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The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Megenagna will be at Taste of Ethiopia.EXPAND
Megenagna will be at Taste of Ethiopia.
Danielle Lirette
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Kick off Friday with food trucks, then move on to ful, flowers, Falling Rock and fish (okay, oysters) throughout the weekend. It's a fun food time in the Mile High City; here are the five best culinary events over the new few days, as well as more dates to put on your culinary calendar.
Friday, August 3
Mo' food trucks, mo' problems. This month, First Friday at the Art District on Santa Fe will be doing double duty as both an art and a food event. From 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 3, Santa Fe Drive between 7th and 11th avenues will host the third installment of Truck Stop, the summer food truck rally that's been making its way to locations around town. The Budlong Hot Chicken, Cheese Please, Cirque Kitchen, Baba's Falafel and Holy Crepe are just a few of the trucks where you can get a bite in between perusing paintings, sculptures and other art installations up and down the strip. In addition, Denver's favorite hometown winery, Infinite Monkey Theorem, will be celebrating its tenth year in business at its original location in the ’hood, 931 West Fifth Avenue, with 10 percent off all bar tabs. Our advice is to get to there early; First Friday plus food and drinks galore equals big crowds and small parking.

There's a lot more to cooking with flowers than just garnishes.
There's a lot more to cooking with flowers than just garnishes.
Courtesy Mossflower Facebook

Saturday, August 4
An entire generation of Americans' first impression of Ethiopia was shaped in the mid-1980s, when images of starving children served as fodder for the five o'clock news and the dulcet tones of "We Are the World" was inescapable. That's a shame, because there's much more to the country; for example, it's one of just two African countries that was never colonized by Europeans. Get a glimpse of the fiercely independent and beautiful culture on Saturday, August 4, at the Taste of Ethiopia Festival. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Parkfield Lake Park, 555 East 53rd Avenue, will be filled with Ethiopian dance, music, crafts, food, coffee and fashion. The excellent Megenagna (our Best Ethiopian restaurant in 2015 and 2016) will be serving food at the event, so come hungry — for both food and culture. Details are on Taste of Ethiopia's Facebook page.

If your dinner guests are impressed by a blossom balancing on the edge of their entree, you can really blow their minds by incorporating flowers into the flavors of your food. Find out how at Mossflower's Cooking With Flowers workshop on Saturday, August 4, at the Grand Apartments, 1777 Chestnut Place. From 4 to 6 p.m., florist Gina Hemmings and chef Carly Silberman will teach you how to put together an entire meal utilizing the spicy, herby and, yes, floral flavor profiles of locally grown flowers. The menu boasts a rose drop cocktail, flower butter, calendula blossom paella, and olive oil cake with pressed blooms. Tickets are on sale at mossflower.net for $85; the price includes all materials, recipes and a bouquet of edible flowers to take home.

Ever tasted a beer and thought — perhaps out loud, if you've had a few drinks beforehand — "I can do better than that!?" New Belgium Brewing is taking you at your word. When the brewery's Sour Saison Blending Tour stops at Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake Street, on Saturday, August 4, you'll have the chance to show your stuff by mixing saison and sour beer samples. If you're lucky, you'll come up with something balanced and delicious; if you're not, you lose your beer-geek cred until further notice. Compare your beery blend to the brewery's Sour Saison, which will be on sale at the bar. The fun runs from 7 to 10 p.m.; find out more on Falling Rock's Facebook page.

Start studying for National Oyster Day on August 5. There will be a test.EXPAND
Start studying for National Oyster Day on August 5. There will be a test.
Linnea Covington

Sunday, August 5
Why celebrate a holiday for a food many — if not most — Americans wouldn't deign to eat if their culinary credibility depended on it (and it does, gentle readers, it does)? Because oysters are delicious, boys and girls, and if you haven't tried them, you haven't really lived. Sunday, August 5, is National Oyster Day, and the perfect opportunity to give the slippery, briny (the uninitiated would say slimy, fishy) little creatures a fair shot without spending a ton of money. Fish N Beer, 3510 Larimer Street, will be selling the raw variety for just a dollar and grilled bivalves for two bucks. Jax Fish House locations will be even more ambitious, with three different oyster flights on special: raw, cooked and shooters. Find out details at jaxfishhouse.com, and after you've been converted to the aquatic oyster, brace yourself for the terrestrial kind — Rocky Mountain Oyster Day is coming up on October 8. 

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Shrimp hush puppies from Hedge Row, which is participating in Cherry Creek North Food & Wine.EXPAND
Shrimp hush puppies from Hedge Row, which is participating in Cherry Creek North Food & Wine.
Mark Antonation

Saturday, August 11
How long has it been since you've been to Cherry Creek for dinner? Given the massive construction and minimal parking in the neighborhood, chances are it's been a while. But on Saturday, August 11, the Cherry Creek North Food & Wine festival is an ideal way to explore the area's many bars and restaurants on foot, getting a breadth of bites without having to make numerous trips to the belly of the beast. Over twenty establishments will line Fillmore Plaza, at First Avenue and Fillmore Street, between 6 and 9 p.m.; our favorites include Hedge Row, Quality Italian, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Del Frisco's Grille and the ever-popular Enstrom Candies. VIP is sold out; get general admission tickets for $85 at cherrycreeknorth.com.

Too many tacos? Never!
Too many tacos? Never!
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, August 19
Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos (or as they're known to non-hipsters: tacos). Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment. For complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com. This isn't a competition, it's a celebration — so come hungry and get ready for a wide variety of great Mexican eats, from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the city's most popular cantinas.

Toast to unlimited food and drinks at Westword's Feast.
Toast to unlimited food and drinks at Westword's Feast.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, September 30
It's never too early to start planning for Feast, Westword's annual celebration of Denver's restaurant scene. This year's party returns to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, September 30. There will be unlimited bites from over forty local eateries, live entertainment, unlimited drink samples and unlimited merriment from noon to 3 p.m., especially if you opt for VIP tickets, which get you in an hour early and include an open VIP bar. Tickets start at $30 at westwordfeast.com.
October 7 through October 11
The ninth annual Harvest Week hosted by EatDenver and the GrowHaus will run October 7 through October 11. Each night, six chefs will come together to create a one-of-a-kind pop-up dinner at the GrowHaus. In addition to great food and good company, all the festivities of the week will benefit EatDenver and the GrowHaus. Tickets always go fast; find out more at eatdenver.com or thegrowhaus.org.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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