From coffee to costume parties to kangaroo meat, there's something on the menu for everyone on our culinary calendar. Here are seven of the best food and drink events over the next five days, as well as more in the months ahead.
Monday, October 22
The Secret Sauce restaurant group includes some of the most well-established joints in town: Vesta, Ace Eat Serve and Steuben's. On Monday, October 22, you can get bites and beverages from all three of them at Vesta's annual fundraiser, Plates for the Peak. The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at Vesta, 1822 Blake Street, where current and former chefs and bartenders from the three restaurants (including alumni Matt Selby and Brandon Foster) will cook up a storm to benefit Urban Peak, a non-profit organization that provides housing, education and support for homeless youth. From Vesta's refined seasonal cuisine to Asian-inspired fare from Ace's chef Thach Tran to relentlessly homey food and fantastic cocktails from Steuben's, there's no way you'll leave unsatisfied. Tickets are $85 and are on sale at Eventbrite.
Tuesday, October 23
Just in time for the elections, anti-corruption advocacy group Represent.us is tackling the task of educating the voting public about ranked choice voting, a key reform recommended by the American Anti-Corruption Act. And while a civics lesson may not sound particularly appealing (especially given the political existential dread many of us are suffering these days), the good folks at Represent.us know what it takes to get Coloradans' attention: craft beer. On Tuesday, October 23, BarFly (inside Alamo Drafthouse at 4255 West Colfax Avenue) is hosting the Great American Beer Election from 6 to 8 p.m. For $10, you'll get five beers (from Horse and Dragon, Bootstrap, Bierstadt, TRVE and Denver Beer Co.), information about ranked choice voting and how it benefits the political process, and the chance to cast your vote for a candidate that won't ever prove to be a racist, short-fingered buffoon with a questionable grasp of the English language. Get your tickets at Alamo Drafthouse's website.
Wednesday, October 24
Halloween is coming up in a week, and coffee lovers have that much time to get their hands on a bag of Pablo's special Halloween blend, Chicory Treat. The blend of Central American and Indonesian coffees is augmented with chicory, the root beloved by Louisianans as a bitter, herbal coffee additive for over a century. The blend is available through Wednesday, October 31, at all Pablo's Coffee locations ($12 for twelve ounces), and while we're not sure what chicory has to do with Halloween other than general weirdness, devotees of the strange and unusual won't want to miss this coffee concoction.
The Florida coast and hurricanes seem pretty far away when we're enjoying fall weather in Colorado, but for some Denver residents, Hurricane Michael hit a little too close to home on October 10. Euclid Hall bartender Stephen Denton hails from Mexico Beach, Florida, and his family's home was wiped out by the high winds and flooding. The restaurant, at 1317 14th Street, is hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday, October 24, at 9:00 p.m. to help Denton's family recover. There will be a $20 cover charge, which will get you two drink tickets for beer and wine, plus live music (from American House Fire, Television Generation and Prude Boys) and a raffle for door prizes. Sponsors for the event include Crafted Concepts, Sysco, Italco, Westbound and Down, Epic Brewing Company and Empire Distributors. All proceeds will go directly to the family. Call Euclid Hall at 303-595-4255 for details.
Thursday, October 25
School lunches are a hot topic (if you think otherwise, consider the frankly bizarre case of a school chef in Nebraska who was recently fired after serving kangaroo meat to students). On Thursday, October 25, the Real School Food Challenge pits six professional cooks against each other to see who can create create a meal that complies with USDA guidelines while adhering to the average school budget of $1.25. Competitors include Justin Gold (of peanut butter fame); Hosea Rosenberg (Blackbelly and Santo); Kelly Whitaker (Basta and the Wolf's Tailor); and Daniel Asher (River & Woods). While the pros take their places at the stoves at the Sterling Rice Group test kitchen, 1801 13th Street in Boulder, spectators will sip on wine and beer (definitely not approved for school lunches). Tickets are on sale at eventbrite.com for a suggested $100 (but this is a donation, so it's not set in ston; purchase benefits the Chef Ann Foundation, a national organization working with school districts to provide better and healthier food in school lunchrooms.
