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The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

This regal French bulldog might decide the tiebreaker at Pony Up's French dip faceoff.
This regal French bulldog might decide the tiebreaker at Pony Up's French dip faceoff.
Mark Antonation
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Hotels, haute cuisine and hot sandwiches are on the menu this week as March draws to a close. Here are five of the best food and drink events over the next five days, with more in the weeks to come:

Monday, March 25
Pony Up, 1808 Blake Street, is the undisputed monarch of the French dip in Denver, but on Monday, March 25, its power extends well beyond that of standard royalty. Pony Up is raising restaurants from the dead (sort of), and its powers of resurrection are bringing Rebel Restaurant (which closed last summer) chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy together again to face off against Adam Vero and Jeff Hickman of Hearth & Dram (which is alive and well near Union Station) in a battle for French dip supremacy. Starting at 6 p.m., you can dig into the two creations for $10 each; Rebel's includes smoked beef cheeks, aji amarillo chiles, pickled cilantro and menudo broth; Hearth & Dram hews slightly more traditional with bacon, tangy sauce gribiche and red eye jus. The winner will be crowned heir to the throne — at least until the next battle.

The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This WeekEXPAND
Danielle Lirette

Tuesday, March 26
It's a leap of faith to dine at a restaurant that doesn't present you with a menu, but if you visit Beckon, 2843 Larimer Street, you — and your plate — will be in good hands. On Tuesday, March 26, the kitchen will be turning out an extra-special menu as Lance Hanson (producer of CapRock Gin, Mell Vodka and Jack Rabbit Hill Farm Wines) will be bringing his beverages to pair with a six-course menu. Tickets for the meal are on sale for $150 (while that sounds steep, consider an evening at the restaurant will normally run you about $95 — without booze) on Tock. Act quickly if you want to snag a seat at the tiny table; Beckon only seats seventeen, and as of this writing, space is only available at the 8:30 p.m. seating.

Your hometown diner never had a bar this good.EXPAND
Your hometown diner never had a bar this good.
Mark Antonation

Wednesday, March 27
Kevin and Ryan Taylor's Broomfield restaurant Hickory & Ash (8001 Arista Place) isn't as trendy as the latest LoDo hotspots, but the classics are classics for a reason — and the parking is way better. Taylor the elder (himself a Denver institution) and his son have targeted the suburbs of late (opening Masa last year in  Broomfield, too), but the joint's Fine Diner Wine Dinner on Wednesday, March 27, is playful and more fun than you'd expect to have outside of central Denver. For $125 (including tax and tip), American diner classics are being reinvented to pair with wines from across the globe: Think egg salad prepared with ostrich eggs; a Monte Cristo with pork belly standing in for ham and turkey; or chicken-fried steak made with short rib instead of a gristly slab of gray meat. Visit Hickory & Ash's Facebook page to see the delightful details, then call 720-390-4400 to reserve your spot.

Moxy's Aereo Plane includes whiskey, Aperal, amaro and lemon juice.
Moxy's Aereo Plane includes whiskey, Aperal, amaro and lemon juice.
Alana Watkins

Thursday, March 28
Not sure how to spend your Thursday night? We've got your entire evening's itinerary, thanks to a trio of Denver hotels that have helpfully scheduled events all night to keep you fed and watered. Start off at Moxy, 240 Josephine Street, where a barrel of whiskey made exclusively for the bar by Stranahan's will be released with drink discounts (the Aero Plane cocktail, usually $15, is on special for $10) and DJs from 4 to 7 p.m. After your aperitif(s), call a car to ferry you to Palm Restaurant, 1672 Lawrence Street at the base of the Westin Denver Downtown, for a five-course wine dinner with Napa Valley's Dominus Estates; hearty dishes like short rib gnocchi with parmesan and sage, lamb rib in a pistachio nut crust, and filet in demi-glace will serve as a substantial base for the rest of the evening's beverages. Save your seat ($160) by calling 303-825-7256. Finally, stagger the four blocks to finish off with a nightcap at Nativ Hotel, 1612 Wazee Street; Casa Mexico Tequila founder Eric Buccio will be in the house offering personalized tequila tastings from 9 p.m. until midnight. See? That was easy (though your liver may disagree on Friday morning).

Friday, March 29
The Preservery, 3040 Blake Street, has been running its monthly Wing-a-Ling special for a while now, but this week, the RiNo restaurant is revving up the chicken-wing social hour to celebrate three years in business. On Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, guests who purchase a drink between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. will receive a free order of everyone's favorite chicken part; the Preservery's version comes with rosemary and garlic Buffalo sauce and garlicky aioli. Don't be a greedy clucker — you're limited to one order. Details are up on the eatery's Facebook page.

Keep reading for more events in the days and weeks to come.

Cricket legs are the new chicken legs.EXPAND
Cricket legs are the new chicken legs.
Linnea Covington

Saturday, March 30
What happens on a micro ranch? Do tiny cowboys round up miniature cows while riding pint-sized ponies? Not at the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, 4845 Morrison Road, Colorado's only edible insect farm. If you want to see what insect farming is really all about, sign up for a tour on Saturday, March 30. It turns out that crickets and other insects are surprisingly tasty and packed with nutrients, while impacting the land and environment far less than larger livestock. Learn all about it from 3 to 4 p.m., sample some insect-based protein, then purchase products to take home and incorporate into your own cooking. Tickets are $8.79 on the RMMR Facebook page. If you miss this tour, the ranch will be repeating them every month.

Put your game face on — this is shucking serious.EXPAND
Put your game face on — this is shucking serious.
Jax Fish House

Wednesday, April 3
The month of April is known for frantic tax return filing, but it has at least one redeeming quality: It has the letter "R" in it, so you're safe eating oysters, according to ancient wisdom. Jax Fish House is capitalizing on springtime days and putting on the High West Oyster Fest on Wednesday, April 3, where crowds of seafood lovers come face to shell with bunches of bivalves.  Admission ($45 to $65 in advance at any Jax location or on the seafood shack's website) gets you food from eight great restaurants, including Fish N Beer, Stoic & Genuine, Lola Coastal Mexican, Morin and, making a reappearance in Denver after relocating to Fort Collins, the Regional; live music from Guerilla Fanfare Brass Band; all the oysters you can fit into your gob; and attendance at oyster eating and shucking competitions. The shucking and jiving starts at 6 p.m. at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street.

Brandon Becker's food-truck plates will look at home at any fancy wine dinner.
Brandon Becker's food-truck plates will look at home at any fancy wine dinner.

Tuesday, April 19
It may feel like winter will never end in the Mile High City, but in fact it's already time to start planning your spring garden dinners. The early bird gets the worm, after all, and the earliest feast to hit the table this year is already scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, at Kingman Estates Winery, 800 East 64th Avenue. Chefs Samantha New (Éclat Culinary) and Brandon Becker (Cirque Kitchen and Spirits) are teaming up to turn out an impressive nine-course meal, with pairings crafted from grapes grown entirely in Colorado, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fresh ingredients like melon will be served with chicory, speck and riesling, while heavier courses of beef and morels with merlot will be accented with seasonal ramps. Tickets, $138, include tax and tip with 10 percent of sales going to No Kid Hungry, and are on sale now on the winery's website, where you can get a peek at the entire menu.

Life is worth living when you know tacos are in your future.
Life is worth living when you know tacos are in your future.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, August 17
Save the date — Tacolandia will return to Civic Center Park for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks. Although tickets aren't yet on sale, get this on your calendar before your summer weekends start filling up, and watch westwordtacolandia.com for updates.

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

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