If a food festival was held in a forest and there wasn't a slider in sight, did it really happen?
If a food festival was held in a forest and there wasn't a slider in sight, did it really happen?
Danielle Lirette

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Yes, Westword's Feast arrives on Sunday, September 30, filling the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park with so much good food and drink, the festivities will spill over into the park. Elsewhere in town, bites are merely accompaniments to the star of the show: beverages. From the innocent (coffee) to the obscure (mead) to big-girl refreshments (whiskey), there's something to quench your thirst. Here are six of the best food and drink events on tap this weekend, plus a few more in October.

A view out the back onto Bamboo's patio and downtown.EXPAND
A view out the back onto Bamboo's patio and downtown.
Mark Antonation

Friday, September 28
Bamboo Sushi, 2715 17th Street, is taking advantage of harvest season to donate 20 per cent of its sales from Friday, September 28, through Sunday, September 30, to Big Green, an organization working to install "learning gardens" in low-income schools across Colorado and the country. And while you might not think of a sushi joint in a landlocked state as particularly seasonal, Bamboo will be offering a special Big Green Roll (tempura sweet potato, cucumber, carrots and a miso-beet purée) to highlight what's being harvested in gardens around Denver right now.

Eat (and drink) here.EXPAND
Eat (and drink) here.
Mark Antonation

Saturday, September 29
National Coffee Day has arrived, and there are plenty of spots in Denver willing to bet that a cup of free coffee will earn your loyalty long enough for you to shell out a few bucks on beans or bagels. Here's a partial list: Boyer's Coffee Schoolhouse Cafe, 7295 Washington Street, is getting the jump on the competition by pouring free drip coffee from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, September 28, alongside live music, prizes and food trucks. On Saturday, September 29, Einstein Bros. Bagels will be handing out free Caribou coffee with any food purchase; Voodoo Doughnut, 1520 East Colfax Avenue, is giving away a can of High Brew cold brew with the purchase of a pastry from 7 to 9 a.m.; and Dunkin' Donuts outposts around town are offering buy one, get one cups all day. Get up, get caffeinated, get a buzz at every coffeehouse in town.

Even if the weather dictates you should still be drinking ice-cold lager, the calendar says it's fall — and therefore, you should be sipping on Scotch. Surrender to seasonality on Saturday, September 29, at the Fall Whiskey Tasting Festival, which runs from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at Improper City, 3201 Walnut Street. General admission tickets are sold out, but VIP entry is still available for $120, which includes fifteen tasting tickets for brands such as 10th Mountain Whiskey, Old Elk Distillery and Spirit Hound Distillers. Visit Facebook for a complete list of vendors and get your ticket at Eventbrite.

Gobbling down your dinner in an alleyway doesn't sound very appealing — unless you're attending the inaugural Here Series dinner at the Dairy Block Alley, adjacent to Denver Milk Market at 1800 Wazee Street. Chefs from Urban Farmer, Departure and Kachina Southwestern Grill are putting together a three-course meal paired with WhistlePig rye whiskey. Guests will gather under the alley's "Here" sign at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 29, to dine on roasted suckling pig brined in whiskey; miso mushrooms; cornbread; chocolate mousse with drunken pears and whiskey crème anglaise; and cocktails and rye flights. Tickets are $155, which includes valet parking, tax and tip, and are on sale now at Eventbrite.

The most unusual event on this weekend's calendar comes with its own soundtrack: At the Orpheus MeadFest on Saturday, September 29, a benefit for the Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir, your ears will be entertained alongside your tastebuds. The chorale will perform at the festival, which boasts eight Colorado producers pouring more than fifty different meads. Tickets are a bargain at $25 each ($45 per pair). The Tears McFarlane House, 1290 Williams Street, is hosting the shindig from 4 to 7 p.m.; find out more and buy tickets at the choir's website.

Feast, drink and be merry.
Feast, drink and be merry.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, September 30
It's finally here: 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 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 are on sale now at westwordfeast.com.

Keep reading for upcoming food and drink events.
Sunday, October 7, through October 11
Eat Denver and the GrowHaus are presenting their ninth annual Harvest Week, "a pop-up culinary collaboration between 35 Denver restaurants in tribute to Colorado’s farmers, ranchers and producers." All at the GrowHaus, the dinners are $85 each and all fabulous...and completely sold out. Find out what you're missing at the Harvest Week website.

Thursday, October 11, through Sunday, October 14
Food and film fanatics will want to plan ahead for the Flatirons Food Film Festival, taking place around Boulder from Thursday, October 11, through Sunday, October 14. And while seven feature films — documentaries and dramas with food and drink at the heart of the story — will be screened, they're far from the only thing on the menu. There will also be panel discussions, farm tours, beer tastings and an homage to the late Anthony Bourdain. Admission to single films starts at $13, with an all-access pass running $70; find the whole schedule and get tickets on the Flatirons Food Film Festival website.

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

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