Start the week with sake and Sobchak, then move on to (little) girl's night, a pair each of porky and plant-based dinners. Here are the eight best events on the culinary calendar from Monday, September 23, through Friday, September 27, plus more to come in the following weeks:
Monday, September 23
If you didn't make it to this summer's Den Corner Summer Rooftop Party, you can enjoy a pared-down version on Monday, September 23, at Izakaya Den's Fall Sake Tasting. The restaurant at 1487 South Pearl Street is the site of the event, which combines the casual, roam-sit-eat vibe of the party with cooler temps and shelter from the elements. Seven different sakes, each from a different region of Japan, will be pouring, and there will be passed apps to satisfy your stomach. Tickets for the 6 p.m. party are $70, and there are just a few left on Eventbrite, so make sure you don't miss out for a second time this season.
Tuesday, September 24
Enjoy a meal at a family restaurant on Tuesday, September 24, when the Alamo Drafthouse, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, screens The Big Lebowski, the timeless ode to El Duderino, while serving a Big Lebowski Beer Dinner with brews from Left Hand. The three-course meal is simple — fried goat cheese and strawberry salad, burger on a sweet bun with fried onions and Thousand Island dressing, and White Russian tiramisu for dessert — but the existential questions (not to mention the First Amendment issues and analysis of German National Socialism) raised by Walter, Donnie and the Dude are food for thought indeed. A few tickets for the 7 p.m. screening ($50) are still available on the theater's website.
Wednesday, September 25
Looking for a family-friendly, Hump Day meal to take you into the back end of the work week? On Wednesday, September 25, look no further than Mici Handcrafted Italian. All Denver locations are celebrating National Daughters Day with a free kids' meal and gelato to all girls (so long as their parents pony up for an adult-sized entree); little ones also get a ball of pizza dough to play with (aka get in their hair) while they wait for the food to hit the table. Don't have a daughter? Don't get your boxer shorts in a twist: You've got the other 364 days of the year to celebrate males (both child-children and man-children), and the casual eatery also offers free kids' meals to ankle-biters of all genders on Mondays. Take a look at Mici's website for details.
Why celebrate the harvest season if the plants coming out of the ground are just going to play second fiddle to the meat on the table? A pair of restaurants have it right this week: The first of two vegetarian dinners is on Wednesday, September 25, courtesy of Firenze a Tavola, Parisi's intimate lower level at 4401 Tennyson Street. The 6:30 p.m. meal is served family style, so get to know your neighbors and don't feel shy about taking the last piece of pumpkin tiramisu. The other courses include fried veggies with aioli, pasta with ricotta and pesto, and peppers stuffed with breadcrumbs and Grana Padano and topped with tomato sauce. Visit the ristorante's website for info on reserving your spot for the $35 dinner.
Thursday, September 26
Oktoberfest is great — any excuse to drink beer is fine by us — but what's even better than unlimited brews and pretzels? Unlimited brews and a pig roast (sausage is for weenies). On Thursday, September 26, go whole hog at Bacon Social House, 2434 West 44th Avenue, for its porcine patio party. Be first in line for the cheek meat (the best part!) and get plenty of sides (latkes, pumpkin soup, German potato salad, sauerkraut, apple strudel and French toast bread pudding), plus a welcome cocktail and never-ending pours of Ratio beers, including seasonal Oktoberfest and Palisade peach brews. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with food served at 6 p.m. Find the complete menu — yes, there's more! — and tickets, $55, on Eventbrite.
Liberati, 2403 Champa Street, is also taking advantage of the harvest to showcase all those roots, tubers and gourds at its vegetarian dinner on Thursday, September 26. For just $45 (beer or wine pairings are a bargain for an extra $15), diners will get six meatless courses; the showstoppers will be the rustic Italian tart stuffed with leeks, potatoes, ricotta and provolone, and eggplant parmesan with fresh mozzarella and two-year-old parmesan. See the whole menu for the 6 p.m. dinner on Eventbrite.
Friday, September 27
Boulder's Blackbelly, 1606 Conestoga Street, is kicking off the weekend with the latest in its Farm to Feast Series, this time in conjunction with Sky Pilot Farm, a husband-and-wife operation raising lamb and heritage pigs out of Longmont. Starting at 5:30 p.m., guests will sip Stem Ciders and nosh on dishes like nectarines and lardo with a pumpkin-seed dip; blackened broccolini with cecina (thin-cut, seasoned dried beef) and chile aioli; and roasted coppa with roasted lemon and caper vinaigrette, while watching head butcher Isaac Sullenger break down a Hereford hog. Tickets, $90, aren't for the squeamish, but they are essential for anyone wanting to eat meat mindfully in Boulder County; get them on Blackbelly's website.
