This week boasts a badass bushel of bites, from booze to Brunson to bison. There are plenty of food and drink events for charitable causes, too, if you want to make your dining dollars count. Keep reading for the best seven events on the culinary calendar through October 20, as well as one to plan for next month.
Monday, October 16
If you haven't been to Palenque Mezcaleria yet, we ask (in the gentlest way possible, of course) why the hell not? If it's because you're secretly intimidated by the spirit, or assume all mezcal tastes like charcoal (spoiler: it doesn't), now's your chance to expand your horizons. On Monday, October 16, Palenque, 13 East Louisiana Avenue, will host a mezcal and raicilla tasting to benefit the Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross). From 4 to 10 p.m., $25 will get you apps, tastings and information about the south-of-the-border spirits. Raffle tickets will also be on sale; check out Palenque's Facebook page for more info.
Since 2003, way back when Vesta was still Vesta Dipping Grill, the restaurant has been putting on an annual bash to raise funds for Urban Peak, the nonprofit organization providing shelter, outreach and education to 15- to 24-year-olds who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming so. This year marks the fourteenth anniversary of Plates for the Peak; on Monday, October 16, 1822 Blake Street will host DJ K-Nee while guests enjoy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern apps, cocktails and wine starting at 7 p.m. Details are up on Vesta's Facebook page, and tickets are available for $85 at urbanpeak.org.
Fall has arrived at ViewHouse in the form of chef Jose Guerrero's three-course Harvest Menu. The underrated chef, whose food doesn't generally attract the attention it deserves, is putting out a menu that includes acorn squash soup with sage; chocolate short ribs with compound butter; and spicy pepitas and pumpkin cheesecake with candy corn-caramel sauce. It's a welcome opportunity for him to show off his best stuff. Seasonal cocktail options to accompany your meal include the classic Zombie, meme-worthy Not Your PSL and the ominous Grave Digger shot. The menu will be offered from Monday, October 16, through Tuesday, October 31 for dinner service (5 to 10 p.m.) at all three ViewHouse locations for just $29 (Littleton and Centennial) or à la carte (Ballpark).
Tuesday, October 17
Who can resist the call of the wild, especially when it's coupled with the siren song of whiskey? Not us. We'd even be willing to head to Estes Park on a weeknight for the classic combo. It's a good thing, too, because Wilderness and Whisky, a free monthly lecture series about ecology, science and conservation, is going on at Elkins Distilling Co., 1825 North Lake Avenue in Estes Park. Past discussions include "The Geology of Whisky" and "Wilderness and Whisky and Wolves." The discussion on Tuesday, October 17, tackles "Mountain Lakes in the Face of Global Change" and kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 18
Local meat maven Justin Brunson, of Old Major and Masterpiece Deli, is entering the world of small-screen celebrity with the pilot of his new show, SEARious Meats, on Wednesday, October 18. Check out the Cooking Channel at 8 p.m. to see Brunson sample mountains of meat at Denver restaurants and producers (though you'll have to tune in to find out what places he visits.) The pilot episode will air again on the Food Network on October 20, If ratings are good enough, there will be more episodes, so support your home town, cowtown, comestible connoisseur.
Thursday, October 19
Chances are you've been to Red Rocks at least once this summer, even if (especially if?) you're a Colorado newcomer. If so, you're a beneficiary of the work of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation. So be a good sport, and support the foundation at its Beer and Bison dinner on Thursday, October 19, at the Chief Hosa Lodge, 27661 Genesee Lane in Golden. Denver Beer Co. is providing the beer, and Ted's Montana Grill is providing the bison for dinner at the historic building. All proceeds will go to help maintain the mountain parks near Denver. Appetizer-and-beer hour starts at 6 p.m., and diners will settle in for four courses highlighting the thundering ungulates at 7 p.m. Tickets, $100, are on sale at denverbeerco.com.
Friday, October 20
The final installment of the McNichols Project takes place on Friday, October 20, when the event series looks away from the past (previous events channeled the oh-so-cool jazz era of the 1920s and the Wild West) and towards tomorrow with the Future Project. While the "more human than human" replicants of Blade Runner definitely won't be delivered by the promised date of 2019, you can see visions of the future — more optimistic ones, we hope — while you sip futuristic cocktails, peruse James Balog's photography exhibit, ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, and enjoy molecular ice cream and other treats on two floors of the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. From 7:30 to 10 p.m., you can escape the modern world — and return without the pesky side effects brought on by conventional time travel. Tickets, $30, are on sale at mcnicholsproject.com.
Keep reading for more events beyond this week...
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Thursday, November 16
The first annual Meat and Greet, presented by the Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation and Cherry Creek Mortgage, will be a mix-and-mingle evening featuring a dozen courses of Colorado beef, pork, lamb and goat prepared by four top chefs; all protein will be produced and donated by Colorado FFA and 4-H families. The keep spirits lively, there will be an open bar hosted by Big Choice Brewing, Wiley Roots Brewing, the Colorado Wine and Breckenridge Distillery. A special auction will benefit Colorado and 4-H National Western Stock Show exhibitors; items include a "Behind the Scenes" experience at the Stock Show. The fun starts at 6 p.m. at the National Western Stock Show Stadium Arena, 4655 Humboldt Street; tickets start at $75. Grab yours and find out more at the eventbrite site.
Saturday, November 25
Saturday, November 25, is almost a month after Halloween, but die-hard fans of dressing up can still scratch that itch at the 100 Men Who Cook's Black Tie Fundraiser, which has a masquerade ball theme this year. The organization's mission is to raise money for grassroots nonprofits, and this year's beneficiaries are Jazz C.A.F.E., a music and leadership program for middle and high school students; Boys' Day, a mentoring program for young African-American boys; and Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, a multicultural, inclusive academic and social-enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors. The Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street, will host the ball, which will include live music, dancing and, of course, food from the aforementioned "Gentlemen Chefs." Tickets range from $50 to $150 and are going fast at eventbrite.com.