The Seven Best Events on Denver's Culinary Calendar This Week

Celebrate GQue's birthday with a free pulled-pork sandwich.
Celebrate GQue's birthday with a free pulled-pork sandwich. Adam Larkey
The Broncos, brisket, beetles, (Mongolian) barbecue and Boulder are on the culinary calendar. Here are the seven best this week, as well as a few more to plan for in the month ahead.

click to enlarge Shane Ray won't be the only guest of honor at Rays Awareness Steak and Seafood Dinner. - FLICKR/THINK YUM!
Shane Ray won't be the only guest of honor at Rays Awareness Steak and Seafood Dinner.
Flickr/Think YUM!
Monday, November 6
There's no question the Broncos are struggling through a painful season. So take a break from thinking about the team's disappointing performance and concentrate on something that makes everyone feel good: raising money for a good cause at Shane Ray's Rays Awareness Steak and Seafood Dinner on Monday, November 6, at Ocean Prime, 1465 Larimer Street. The offensive lineman's philanthropic foundation will be the beneficiary of ticket sales; you will be the beneficiary of mingling with Broncos players and coaches as well as a luxe surf and turf dinner from the upscale (very upscale) crab shack. Normally we'd advise against armchair quarterbacking to the quarterback's face, but in this case it can't hurt, right? Tickets are a pricey $275 but involve much seeing and being seen; they are available at

Chef John Tesar of Knife Dallas and Element Kitchen & Cocktail became friends with Justin Brunson, owner of Old Major, after working together at many culinary events nationwide. So Brunson is throwing Tesar a party to celebrate his sixtieth birthday — and you're invited. Join the fun on Monday, November 6, at Old Major (3316 Tejon Street), where a few of the two chefs' other colleagues, including Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof Maui and Billy Durney of Brooklyn's Hometown BBQ, will present a diverse spread of good eats for $55 per person, with an optional drink pairing for $45. Call the restaurant at 720-420-0622 or visit the Old Major website for a required reservation for the party, which takes place from 5 to 10 p.m.

click to enlarge Focus on the sexy interior at El Five and you might even forget you have insect legs stuck in your teeth. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Focus on the sexy interior at El Five and you might even forget you have insect legs stuck in your teeth.
Danielle Lirette
Tuesday, November 7
What’s a bug or two among friends? In some cultures, folks eat ’em like candy or potato chips or garnish exotic dishes with fried crickets and toasted larvae like they're merely oddly shaped croutons. Want to face your fears and find your way aboard the edible-insect bandwagon? The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast can help. A prix fixe bug banquet hosted by El Five Denver, 2930 Umatilla Street, pairs the recipes of bug chef David George Gordon, author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, with farm-raised ingredients from Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, so it can’t be all that bad, can it? Chow down on bug-based cuisine from five continents with paired beverages from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, at the trendy El Five; admission is $80 to $90 at (no door sales) and benefits Farms for Orphans Inc.’s orphanage/insect farm project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ant(e) up another $10, and you’ll also get a signed copy of the cookbook.

click to enlarge The starry interior of Otra Vez is the perfect spot to sip tequila this week. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
The starry interior of Otra Vez is the perfect spot to sip tequila this week.
Danielle Lirette
Wednesday, November 8
You took shots of it in college (or, hell, maybe just the other night), but you may have yet to discover tequila’s nuances — its peppery, smoky undertones, its sip-ability. Familiarize yourself at Otra Vez Cantina’s Tequila Dinner, a three-course meal paired with Herradura tequila starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8. Herradura Reposado, Añejo and Ultra will be paired with dishes like Aztec soup, a morita-pepper tomato broth with chicken, tequila-glazed flank steak, and strawberry margarita cheesecake. Is your mouth watering yet? Tickets are $65 at Find out more about the event and Otra Vez, 610 16th Street, at the restaurant’s Facebook page.

click to enlarge Celebrate GQue's birthday with a free pulled-pork sandwich. - ADAM LARKEY
Celebrate GQue's birthday with a free pulled-pork sandwich.
Adam Larkey
Thursday, November 9
We've written about GQue Championship BBQ often; it's consistently been one of our top Denver joints to smoke it up since its doors opened a couple of years ago. And on Thursday, November 9, the restaurant is entering its not-so-terrible twos and giving away pulled-pork sandwiches to celebrate — no purchase required, though we definitely understand if you also want to load up on some of owner Jason Ganahl's excellent brisket, ribs or, well, pretty much anything else while you're there. Doors to the eatery, 5160 120th Avenue in Westminster, open at 11 a.m., and there are only 250 sandwiches to give away, so we recommend getting there early to pig out.

Make your own bowl at BD's Mongolian Barbeque and make a difference for the families of fallen and disabled veterans. On Thursday, November 9, the busy build-a-bowl joint will be donating a portion of all dine-in proceeds to Folds of Honor, an organization that provides scholarships to spouses and children of U.S. military service members. In 2016, BD's fundraiser contributed over $25,000, so stop by the restaurant, 1620 Wazee Street, between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. to pile your plate high, sit a spell and and try to top last year's numbers.

Friday, November 10
Denver has its Restaurant Week every spring, but Boulder County has its own celebration of restaurants, giving customers a chance to dine for a discount for a full week every fall. Now in its twelfth year, First Bite runs from Friday, November 10, through Saturday, November 18, offering three-course dinners for just $29 per person at more than forty restaurants in Boulder, Longmont, Erie, Niwot, Lyons, Louisville and Lafayette. Make your reservations now, because dining rooms will fill up quickly at this price. See the First Bite website for a complete list of participating restaurants and menus.

Keep reading for more food and drink events beyond Friday...

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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