This week is a testament to casual eating. Whether you're noshing on cake or grilled cheese, or cooking up a simple dinner over a campfire, there's nothing fancy or pretentious about the seven best food and drink events on the calendar for the next few days...and keep reading for future events, including a dinner you won't want to miss out on.
Friday, October 5
If your friends and family keep telling you that your organic, hyper-local, gluten-free, vegan, soy-free chocolate chip cookies are the best organic, hyper-local, gluten-free, vegan, soy-free cookies they've ever tasted, and "Oh, my God, you totally have to sell these, I would pay, like, $14 per cookie, they're so good!", then you need a business plan. And since you probably can't afford to rent a storefront (who can these days?) you're going to have to sell online. Enter NatchCom, a Boulder-based conference that focuses on helping entrepreneurs in the natural-products industry succeed in digital marketing. From Friday, October 5, through Sunday, October 7, speakers from Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Shopify, Noosa and many more will host discussions, lectures, panels, workshops and consultations at Galvanize Boulder, 1023 Walnut Street. At $495, it's not cheap, but it could make your organic, hyper-local, gluten-free, vegan, soy-free cookies go viral. Find out more at the NatchCom website.
It's not often you go to the theater for food, but on Friday, October 5, Curious Theatre Company is opening its doors to patrons hungry for the stage and sweets alike. Starting at 6 p.m., the theater, at 1080 Acoma Street, will open for cocktails, cake and canapes before a performance of Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake. The play, which was inspired by the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, tackles the subject of whether the Bible forbids you to bake a cake for gay people with much more levity than the U.S. Supreme Court did. Plus, you'll be stuffing your face with frosting. Tickets are $75 at curioustheatre.org and will benefit the Curious Theatre Company.
Saturday, October 6
It's one thing for chefs to compete for bragging rights, but it's quite another when there's money on the line. Boulder catering company Savory Cuisines Catering, 5741 Arapahoe Avenue, is making things interesting with its inaugural Savory Cup, with $2,000 going to the winner. The first in the two-stage competition takes place Saturday, October 6, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Four chefs (Daniel Asher, River & Woods; Chris Royster, Flagstaff House; Becca Henry, ChoLon; and Alberto Sabbadini, Meadowlark Farm Dinners) will put together an app and entrée in one hour using secret ingredients. For $50, you can attend a meet-and-greet brunch before watching the culinary contest, where two chefs will be eliminated by a panel of merciless judges (John Tayer of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Callie Sumlin of 5280 Magazine, Clay Fong of the Boulder Daily Camera, and Mark Antonation of Westword). The finale on Thursday, October 18 will determine the winner; note that attendees at the first event will receive half-off tickets to the second. Find out more and get tickets at Eventbrite.
If cheese and wine are the little black dress of food pairings, what's the sweatpants-and-slippers equivalent? Beer, of course...and cheese — grilled cheese. There's nothing cozier and more comforting than a brew and a melty, gooey slab of cheese between crispy slices of bread. On Saturday, October 6, Denver Rock Drill, 1717 East 39th Avenue, invites you over for the Denver Grilled Cheese and Beer Fest. Tickets for one of the two sessions (2 to 5 p.m. or 6 to 9 p.m.) start at $55 for unlimited sandwich and suds samples, with chefs from Ad Hominem, Xatrucho, the Kitchen, the Whiskey Biscuit and STK competing to see who can construct the most epic cheese creation. Find out more and get your tickets at grilledcheesebeerfest.com.
While protein bars and sports drinks might be easy to tote through the backcountry, you're not going to make it to the summit if that's all you're eating. Adventurers deserve more than MRE-type rations while they're scaling mountains and traversing unexplored landscapes. That's why this year's Adventure Film Festival is teaming up with Food for the Wild and SAMPLES restaurant for a full schedule of food events on Saturday, October 6, and Sunday, October 7, at the Adventure Street Fair, 14th Street and Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. There will be outdoor cooking demos for every palate (tacos, bison bun bo xao, alpine paella, wild salmon and kimchi pancakes), a nutrition clinic, workshops on food sourcing and gear selection, and even a one-burner-stove showdown between local chefs. Get the details at the Adventure Film Fest website.
Sunday, October 7
If you've been lucky enough to taste the salty, succulent cured sausages that Il Porcellino Salumi turns out, you know they're something special. On Sunday, October 7, owner Bill Miner and butcher Forbes Rigsby are opening the doors of the shop at 4334 West 41st Avenue to show customers exactly how they make those little logs of porky deliciousness. From 5 to 7 p.m., guests will be treated to a tour of the facility, a sausage-making demo and, best of all, appetizers from the meat and cheese cases. Find out more and purchase your ticket, $58, at the event Facebook page.
Eat Denver and the GrowHaus are presenting their ninth annual Harvest Week, "a pop-up culinary collaboration between 35 Denver restaurants in tribute to Colorado’s farmers, ranchers and producers." All at the GrowHaus, the dinners are $85 each and all fabulous...and completely sold out. Find out what you're missing at the Harvest Week website.
Keep reading for upcoming food and drink events.
Thursday, October 11, through Sunday, October 14
Food and film fanatics will want to plan ahead for the Flatirons Food Film Festival, taking place around Boulder from Thursday, October 11, through Sunday, October 14. And while seven feature films — documentaries and dramas with food and drink at the heart of the story — will be screened, they're far from the only thing on the menu. There will also be panel discussions, farm tours, beer tastings and an homage to the late Anthony Bourdain. Admission to single films starts at $13, with an all-access pass running $70; find the whole schedule and get tickets on the Flatirons Food Film Festival website.
Saturday, October 27
We've written about MCA Denver's Dinner Society before; the meals are always impressive and the setting enjoyable. But the next installment in the series promises to raise the bar even higher: Ian Kleinman (of the Inventing Room) will be cooking a meal inspired by Tara Donovan's Fieldwork exhibit. The entire museum, 1485 Delgany Street, is currently taken over by Donovan's elaborate and engrossing site-specific sculptures, and there's no one in Denver we'd rather see interpret her vision on a plate than the wildly creative Kleinman. Tickets, $125, include a tour of the exhibit as well as a three-course meal (miso crepe with lemon crab, bechamel, coconut caviar and saltwater bubbles; hoisin and orange sous-vide pork with black-tea jelly and smoked potatoes; and mousse with peanut butter Pop Rocks, nitro puffed rice and a sugar slinky) and drinks from The Family Jones. Reserve your seat at eventbrite.com before tickets are gone like a puff of liquid nitrogen.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.