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The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Food, booze and bowling all go together.EXPAND
Food, booze and bowling all go together.
Amber Boutwell
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Birthdays, bowling, beer and brunch are just the beginning this weekend; there's a slew of food and drink events happening all over town. Here are seven of the best, as well as some bonus bashes to plan ahead for in the coming months.

Orange-mezcal sorbet at La Chupaflor, with optional chapulines sprinkled on top.EXPAND
Orange-mezcal sorbet at La Chupaflor, with optional chapulines sprinkled on top.

Friday, August 10
There's always ice cream at a one-year-old's birthday celebration — but on Friday, August 10, you can skip the toddler and head straight for the good stuff at La Chupaflor. The nevería at 11 East Louisiana Avenue is discounting everything in the case by 25 percent all day — every cone, milkshake, malt, sundae, banana split and coffee. Doors open at 11 a.m. and stay open until 10 p.m., so there's plenty of time to visit, enjoy some Mexican ice cream, maybe grab a mezcal next door at Palenque, and then head back over for seconds. And from 4 to 7 p.m., the kids can get in on the fun as balloon artist and face painter Miss Pickles will be on site. That's a birthday party we'll definitely RSVP for. 

Saturday, August 11
It's time for another made-up holiday, but don't worry — you won't have to eat anything this time. Saturday, August 11, is National Bowling Day, and both Punch Bowl Social locations (65 Broadway and 3120 Uinta Street) are offering free bowling to celebrate. Your group can get up to an hour polishing its balls for free; we recommend getting there early to snag your preferred lane. Doors open at 8 a.m., giving you the chance to partake in a banging brunch and an excellent Bloody while wearing your best purple jumpsuit.

Belly up to the bar at Julep on Saturday afternoon.EXPAND
Belly up to the bar at Julep on Saturday afternoon.
Alana Watkins

Get a running start on your lost weekend at Julep on Saturday, August 11. From noon to 4 p.m., the Southern restaurant at 3258 Larimer Street is hosting a crawfish boil with all-you-can-eat crustaceans and bottomless beer from Ratio Beerworks. Not sure how to eat the little mudbugs? The eatery promises to give inexperienced guests an education. And as for the beer — well, it's Colorado. If you can't pound a pale ale on the patio within two minutes, you'll be run out of town on a rail. Start practicing, kids. Tickets (a steal at $49) are going fast at Eventbrite.

Music festivals aren't for the faint of heart. The weather never cooperates, the asshole standing in front of you is way too tall, and the less said about the toilets, the better. So if you're going to commit to the experience, you want to make damn sure you're going to love the tunes. Enter Leftapalooza, the show where you know all the words. Saturday, August 11, is the eighth year of the endeavor, which will fill Longmont's Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Avenue, from noon until 10 p.m with bands covering Bowie, Van Halen, Tool, Dave Matthews and Rage Against the Machine. The event's other draw — the beer — is courtesy of Left Hand, Mountain Sun, Oskar Blues, Wibby and more. Tickets start at $12 at lhbfoundation.org, but we recommended springing for $50 VIP tix, which include private toilets (see above).

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 and 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. More than 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. Note: This event is now sold out.

Low Country Kitchen's shrimp and grits are a staple on their brunch menu.
Low Country Kitchen's shrimp and grits are a staple on their brunch menu.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, August 12
Why limit yourself to brunch at just one place when you can hit more than twenty restaurants and bars on a single day? Sunday, August 12, brings BrunchFest to Civic Center Park at Bannock Street and Colfax Avenue. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., day-drinking devotees and hangover sufferers seeking some hair of the dog will be able to nosh on doughnuts from Habit and Hotbox; southern-fried gutbusters from Low Country Kitchen; cocktails from Death & Co.; Italian favorites from Marcella; and a wealth of other sweet, savory and boozy options. Tickets are $65 or $95 (VIP includes entrance at 10:30 a.m. as well as — pay attention now — express lines at the festival bars) at eventbrite.com now.

The always fascinating Atlas Obscura Society Denver is hosting yet another lecture on the forgotten drinking history of our sunny state on Sunday, August 12. This time the subject is one with which Coloradans are intimately familiar: booze — or lack of booze, as the case may be. "Last Call in Boulder: History of a Dry City" starts out at the Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway, at 6 p.m. and explores sixty years of prohibition in the People's Republic before ending with a visit to License No. 1, the bar that was the recipient of the city's first hard liquor license in 1969 (local beer historians will note the mere decade between the end of Boulder's ban on liquor and the founding of Boulder Beer, Colorado's first craft brewery, in 1979). Tickets, $20, are on sale at Eventbrite

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

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.

Pinkies out, bitches; last year's Chef and Brew was all class.
Pinkies out, bitches; last year's Chef and Brew was all class.
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, August 29
We're well past the days when beer wasn't considered fit for pairing with high-end food (that role was, ridiculously, reserved for wine), but it's still common to see more thought put into wine lists than tap handles at restaurants around town. That's not the case on Wednesday, August 29, though, as Chef and Brew pairs bites and beers from kitchens and brewing operations around town. EXDO Event Center, 3500 Walnut Street, hosts the fun from 7 to 10 p.m., when guests and judges alike will vote on the best dish, best beer and best pairing. Find the entire lineup and tickets ($49 to $69) at Chef and Brew's website.

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 and are on sale now at westwordfeast.com.

Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11
The ninth annual Harvest Week, hosted by EatDenver and the GrowHaus, will run Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11. Each night, six chefs will come together to create a one-of-a-kind pop-up dinner at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street; last year's dinners each focused on meat and produce from a particular region in the state. While the 2018 lineup hasn't yet been announced, be prepared to pounce on tickets once they go on sale in September (previous years have sold out in just two weeks.) In addition to great food and good company, all the festivities of the week will benefit EatDenver and the GrowHaus. 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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