Things to Do

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Tacolandia: The fewer the sour cream squiggles, the closer to God.
Tacolandia: The fewer the sour cream squiggles, the closer to God. Danielle Lirette
Learn about the lesser known Arcana moon, chow down on some perfectly cooked steaks and enjoy yet another farm dinner this week. Here are seven food and drink events from Monday, August 12, through Friday, August 16, that should keep you in fighting form for Tacolandia, our celebration of the city's Mexican restaurants and food trucks, coming August 17. Keep reading for all the details about those events, as well as more to come.
Monday, August 12
Boulderites who don't want to drive to the Ballpark neighborhood and who are looking for place to blow a few Benjamins will want to visit Arcana on Monday, August 12. It's an auspicious evening: The night sky will be lit up with the super-blood-sturgeon-Arcana moon, and chef Duncan Holmes from Beckon will be doing a one-night-only dinner in the Boulder restaurant at 909 Walnut Street. Like the Denver restaurant, this dinner will seat only sixteen diners at the bar, and as of this writing, a few spots are still left for the eight-course tasting menu. There's no doubt it's a splurge — the food alone costs $175, with an additional $75 wine pairing — but you'd spend half that much on a Lyft from the People's Republic to the Mile High City. You can make your reservation on Arcana's website, or by calling the restaurant at 303-444-3885.
Tuesday, August 13
Just $20 for dinner from the one of the ten best barbecue joints in town, plus an interview with two renowned barbecue experts? Yes, please. On Tuesday, August 13, Cheluna Brewing Co., inside Aurora's Stanley Marketplace at 2501 Dallas Street, is hosting Adrian Miller, Denver native, author and certified 'cue judge, and Jim Auchmutey, author of Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America. The always-entertaining Miller (who is currently writing a book about the history of African American barbecue) will interview Auchmutey about his experience as a founding member of Southern Foodways Alliance (a nonprofit that studies food cultures in the modern American South) as well as Smokelore and, of course, the merits of different styles of barbecue, while guests chow down on the real deal from Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que. Cheluna's craft brews will also be available for purchase. The event starts at 6 p.m.; tickets are available now on Colorado Humanities' website.
Wednesday, August 14
According to Alex Prud'homme, his great-aunt, the inimitable Julia Child, once commanded him to "just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you'll have a marvelous time!" She was talking about Gallic dinner parties, but the same could be said for public speaking engagements — and Prud'Homme will no doubt heed Child's advice when he takes to the stage on Wednesday, August 14, at the Mixed Taste lecture series to talk about the legendary cook. His counterpart? Jaakko Stenros, a game researcher, who will discuss Nordic live action role-playing, or LARPing. Imagine Julia Child sporting a breastplate and horned helmet and brandishing a spatula menacingly, and you've got the gist of the evening. Tickets to the 7 p.m. lecture are $20 on the DCPA's website, and if you show up at 5 p.m., you'll be able to enjoy drinks underneath the galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex before heading into the Seawell Ballroom for the fun.
click to enlarge This steak from Citizen Rail might take home top honors at RARE: The Denver Steak Championships. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
This steak from Citizen Rail might take home top honors at RARE: The Denver Steak Championships.
Danielle Lirette
Thursday, August 15
Denver was long considered a cowtown — if not by snooty coastal types, then affectionately and somewhat defiantly by its own denizens. While we've (mostly) left that moniker in the dust, there's no reason we should turn our backs on our heritage, particularly when it's so tasty. On Thursday, August 15, RARE: The Denver Steak Championships, unites more than twenty of the top steakhouses in town (including Corrida, Guard and Grace, Citizen Rail, Hearth & Dram and Elway's) to fire up the grills and compete to sear the best steak in both traditional and creative categories; they're also hoping to win your vote by plying you with sophisticated cocktails designed to pair perfectly with meaty, medium-rare goodness. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is the site of the showdown from 6 to 10 p.m., and tickets ($130 to $150) are on sale on the event's Facebook page. So honor Denver's cultural history: It's as juicy as that steak you're about to sink your teeth into.

Autumn is inexorably approaching, but we're betting there are still plenty of hot days left in the foreseeable future. So it's not too late to sign up for Cook Street's class, Summer Slammers: Reds, Whites and Rosés, on Thursday, August 15. Sneak out of the office a bit early to show up at 1937 Market Street at 5 p.m., when you'll be learn what makes a great summer wine of any color. Tuition is $65, and you'll get to taste a range of porch pounders that will do you right for the rest of patio season — and for plenty of summers to come. Sign up for the course (and find out about the school's wine classes for the rest of the year) on Cook Street's website. 

Likewise, you'll want to take advantage of the remaining long days of sunshine at a farm dinner, and if you haven't dined in the field among the dill and daffodils yet this summer, don't waste the opportunity. We've been fans of chef Robert Grant (who's worked under Thomas Keller and Barbara Lynch) since his days at downtown's short-lived Baur's; now he's grown roots at Boulder County's Greens Point Catering and will be serving up dinner al fresco on Thursday, August 15, at the picturesque Lone Hawk Farm, 10790 North 49th Street in Longmont. The multi-course meal starts at 6 p.m., with tickets ($80, excluding drinks, though you can BYOB) on Eventbrite.

Friday, August 16
Who knew perennially sunny singer-songwriter Jewel had waded into the ever-more-crowded waters of professional "wellness?" Not us, but the guitar-toting waif who ruled the airwaves for a few years in the mid-'90s founded the Wellness Your Way festival in 2018, and this year it's coming to Colorado. From Friday, August 16, to Sunday, August 18, the Denver Convention Center, 700 14th Street, will host an expo that includes cooking demos, fitness sessions, meet-and-greets and performances, including a Saturday night concert from the singer. The lineup includes the usual nutrition and fitness speakers, including Jillian Michaels and, inexplicably, blogger Perez Hilton. We'd love to know how many calories the prickly TV trainer and modern-day gossip columnist would burn sniping at each other; you may be able to find out when doors open Friday at 11 a.m. Tickets range from $10 for single-day passes to $75 for all-inclusive weekend ones on the festival's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation