It's summer, but school is back in session. Want to work on your knife skills? Veganing skills? Hiking, Instagramming, or drinking and puppy-petting skills? All of these — and more (including the July 23 opening of Rye Society) — are on the menu this week. Here are eight of the best food and drink events over the next five days, as well as more to put on your culinary calendar for the future.
Monday, July 23
So you bought that knife block when you got your own place but haven't yet learned how to wield the chef's knife for best results in the kitchen (or in staving off your roommate's creepy friend). Cook Street School of Culinary Arts to the rescue: On Monday, July 23, its Knife Skills class will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m., giving you all the info you'll need to slice, dice, chop and hack your way to culinary dominance. Even if you currently grasp your knives like a thumbless spider monkey, one night in the school's professional kitchen at 1937 Market Street will have you handling the blade like Kahless swinging a bat'leth. Even better, tuition is currently reduced from $105 to $85 on Cook Street's website.
Tuesday, July 24
We don't need an excuse to drink tequila, but we won't pass one up, either. And since Tuesday, July 24, is National Tequila Day, it comes with deals we'd be remiss not to take advantage of. Boulder's Centro Mexican Kitchen, 950 Pearl Street, is going big with a small price on Suerte tequila flights — just $7 — as well as $5 prickly pear margs and $3 chicharrones, while Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street, and Zolo Grill, 2525 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, are offering margs for $7 and flights for $12. For those looking for Tex-Mex flair with their tequila, Chuy's locations are celebrating with a buck off the Perfect Marg and happy-hour pricing on house margs from 4 to 7 p.m. Salud!
New York transplants who are loudly outraged about the lack of their favorite East Coast foods in Denver (are there any other kind of erstwhile New Yorkers?) will want to make a beeline to Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, for chef Steven Redzikowski's NY Week menu. From Tuesday, July 24, through Thursday, July 26, Oak's regular dinner menu will be supplanted by a selection of delights from the Big Apple, including Russ & Daughters smoked salmon with corn custard and bagel toast; Katz's pastrami with a fried egg and gnocchi; Pat LaFrieda steak frites; and a Hudson Valley foie gras peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The bar will, of course, be mixing Manhattans and serving Finger Lakes wine and Gun Hill Brewing Co. beer from the Bronx. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m.; make your reservation by calling 303-444-3622.
It's been a long time since Colfax meant nothing but hookers and blow. Today it means great eateries, breweries, a few old Denver dive bars hanging on by a thread — and, yes, a few hookers. But Tasty Colfax, the annual bar and restaurant crawl on East Colfax Avenue from York Street to Colorado Boulevard, is celebrating its tenth anniversary on Tuesday, July 24. Nab a ticket for just $25 at bluebirdbeat.com and you'll get free food and drink specials at 25 establishments from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Think a cocktail in the venerable Bastien's sunken bar; bites at tiny To the Wind Bistro (it may be the only time you can get into the minuscule spot); and modern Chinese cuisine at the new and already loved Q House. Get your tickets now; the price goes up to $30 if you wait too long.
Wednesday, July 25
If you're a lucky soul who can hop in the car on a random Wednesday and drive four hours to Crested Butte for the town's wine and food festival, we salute you. The rest of us are fortunate the event runs a full five days, from Wednesday, July 25, through Sunday, July 29. The foremost event, the Grand Tasting, kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, but the days leading up to it are packed with events including a pairing of vodka with Russian apps known as zakuski; a cigar-and-wine pairing; a champagne brunch; and even a float trip down the Gunnison River that ends with lunch and drinks. Tickets to the Grand Tasting start at $80; find them — and the complete five-day schedule — at the Festival's website.
Thursday, July 26
Vegans looking for a nice dinner out have more options than they did a few years ago, but those options are admittedly limited; if you don't want to hit Vital Root or Watercourse Foods (again!), chances are you're going to be eating a lot of salad. But on Thursday, July 26, Charcoal Bistro, 1028 South Gaylord Street, is going plant-based with its five-course vegan tasting menu for just $40. There will be roasted beet salad (sorry, there's just no escaping it), this time topped with ricotta-style cheese; spinach and mushroom ravioli beside a pungent black garlic purée; and succotash chock full of sweet corn, poblanos and corn buerre blanc. Dinner is served at 5 p.m.; call the restaurant at 303-953-8718 to reserve your table, and find the complete menu at charcoalbistro.com.
What's the most important thing to consider when you have guests? Is it comfortable seating? A wide range of beverages? Delicious food? Their ability to keep their shoes on in your house? Wrong on all counts: Obviously, it's how pics of the party will look on social media. Hotel Teatro, 1100 14th Street, knows presentation is everything, and the Nickel's exec chef is sharing his styling skills on Thursday, July 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Taste and Style the Perfect Charcuterie Board workshop. Aspiring influencers will learn how to arrange their meat in an eye-catching manner, while devoted party-goers will learn those secondary hosting skills — meat and cheese flavor profiles and pairings — while sampling the charcuterie and and sipping a cocktail. Tickets are $30 and on sale now at Eventbrite.
Friday, July 27
Mutts, Moxy and MaxFund: There's no better way to start the weekend. The fine folks at the Cherry Creek hotel, 240 Josephine Street, have teamed up with the no-kill animal shelter to help out our furry friends on Friday, July 27. Starting at 4 p.m., twenty percent of bar proceeds will be donated to MaxFund, but the real reason you'll want to patronize the pub? Pointers, pulis and pugs — adoptable dogs will be on site for you to meet, greet and fall madly in love with. Take a look at Moxy's Facebook page for the details and prepare to put up with the parking pain that is Cherry Creek; it'll be worth it for the puppy love.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Saturday, August 11
How long has it been since you've been to Cherry Creek for dinner? Given the massive construction and minimal parking in the neighborhood, chances are it's been a while. But on Saturday, August 11, the Cherry Creek North Food and Wine festival is an ideal way to explore the area's many bars and restaurants on foot, getting a breadth of bites without having to make numerous trips to the belly of the beast. Over twenty establishments will line Fillmore Plaza, at First Avenue and Fillmore Street, between 6 and 9 p.m.; our favorites include Hedge Row, Quality Italian, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Del Frisco's Grille and the ever-popular Enstrom Candies. Get your early-bird tickets, $65 or $85 (VIPs enter at 5 p.m.), at cherrycreeknorth.com; ticket prices increase on July 9.
Sunday, August 19
Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos (or as they're known to non-hipsters: tacos). Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment. For complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com. This isn't a competition, it's a celebration — so come hungry and get ready for a wide variety of great Mexican eats, from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the city's most popular cantinas.
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Sunday, September 30
It's never too early to start planning for 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 over 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 start at $30 and go on sale starting July 14 at westwordfeast.com.
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