Things to Do

The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The Bindery hosts a wine dinner on August 8.
The Bindery hosts a wine dinner on August 8. Danielle Lirette
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.

click to enlarge Shell out a Benjamin and get  24 oysters as part of Jax's Best Coast Seafood Tower. - COURTESY JAX FISH HOUSE
Shell out a Benjamin and get 24 oysters as part of Jax's Best Coast Seafood Tower.
Courtesy Jax Fish House
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).

click to enlarge The Scalding Pig: the hottest of Torchy's August offerings that will be available starting August 26. - COURTESY TORCHY'S TACOS
The Scalding Pig: the hottest of Torchy's August offerings that will be available starting August 26.
Courtesy Torchy's Tacos
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.

click to enlarge Dinner is coming to Oxford Gardens in Boulder County. - COURTESY OXFORD GARDENS
Dinner is coming to Oxford Gardens in Boulder County.
Courtesy Oxford Gardens
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.
click to enlarge Zucchini taglierini with raw tomato sauce, olive oil and shredded turnip is on the menu at Il Posto's August 8 raw dinner. - COURTESY IL POSTO
Zucchini taglierini with raw tomato sauce, olive oil and shredded turnip is on the menu at Il Posto's August 8 raw dinner.
Courtesy Il Posto
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.

Guard and Grace's wine room. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Guard and Grace's wine room.
Danielle Lirette
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.
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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