Unless you've got a private plane and a bottomless trust fund, it's tough to hit up the best restaurants across the country. That's why ChefsFeed Indie Week, happening Thursday, October 25, through Sunday, October 28, is such a great deal for Denver diners: Nineteen acclaimed chefs from San Francisco, New York City, Austin and throughout the country will converge on Denver to team up with five locals (Gregory Gourdet, Departure; Carrie Baird, Bar Dough; Lon Symensma, ChoLon; Matt Vawter, Mercantile Dining & Provision; and Chris Starkus, Urban Farmer) to create three epic meals. Departure, 249 Columbine Street, will host the dinners; the twelve-course meals on Thursday and Friday have a single chef preparing each course, while Sunday's dinner will have all 24 chefs in the kitchen as they prepare twelve courses in pairs. Tickets start at $165 and include wine pairings; get yours now and see the full roster of chefs on the ChefsFeed website.
Friday, October 26
Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, giving inveterate creeps and costumed celebrators two chances to party: the night of or the weekend before. Union Station's Terminal Bar, 1701 Wynkoop Street, is kicking off fright night early, on Friday, October 26, with a Spooky Speakeasy from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Throw on your most impressive disguise for the costume contest, and don't think a store-bought getup will do the job, since the winner gets a free night's stay at the Crawford Hotel. Enjoy themed cocktails and a live DJ to go with the masquerade. Get more info on the bar's Facebook page.
Keep reading for upcoming food and drink events.
Saturday, October 27
Ah, last Halloween...the weather was cold, and you didn't wear a coat — it would have covered up your sexy nun costume — and the scariest thing about the evening was fighting your way through the crowds at the bar and paying $14 for a watered-down cocktail. Up the class factor this year while still celebrating at Uncorked Kitchen's Gothic Dinner Party. The cooking school at 8171 South Chester Street in Centennial is hosting a couple's class from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, where the menu includes vegetarian sushi with black sriracha; black spaghetti with scallops; roasted beet, squash, apples and Brussels sprout salad; merlot-poached pears with skull cookies; and some boozy witches' brew to keep you hydrated. Get your tickets ($210 per pair) at uncorkedkitchen.com before they're gobbled up by greedy goblins.
We've written about MCA Denver's Dinner Society before; the meals are always impressive and the setting enjoyable. But the next installment in the series promises to raise the bar even higher: Ian Kleinman (of the Inventing Room) will be cooking a meal inspired by Tara Donovan's Fieldwork exhibit on Saturday, October 27, from 7 to 10 p.m. The entire museum, 1485 Delgany Street, is currently taken over by Donovan's elaborate and engrossing site-specific sculptures, and there's no one in Denver we'd rather see interpret her vision on a plate than the wildly creative Kleinman. Tickets, $125, include a tour of the exhibit as well as a three-course meal (miso crepe with lemon crab, béchamel, coconut caviar and saltwater bubbles; hoisin and orange sous-vide pork with black-tea jelly and smoked potatoes; and mousse with peanut butter Pop Rocks, nitro puffed rice and a sugar slinky) and drinks from the Family Jones. Reserve your seat at eventbrite.com before tickets are gone like a puff of liquid nitrogen.
November 1 through November 4
If you want to improve your knowledge of French wine (or French geography, as the two go hand in hand), consider attending the Boulder Burgundy Festival from Thursday, November 1, through Sunday, November 4. The four-day fair will include an old and rare burgundy tasting and silent auction; a beaujolais wine seminar; meals at Corrida, Mateo, Frasca and Arcana; and the finale, a Grand Tasting. Still not sure if you want to attend? Let's make it simple: You'll be drinking pinot noir, chardonnay and gamay. Event prices start at $85 and are on sale now at the Festival's website.
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Friday, November 2
In the past year, The Bindery, 1817 Central Street, has established itself as one of the most creative eateries in Denver — and one of the few places we know of where you can always find rabbit on the menu. And on Friday, November 2, the kitchen is celebrating its first birthday with an epic dinner party. Starting at 6 p.m., apps will start coming out of the kitchen as a live band takes the stage. Tickets, $125, are on sale at eventbrite.com; if you don't want to commit to a full meal (why not, though?), show up between 3 and 6 p.m. for a community happy hour, with complimentary apps and the bar's excellent cocktails for sale.
Saturday, December 15
Is it too early to be training for the Feats of Strength? Not if you want to crush your family and friends (physically and emotionally) at this year's Festivus. Nor is it too early to start planning for this year's Denver Beer Festivus, which takes place on Saturday, December 15, at the Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway, from 3 to 6 p.m. Early bird tickets are on sale now for $35 or $60 at denverbeerfestivus.com; get yours quickly, or you'll be the focus of your drinking buddies' Airing of Grievances. NOTE: Early bird tickets are now sold out; regular tickets are currently on sale for $40 or $65.
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