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Celebrate Citizen Rail's anniversary with some of its excellent dry-aged steak for a fantastic price.
Celebrate Citizen Rail's anniversary with some of its excellent dry-aged steak for a fantastic price.
Danielle Lirette

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Denver's food and drink calendar celebrates Mexico, Munich and dry-aged meat this weekend, plus all-you-can-eat pizza, a picnic in a city alleyway, and coffee-themed porn. So dig in to these seven culinary happenings from Friday, September 13, to Sunday, September 15, then check out six more upcoming events.

Friday, September 13
Citizen Rail, 1899 16th Street, is turning two this month and inviting all the younger kids in the neighborhood to the party. From Friday, September 13, through Sunday, September 22, you can celebrate with two-week dry-aged duck breast or lamb, or 28-day dry-aged New York strip steak. For just $45, you'll get a three-course prix-fixe dinner with your choice of house-aged protein, starter and dessert. And while we rarely recommend opting for the upcharge, it's worth it in this case, because for a mere $10 more, you can add four ounces of 365-day dry-aged strip to your plate to compare directly with its month-old cousin. Find the full menu on Citizen Rail's Facebook page, then visit the restaurant's website for reservations to ensure that you don't miss out on this fantastic birthday deal.

There's a significant amount of the population that can't start the day without a steaming cup of coffee. There's a smaller proportion of people who can't start the day without a steamy helping of smut. If you're in the center of this lopsided Venn diagram, you won't want to miss the Drip release party on Friday, September 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Awakening Boutique, the city's hippest sex shop, at 2936 Larimer Street, is hosting sexy shenanigans to celebrate the release of the zine by and for horny caffeine addicts. Tickets ($15 on Eventbrite) include a copy of the porny publication plus a raffle ticket; if you can't make it to the event, order your copy on Drip's website.

And so it begins: Oktoberfest celebrations are appearing all over town with the regularity of a cuckoo popping out of an elaborately carved Teutonic clock. On Friday, September 13, at 6 p.m., Union Station's Feier kicks off with a long list of Munich-style Colorado brews (we trust the beer list at Terminal Bar, reliably excellent, won't disappoint, with bartenders slinging such stalwarts as Dry Dock, Odell, Left Hand and Denver Beer) and music by the Polkanauts, Denver's premier astronaut-themed heavy-metal polka band. Admission to the bash is free; find out more on the Bar's Facebook page.

Crush Pizza & Tap's Chicago-style pie will be at Pizza Palooza.
Crush Pizza & Tap's Chicago-style pie will be at Pizza Palooza.
Courtesy Crush Pizza & Tap

Saturday, September 14
First, Denver was a cowtown. Then it was a beer town. Then came craft cocktails, but soon the people grew tired of waiting twelve minutes for a fussy $15 drink. So after that, we became a pot town, and now...now, apparently, Denver is a seltzer town, because on Saturday, September 14, Fizz Fest, the nation's first hard-seltzer fest, is debuting. Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, is hosting two sessions of the bubbly bash (noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), with nearly forty sparklers available for tasting. If the sound of that doesn't make you want to White Claw your eyes out, snag tickets, $30 to $50, on the event Facebook page.

When it comes to pizza in the Mile High City, there are two kinds of folks: First are the self-righteous transplants, who can be located by triangulating their screeches of "That's not real pizza!" every time we post a pic of a slice that doesn't fit their definition of NYC/Chicago/New Haven pies (seriously, New Haven, lay off the public-relations plants); on the opposite end of the spectrum are the good people who love the combination of crust, melty cheese and an infinite variety of toppings in whatever form it occurs. The second group is cordially invited to Pizza Palooza, Denver's inaugural pizza festival, on Saturday, September 14, at the Industry building, 3001 Brighton Boulevard. During one of two sessions (2 to 4:30 p.m. or 6:30 to 9 p.m.), you'll be able to stuff your pie hole with samples from Crush, Denver Pizza Co., High Society, Infinitus, Marco's Coal Fired, Marquis, Hops & Pie, Anthony's, Fat Sully's and more; there will also be an open bar to help you wash down all those tasty slices. Tickets ($49 to $95) are still available on Eventbrite.

Summer's slowly (very slowly) giving way to fall, but you can still sip in the sunshine on Saturday, September 14, at Run for the Roses' Run for the Rosé Garden Party. The Dairy Block Alley, 1800 Wazee Street, plays host to the late-summer soirée, with food from Kelly Whitaker's upcoming project Brutø and bubbles from Chandon, from noon to 4 p.m. Get your tickets ($35 gets a single entry, passed apps and a glass of wine, but pair up with a friend for $90 and get a full bottle, plus a picnic board) on Tock, where you'll also find more details.

