Whiskey, wontons, weaving and Restaurant Week will wake up your tastebuds this week; choose one (or all five) of these fine food and drink events from Monday, February 18, through Friday, February 22. And keep reading for future fun in March and beyond.
Monday, February 18
This week is starting off bone-chillingly cold, but you can warm up with Scotch whisky on Monday, February 18, at Hearth & Dram. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., join the wood-fired restaurant for a four-course menu paired with two types of Laphroaig, a fifteen-year Bowmore single malt and Auchentoshan single malt on American oak. The food? Yellowtail crudo with leche de tigre (a spicy citrus marinade); foie gras torchon with huckleberry gastrique and hazelnut crumble; and braised lamb shank with mole negro and puffed hominy. The full menu and details are on Hearth & Dram's Facebook page; reservations ($125) are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 303-623-0979.
Tuesday, February 19
February is a fine month for celebrating tasty morsels of joy with a hidden surprise inside — the kind of food that fills your heart with love. No, not chocolate bon bons, silly: We're talking about Asian dumplings. Station 26 Brewing Co., at 7045 East 38th Avenue, is hosting A Night of Dumplings and Beer on Tuesday, February 19. Chef Penelope Wong, most recently of Glenmoor Country Club, and chef Blaine Baggao of the Adobo Food Truck will present a four-course dumpling dinner paired with four beers from Station 26. Wong has been hard at work perfecting her dough folding and pleating, so be prepared for exquisite bites all evening; the dinner runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and tickets, available on eventbrite.com, cost $50.
Wednesday, February 20
Grandma's House is Denver's premier Nana-brewery: Knitting, sewing and cross stitching are regular activities and the focus of classes at the South Broadway taproom. And on Wednesday, February 20, you can combine one of the great joys of childhood (making DIY potholders on a loom) with one of the great joys of adulthood (drinking beer). As with any good grandmother's abode, reservations aren't necessary; just show up at 1710 South Broadway between 5 and 9 p.m., buy a brew, and you'll get use of all the materials and tools you'll need to create a potholder, coaster or — if you're working from Martha Stewart's bougie tutorial — wallet or bag. Get details on Grandma's Facebook page (the one that doesn't have her Google search for "blue hair rinse" as her status update).
Thursday, February 21
Just before Denver Restaurant Week kicks off, Mister Tuna, 3033 Brighton Boulevard, is partnering with Colorado Sake Co. on Thursday, February 21, for a five-course sake dinner starting at 7 p.m. Details of the menu are scarce so far, but the $75 price tag does include admission to the night's Chef Showdown, where Adam Vero (Hearth & Dram) and Chad Craybill (Uchi) will battle it out to see who can create the tastiest dish with three surprise ingredients. The challenge runs from 10 p.m. until midnight, and tickets can be purchased separately for just $10. Get more details on the event Facebook page; tickets are available on Nightout's website.
Friday, February 22
Denver Restaurant Week has finally arrived. If you haven't cleared your calendar from February 22 through March 3, it's not too late; with over 200 Denver eateries participating, you can still visit a different spot every day during the fifteenth annual occurrence of this wildly popular event. Go to Visit Denver's website to search for restaurants by location or type of cuisine, then peruse the multi-course menus offered at three tasty prices ($25, $35 or $45). While you may have to use all your powers of persuasion to finagle yourself a last-minute reservation, the savings can be worth it.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Thursday, March 7
SAME Cafe has been serving up healthy and hearty meals — as well as making national headlines — for more than a decade now, and the pay-what-you-can eatery is now getting wheels. On Thursday, March 7, the nonprofit restaurant's SAME Food Truck will make its debut alongside bites and booze from Snooze, Cirque Kitchen and Spirits, The Inventing Room, Renegade Brewing Company, Sweet Action Ice Cream and Biju's Little Curry Shop at the second annual So All May Eat Gala. From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., guests will nip and nibble from great restaurants around Denver; food-justice activist and founder of D.C. Central Kitchen and L.A. Kitchen Robert Egger will also give a presentation. Tickets are currently on sale for $75 on Eventbrite, though in keeping with SAME's mission, pay-what-you-can and volunteer exchange tickets are also available; find out more on the cafe's website.
Saturday, March 16
The sixth annual Collaboration Fest is drawing near, and even if the festival wasn't on your radar six months ago, when tickets first went on sale, it should be now. Because two (or more) breweries team up to brew each beer, each of the brews on tap is a result of the experience, style and approach of separate teams, resulting in almost 120 beers you'll never see or taste anywhere else. Tickets for the Saturday, March 16, event are (still) on sale on Collaboration Fest's website for $65 or $85; pouring commences at 3 and lasts until 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street. Our most anticipated collabs? Colorado breweries Paradox Beer Co. and Purpose Brewing; Belgian-style brewers Bruz Beers and the Thirsty Monk; and TRVE Brewing and Denver's Family Jones distillery.
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Monday, March 18 through Wednesday, March 20
Take a walk on the wild side at Rioja this spring at the Mediterranean restaurant's Wild and Wine dinners. From Monday, March 18, through Wednesday, March 20, the eatery at 1431 Larimer Street will offer an off-the-beaten-path five-course dinner highlighting unusual proteins like venison (not so strange), boar, snake, alligator and ostrich (completely bizarre — that neck!). Unfiltered, natural and wild-yeast fermented wines will accompany the dishes. Tickets ($80 without wine, $110 with) are for on Rioja's website; choose from 5:30 or 7:45 p.m. seatings.
Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.
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