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Safta's pretty pink kitchen is turning out some pretty delicious food.EXPAND
Safta's pretty pink kitchen is turning out some pretty delicious food.
Danielle Lirette

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Got some time between beer tappings, tastings, dinners and GABF kick-off, after-hour and closing parties this week? Sure you do. While the majority of Denver is floating away on a river of suds during Beer Week, here are seven things to do when you need a break from brews. For details about beer-centric events, keep an eye on our ongoing beer coverage.

Monday, September 30
Japanese whisky has been hot for years, thanks in part to Bill Murray's intense turn as a fictional spokesman for Suntory back in 2003's Lost in Translation (Sean Connery's eyebrows were the actual shill for the brand back in the 1990s). And while Americans have mostly moved beyond the baffled expressions both men exhibited when drinking the beverage, there's always more to learn. On Monday, September 30, Mizu Izakaya, 1560 Boulder Street — which boasts one of the best collections of Japanese whisky in North America — is welcoming the master distiller of Ohishi Whisky for a presentation, tasting and bottle signing at 5:30 p.m. Visit the event's Facebook page for details and a list of retailers where you can nab a bottle of the drink prior to the presentation.

This pink drink is no rosé; it packs a punch with vodka, amaro and Campari.EXPAND
This pink drink is no rosé; it packs a punch with vodka, amaro and Campari.
Crafted Concepts

Tuesday, October 1
Female bartenders don't always have it easy. While most customers are respectful, there's always that contingent of drunken dudes who think that ordering their 57th beer while addressing your boobs is the way into your pants. Then there's the fact that those breasts are more likely to be affected by breast cancer than their testosterone-rich co-workers'. So for October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all of Jen Jasinski and Beth Gruitch's restaurants (Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine and Ultreia) will be serving up the brand-new Rosa Italiana cocktail, with a buck from each order going to the Helen David Relief Fund. Sip the mix of vodka, cranberry juice, amaro and a splash of Campari  knowing that you're pitching in to help bartenders and their families who've been sidelined by cancer.

Wednesday, October 2
There's no bad time of year for a charcuterie plate: Whether you're throwing a fall-themed bash (it's decorative gourd season, after all), a glitzy holiday party, a pastel garden party or a casual summer get-together when it's 97 degrees and you can't bear to turn the oven on, a well-selected spread of meat and cheese is a thing of beauty. On Wednesday, October 2, Tony's Meats & Market, 7421 West Bowles Avenue in Littleton, is showing you how to get the goods together with its charcuterie board class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. RSVP to the free event by emailing karly.stillman@padillaco.com and you'll head home with the confidence to choose the best coppa, confit and cambozola.

We're ten days into fall, so obviously we need to start thinking about winter already. So welcome the Denver premiere of Winterland, a ski and snowboard film packed with an all-star roster of skiers and boarders and filmed at locations in Austria, Norway, British Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming. And what warms you up once you come in from the slopes better than a glass of boozy, amber goodness? On Wednesday, October 2, the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, hosts WhiSKI: a whiskey tasting, film screening and pun so good we're gutted we never thought of it ourselves. Park City's High West Distillery starts pouring at 7 p.m. and the shredding starts at 8 p.m.; tickets are $75 at Teton Gravity Research's website and include a swag bag and a post-screening Q&A with athletes and movie producers.

You always get service with a smile at Vesta, especially during its Plates for the Peak fundraiser.EXPAND
You always get service with a smile at Vesta, especially during its Plates for the Peak fundraiser.
Courtesy Vesta

Thursday, October 3
Southern food is everywhere in Denver right now, but the Southernism "meat and three" still isn't well known; it simply refers to an eatery where a customer picks out a meat and three side dishes from an expansive spread. On Thursday, October 3, Safta, 3330 Brighton Boulevard, is bringing the tradition to the Mile High City with a very Beer Week twist: Between 6 and 9 p.m., stop in and purchase $30 in tokens, which you can use to obtain one of a trio of meat and three plates, plus three four-ounce pours from Denver's own TRVE, and Athens, Georgia's Creature Comforts Brewing. Dinner options include an Israeli twist on down-home cooking: Choose from kebab with cornbread, heirloom tomatoes and mashed potatoes; za'atar fried chicken with tahini green beans, roasted yams and biscuits; and corned beef pot pie with seasoned mac, butter beans with preserved lemon, and greens. You'll leave as happy as a tick on a fat dog.

Thursday, October 3, brings 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(ish) bites like Pueblo green chile dumplings, avocado tostones, a kimchi Rueben, caviar tots, and biscuits and gravy alongside barbecue, charcuterie and vegetarian stations. Visit Urban Peak's website to purchase your tickets, $85 to $100.

Crooked Stave — not Russian River — will be on tap for Coohills' Friday beer dinner.EXPAND
Crooked Stave — not Russian River — will be on tap for Coohills' Friday beer dinner.
Veronica Penney

Friday, October 4
Surely you knew we can't make it through five days of events in Denver without talking about a beer dinner — even if it isn't Beer Week. But Coohills' Friday, October 4, feast sounds so good, we're going to ignore our aforementioned intent to focus on non-GABF adjacent events. The dining room at 1400 Wewatta Street is serving five courses and ten brews for its Pliny'd Be Proud dinner, including rabbit mortadella with peppadew chimichurri and Boulevard's Tank 7 and Love Child No. 9; roasted scallops, coconut beurre blanc and chili oil alongside Crooked Stave's Von Pilsner and Member Berries Tempranillo; and spiced porter cake with pear and ginger and Dry Dock's 2014 Bligh's Barleywine and Pumpkin Double Porter. While the meal is sure to be delicious, beer geeks shouldn't get their hopes up — neither Pliny the Younger nor the Elder (nor, for that matter, any Russian River brew) will be in attendance, making the name of the $85 dinner a bit baffling. But one look at the full menu on Coohills' Facebook page should assuage you; email events@coohills.com or call 303-623-5700 to reserve your spot.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

GrowHaus hosts five Harvest Week dinners that you can't go to.
GrowHaus hosts five Harvest Week dinners that you can't go to.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, October 6 through Sunday, October 10
Denver's Harvest Week sold out fast, but a few more seats opened up last week. 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.

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.

Project Angel Heart executive chef Brandon Foster gathered his kitchen cohorts for A Taste of Life.
Project Angel Heart executive chef Brandon Foster gathered his kitchen cohorts for A Taste of Life.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, October 17
Project Angel Heart delivers medically tailored meals to people fighting life-threatening illnesses across Colorado — and on Thursday, October 17, the nonprofit organization wants to provide you with delicious food from Denver's top restaurants at its annual fundraiser, A Taste for Life. Starting at 6 p.m., the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street, will be the site of bites from over twenty popular eateries, including Death & Co., Uchi, Tavernetta, the Inventing Room and Hop Alley. There will also be free-flowing drinks, a silent auction with piles of great items and a live auction (which can tend toward the boisterous, thanks to those free-flowing drinks). Tickets, $150, are available now on Project  Angel Heart's website, along with a full list of participating eateries.

Matsuhisa sushi at Feast.EXPAND
Matsuhisa sushi at Feast.
Danielle Lirette

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 thirty favorite restaurants. Among those already signed on to sample their food are Uchi, Rose & Thorn, Crush Pizza & Tap, La Fillette, Latke Love, Neighbors 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, 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.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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