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This week brings a sampler platter of online and in-person events, celebrating everything from childlike pleasures to grown-up privileges and out-and-out hedonism. Here are seven great food and drink happenings from Monday, August 3, through Friday, August 7, with upcoming shenanigans through the end of August.
Monday, August 3
Focus Points Family Resource Center is the force behind one of our favorite lunch spots, Comal, which serves an ever-changing menu of mainly Mexican (and sometimes Syrian) dishes. Its parent nonprofit organization has been offering childhood and adult education, and family and culinary business development for northeast Denver families in need for 25 years. On Monday, August 3, Focus Points kicks off a week of anniversary celebrations with a Day of Giving. If you choose to participate, a $25 donation is suggested, and then you can shop at Lost City Market, a pay-what-you-can farmers’ market running from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 5, at Lost City (a cafe and community center) at 3459 Ringsby Court. And on Saturday, August 8, Focus Points is hosting a drive-thru backpack giveaway — because even if your kids aren’t going back to the classroom this fall, they’re still going to need supplies for their online classes. Kids must be present to receive a backpack full of school supplies; find out more on the organization’s website and Facebook page.
Despite the name, new eatery Local Jones (at 249 Columbine Street) is neither locally owned nor related to the Family Jones, the LoHi distillery-restaurant. It is, however, offering some great deals on Champagne for Magnum Mondays, when selected 1.5-liter bottles of bubbly will be popped and poured by the glass — at cost. So starting at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 3, you can get a glass of Ruinart Brut Rosé that would normally cost $77 — if you could even get the bar to uncork the giant bottle for a single glass — for just $16. Table reservations are recommended (though not required), but the bubbly will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Future installments in the series include pours of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve for $10 (normally $35, on August 10) and Moët & Chandon 2008 “Chalk” Grand Vintage for $15 (normally $49, on August 17). Those are deals good enough to make even the most strident of locavores relax enough to enjoy a good glass of wine.
Tuesday, August 4
It’s hard to launch a new business under any circumstances, but it’s even more daunting during these (say it with us, all together now) unprecedented times. And while plenty of people have taken advantage of the past few months of reduced — or no — work and loads of time at home to crank their creativity up to 11, there’s a difference between fine-tuning your hot sauce recipe and actually getting a share of that big salsa money. So Colorado Proud is hosting a series of free Zoom workshops dedicated to the down-and-dirty details of running a brand. Tuesday, August 4, brings a conversation with grocery product buyers about how to get store placement; Tuesday, August 11, is a discussion about how to grow your baby business; and Tuesday, August 25, tackles how to strengthen your brand for greater visibility and appeal. Each session runs from noon to 1 p.m. and requires attendees to register in advance; do so at the Colorado Proud website.
Even the patio tables at Le Bilboquet have white tablecloths (this photo was taken prior to the End Times and advent of social distancing).
Wednesday, August 5
The next time you’re headed to Cherry Creek for a bite — whether you’re dining in or taking out — consider spending your hard-earned coin at one of the over thirty eateries that make up the Dine Out to Help Out Cherry Creek program, which launches on Wednesday, August 5. With each order of $25 or more from restaurants like the Cherry Cricket, Le Bilboquet, Olive & Finch, Machete, the Corner Beet and the Pasty Republic, diners will receive a $25 gift card to use at the same location on a future visit. The offer is good until 6,000 gift cards have been distributed — which we guarantee will happen sooner than you think. So support your favorite Cherry Creek spot now, to make sure it sticks around for the long haul.
Pair one of childhood’s greatest treats (ice cream) with one of adulthood’s greatest privileges (beer) and you’ve got an event to scream for: Denver Beer Co.’s annual summer ice cream social. At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, both taprooms (1695 Platte Street in Denver and 5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada) will host a real, live, social social, with tables set up for parties of two, four and six. Each pair receives three pints of ice cream from Little Man (salted Oreo, Space Junkie and espresso fudge) paired with two twelve-ounce pours (Tart Delight Citrus Sour, Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch and Churro Stout). Reserve your table, $45 to $135, on DBC’s website. Can’t click that purchase button fast enough? You can still snag the takeout version (comes with ice cream, six-packs of the sour and kolsch and a Crowler of stout) for $45; pick it up at either taproom Tuesday or Wednesday, then tune in for a live stream via Facebook.
Thursday, August 6
No, chardonnay doesn’t have to taste like you just licked the inside of an oak barrel that’s been slathered in movie popcorn butter. If you’d like to learn about versions of vin that are crisper and more complex, reserve a seat in Noble Riot’s wine school. The lesson plan on Thursday, August 6, is a deep dive into chardonnay grapes with a Chablis Showdown, and you’re gonna come out of class so educated you won’t even want to say “chard” anymore. Wine pro Mike Elmore will lead a tasting of two high-end premier cru bottles at the quirky alleyway tasting room at 1336 27th Street. While the 6 p.m. session is currently sold out, tickets are still available for the 7:30 p.m. session; snatch them up on Tock before the latest in Noble Riot’s popular and exclusive tastings go the way of the dodo.
