This week is all about slowing down. Settle in for a simple night at the movies, meditatively roll out some tortillas, turn off your phone and listen to an honest-to-god lecture (you know, the kind you haven't been to since college) or take a leisurely stroll through Slow Food Nations' Taste Marketplace. Here are six of the best food and drink events over the next five days, as well as more in the weeks to come.
Monday, July 9
The gloves come off and the jazz flute comes out in what is unquestionably Will Ferrell's crowning cinematic achievement, 2004's Anchorman. Who can resist the timeless tale of a man's love for his dog? Not us, so when we learned that Declaration Brewing Company, 2030 South Cherokee Street, will be screening Ferrell's magnum opus at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 9, we set about rounding up our own bilingual border terriers to watch Baxter on the big screen at the brewery's very dog-friendly beer garden. The movie is free, and after a few brews, you'll happily recite Ron Burgundy's epic imperative to the citizens of San Diego in perfect time with the film. Find out more (and get a complete schedule of the taproom's summer movie nights) on Declaration's Facebook page.
Tuesday, July 10
Making homemade corn tortillas is simple — all you need is masa harina and water — but it's an art; just try emulating an abuela effortlessly flipping the tortilla between her fingers to get a sense of how many hundreds of times she had to shape a batch to perfect the skill. And flour tortillas? That's a different ball of dough altogether. If you haven't been able to manage the shape, size or texture of homemade tortillas, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, can help. As part of its Cultural Preservation Series, Su Teatro is offering a class on making flour tortillas, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10. Tuition, $40, includes all supplies as well as drinks (beer, wine, soda and margs) and is a fundraiser for Teatro's student theater group. Find out more and reserve your spot on Su Teatro's website.
Wednesday, July 11
This weekend marks the return of the Slow Food Nations festival to Denver, and as chefs, producers and food luminaries from around the globe arrive in Denver, collaborations and partnerships are springing up around town. On Wednesday, July 11, chef Christian Graves of Citizen Rail (1899 16th Street) is teaming up with chef Drew Deckman of Deckman's en el Mogor (in Baja California) for a Surf and Turf happy hour. From 4 to 7 p.m., expect lamb from the Centennial State and seafood from the Baja Peninsula prepared over the restaurant's wood-fired grill. Tickets are just $10 at eventbrite.com, and while advance purchase isn't required, guests who do plan ahead will receive a free cocktail.
Mixed Taste is the wildly popular summer lecture series that started in a Belmar storefront and now fills the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex with audiences desperate to learn about disparate subjects. This year's season kicks off on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m. with half of the program focused on the wine du jour, rosé, with wine importer Ken Theobald expounding on the pink drink. For the second half, musician Neyla Pekarek (of the Lumineers) will talk about Kate Slaughterback, a native Coloradan who made her mark with a dramatic dispatch of a rattlesnake den in 1925. Tickets, $20 per lecture or $70 for the entire series, are on sale now at denvercenter.org. And be sure to show up early; the Mixed Taste Garden Party starts at 5:30 p.m., with drinks and bites for purchase and a DJ spinning tunes.
Thursday, July 12
How much would you pay for bites from 65 of Denver's top restaurants? Could you even fit 65 bites into your belly? Now's your chance to find out; on Thursday, July 12, the Big Eat returns to the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Curtis streets for a food festival of epic proportions. For just a buck per bite — that's right, $65 — guests will get food from Denver's best as well as unlimited drinks. Bar Helix, the Bindery, Tavernetta and Low Country Kitchen are just a few of the restaurants making an appearance at this blowout. Go to eatdenver.com for a complete list of participating restaurants and tickets. "The Big Eat 2018 wants to give a special shout-out to restaurants featuring plant-based bites in an effort to make a statement about our food system," says event chair Daniel Asher (who's also the chef at Boulder's River and Woods). Looks for vegetarian and vegan offerings, which will make up about 20 percent of the festival's bites, from Ad Hominem, Aloy Modern Thai, American Grind, Brightmarten, Coohills, Dunbar Kitchen & Tap House, Duo, LoHi Steakbar, Panzano, Snooze, Brider, the Bindery and the Culinary Quick Start Program.
Friday, July 13
Last year's first Slow Food Nations festival (an outgrowth of the Slow Food movement, which aims to preserve local food traditions and culture) landed in Denver with a bang, and it's gearing up to take over town again. Larimer Square will be transformed into the Taste Marketplace, with more than eighty food and beverage vendors, a family pavilion, demos, panel discussions and a bookstore; venues around town will host tastings, dinners and workshops on everything from sake to food waste to #MeToo. Most events are free, but tickets are still available for select events at the Slow Food Nations website. Hurry over to make sure you don't get left out — the only time you want to move quickly this weekend.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Saturday, July 21
With Denver's vaunted 300 days of sunshine per year, you'd think eating outdoors in our town would be a no-brainer — and it is, until it isn't. We've had meals outside that have been suddenly and unexpectedly submerged in inches of rainwater, and barbecues that have been bungled by sub-sixty-degree temps in June. But even given the risks you run eating without a roof over your head, Larimer Square's Dining al Fresco on Saturday, July 21, is one of the most appealing summer restaurant events around, as the street is blocked off, lights are strung up, and everyone gathers in a collegial atmosphere for dinner under the stars. This year's participating restaurants (Bistro Vendôme, Ted's Montana Grill, Corridor 44, The Capitol Grille, TAG, Osteria Marco, Cru, Rioja, Green Russell and Ocean Prime) are taking reservations directly, so call your first pick to see if they can get you in. Too late? No worries; the party continues on August 18 and September 15.
If you want an outdoor dining experience that rises above the rest on Saturday, July 21, consider MCA Denver's Dinner Society. From 7 to 10 p.m., connoisseurs of both fine art and fine food will receive a tour of the Museum's current exhibitions before settling in for a four-course rooftop dinner prepared by chef Linda Hampsten Fox of the Bindery, accompanied by cocktails from the Family Jones. While the menu isn't finalized, everything Fox touches seems to turn to edible gold; the buffalo-milk burrata scented with lemon and the heirloom-carrot ravioli topped with unctuous carrot-top butter on the Bindery's current menu left us speechless (partly from awe, partly from being unable to stop eating). Tickets, $125, are for sale on eventbrite.com now.
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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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