This week, it might be easier to get to Argentina, Asia or California (culinarily speaking) than north Denver. But that doesn't mean you should spend your week at home. Get out of the house and take a whirlwind global food tour. Here are our six picks for the best food and drink events over the next five days, as well as some to put on your culinary calendar for the future.
Monday, May 7
Teaching can be a thankless job — bureaucratic administrators, spoiled kids, helicopter parents — and that's before the end of the school year is just within reach, distracting teachers and students alike. Luckily, this week is Teacher Appreciation week, and Bang Up to the Elephant, 1310 Pearl Street, is rewarding educators with a free vegan doughnut (no purchase needed, but school ID required) from Monday, May 7, through Sunday, May 13. And if you show up on Tuesday, May 8, you'll get a free tropics-inspired cocktail to boot. Doors open at 7 a.m. daily; visit the restaurant's Facebook page for details.
Tuesday, May 8
While Colorado's growing season doesn't keep pace with that of other areas of the country, it's undoubtedly spring in the Centennial state, and menus are starting to reflect that. On Tuesday, May 8, Avelina, 1550 17th Street, is hosting a wine dinner with a menu so undeniably springy you'd be forgiven for thinking you're smack in the middle of California's fertile Central Valley; the impression will only be solidified by the wine from Hartford Court, a Russian River producer. Think rosé with strawberry-rhubarb tart and micro basil; chardonnay with honeydew gazpacho; pinot noir with short rib tortellini, baby carrots and spring onion; and more. The entire menu is up on Facebook; secure your spot, $99, by calling 720-904-6711.
Wednesday, May 9
Travel way, way south of the border — to Argentina — by way of Señor Bear this May. The pan-Latin joint will be offering à la carte dishes and drink specials highlighting the unique culinary history and European influences from that country all month. And on Wednesday, May 9, it's serving a four-course Argentinean meal with drink pairings for $85 (just $55 without drinks). Diners can look forward to a crab crepe in a savory, garlicky pil pil sauce paired with a gin-based mate punch; gnocchi with Gouda and a rum, Cynar and citrus cocktail; and, of course, asado with chimichurri accompanied by a drink composed of pisco, chartreuse and, oddly, corn pureé. Book your trip by calling 720-572-5997.
Brave RiNo's endless construction and enjoy some good drinks for a good cause at Mister Tuna, 3033 Brighton Boulevard, on Wednesday, May 9. Starting at 5 p.m., two of the founders of Colorado Sake Co., William Stuart and Dylan Bailey, will take a night off from their regular gig of pouring drinks at Matsuhisa to pick up a shift behind Troy Guard's bar. They'll be mixing up a blueberry and hibiscus mojito using their product, and $2 of the $9 purchase price will be donated to We Don't Waste, a nonprofit tackling hunger in Denver by collecting excess food from caterers and restaurants around town and distributing it to underserved populations. We'll toast to the (eventual) end of Brighton Boulevard construction — kanpai!
Thursday, May 10
Whether you love the curries, skewers and noodle dishes of southeast Asia but haven't quite been able to replicate the riot of sweet, sour and funky flavors that you'd get in one of Denver's many trendy Asian restaurants, or you're looking for flavors beyond the ubiquitous and accessible Thai and Vietnamese food, Cook Street School of Culinary Arts has the class for you. On Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m., the school at 1937 Market Street will be teaching a class in Asian street food. Students will try their hands at Filipino fried bananas, sweet Laotian sticky rice, Malaysian curry, Singaporean spring rolls and more. Enjoy the fruits of your labors and unwind with wine at the end of the class. Find the full menu and book your spot, $105, at cookstreet.com.
Friday, May 11
Beer gardens are great incubators of humanity, and a good one fosters the kind of camaraderie that exists only when drunken strangers share a picnic table. Black Shirt Brewing Co., 3719 Walnut Street, is upping the ante on its beer garden when it transforms it into a silent disco garden at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 11. Not only will you bond with people over shared drinks, but you'll also experience the fellowship that comes with flailing about on a shared dance floor. Tickets are $15 at eventbrite.com, but the chance to dance to the beat of your own drum is priceless.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Thursday, May 24
The fight is on! No, it's not a cockfight (though there will certainly be some of that, especially after all the whiskey is consumed), it's Chicken Fight!, Denver's celebration of fried yardbird. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, the pecking order will be established as Birdcall, Injoi Korean Kitchen, the Post, Au Feu and more go head to head. River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, hosts the unlimited food-and-drink fest (so plan ahead, as the second-most hotly contested death match will be for parking); tickets will run you $69 to $125 at the Chicken Fight! website.
Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16
You've got to be wildly optimistic to make plans for a weekend six months away, but sometimes the event merits the commitment. Such is the case with the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. There's beer, blues and incredible views, yes, but there's also the six-hour drive from Denver, not to mention the challenge of finding accommodations that won't have you wailing like an old drunk who's out of hooch and whose woman took his dog and left. The festival runs from Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16, with more than fifty breweries pouring at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 15. Three-day festival, camping and late-night show passes are on sale now ($30 to $200), and single-day tickets ($70 to $75) go on sale June 13 on the festival's website. Don't wait to make your purchase: VIP and RV camping passes are already sold out.
Watch for our weekend culinary calendar on Friday. If you know of a date that should be on these calendars, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.