This week, we throw caution to the wind while embracing a two-wheeled commute and stuffing our faces with tacos, tiki drinks and togarashi. Take a look at eight of the best food and drink events on the menu from Monday for the next five days, and keep reading for more great culinary dates this summer.
Monday, June 25
Big Trouble, the bar inside Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, will be particularly welcoming to women on Monday, June 25, when it hosts Big Trouble in Little ’Gina, the monthly evening when women take over the joint. Alex Jump (Death & Co.) and Valerie Alvarado (Williams & Graham) will be behind the bar mixing up cocktail specials that benefit The Gathering Place, Denver's only daytime drop-in shelter for women, children and trans people experiencing poverty, while DJ Simone Says spins the hits. Details are up on Big Trouble's Facebook page; grab your girlfriends and get ready to start the week off right.
Tuesday, June 26
High society knows there are only two times per year to politely indulge in tiki drinks: October through May (when you're trying to recall sunny beaches in the face of blustery weather) and June through September (when you're trying to keep cool in the sweltering heat). Luckily, umbrella drinks are in season on Tuesday, June 26, when Departure Elevated, 249 Columbine Street, is hosting a Tiki Takeover. From 6 to 9 p.m., guests will nosh on small plates (poke, peach-glazed shrimp skewers, pork buns, Spam musubi and more) while sipping island-worthy beverages including frozen daiquiris, a volcano bowl and the Jet Pilot, which is served in a flaming pineapple. Eventbrite.com is selling tickets now for $50.
If ever there was a culinary power duo that could pull off a bash with an all-star lineup and sellout crowds on a Tuesday, it's Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the chef and owners of Izakaya Den, Ototo and Sushi Den. This year's rooftop party is expanding to two days: Tuesday, June 26, and Wednesday, June 27, on the roof of Sushi Den's parking garage at 1501 Pearl Street. From 6 to 10 p.m., visiting Japanese chefs will be cooking up yatai, street food commonly found at festivals, while Denver chefs Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly and Troy Guard will join the fun by making their own interpretation of those dishes. Find out more about the party at sushiden.net and pick up tickets, $90 or $110, at Eventbrite.
Wednesday, June 27
Wednesday, June 27, is Bike to Work Day. It's a day that Coloradans will be unified in a sense of smug superiority: one-time participants will look down their noses at those who drove to work because they ditched the SUV for a single day, and repeat bikers will roll their eyes at everyone because they eschew fossil fuels every day. It's a win-win for weekend warriors and self-righteous cyclists alike — and local businesses want to reward you all with free food and booze. All Colorado Chipotles are offering buy one, get one burritos, bowls, salads or tacos before 8 p.m. when you show your bike helmet, and Stapleton's Punch Bowl Social, 3120 Uinta Street, is giving away a free beer to the first hundred bikers in the door after 5 p.m. Find out more at Punch Bowl's Facebook page. Now get out there and get judging!
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with California wine has probably heard of Cakebread Cellars; the vineyard's name conjures sugary-sweet desserts, but it produces some fine wines from Napa and Anderson valleys. On June 27 Cakebread is leaving the left coast and coming to Ocean Prime, 1465 Larimer Street, for a Marine Terroir wine dinner. The event is designed to showcase how terroir — the influence that sun, soil, climate and water have on flavor — plays out in both wine and seafood. The dinner runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and costs $75; call Ocean Prime at 303-825-3663 to book your table.
Thursday, June 28
If it's summer in Colorado, there must be a taco festival just around the corner. Celebrate the world's perfect food (compact, handheld, delicious) at Top Taco on Thursday, June 28. This year, the fiesta is moving from RiNo to Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, where unlimited tacos, booze and parking await attendees (okay, the parking won't be unlimited, but it will be a hell of a lot better than previous years). Tickets are $75 to $135 at eventbrite.com; snap yours up before the event sells out.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Yes, it's true, gentle readers: We often make a beeline straight for the "10 under $10" display when we enter the liquor store and blindly select our bottle based on the label, with no consideration given to region or style. It's a shameful confession, but we're trying to do better. If you're in the same boat, consider Rialto Cafe's Sip, Sip Hooray! on Thursday, June 28, at 6 p.m. For $25, guests at 934 16th Street will focus on rosés (because it's summer — what else are you going to drink?), tasting both American and French pink wines and deciding which they prefer. Tickets are on sale at rialtocafe.com and include apps as well as a one-month wine club membership, which entitles members to 40 percent off any bottle of wine and food discounts.
Friday, June 29
Caution Brewery, 1057 South Wadsworth Boulevard, is shutting down operations at the end of June after seven years of brewing unusual beers (Card Your Mom Saison, Lao Wang Lager) for Denver drinkers. And while one of the earliest nanobreweries in town calling it quits is bittersweet at best, you can still get a few final pints in at the taproom. On Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, the brewery will be open from noon to 11 p.m. for one last bash, selling pints for $5 and Crowlers for just $8. There will also be commemorative glasses on sale, so snag yours before they're gone forever. Details are on Caution's Facebook page.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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.
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Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15
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 over 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 on sale now 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.
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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