This weekend is all about good food, good drinks and good music, as Saturday boasts a quartet of food and music festivals, one of which is sure to entice you no matter what your palate for tastes or tunes. But if that doesn't appeal to you, there are also sweet treats, a quiet wine dinner, cooking classes with flowers and an open-air sausage fest. Here are eight great events from Friday, August 9, to Sunday, August 11, with even more to plan for during the rest of summer.
Friday, August 9
Even if the temperatures on Friday, August 9, aren't sky-high (and they are forecast to be in the 90s), it's still Friday — and you're going to need a pick-me-up to make it through Friday afternoon in your cubicle. Downtown desk jockeys will want to make a detour past the Sheraton Denver Downtown, 1550 Court Place, for an ice-cold sweet treat between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The hotel is raising money for Children's Hospital Colorado, and just a $3 donation will get you a root beer float (either a classic or cookies-and-cream variety) or milk and cookies.
Guard and Grace, 1801 California Street, is whisking you away to the West Coast at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 9, for a wine dinner with drinks from wineries Revana Family Vineyards (California) and Alexana Winery (Oregon). But while the wines are all left coast, chef Troy Guard and company are utilizing plenty of seasonal and local ingredients in their luxe five-course dinner: crab with sweet-corn velouté, squash blossoms and adorable patty pan squash; grilled Palisade peaches with honeycomb and black truffles; and sturgeon with caviar sided by foraged mushrooms, for starters. Visit the steakhouse's Facebook page to see the entire menu and nab tickets ($150).
Saturday, August 10
Chef Alon Shaya set Denver abuzz with the opening of his Israeli restaurant Safta last year — and now he's bringing another far-flung tradition to Colorado with Bacchanal x Denver. For Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11, the original Source parking lot at 3300 Brighton Boulevard will be transformed into a Mile High version of the Big Easy's celebrated wine shop/cafe/all-day party Bacchanal Wine. Starting at 11 a.m., guests can expect live jazz performances, extravagant charcuterie and cheese boards, more than 25 Old World wines, and fire-roasted dishes like broccolini with tahini and Manchego, and skirt steak with labneh, fried yuca and peach chimichurri. Entry is $15, with food and wine for sale inside, but bring your credit card: The event is cash-less. In keeping with Bacchanal's garden vibe, seating will be casual, colorful and communal, making you feel as though you're relaxing at a friend's backyard party — a custom that's always in style, no matter where you're from. Find out more and nab tickets on Safta's Facebook page.
The summer's final Truck Stop food-truck gathering kicks off on Saturday, August 10, and runs for two days. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, vehicles slinging hot dogs, sushi, gyros, dumplings, ice cream and more will take over the intersection at 42nd and Wynkoop streets (recently dubbed Wynkoop Alley). There's no cover, but there will be music stages (two of them on Saturday, with bands performing all day), drinks and plenty of curb seating for people wanting to enjoy the summer vibes at a neighborhood block party. Visit Truck Stop's website to find the list of participating food trucks and location details.
It's hard to be depressed when you're drinking great craft beer in sunny Colorado, but on Saturday, August 10, the blues and the brews will go hand-in-hand at Swallow Hill Music's Blues and Brews festival. South Pearl Street at East Louisiana Avenue will be the site of nonstop music from 2 to 10 p.m.; doors open at 1 p.m., when you'll get your pick of beverages from ten local breweries, including Black Project, Stem Ciders, Tivoli, Platt Park and Dos Luces. Entry is just $10, with beer tickets available for purchase inside, though you can save a few bucks (and your valuable time) by purchasing in advance on Swallow Hill's website, where you'll also find complete band and brewery lineups.
Good-looking food is (almost) as important as good-tasting food, and using flowers in your culinary endeavors can help you achieve both goals. On Saturday, August 10, Mossflower and the She Grows Flower Farm are teaming up to teach a Cooking With Flowers class at Arvada's She Grows, where participants will get a tour of the blooming fields as well as instruction on how to incorporate blooms into cocktails, compound butter, paella and olive oil cake. Sign up for the $115 class and you'll also get to eat the fruits of your labor as well as take home a selection of edible flowers. Sign up for the 4 p.m. class on Mossflower's website; the address will be provided to students once they register.
