This week starts out casually (oysters, tacos, ramen), but escalates quickly (a quartet of multi-course chef's dinners at farms, greenhouses and restaurants around town). Whatever your style, one of these eight food and drink events is sure to satisfy. And keep reading for more dates to put on your culinary calendar.
Monday, August 5
Bring on the cognitive dissonance: National Oyster Day falls on Monday, August 5 — when there's no "r" to be found. That fishy wives' tale is hardly relevant with modern mollusk husbandry, though, so all locations of Jax Fish House are running their usual Monday deal (happy-hour pricing of $1.50 oysters all day), plus a "best coast" seafood tower that includes a whopping two dozen bivalves (twelve from each coast), half a pound of shrimp, six crab claws and four cans of beer, a feast designed to serve four for $100; half-towers for $50 are available if you can't find three seafood-loving friends (or you're just really hungry).
Tuesday, August 6
Texas import Torchy's Tacos thinks it can bring the heat this month with its Some Like It Hot taco lineup — a series of progressively hotter tacos with ingredients like habanero-battered shrimp and chicken, jalapeños, ghost-pepper pork and XXX hot sauce — being released throughout August (the Bottle Rocket Shrimp is already available). And the northernmost Denver outpost of the Tex-Mex joint, at 7159 West 88th Avenue, is having a taco-eating contest on Monday, August 19. Starting Tuesday, August 6, cocky taco connoisseurs can sign up on the eatery's Facebook page for a chance to snarf all four fiery creations in record time. Torchy's social-media feed will also note debut dates of the Barnburner, the Creeper and the Scalding Pig.
Farmers' market fans doing their weekly shopping might want to inject some drama into their hunt for groceries on Tuesday, August 6, by heading to the Broomfield Farmers' Market, 1700 West 10th Avenue, where a trio of culinary students from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts will battle it out Iron Chef style. In preparation for their entry into the cutthroat world of professional kitchens, the students will be armed with knives and $60 and will be let loose into the market at 4:30 p.m. to select their ingredients and eliminate the competition. If no one gets shivved behind the onion bins, they'll reconvene forty minutes later to prepare an appetizer and entree for the judges; the winner lives while the losers are put through the meat grinder and sold as local sausage (or maybe they'll just have to head home without a trophy). The competition is fierce and free for spectators; find out more on the market's Facebook page.
Wednesday, August 7
Germany and Japan: Depending on your age, this partnership may strike fear into your patriotic Allied heart, or get your tastebuds doing a happy dance. On Wednesday, August 7, it's the latter, as Prost Brewing, the German-style brewery at 2540 Nineteenth Street, hosts a ramen pop-up from Greg Taniguchi, ramen enthusiast and cook. From 5 to 8 p.m., Taniguchi will be serving his version of tsukemen, the hard-to-find-in-Denver style of ramen that's traditionally served in the summer in Japan. Instead of noodles bobbing in a bowl of broth, you'll get two bowls: one with noodles, thin-sliced pork belly and a soft-boiled egg, and one with an intensely flavored pork-and-soy dipping sauce. Visit Prost's Instagram page for details and pics.
It's August: Colorado farmers are reaping the benefits of this season's labor, and farmers' markets are full to overflowing with garlic, fennel, kale, beets, apricots, summer squash, berries and peaches. So while it seems every week brings (at least!) one more farm dinner, we have to take advantage of nature's bounty during our state's short growing season. This week, chefs Samuel McCandless (of Arcana) and Theo Adley (of the soon-to-shutter Populist) are taking the helm at Longmont's Oxford Gardens, 10145 Oxford Road, on Wednesday, August 7. The three courses include shaved ham on peanut pain au lait (a sweet bun) with pickled shallots; poached shrimp with ripe melon and red shiso; wood-roasted swordfish with preserved orange and grilled anchovies with chiles; and an unusual icebox pie flavored with cardomom and shiso vinegar. The cost for the 6 p.m. dinner is $115 on Eventbrite and includes a farm tour and welcome cocktail, but you'll need to BYOB if you want to drink more with this dinner.
Thursday, August 8
The Bindery chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox has consistently rolled out exciting new seasonal menus in the year and a half since she opened her Highland restaurant, and the dishes she's serving at the Ampelos Cellars wine dinner on Thursday, August 8, are just as fun. The night starts off with familiar flavors at 6 p.m. — oysters paired with viognier, boullabaisse studded with halibut, scallop, shrimp and clams alongside pinot noir — but then takes a sharp detour to huckleberry and chanterelle risotto and peach-rose petal gelato with sour cream beignets. Get your tickets for $150 at Eventbrite and enjoy a one-of-a-kind meal.
Whether you're an omnivore curious about a raw-food diet but hesitant about adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or just a diner looking for a cool meal in hot weather, you'll want to consider Il Posto's raw dinner on Thursday, August 8, when the team from the Italian restaurant fires up the fridge at Altius Farms, 2500 Lawrence Street. The four-course dinner starts with a tour of the Altius greenhouse (with a donation) and spritz reception at 6:30 p.m.; dinner starts at 7:30 p.m. with courses like Palisade peach soup with radishes, pistachios and vinegar; yellowtail crudo alongside kale, fragrant fennel fronds and chile oil; and wagyu carpaccio served with orange blossom honey, pine nuts, melon and truffle salt. Tickets, $75 (the optional $25 wine pairing is the cheapest add-on we've seen in ages), are on sale now on Eventbrite.
Friday, August 9
Guard and Grace, 1801 California Street, is whisking you away to the west coast on Friday, August 9, at 6:30 p.m. for a wine dinner with drinks from wineries Revana Family Vineyards (California) and Alexana Winery (Oregon). But while the wines are all left coast, chef Troy Guard and company are utilizing plenty of seasonal and local ingredients in their luxe five-course dinner: crab with sweet corn velouté, squash blossoms and adorable patty pan squash; grilled Palisade peaches with honeycomb and black truffles; and sturgeon with caviar sided by foraged mushrooms, for starters. Visit the steakhouse's Facebook page to see the entire menu and nab tickets ($150).
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Saturday, August 10
Chef Alon Shaya set Denver abuzz with the opening of his Israeli restaurant Safta last year — and now he's bringing another far-flung tradition to Colorado with Bacchanal x Denver. For Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11, the original Source parking lot at 3300 Brighton Boulevard will be transformed into a Mile High version of the Big Easy's celebrated wine shop/cafe/all-day party Bacchanal Wine; guests can expect live jazz performances, extravagant charcuterie and cheese boards, more than 25 Old World wines, and fire-roasted dishes like broccolini with tahini and Manchego, and skirt steak with labneh, fried yucca and peach chimichurri. Entry is $15, with food and wine for sale inside, but bring your credit card: The event is cashless. In keeping with Bacchanal's garden vibe, seating will be casual, colorful and communal, making you feel as though you're relaxing at a friend's backyard party — a custom that's always in style, no matter where you're from. Find out more and nab tickets on Safta's Facebook page.
Sunday, August 11
If you missed June's Heritage Fire event in Snowmass, you've got a mulligan, because on Sunday, August 11, the organizer, Cochon555, is hosting an encore presentation at Stem Ciders' Acreage, 1380 Horizon Drive in Lafayette. Whether it was the timing of the event or the your inability to get mountain lodging during Aspen Food & Wine that derailed your desire to feast on whole beasts roasted over open flame, you've got a second chance to enjoy expansive views and delicious food, wine and craft beer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets ($150 to $200) are on sale now on Cochon's website, where the participating chefs should be posted soon. What we're hoping to see (in addition to the smoke that definitely signals fire)? Some of Colorado's skillful female chefs rounding out the all-male lineup that was our only complaint about the June event.
Thursday, August 15
Denver was long considered a cowtown — if not by snooty coastal types, then affectionately and somewhat defiantly by its own denizens. While we've (mostly) left that moniker in the dust, there's no reason we should turn our backs on our heritage, particularly when it's so tasty. On Thursday, August 15, RARE: The Denver Steak Championships, unites over twenty of the top steakhouses in town (including Corrida, Guard and Grace, Citizen Rail, Hearth & Dram and Elway's) to fire up the grills and compete to sear the best steak in both traditional and creative categories; they're also hoping to win your vote by plying you with sophisticated cocktails designed to pair perfectly with meaty, medium-rare goodness. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is the site of the showdown from 6 to 10 p.m., and tickets ($130 to $150) are on sale on the event's Facebook page. So honor Denver's cultural history: It's as juicy as that steak you're about to sink your teeth into.
Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by thirty of the city's top cantinas (Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Los Chingones, Kachina Cantina), taquerias (El Aguila Azteca, Antojitos la Poblanita, El Coco Pirata) and food trucks (El Moreno, Taco Block, Pico Arepa), and even the odd grocery store and sandwich shop (Carniceria Aaliyah, Torta Grill). Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
Sunday, August 25
Over 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with over twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.
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Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28
Den Corner knows how to throw a party, and its annual rooftop party and fundraiser only gets better with age. What started out in 2016 with a handful of chefs flown in from Japan has morphed into even more festivities, with twenty Japanese chefs hopping the pond to raise funds for Colorado's We Don't Waste and southern Japan's Kumamoto Castle Earthquake Relief Fund. This year, local chefs Carrie Baird, Ian Wortham, Caroline Glover, Dana Rodriguez, Elise Wiggins, Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly, Alon Shaya and more will join the shindig on August 27 and 28; beer, wine, cocktails and sake will be flowing, while ramen, hand rolls and Japanese street food will be plentiful. Tickets for the party, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. both nights on the roof of the Den Corner parking garage at East Florida Avenue and Pearl Street, are $90 (includes three drink tickets), $110 (includes five drink tickets), or $135 (VIP early admission at 5 p.m., plus five drink tickets), and can be purchased on Sushi Den's website, along with a complete list of participating chefs and menu details. As with everything manned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the party generally sells out, so don't delay in guaranteeing your entry.
Wednesday, August 28
Brace yourself: Come Wednesday, August 28, you're going to need all your fortitude — intestinal and liver — to make it through the evening. That's because Chef and Brew, the sprawling summer bazaar of bites and booze, is returning to town. Starting at 7 p.m., Exdo Event Center, 1399 15th Street, will host a wonderland of sweet and savory bites and local craft beers. Forty dishes (two from each eatery) will be paired with forty different brews, so it's statistically impossible for you to leave without finding something to tickle your tastebuds. And more than honor is on the line here: Cash prizes will be handed out, so chefs and brewers will be on their A-game. Tickets are $49 or $69 on the event website, where you can also find a complete list of participants.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.