Friday, August 7
What’s a beer lover and escape-room aficionado to do on Friday, August 7 — National Beer Day — when COVID-19 cases are climbing and both the space inside and outside of your own four walls seem like a harrowing nightmare of which there’s no way out? Not much, but at least you can save 20 percent on brews from River North Brewery as well as a live, streaming escape-room experience from Paruzal Games. Use the code ADVENTUREFUEL on the brewery’s online store for a discount on bottles, cans and Crowlers; then book a game night on Paruzal’s site for as many friends as you can fit onto a Zoom call (and whose puzzle-solving skills won’t skip town after the first sip of suds). Visit River North’s Facebook page for details.
Shiitake mushrooms are the subject of one of the Flatirons Food Film Fest’s fundraising classes.
Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16
October’s Flatirons Food Film Festival has officially been moved online, and so have the events leading up to it. Instead of in-person fundraisers — which are replete with boozy shmoozing that has a way of torpedoing everyone’s best social distancing intentions — the Fest is hosting a series of ten Zoom cooking classes from Saturday, August 8, through Sunday, August 16, where you’ll learn how to turn out evergreen classics like sourdough bread and the perfect steak, as well as more esoteric topics like the folklore surrounding shiitake mushrooms and how to make shio koji (a fermented Japanese marinade) and tahchin (an Iranian rice dish with a golden, crunchy crust). Each ninety-minute class costs $30 (or buy all ten for $250); visit the Fest’s Facebook page for the complete schedule, and Eventbrite to purchase your tickets.
Thursday-night Peking duck at Ace Eat Serve.
Thursday, August 13
What’s better than a juicy, roasted whole duck with crispy, crackly, perfectly caramel-colored skin? That bird prepared and plated for you by someone else. And Ace Eat Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue, is slowly getting back to normal(ish) with the return of its Peking duck Thursday starting August 13. Call the eatery at 303-800-7705 no later than Friday, August 7, to preorder a whole duck, light-as-air mu shu crepes, scallions, cucumber and a pair of sauces (hoisin and apricot chile) for $42. The feast serves three (or four if you can get together three friends who don’t mind engaging in the “That last bite’s yours” dance), is available for dine-in or takeout, and is worth every penny.
The Vail Craft Beer Classic is still on — but it won’t look like this in 2020.
Friday, August 14
Coloradans would do almost anything to attend their beloved beer festivals this summer — including risking a public outing to sample a bottomless batch of brews. If you’re willing to take the risk, you’ll want to book a room in Vail for the night of Friday, August 14, because the Vail Craft Beer Classic will soldier on that day. The fest takes place in a park adjacent to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (522 South Frontage Road South, Vail) and will run differently than standard beer festivals, of course: Attendance is limited to 175 people during each of two ninety-minute sessions (4 and 6:30 p.m.); everyone will be required to mask up while obtaining their beers and will only be allowed to imbibe once they’re settled on the lawn with their drinking buddies. We can’t guarantee there won’t be any lines, but they will be spread out with six-foot indicators on the ground, as will brewery reps. Find details on the fest’s website, where you can also pick up tickets ($49), but hurry — both sessions on Saturday, August 15, have already sold out.
Saturday, August 15
With City Park Jazz and Levitt Pavilion streaming shows this summer in lieu of hosting live performances, the time-honored practice of smuggling booze into the park alongside your picnic, blanket and camp chairs for a concert under the stars hasn’t been on the agenda for fans this summer. But now you can re-create the experience (sort of) on Saturday, August 15, at Tunes at Twilight. Is it in the heart of the city? Well, no — but it is at the gorgeous Lyons Farmette, an intimate and private farm at 4121 Ute Highway in Lyons. Is it free? Definitely not, but of the $150 ticket price, $47 will go to musicians and music-related small businesses; $25 will go to restaurant and bar staff; and the remaining $84 will benefit nonprofit organization Can’d Aid, specifically its music outreach programs. Americana band Trout Steak Revival is providing the tunes, A Spice of Life Catering is serving boxed picnic dinners, and Oskar Blues and Infinite Monkey Theorem will be selling beer and wine. Find out more and reserve your spot on Can’d Aid’s website.
Saturday, August 22
Chef Tom Coohill’s namesake restaurant at 1400 Wewatta Street is perfectly positioned to take advantage of outdoor dining; its proximity to the bridge spanning the South Platte River has made it a popular destination for Beats on the Creek in prior years. While the 2020 concert series was canceled, diners can still sit under the stars on Saturday, August 22, at an al fresco wine dinner with seating set up on the bridge. Guests at the five-course dinner can expect a selection of six wines from around the globe poured alongside courses like lobster salad with duck breast and citrus-truffle emulsion; roasted guinea hen with porcini mousse, black mission figs and port reduction; and harissa-spiced lamb loin with dates and braised heirloom potatoes. Call 303-623-5700 or email [email protected] to reserve your spot for the 7 p.m. meal, which will run you $115.
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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.