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The Twelve Tastiest Events on Denver's Culinary Calendar, November 11-13

On Veterans Day, we honor those serving, those who have served and those who love them. Restaurants all over the Front Range will honor veterans with special deals — ranging from free doughnuts to free beers to free meals — for any retired or active-duty military member in uniform or with a valid military ID. That's not all that's happening this weekend, of course. Start with unlimited bites and booze at brunch, sample new beers and fine wines, feel the power of the dark side (of chocolate), and get down at one of the wildest parties Longmont has ever seen. Take a look at the ten tastiest events this weekend:
Friday, November 11

It's Veterans Day, and restaurants around Denver are offering deals for active and retired service people. We've rounded up eighteen of the best Veterans Day offers here.

First Bite Boulder, Boulder County's restaurant week, runs tonight through November 19, with special prix fixe menus at more than fifty local restaurants, from iconic eateries to new favorites, from the Pearl Street Mall to Lyons. The three-course offerings run $29, with beverage pairings extra; see firstbiteboulder.com for participating restaurants and menus.

The annual Cheers for the Holidays fundraiser marries a tour through local wineries with a benefit for at-risk kids. Enjoy a variety of wines from Front Range wineries like Redstone Meadery and Black Art Cellars, as well as appetizers and desserts from local restaurants and beer from nearby breweries. The event also includes live music entertainment and a silent auction. Veterans receive discounted tickets, and funds raised go to Ralston House, providing a safe place for children who have been abused. Tickets are $40, or $60 for the VIP treatment; get yours at the Arvada Festivals site.

In what promises to be a wild soccer matchup, the U.S. Men's National Team takes on Mexico at 5:45 p.m. Both Thirsty Lion Union Station and Thirsty Lion Cherry Creek are offering watching parties, with top-of-the-line audio and video systems. Catch happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. for $4 featured pints, house margaritas, well drinks and featured wines, as well as food deals. And stay for a second happy hour from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Find details on the Thirsty Lion website.

Keep reading for more events this weekend.

Saturday, November 12

Longmont is getting seriously fizzy tonight, as local stalwart Left Hand Brewery kicks off Nitro Fest, a festival dedicated to nitrogenated brews and groovy tunes. Forty-plus breweries will be pouring nitro beers among wild circus acts and the sounds of Beats Antique. Explore never-before-seen beer varieties, sample food from local restaurants, and luxuriate in the steampunk-circus atmosphere. The pours begin at 6 p.m. at Roosevelt Park in downtown Longmont; tickets are $65 for unlimited beer and food samples and a commemorative glass, or $50 for designated drivers. Head to the Ticketfly page to find yours.

Yes, it's the most wonderful time for some beer, as Breckenridge Brewing's Christmas Ale is about to hit the shelves. The brewery is celebrating the beer's release at its Farm House restaurant with ice-carving demos, free holiday-card photos, hayrides and live music from Sarah Christine. Plus, you can grab a bottle of Christmas ale or Holidale to stuff your stocking. The party goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and  admission is free.

The Four Seasons Farmers Market is still going in Wheat Ridge, and in addition to featuring offerings from local artisans and farms, the market is hosting a Children's Author Day starting at 11 a.m. with local writers reading and signing their work. And at 10 a.m., one of the market's suppliers, Sean Conway of Micro Farms, will speak about his hyper-local approach to growing produce in suburban yards. The market goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at 7043 West 38th Avenue in Wheat Ridge.

Listen closely this morning, and you might hear the sigh of relief: Bottomless brunch is back. Zengo, recently refreshed and revamped, returns with new, unlimited small plates and drinks for your table, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Gather your weekend warriors and make a reservation online or by calling 720-904-0965.

Much-lauded LoDo spot Coohills is marking five years in the business of fine pastries and farmhouse French with a special wine dinner tonight. Co-owner and chef Tom Coohill is preparing a five-course menu in partnership with winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos, kicking things off with his signature gougères and continuing with local meats, all paired with special Sonoma wines. Reservations are $85 per person; call the restaurant at 303-623-5700 to get yours.

Sunday, November 13

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Today marks the opening of the Denver Art Museum's Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibition, and Denver restaurants are rolling out special menus to celebrate the occasion. Palettes is debuting a new prix fixe menu with a galactic theme; executive chef Austin Cueto is whipping up a salad worthy of a Gungan with root vegetables, star anise croutons and an orange-basil infusion, then turning to the dark side with a dark-chocolate terrine and imperial stout ice cream. The three-course meal runs $35 ($49 with wine pairings) until the exhibition ends, on April 1. 

The Nickel is getting in on the action as well, taking you to a hive of crumbs and revelry with its Mos Eisley Cantina Brunch. Unashamedly punny offerings include Biscuits and Rey-vy ($14), Greedo Granola ($11) and the breakfast-sausage Sidious-wich on fresh brioche ($15); add unlimited trips to the mimosa bar, Bloody Mary bar or White Russian bar for $20; the menu is offered every Saturday until April 1. In advance of the show opening, on Saturday, November 12, the Nickel will bring a Star Wars green screen for fun photos; guests are encouraged to come in costume.

Friendsgiving returns for the fifth annual iteration, and starting at 5 p.m. will fill the Oriental Theater with a "night of revelry and community" — which means plenty of tasty dishes, a full bar and live music. Tickets are $40 and benefit the Arvada Community Food Bank. Get yours here.

For more Food & Drink events, go to our online calendar. If you know of an event that should be included in that calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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