Think things are slowing down at Denver restaurants just because it's a few degrees cooler? Think again: This week brings Spanish and Asian inspiration (not on the same plate, but, hey, it could work), beer and bourbon, dumplings, hip-hop and opera in eight great food and drink events from Monday, November 4, through Friday, November 8.
Monday, November 4
When you ponder what to drink with fine French food, what comes to mind? Wine, certainly. Maybe a cocktail — but whiskey? Not so much. But on Monday, November 4, LeRoux, 1510 16th Street, is teaming up with Alan Laws (of Laws Whiskey House) for a spirited pairing dinner. Starting at 6:30 p.m., guests will be treated to five French-y courses paired with Colorado whiskey. Think foie gras with strawberries and pink peppercorns with Armagnac-finished bourbon; the restaurant's oft-photographed mushroom mille feuille with pear chutney, and cauliflower crème brûlée with pine nuts and golden raisins paired with bonded Henry Road malt whiskey; onion-crusted short rib with pommes Gruyère, and a crispy chicken roulade with spaetzle accompanied by bonded six-year-old bourbon. You can find the full menu on LeRoux's Facebook page, but don't think too long before purchasing your ticket, $150, on Eventbrite; just twenty seats are available for this luxe dinner.
Ignore the name of this venue, at least for the night of Monday, November 4, when Barcelona Wine Bar is going all Bilbao for its Basque@Barcelona event. From 6 to 10 p.m., the wine bar, 2900 Larimer Street (unfortunately, not near the ocean) is turning away from its Catalonian namesake to Basque country with wines, cider and bites from the region. You'll get mushroom croquettes alongside an earthy Basque cider, piquillo peppers stuffed with bacalao (savory salt cod), and pintxos (tiny toothpick skewers meant to be devoured in a single bite) paired with white, rosé and red wines from northern Spain. The bar will also be serving its own creation, the Basque in the Sun cocktail. Tickets, $45, are available on Eventbrite, where you'll also find the complete menu.
Tuesday, November 5
The Kitchen (which was surely named with no regard for search engine optimization) in Boulder has spawned a series of equally non-Googleable restaurant spin-offs over the years — the Kitchen Upstairs, Next Door (which later became the Kitchen Next Door and is currently Next Door American Eatery) and Hedge Row, the short-lived victim of Cherry Creek construction. Now Kimbal Musk, co-founder of the restaurant group, will be reaching a wider audience on Tuesday, November 5, as he and his signature cowboy hat are guest judges on the Food Network show Chopped. Musk's episode boasts vegetarian baskets, so our guess is the mystery ingredients will be cotton candy, durian and Cool Ranch Doritos. The biggest mystery, though? How viewers are still tuning in after more than forty seasons of listening to Scott Conant ramble about his hatred of raw onions. The episode airs at 10 p.m. on the Food Network; get the details on the Chopped website.
Wednesday, November 6
Longmont's Left Hand Brewing Co. is teaming up with Gaijin Street Food for an Asian-inspired beer dinner on Wednesday, November 6. Starting at 6 p.m., the brewery taproom at 1265 Boston Avenue will be the site of a four-course meal from the forthcoming food truck concept; the menu includes fusion onigiri with Laotian-style rice and Thai seasonings; delicata squash soup with shiso and cabbage in a Vietnamese pork broth; khao soi, aka the cool exchange student from northern Thailand; and green tea panna cotta with ginger and Asian pear. Lest you get whiplash from Gaijin's careering culinary journey across Asia, rest assured that the beer pairings will anchor your firmly in Colorado craft-brew culture. Find more info on Left Hand's Facebook page, then purchase your ticket, $49, on the brewery's website.
Thursday, November 7
The best dumplings in Denver are currently coming out of a truck: Chef Penelope Wong's Yuan Wonton is turning out the tenderest, most flavorful little purses of joy all over town. And while her eggplant dumplings are a luscious vegetarian surprise, the traditional pork dumplings she cooks to order make her Thursday, November 7, partnership with Old Major a natural pairing. The sit-down restaurant at 3316 Tejon Street will welcome Wong and her wontons starting at 4 p.m. until sold out. Old Major's regular menu will also be available all night, but if you want to guarantee you get nosh from the hottest truck in town — and you don't want to have to sit at a bar or a communal brewery table to do it — book your table by calling 720-420-0622 now.