Public radio station KUVO is hosting its annual fundraiser, Live at the Vineyards, on Saturday, August 10, and while the jazz station's party will obviously have great live tunes, the bites at the bash will appeal to you even if you don't know much about America's homegrown music. Even the featured band's name — Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers — points to the priorities. There will be ’cue on hand (from Nel's and Smokin' Yard's) along with tacos from Adelitas, Que Bueno Suerte and Carrera's; mussels in rasam (spicy tamarind) broth from Nocturne; pimento cheese and pork belly confit flatbread from Dunbar; vegan dishes from Migration Taco and Comal; and much more. There will also be wine tastings from Balistreri Vineyards, which is hosting the event at 1946 East 66th Avenue at 6:30 p.m., plus a silent auction. Visit KUVO's website for a full roster of participating restaurants and to purchase your tickets, which run from $100 to $125.
Sunday, August 11
If you missed June's Heritage Fire event in Snowmass, you've got a mulligan, because on Sunday, August 11, the organizer, Cochon555, is hosting an encore presentation at Stem Ciders' Acreage, 1380 Horizon Drive in Lafayette. Whether it was the timing of the event or the your inability to get mountain lodging during Aspen Food & Wine that derailed your desire to feast on whole beasts roasted over open flame, you've got a second chance to enjoy expansive views and delicious food, wine and craft beer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets ($150 to $200) are on sale now on Cochon's website, where you'll find over twenty participating chefs from around the state. Our only beef with the event? Although it's a 200 percent improvement on the all-male lineup that at the June event, just two of Colorado's many skillful female chefs are on the roster.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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 over 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.
Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by thirty of the city's top cantinas (Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Los Chingones, Kachina Cantina), taquerias (El Aguila Azteca, Antojitos la Poblanita, El Coco Pirata) and food trucks (El Moreno, Taco Block, Pico Arepa), and even the odd grocery store and sandwich shop (Carniceria Aaliyah, Torta Grill). Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
Sunday, August 25
Over 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with over twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.
Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28
Den Corner knows how to throw a party, and its annual rooftop party and fundraiser only gets better with age. What started out in 2016 with a handful of chefs flown in from Japan has morphed into even more festivities, with twenty Japanese chefs hopping the pond to raise funds for Colorado's We Don't Waste and southern Japan's Kumamoto Castle Earthquake Relief Fund. This year, local chefs Carrie Baird, Ian Wortham, Caroline Glover, Dana Rodriguez, Elise Wiggins, Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly, Alon Shaya and more will join the shindig on August 27 and 28; beer, wine, cocktails and sake will be flowing, while ramen, hand rolls and Japanese street food will be plentiful. Tickets for the party, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. both nights on the roof of the Den Corner parking garage at East Florida Avenue and Pearl Street, are $90 (includes three drink tickets), $110 (includes five drink tickets), or $135 (VIP early admission at 5 p.m., plus five drink tickets), and can be purchased on Sushi Den's website, along with a complete list of participating chefs and menu details. As with everything manned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the party generally sells out, so don't delay in guaranteeing your entry.
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Wednesday, August 28
Brace yourself: Come Wednesday, August 28, you're going to need all your fortitude — intestinal and liver — to make it through the evening. That's because Chef and Brew, the sprawling summer bazaar of bites and booze, is returning to town. Starting at 7 p.m., the Exdo Event Center, 1399 15th Street, will host a wonderland of sweet and savory bites and local craft beers. Forty dishes (two from each eatery) will be paired with forty different brews, so it's statistically impossible for you to leave without finding something to tickle your tastebuds. And more than honor is on the line here: Cash prizes will be handed out, so chefs and brewers will be on their A-game. Tickets are $49 or $69 on the event website, where you can also find a complete list of participants.
Wednesday, September 4, through Sunday, September 8
September brings cooler temps (we hope!) as well as the return of the annual Denver Food and Wine Festival. From Wednesday, September 4, through Sunday, September 8, restaurants around town will be turning out immaculately plated food, and the wine will be flowing freely. There are annual events (the Riedel wine glass seminar, good for those who want to appear über-sophisticated while sipping — or just those who've broken the majority of their glassware, since you'll be going home with a set of four glasses); bougie events (Dinner Under the Stars, this year taking place at our favorite Italian restaurant in a brewery, Liberati); crowd-pleasers (a patio party at Cattivella and the Bartender's Bash cocktail competition); the marquee event (the Grand Tasting, with over 700 wines and spirits, chef demos and food from forty top Denver restaurants); and a Sunday brunch (again at Liberati) that's sure to pave your way smoothly from hangover to Sunday Funday. Tickets run from $45 to $150 and are available on the festival's website.
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