Dinner and a show have never been so easy. On Friday, September 27, join Denver's own culinary man about town Adrian Miller (author of Soul Food and The President's Kitchen Cabinet) for the Black Americas Project Dinner followed by a concert by Ozomatli. The night, presented as part of 2019's Biennial of the Americas, starts at 5:30 p.m., with a soul food dinner (not sure what that means? Miller will tell you; he literally wrote the book on the subject), wine and a presentation about the culinary influences of the African Diaspora in the New World. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m.; both events take place at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, and tickets are available for $85 on the Biennial's website.
Keep reading for future fall food and drink fun.
Saturday, September 28
Everything about last year's Black Panther was so unrelentingly cool — from the costumes to the car chases to the computers to Danai Gurira's epic wig snatching and general badassery — we're still disgruntled that the African utopia is only part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not our own. But on Saturday, September 28, you can suspend your disbelief from 6 p.m. to midnight at Night in Wakanda, a party for the ages. More than twenty South African and Zimbabwean wines will be represented during the Grand Tasting, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and a handful of products from black U.S. winemakers will be on hand as well. Round out the night with a fashion show based on the thirteen tribes from the film, a performance by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, dancing, DJs and a dessert and coffee bar until midnight. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, hosts the celebration; find details and tickets ($65 to $115) on the event Facebook page.
Thursday, October 3
Get a jump on the weekend on Thursday, October 3, with Vesta's annual Plates for the Peak fundraiser, which benefits Urban Peak, a nonprofit organization that provides housing, outreach and educational support for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the restaurant at 1822 Blake Street will host the casual event, with chefs from three of Denver's most beloved restaurants — good-times stalwarts Steuben's and Ace Eat Serve, along with their fine-dining big sister Vesta — turning out upscale American classics and excellent cocktails that will be sure to satisfy. Visit Urban Peak's website to purchase your tickets ($85 to $100, or spring for table service for groups of six or ten).
Sunday, October 6 through Sunday, October 10
Denver's Harvest Week is already sold out! The $55 dinners include a vegetarian meal with chefs from Luca, Urban Farmer, Acreage and the Regional; a zero-waste dinner from Super Mega Bien, Vesta and Bistro Vendôme; plus a straight-up eclectic meal combining the vastly different styles of Mercantile & Provision, Vine Street Pub, Rio Grande and Flagstaff House. All dinners start at 6 p.m. at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street; watch harvestweek.com for any updates on ticket availability.
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Thursday, October 10, through Sunday, October 13
The Flatirons Food Film Festival kicks off its seventh year on Thursday, October 10, and its program for the next four days is more wide-ranging than ever. This year's films shine a spotlight on immigrant and international cuisine, including a pair of films from Africa (Tazzeka from Morocco and Cook Off from Zimbabwe — we highly recommend a visit to one of the African Grill and Bar outposts prior to the screenings for a taste of the cuisine that's underrepresented in the Denver area). There will also be documentaries about Mexico's Diana Kennedy and a couple who traded in their city life for 200 acres of barren farmland; visual-art installations inspired by the films; interviews with chefs, sommeliers and farmers; and, of course, spreads of food from Japanese to Jewish deli. A festival pass will run you $90, with individual screenings and events starting at just $13 on the fest's website.
Thursday, October 24
Feast, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver restaurant scene, will make its delicious return to the McNichols Building on a new day and time: 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday evening. As always, though, Feast will be a true feast for the senses, with music, beverage samplings and dishes from more than forty favorite restaurants. Among those already signed on to sample their food are Uchi, Rose & Thorn, Crush Pizza & Tap, La Fillette, Latke Love, Neighbor's Wine Bar, Sushi Cup, Jackdaw, The Veggie Whisperer, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, 5280 Burger Bar, Aloy Modern Thai, Big Daddy's Burger Bar, El Coco Pirata, Esters Neighborhood Pub, GQue BBQ, Lucky Mary's Baking Company and Little Man Ice Cream. This year, VIP ticket-holders will again be treated to a special menu, this year courtesy of the world-renowned Matsuhisa. Bites from Matsuhisa will include spicy tuna crispy rice, chicken gyoza, black cod miso in limestone lettuce, and more, as well as special VIP cocktails to complement the menu. VIP tickets also include early entry into the event at 6 p.m. and a VIP gift bag. Buy tickets and get more info at westwordfeast.com.
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