Denver's been hot, hot, hot the past few weeks, but it's finally starting to cool down, aided by a series of chill events. Relaxing with Rotties and a radler, taking a leisurely bike ride around Fort Collins farms and taking time to understand tea are just a few ways to enjoy this weekend. Here are seven of the best food and drink events over the next few days, as well as upcoming dates to put on the culinary calendar.
Friday, July 27
Cocktail drinkers will want to mark their calendars for Monday, August 13, when Avanti Food & Beverage, 3200 Pecos Street, will host a mixology contest that somehow manages to sound simultaneously literal and cinematic — Cocktails: A Competition. (Imagine what a Michael Bay-directed trailer for this movie would look like.) Would-be contestants (professional bartenders, that is) have until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 27, to submit their six-ingredient beer cocktail recipes for consideration. The successful applicants will be announced within the week; visit avantifandb.com to see the competition's rules and throw your hat in the ring.
Mutts, Moxy and MaxFund: There's no better way to start the weekend. The fine folks at the Cherry Creek hotel, 240 Josephine Street, have teamed up with the no-kill animal shelter to help out our furry friends on Friday, July 27. Starting at 4 p.m., 20 percent of bar proceeds will be donated to MaxFund, but the real reason you'll want to patronize the pub? Pointers, pulis and pugs: Adoptable dogs will be on site for you to meet, greet and fall madly in love with. Take a look at Moxy's Facebook page for the details and prepare to put up with the parking pain that is Cherry Creek; it'll be worth it for the puppy love.
Boulder's Savory Spice Shop has been enticing customers at 2041 Broadway for a decade now; between the jewel-toned bottles lining its walls and the smoky, salty, sweet and spicy aroma spilling out of its doors, shoppers don't stand a chance. On Friday, July 27, the store is celebrating ten years in business with a party from 5 to 7 p.m. Upslope Brewing Company has created an exclusive collaboration beer for the occasion, and snacks from local businesses that have worked with the spicemonger over the past ten years will also be served. A requested $10 donation for the event will go to nonprofit organizations Boulder Food Rescue and Growing Gardens.
Saturday, July 28
Foodies north of Denver who want to eat local while minimizing their carbon footprint can feel great about heading to Fort Collins on Saturday, July 28, for the Tour de Farms bike ride. Yes, you'll have to pile yourself and your gear into a hulking SUV to get up there (just don't think about that part of it), but once you've arrived, you'll have your pick of two bike tours (a five-mile family ride or 35-mile road ride) that will take you through local farms, community gardens and herds of friendly farm animals. Snacks and beverages are included along the routes, and both rides culminate in a summer garden lunch. The rides launch from Larimer County Courthouse, 200 West Oak Street in Fort Collins, at 8 a.m.; find out more and get your tickets, $50, at Fortified Collaborations' website.
If you've ever considered going vegan (or even vegetarian), you'll want to visit VegFest Colorado this weekend, where chefs, authors, doctors and dieticians will espouse the benefits of ditching animal products in your diet. 1STBANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane in Broomfield, is hosting the expo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29; food trucks, bands and a kiddie area will be on hand for the moments in between presentations and panels when you need a break from proselytizing. There will also be plenty of vendors sampling vegan vittles, so your $10 entry will practically pay for itself. Get details and a full schedule at the festival's website.
It's summer, it's sweltering and we're parched. You think we're going to recommend a beer festival, don't you? Think again, gentle readers; this weekend, we're eschewing suds for a brew of a different kind. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th Street, is hosting the twentieth annual Rocky Mountain Tea Festival on Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29. This year's event includes a tea marketplace, where you can sample and purchase a wealth of loose-leaf tea; a teddy bear tea for your youngster and his favorite stuffed companion; a four-course dinner with tea used in all dishes; an exhibit of tiny paintings on teabags; and a weekend full of workshops (our picks are Poetry and Tea: Walking in the Footsteps of Chinese Poets, and Best Teas for Your Health). Admission to the marketplace is free, and individual events begin at just $20. Find all the details and register for workshops at rockymtnteafestival.com before they sell out.
Sunday, July 29
If you want to spend your Sunday day-drinking but are weary of bottomless Bloodys and Benedicts, skip brunch and make a date with Denver's Atlas Obscura Society. The group is offering two tours of the erstwhile Daniels and Fisher Tower, 1601 Arapahoe Street, on Sunday, July 29. Pick your time (1 or 3 p.m.) for a tour of the fourteenth-floor observation deck, basement cabaret, pre-Prohibition cocktails and a cabaret performance. You'll also hear about other historic theaters around the city that have been lost to time, progress and encroaching pot shops. Tickets are on sale now for $55 at Eventbrite, and while that seems pricey, consider that you'll get to watch scantily clad dancers with your drink — and no brunch can promise you that.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Saturday, August 11
How long has it been since you've been to Cherry Creek for dinner? Given the massive construction and minimal parking in the neighborhood, chances are it's been a while. But on Saturday, August 11, the Cherry Creek North Food and Wine festival is an ideal way to explore the area's many bars and restaurants on foot, getting a breadth of bites without having to make numerous trips to the belly of the beast. Over twenty establishments will line Fillmore Plaza, at First Avenue and Fillmore Street, between 6 and 9 p.m.; our favorites include Hedge Row, Quality Italian, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Del Frisco's Grille and the ever-popular Enstrom Candies. Get your early-bird tickets, $65 or $85 (VIPs enter at 5 p.m.), at cherrycreeknorth.com; ticket prices increase on July 9.
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Sunday, August 19
Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos (or as they're known to non-hipsters: tacos). Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment. For complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com. This isn't a competition, it's a celebration — so come hungry and get ready for a wide variety of great Mexican eats, from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the city's most popular cantinas.
Sunday, September 30
It's never too early to start planning for Feast, Westword's annual celebration of Denver's restaurant scene. This year's party returns to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, September 30. There will be unlimited bites from over forty local eateries, live entertainment, unlimited drink samples and unlimited merriment from noon to 3 p.m., especially if you opt for VIP tickets, which get you in an hour early and include an open VIP bar. Tickets start at $30 and go on sale starting July 14 at westwordfeast.com.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.