What are you thankful for? A few things for which we are indescribably grateful include a diverse culinary landscape made up of people from all cultures and countries, French food, great beer and pie (bet you didn't see that last one coming). Celebrate all of those this week at food and drink happenings around town. And if you're still looking for a place to take care of you on Thanksgiving, here's our list of restaurants that are open on Turkey Day.
Monday, November 19
Lost among today's political rhetoric surrounding refugees is basic human compassion for people who have left their homes and families behind to live in a country where they're supposedly free from persecution, but often isolated, both linguistically and culturally. Denver's African Community Center helps refugees build new lives here, and for the thirteenth year it's hosting the Refugees First Thanksgiving to introduce new residents to the uniquely American holiday. Village Exchange Center, 1609 Havana Street in Aurora, is the site of the celebration on Monday, November 19, where, in true family style, a massive multicultural potluck dinner will nourish all comers and serve as a warm welcome to people who may be feeling out in the cold. The dinner is free, though a $15 donation is requested; you can RSVP to one of the two seatings (5:30 or 7 p.m.) and find a list of household items needed for ACC's pantry at Eventbrite.
Fans of French food (and fashion) will want to make a trip to Fire, 1201 Broadway, in conjunction with their visit to the Denver Art Museum's exhibit Dior: From Paris to the World. That's because the Art Hotel's restaurant is launching a pair of menus showcasing classically French techniques and ingredients to coincide with the show, which runs from November 19 to March 3. The three-course lunch menu, $35 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers up a choice of tuna Niçoise, trout meunière or coq au vin, bookended by vichyssoise soup (served warm instead of chilled in a nod to the season) and a raspberry and cream profiterole. For $25, happy-hour guests can indulge in a charcuterie board served with a choice of red or white French wine from 3 to 6 p.m. Everybody channel their inner Julia and say it with us: Bon appétiiiiiiit!
Tuesday, November 20
When it comes to breathless adulation about craft breweries in Colorado, Denver and Boulder get all the love — with Denver's largest suburb often forgotten. But there's more to Aurora's craft-beer scene than Dry Dock Brewing Co. (though that's a great place to start); the Aurora History Museum, 1501 East Alameda Parkway, opens its new exhibit exploring the history of craft brewing, local beer culture and the ins and outs of brewing, Drink Local: Aurora's Craft Beer Scene, on November 20. Programming for the show, which runs through April 7, includes a beer passport tour; lunchtime lectures on topics like beer archaeology, brewery expansion and the role of cideries; and a culminating beer festival. Admission to the exhibit is free; keep up to date on additional programming at the Museum's website.
Wednesday, November 21
It's pie season, bitches! For the next 39 days, eating large slabs of pie — in all its glorious forms — is more socially acceptable than ever. You may have even volunteered to furnish a pie for the Thanksgiving table. But what if you were planning on picking up a pastry from King Soopers on the way to dinner? While that makes you a good guest, it doesn't make the true American hero we know you could be if you showed up with a handmade dessert. And if you aren't confident in your crust-making skills, Shauna Lott of Long I Pie is teaching a Pie Crust 101 class at The Craftsman & Apprentice, 1325 East 22nd Avenue, on Wednesday, November 20. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., you'll make a butter crust to take home, eat your fill of Lott's delicious creations, and leave class with a pie recipe and all your burning pastry questions answered. All you have to do the next morning is fill the pie shell, pop it in the oven, and wait for the inevitable oohs and aahs. Enroll at craftsmanandapprentice.com for $50 to ensure that you'll be swamped with Thanksgiving invites for the rest of your days.
Thursday, November 22
Instead of snoring on the couch after your Thanksgiving meal (lulled to sleep by the sounds of football and familial sniping, no doubt), pull up your socks, don your best elastic-waist trousers and head out to Gobblefest at the Rackhouse Pub, where drinks will be flowing, games that don't involve emotional manipulation will be played, and pie (never to be missed) will be served. You can bring your own sweets to the potluck dessert spread at 2875 Blake Street if you like, but you'll still be welcome starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day even if all you want is a momentary respite from a crowded living room and the chance to knock back a few with that one cool cousin who snuck out of the house with you. Find out more on Rackhouse's Facebook page.
Friday, November 23
Station 26 Brewing, 7045 East 38th Avenue, celebrates Black Friday slightly differently than your local big box retailer. There may be people waiting impatiently when the doors open at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 23, but they'll be waiting for beer, not cheap television sets. Specifically, they'll rush the bar for the brewery's barrel-aged imperial stout Nightfall of Diamonds (formerly Dark Star). Chances are low anyone will be trampled to death in this stampede, though, as there will be plenty of pours for everyone: Eleven versions of the 13 percent brew will be on tap, including Mexican Chocolate, Manhattan and Strawberry balsamic versions and 2016 and 2017 vintages (subject to change). No tickets are required; just show up and be prepared to defend your spot at the bar. Pours will be priced from $5 to $8; details are up on the Station 26 Facebook page.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Wednesday, December 5
If you haven't made it to Comal yet — and unless you work near the Taxi Building, 3455 Ringsby Court, chances are you haven't, since it's only open for weekday lunch — you've got a rare opportunity to grab dinner at the eclectic Mexican/Syrian/Ethiopian joint on Wednesday, December 5. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., the restaurant will serve its final Impact Dinner of 2018, with proceeds benefiting nonprofits Focus Point Family Resource Center and the Colorado Village Collaborative. For $75 (tickets are on sale at Eventbrite), diners will get a five-course Mexican feast with wine and cocktail pairings; highlights of the meal promise to be fried chicken in a pepita and tomatillo sauce and consomme de res, braised beef short rib served in a rich bone broth over rice. If you're feeling extra hungry, chef's-counter tickets are available for $125 and include additional courses of king crab, scallops and winter truffles — but hurry, only four counter tickets are available for this dinner.
Friday, February 22, through Sunday, March 3
During the fifteenth annual Denver Restaurant Week, hundreds of Denver’s top restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for three tasty prices: $25, $35 or $45. Stay tuned to Visit Denver for a list of participants and menus.
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Saturday, March 16, 2019
Beer festivals in this town are serious business; there's at least one happening somewhere in the metro area every weekend, and many are long-running ventures with the attendee count growing each year. Some people (not us, of course) even plan their fests a year in advance. Collaboration Fest is hoping you're one of those people, as tickets for the Saturday, March 16, event are now on sale — even though the beers won't touch your lips until March. Early bird tickets are priced at $55 and $80 at collaborationfest.com, where you can get a few details about the festival, which will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street. The upside to snatching up those tickets now? By the time the fun rolls around, you'll have forgotten how much you spent to have it.
May 19 and May 20, 2019
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.
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