The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Come and swap seeds at the GrowHaus.
Come and swap seeds at the GrowHaus. Courtesy of the GrowHaus
This is the weekend where you don't have to dress up for a single imported festival or holiday, so put away your green clothing and Mardi Gras beads and just get ready to enjoy whiskey with food, seed-swapping, Italian cooking and some surprise cocktails. Here are the five best food and drink events on the culinary calendar over the next three days, plus fun stuff in the weeks ahead.

Enjoy food and Laws Whiskey at Ignite. - IGNITE KITCHEN & COCKTAILS
Enjoy food and Laws Whiskey at Ignite.
Ignite Kitchen & Cocktails
Friday, March 22
Hungry partygoers who have recovered from St. Patrick's Day and are braced to tear up the Ballpark neighborhood again this weekend will want to start their rampage at Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails, 2124 Larimer Street, for its Laws Whiskey Pairing Dinner on Friday, March 22. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., the kitchen is serving a five-course feast (think duck confit and cassoulet; wagyu beef with horseradish, Bordelaise and celeriac purée; and candied pork belly) accompanied by five of Laws's best bourbons and ryes. Tickets, $50, are up on the restaurant's website, along with the complete menu and pairings.

Come and swap seeds at the GrowHaus. - COURTESY OF THE GROWHAUS
Come and swap seeds at the GrowHaus.
Courtesy of the GrowHaus
Saturday, March 23
The GrowHaus, at 4751 York Street, has been serving the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood for years now, and its food production, distribution and educational offerings just keep getting bigger and better. On Saturday, March 23, the nonprofit is hosting its ninth annual seed swap from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with workshops on growing mushrooms, starting seedlings indoors, vermiculture and beekeeping alongside the trading of organic seeds (make sure you bring your own containers to tote your bounty home) with fellow gardeners. Kids' activities, food vendors (cash only!), farm tours and live music will also be part of the day. Children under twelve and residents of Elyria-Swansea and Globeville get in free; the rest of us will have to pay a very reasonable admission price of $12 ($15 the day of) on the GrowHaus website.

Lacrosse is that weird sport the cool kids all pretend to understand, but nobody really does. Even the players sometimes look confused. But it won't matter if you can follow the action or not on Saturday, March 23, because your money will be going to a good cause. The Colorado Mammoth will cross sticks with the Vancouver Warriors, and you can enjoy a night of live music and indoor lacrosse (even stranger than the outdoor variety) for only $25. Five dollars of every ticket sold will go toward Blues & BBQ for Better Housing, which raises money and awareness for affordable housing. Get your tickets on the Colorado Mammoth website, then come to the Peak Pub House at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle), from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for a performance by the Duke Street Kings. Then head into the arena to watch the game — or match, or whatever they call it.

Sunday, March 24
There's nothing to shake your self-confidence like enjoying an amazing meal from a professional chef and then going home and failing miserably at trying to re-create the dishes in your own kitchen. Fortunately, you'll have the recipes this time, if you attend a special Italian dinner at Coperta, 400 East 20th Avenue, on Sunday March 24. Cookbook author and Rome-based expert of Italian food and drink Katie Parla will be in the house with her new book, Food of the Italian South. Coperta's chef/co-owner Paul Reilly and his team will be cooking five dishes from the book, including bread dumplings with potato and tomato broth; orecchiette with burrata, tomatoes and almond pesto; paccheri with capers, olives, anchovies and fried bread crumbs; cod with chiles, tomato and paprika; and pork neck with mushrooms. Dessert and sides will also be included in the $78 price tag, as will a signed copy of the book, although beverages, tax and tip will be extra; call Coperta at 720-749-4666 for reservations. Meet the author, get the book, eat the food — and then go home and do it yourself. "Nailed it!"

click to enlarge Run for the Roses is taking over the upstairs bar at Brass Tacks on March 24. - MARK ANTONATION
Run for the Roses is taking over the upstairs bar at Brass Tacks on March 24.
Mark Antonation
The upcoming LoDo bar Run For the Roses is holding so many pop-ups that we're starting to run out of horse-racing puns to describe them. But even if you're getting pop-up fatigue, you'll want to jockey for position at the mezzanine bar at Brass Tacks (1526 Blake Street) on Sunday, March 24, because the RftR cocktails are always a sure bet. Show up at Brass Tacks at 6 p.m, and mount the stairs at the back of the space to see what's shaking. Admission's free, but the drinks aren't. Along with the booze, there will also be a few surprises tied to the address's long history as a downtown Denver watering trough.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation