There are really only two options for how you spend your time this weekend: Either you'll be blazed and pulling some truly bullshit driving maneuvers (seriously, people, order a Lyft — you can even use the discount code 420CO19 for $4.20 off one ride), or you'll be loudly complaining about stoner culture for the next 72 hours. Luckily for all comers, Denver's bars and restaurants have latched on to 4/20 like a dehydrated tick onto a hiker, because stoner food is delicious. Keep reading for the best places to get your grub this weekend, including a few that aren't even pot-related!
Friday, April 19
It's already time to start planning your spring garden dinners in the Mile High City. One of the first spring feasts to hit the table this year is on Friday, 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 wine 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.
Whiskey, whisky or bourbon: No matter how you spell it, aficionados of the spirit will want to show up at Four Seasons Hotel Denver, 1111 14th Street, on Friday, April 19, for the Whisky Extravaganza. Colorado, Scottish, Canadian and Kentucky distilleries (among them Deerhammer, Talisker, Oban and Blade & Bow) will be pouring their amber liquids from 7:30 to 10 p.m.; you'll also get light appetizers to soak up all that booze. If you're feeling ambitious — or flush — spring for VIP tickets and attend a pair of master classes from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. VIPs also get access to the Connoisseur Lounge, where they can get nips of evocatively named cocktails like Peat Faerie and the Remains of the Hay. Tickets, $95 to $195, are available now on the Whisky Extravaganza's website.
Saturday, April 20
If you haven't stuffed your pantry with every variety of Doritos known to man in preparation for Saturday, April 20, fear not: Eateries around Denver have your skunky little heart covered. Voodoo Doughnut, 1520 East Colfax Avenue, is rolling out two new 4/20-themed pastries for the day. Munchie Madness (topped with chocolate, caramel and crunchy potato sticks) goes for $3.50, while the Marshall Mathers (vanilla frosting and miniature M&Ms) pairs with the existing Ol' Dirty Bastard and Maple Blazer Blunt to comprise the Rapper's Delight trio, selling for — what else? — $4.20. TAG, 1441 Larimer Street, is also serving a five-course dinner of slightly classier dishes at 6 p.m. — crispy pimento cheese sticks, Frito pie casserole, a deep-fried burger and a giant bowl of ice cream — for $84.20 (here's hoping diners are too out of it to notice that extra "8" tacked onto the price); find the entire menu and tickets on the restaurant's website. Finally, sister restaurants Ace Eat Serve and Steuben's (501 and 523 East 17th Avenue, respectively) are both serving menus of munchies that are all priced at $4.20. Think Asian-influenced dishes like fried kimchi; okonomiyaki with pork belly, scallions and Kewpie mayo; and crispy pineapple eggs rolls with ice cream and caramel at Ace. Then drift over to Steuben's, which skews more toward classic Americana, with fried Oreos and extravagant milkshakes (peanut butter banana, s'mores or maple bacon) that can be customized with booze or a cupcake blended into the sweet treat.
The clever folks at Curtis Park Deli and Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth know a marketing opportunity when they see one, but like any smart businesspeople, they're not putting all their eggs in one basket — or green in one bowl — you know, in case you want to take your grandma (and not your fun grandma) out to eat this weekend. Both joints are embracing deniability as a strategy as they offer very 4/20-friendly (but explicitly not 4/20-themed) events on Saturday, April 20. The Cherry Creek North sandwich shop at 2700 East Sixth Avenue is celebrating its first anniversary by breaking out the prize wheel from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; each spin will get you munchables of some kind, from drinks to cookies to full sandwiches (and if you're stoned enough, you can just enjoy watching the wheel go round and round and round). Oak, 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, is rolling out the green carpet for a late-night tiki party. Tropics-inspired food and drink (kimchi hot dogs, peanut wings, Mai Tais and Pain Killers, for starters) will be served from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Pizza is your Jones, particularly from any place that contains the letter J — as in Famous Original J's Pizza. But the walk-up pizzeria is only open for dinner, and you're craving a slice right now. You're in luck, toker, since today — Saturday, April 20 — is the day that J's starts serving lunch for the the first time in its short history. Show up at 11 a.m. at 715 East 26th Avenue in Five Points for a whole pizza or just a slice of New York- or grandma-style pie. And feel good inside that you'll be able to return at the same time every day but Monday (when you'll have to fall back on dry ramen bricks slathered in peanut butter) from here on out.
Sunday, April 21
Sunday, April 21, is known as Easter to the faithful, but even if you aren't religious, it's going to be a day you swear to God you'll never indulge that much again. Hearth & Dram, 1801 Wewatta Street, hopes to ease you on your way down the path of moderation and restraint with its 4/20 Recovery Brunch. Go sweet (boozy French toast with booze-soaked berries and Champagne jelly), savory (chicken and waffles with maple shatter and buttercream) or cross-faded (crispy bacon with white chocolate-parsnip purée). Make sure you've guaranteed your spot at the table on the restaurant's website.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Monday, April 29
Take an evening to support aspiring female chefs at Work Options for Women's Women Cook event on Monday, April 29. The culinary training program for hard-to-employ women offers three programs (all at no cost to participants) ranging from four weeks to two years in length; the dinner presents a handful of the top names in Denver's professional kitchens coming together to cook at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, to support their sisters just getting started in the food-service industry. Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class), Caroline Glover (Annette), Carrie Baird (Bar Dough), Shelia Lucero (Jax Fish House) and Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel (Spuntino) are just a few ladies giving their time and considerable talents to the feast, so don't miss out on tickets, $125, on WOW's website.
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Thursday, May 2
Good food, good cause: On Dining Out for Life day, restaurants donate 25 percent of sales (sometimes food, sometimes food and drink) to Project Angel Heart, which provides medically tailored meals for Coloradans living with serious and chronic illnesses. Thursday, May 2, marks the 25th year of the fundraiser, and more than 250 eateries will be participating. For a complete list of those restaurants — or to sign up your own place to join the effort — go to the Dining Out for Life website.
Saturday, August 17
Save the date: Tacolandia will return to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, 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.
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