Spend this week clucking, shucking and devouring tube steak as it finally starts to feel like spring in the Mile High City. Here are seven events to enjoy from Monday, April 1, through Friday, April 5, plus more to start booking on your summer calendar.
Monday, April 1
Close your eyes and raise a glass to your nose. Now take a deep breath: What do you smell? Melon? Blackberries? Barnyard animals? Surprise! It's April Fool's Day, and you're doing a blind wine tasting. That's right: no bottles to clue you in to what you're drinking, no adorable labels to tempt your eye. One Barrel American Bistro & Wine Bar, 3401 South Broadway in Englewood, is offering a blind wine tasting for $35; adventurous imbibers get four mystery pours (two reds and two whites) and a cheese-and-fruit plate from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1. Stick around for dinner afterward and you'll get half off any bottle of vino under $50. Get details at the restaurant's Facebook page, then call 720-667-4781 for an April Fool's Day that's more pleasure than prank.
Tickets for Wings and Whiskey, Ace Eat Serve's annual celebration of the most useless — but delicious — part of the humble barnyard animal, go on sale on Monday, April 1. Ensure your entry to the chicken chowdown (happening at the restaurant, 501 East 17th Avenue, on Sunday, June 2, at 4 p.m.) on the ping-pong palace's website; tables and paddles will be set aside for the day in favor of unlimited bites, whiskey samples and the chance to enter the wing-eating contest. All proceeds go to benefit the Denver Housing Authority's Youth Employment Academy.
Tuesday, April 2
Ice cream for dinner and whiskey instead of water — on a school night? Capitalize on one of the basic tenets of being an adult — the right to make poor nutritional decisions — at West End Tavern's whiskey and ice cream social on Tuesday, April 2. From 6 to 8 p.m., $42 will get you six Breckenridge Distillery whiskeys (including High Proof and sherry cask finish varieties) with six scoops from Sweet Cow Ice Cream at the Boulder bar, 926 Pearl Street. Get your ticket on Eventbrite for an evening marrying your sophisticated palate to your general immaturity.
Wednesday, April 3
The month of April is known for frantic tax return filing, but it has at least one redeeming quality: It has the letter "R" in it, so you're safe eating oysters, according to ancient wisdom. Jax Fish House is capitalizing on springtime days and putting on the High West Oyster Fest on Wednesday, April 3, where crowds of seafood lovers come face to shell with bunches of bivalves. Admission ($45 to $65 in advance at any Jax location or on the seafood shack's website) gets you food from eight great restaurants, including Fish N Beer, Stoic & Genuine, Lola Coastal Mexican, Morin and, making a reappearance in Denver after relocating to Fort Collins, the Regional; live music from Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band; all the oysters you can fit into your gob; and attendance at oyster eating and shucking competitions. The shucking and jiving starts at 6 p.m. at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street.
Wednesday, April 3, marks the first in a series of dinners at Firenze a Tavola, 4401 Tennyson Street, focusing not only on the finished wine, but on the viticulture (soil, environment and climate) used to produce the grape. This week, the kitchen is turning out Tuscan dishes and wines along with an education on the region's terroir; think crispy polenta with wild mushrooms, fresh housemade pasta with boar ragu, and a sweet Florentine flatbread traditionally made for Carnevale (which ended March 5, but we'll chalk that up to the time change and move along, because we're not ones to turn up our noses at delicious food, even if it's not served on the correct date). Find the complete menu on the subterranean eatery's Facebook page, and call or text 940-367-2977 to reserve your $66 seat.
Thursday, April 4
Little Man Ice Cream Factory, 4411 West Colfax Avenue, isn't open to the public yet, but you can get a peek at the space on Thursday, April 4, at Behind the Scoop, a party benefiting Central City Opera. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., wander through the iconic ice cream shop's production facility while sampling flavors found at Little Man, Sweet Cooie's and the brand-new Constellation; sipping beer, wine and boozy shakes; and listening to pop-opera mashups and DJ Thrashbot. Secure your scoop(s) for $50 on Central City Opera's website.
Friday, April 5
If you haven't made your plan to call in sick (cough) for Friday, April 5, get your act together. It's the Colorado Rockies' home opener, and there are drinking and dining deals all over downtown to celebrate the annual rite of spring. One of our faves? Brats, beer and baseball from Avelina, 1550 17th Street. From 11 a.m. to first pitch at 2:10 p.m., enjoy a housemade brat and Coors Light on the house. Then head down to Coors Field, where the same pairing will cost you $74.95 plus your firstborn — or just stay put at the restaurant's convivial bar and patio and enjoy your sick day without the crowds of folks at the ballpark...er...doctor's office.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Tuesday, April 19
It may feel like winter will never end in the Mile High City, but in fact it's already time to start planning your spring garden dinners. The early bird gets the worm, after all, and the earliest feast to hit the table this year is already scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, at Kingman Estates Winery, 800 East 64th Avenue. Chefs Samantha New (Éclat Culinary) and Brandon Becker (Cirque Kitchen and Spirits) are teaming up to turn out an impressive nine-course meal, with pairings crafted from grapes grown entirely in Colorado, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fresh ingredients like melon will be served with chicory, speck and riesling, while heavier courses of beef and morels with merlot will be accented with seasonal ramps. Tickets, $138, include tax and tip, with 10 percent of sales going to No Kid Hungry, and are on sale now on the winery's website, where you can get a peek at the entire menu.
Monday, April 29
Take an evening to support aspiring female chefs at Work Options for Women's Women Cook event on Monday, April 29. The culinary training program for hard-to-employ women offers three programs (all at no cost to participants) ranging from four weeks to two years long; the dinner presents a handful of the top names in Denver's professional kitchens coming together to cook at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, to support their sisters just getting started in the food-service industry. Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class), Caroline Glover (Annette), Carrie Baird (Bar Dough), Shelia Lucero (Jax Fish House) and Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel (Spuntino) are just a few ladies giving their time and considerable talents to the feast, so don't miss out on tickets, $125, on WOW's website.
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Thursday, May 2
Good food, good cause: On Dining Out for Life day, restaurants donate 25 percent of sales (sometimes food, sometimes food and drink) to Project Angel Heart, which provides medically tailored meals for Coloradans living with HIV/AIDS. For a complete list of those participating, go to the Dining Out for Life website.
Saturday, August 17
Save the date — Tacolandia will return to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks. Although tickets aren't yet on sale, get this on your calendar before your summer weekends start filling up, and watch westwordtacolandia.com for updates.
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