Bites from Super Mega Bien will be at Mexico in a Bottle.
Bites from Super Mega Bien will be at Mexico in a Bottle.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, September 15
While some Denver bars celebrate Cinco de Mayo like it’s a national holiday, May 5 isn’t a big deal in Mexico. But Mexican Independence Day is, and more and more spots in the Mile High City are recognizing that. On Sunday, September 15, Athmar Park will host a Taco Fiesta from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., while Stanley Marketplace will hold a bash on Monday, September 16. But the big fun will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 15, when Finn’s Manor hosts Mexico in a Bottle, the Denver debut of a tribute to mezcal that’s grown to showcase a craft-beverage scene in Mexico that includes rum, whiskey and wine. At this bash, not only will some of those liquid assets be available alongside more than 100 mezcals and agave spirits, but there will be bites from local restaurants, including Adelitas, Dos Santos and Super Mega Bien. Finn’s is located at 2927 Larimer Street, and tickets are $70 on Eventbrite; find out more at mexinabottle.com.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Combine your love of the indoors and wine at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic.EXPAND
Combine your love of the indoors and wine at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic.
Courtesy Taste of Vail

Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21
If you're like us, you spend most of September vowing to get up to the mountains and see the colors — only to be derailed by that bottle of wine in the fridge on Friday night, that new restaurant you've been meaning to try on Saturday and that ensuing hangover on Sunday. This year, plan ahead to combine all of your interests (drinking, dining and saying how much you enjoy the outdoors while you're indoors, safe from bear attacks) at the Vail Fall Food & Wine Classic on Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21. The weekend includes Friday night wine dinners at restaurants around town, followed by Saturday morning excursions like biking, berry picking and bakasana (and other yoga poses) before the grand tasting of scores of wines from more than fifty producers. Tickets for the grand tasting will run you $85 on Taste of Vail's website, but the satisfaction of knowing you've finally — finally! — made it to the mountains in time to see the aspen turn is priceless.

Saturday, September 28
Everything about last year's Black Panther was so unrelentingly cool — from the costumes to the car chases to the computers to Danai Gurira's epic wig snatching and general badassery — we're still disgruntled that the African utopia is only part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not our own. But on Saturday, September 28, you can suspend your disbelief from 6 p.m. to midnight at Night in Wakanda, a party for the ages. More than twenty South African and Zimbabwean wines will be represented during the Grand Tasting, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and a handful of products from black U.S. winemakers will be on hand as well. Round out the night with a fashion show based on the thirteen tribes from the film, a performance by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, dancing, DJs and a dessert and coffee bar until midnight. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, hosts the celebration; find details and tickets ($65 to $115) on the event Facebook page.

Vesta's cool, clubby bar is the setting for its sixteenth annual Plates for the Peak fundraiser.EXPAND
Vesta's cool, clubby bar is the setting for its sixteenth annual Plates for the Peak fundraiser.
Aaron Thackeray

Thursday, October 3
Get a jump on the weekend on Thursday, October 3, with Vesta's annual Plates for the Peak fundraiser, which benefits Urban Peak, a nonprofit organization that provides housing, outreach and educational support for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the restaurant at 1822 Blake Street will host the casual event, with chefs from three of Denver's most beloved restaurants — good-times stalwarts Steuben's and Ace Eat Serve, along with their fine-dining big sister Vesta — turning out upscale American classics and excellent cocktails that will be sure to satisfy. Visit Urban Peak's website to purchase your tickets ($85 to $100, or spring for table service for groups of six or ten).

GrowHaus hosts five Harvest Week dinners that you can't go to.
GrowHaus hosts five Harvest Week dinners that you can't go to.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, October 6 through Sunday, October 10
Denver's Harvest Week is already sold out! The $55 dinners include a vegetarian meal with chefs from Luca, Urban Farmer, Acreage and the Regional; a zero-waste dinner from Super Mega Bien, Vesta and Bistro Vendôme; plus a straight-up eclectic meal combining the vastly different styles of Mercantile & Provision, Vine Street Pub, Rio Grande and Flagstaff House. All dinners start at 6 p.m. at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street; watch harvestweek.com for any updates on ticket availability.

Thursday, October 10, through Sunday, October 13
Flatirons Food Film Festival kicks off its seventh year on Thursday, October 10, and its program for the next four days is more wide-ranging than ever. This year's films shine a spotlight on immigrant and international cuisine, including a pair of films from Africa (Tazzeka from Morocco and Cook Off from Zimbabwe — we highly recommend a visit to one of the African Grill and Bar outposts prior to the screenings for a taste of the cuisine that's underrepresented in the Denver area). There will also be documentaries about Mexico's Diana Kennedy and a couple who traded in their city life for 200 acres of barren farmland; visual-art installations inspired by the films; interviews with chefs, sommeliers and farmers; and, of course, spreads of food from Japanese to Jewish deli. A festival pass will run you $90, with individual screenings and events starting at just $13 on the fest's website.

Macarons from Lucky Mary's Baking at Westword's Feast.EXPAND
Macarons from Lucky Mary's Baking at Westword's Feast.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, October 24
Feast, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver restaurant scene, will make its delicious return to the McNichols Building on a new day and time: 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday evening. As always, though, Feast will be a true feast for the senses, with music, beverage samplings and dishes from more than forty favorite restaurants. Among those already signed on to sample their food are Uchi, Jackdaw, Milk & Cake, The Veggie Whisperer, Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Q and more. This year, VIP ticket-holders will again be treated to a special menu, this year courtesy of the world-renowned Matsuhisa. Bites from Matsuhisa will include spicy tuna crispy rice, chicken gyoza, black cod miso in limestone lettuce, and more, as well as special VIP cocktails to complement the menu. VIP tickets also include early entry into the event at 6 p.m. and a VIP gift bag. Get tickets at westwordfeast.com.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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