city, with the Great American Beer Festival at the Colorado Convention Center and related events around town. But there's more, lots more, on the culinary calendar; from pierogi and tapas to oysters and cider, there's something on the menu (and at a price point) for everyone. Here are six delicious events on the culinary calendar for Friday, October 6, through Sunday, October 8....and other activities to plan for.
Friday, October 6
Even people sick of the small plates trend that has dominated dining over the past several years have to admit that the Spanish do small plates right. Tapas somehow miraculously transcend all the criticisms leveled at those mix-and-match menus: They're overpriced, they're too tiny to share, they're not filling. Learn about the art of crafting satisfying small plates at the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts tapas class on Friday, October 6. Show up at 6 p.m. ready to cook, as this is no lecture; you'll be preparing your own meal and ending your evening by pairing your creations with wine, as God and Spain intended. Reserve your spot for $89 at cookstreet.com.
Saturday, October 7
Marczyk Fine Foods in Uptown (770 East 17th Avenue) will bust out its pig rig for the fifteenth straight year to cook up two Niman Ranch hogs on Saturday, October 7, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The pigs roast overnight (with one of Marczyk's butchers sitting watch as late-night swine sentry), and on Saturday morning, the juicy meat is separated from the glossy brown skin. Pete and Paul Marczyk and Jimmy the Butcher do the shredding honors until 2:30 p.m., or until the pork runs out, whichever comes first. The feast is expected to feed about 200 hungry neighbors at $15.99 a plate, so come early to grab a platter of pork, housemade sauce, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and cornbread. Then grab a lemonade to wash it all down. Come rain or shine; if the weather's bad, the market will set up a few tables inside, or you can take your feast to go.
Are dumplings the perfect food? It's possible: Nearly every culture has some form of meat or veggies nestled in a dough pouch, and they're universally beloved. Empanadas, samosas, shu mai, hand pies — even pigs in a blanket qualify (by our estimation, at least). But on Saturday, October 7, the dumplings of eastern Europe will be celebrated at the Mile High Pierogi Festival. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Anderson Park, 4355 Field Street in Wheat Ridge, Pierogies Factory will be serving up fat little half-moons of love; you can get yours smothered in traditional onions and sour cream, or opt for the completely modern but equally delicious green chile-topped pierogi. You'll also see Polish folk singers and dancers, a pierogi-eating contest and a DJ spinning Polish tunes. The festival is free, but the dumplings aren't; find out more at the event's Facebook page. Na zdrowie!
There's more to art in Cherry Creek than the famed summer art festival. Consider the 3rd Annual Art Feast, which is going on from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 7. Start at Fillmore Plaza, 2nd Avenue and Fillmore Street, and receive a map to ten participating galleries in the neighborhood. Start your free walking tour, and along the way you'll encounter music from the Denver Young Artists Orchestra and food from the Cherry Cricket, Del Frisco's Grille, Victoria's Chocolates and more. Find all the details at cherrycreeknorth.com. It promises to be a feast for all your senses.
Apple cider is the quintessential fall drink, and hard cider? Even better. Lakewood Cider Days covers all the bases, with family-friendly fall activities like tractor rides, a vintage car show and an apple pie-eating contest. Your little ones can even press their own cider. But when the adults need a break from kid stuff, they can retreat to the tasting area, where they can sample fifty ciders from producers around the country. The festival kicks off on Saturday, October 7, at Lakewood's Heritage Center, 801 South Yarrow Street, and runs for two days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $28 at lakewood.org, and just $6 if you're a teetotaler (or a kid).
Sunday, October 8
The Broncos bye week couldn't have come at a better time. On Sunday, October 8, you can spend your afternoon slurping unlimited oysters on the half-shell instead of watching commentators make inane remarks about the national anthem or mansplaining rules of the game. We think The Oceanaire's Oyster Bash sounds like the better deal. Not a fan of raw bivalves? There will be plenty of other seafood on hand: Shrimp, lobster rolls, crab cake sliders and clam chowder are just a few of the dishes planned for the affair at the restaurant, 1400 Arapahoe Street. Wine, spirits and Oskar Blues suds will be flowing as well. The seafood feast runs from 4 to 8 p.m., and tickets ($85) are on sale at eventbrite.com, along with a complete menu. Feeling hungry — and flush? VIP tickets get you in at 3 p.m. for just $10 more.
Plan ahead for these food and drink events....
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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, 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 nonprofits, 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 Hotel Stapleton, 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.