For a unique take on dinner and a show, consider dining at Morin on Thursday, November 7. Starting at 6 p.m., the upscale French restaurant is hosting a benefit for Central City Opera, one of the oldest professional opera companies in the country and, at 87 years old, a Colorado institution long before slot machines invaded Clear Creek Canyon. Chefs Carrie Baird (Bar Dough, Top Chef) and Max MacKissock (culinary director at Morin, Señor Bear, Bar Dough and more) will be serving up cooking demos alongside a multi-course seated dinner; the excellent natural wines and creative cocktails you'd expect from beverage power couple Mary Allison Wright and Mclain Hedges; a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour; and performances from Central City Opera singers. Tickets ($250 or $150 for young professionals under age 45) are on sale now on the Opera's website.
Would you rather be in the recording studio with the Roots or in the kitchen with Questlove? That's a tough question, but this weekend, you can have both...kind of. In addition to the band's November 8 show at the Fillmore (for which tickets are still available), Acorn, 3550 Brighton Boulevard, is serving a Roots dinner on Thursday, November 7, in honor of drummer Ahmir Thompson's famed Food Salons and his new cookbook, Mixtape Potluck. Naturally, the menu is heavy on root veggies — though it's not vegetarian — including yam dumplings with pepper jelly and cornbread; carrots, trout roe and horseradish; sunchokes with chicken confit and green garlic; and beet pot au feu with berries, leeks and beef cheeks. Even dessert includes parsnips. Tickets are $78 on Eventbrite, which includes tax and tip, but no drinks; you can get beverage pairings for an additional $35. And if you're going to the show but can't make it to dinner, bring your ticket stub in and get a free glass of wine Friday through Sunday when you order the sunchokes à la carte.
Friday, November 8
If you don't yet have reservations at your favorite Boulder restaurant, you'd better hop to it. Friday, November 8, marks the start of First Bite, Boulder County's restaurant week, and participating eateries are sure to be packed through the end of the event on Saturday, November 16. New this year are two price points (restaurants are offering three-course prix fixe menus at either $29 or $49) and the introduction of Two on Tuesday, a fundraising drive on Tuesday, November 12. On that date, diners can opt to give $2 or more to one of five local nonprofit organizations, with matching donations provided by local businesses. Visit First Bite's website for more information about selected nonprofits and a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus. With more than forty restaurants joining in, everyone's sure to find something they love.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Monday, November 11
Food is universal — but tastes aren't. Sometimes preferences are just that, but just as often, food reveals prejudices. (Don't believe us? Take a deep dive into the comments whenever we write about African cuisine.) But as much as our culinary preferences can reveal our biases, they can also serve as a bridge between cultures. If we're curious about trying new flavors, perhaps we can be as interested in the people who create them and the cultures they come from. On Monday, November 11, put this theory to the test at the Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street, when it hosts A Taste of Curiosity dinner, a conversation facilitated by food and drink. Chef Jesusio Silva (Misaki) will provide the Japanese food, and folks from Breaking the Bias will be on hand to keep dinner from devolving into a food fight (perhaps literally). Tickets, $65, are available on IMT's website; get yours and feed your brain as well as your body.
Friday, November 15
Our state has been described as the "Napa Valley of beer" for decades now, but the continuing growth of the Colorado wine industry means it could be inching toward being known as the Napa Valley of wine. Okay, not really, but there are currently over 130 outfits making wine and mead in a state better known for its varietals of weed. On Friday, November 15, History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, will host Colorado UnCorked, a tasting of wines that triumphed at this year's Governor's Cup competition. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., chefs from Julep, Logan Street, Woodie Fisher and Grand Junction's Bin 707 will craft bites to pair with fourteen wines. Awarded wineries include Denver and Boulder's Bonacquisti and BookCliff, as well as the Western Slope's Carlson and Plum Creek; varietals range from Cab Franc to Nebbiolo to vermouth and Riesling. Snag your tickets ($45 or $85) on Eventbrite, where you can see the complete list of award winners.
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