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The days of casually picking champagne from a silver platter are long gone (thanks, COVID), but you can still celebrate at Spark !, a socially distant champagne festival.
Is the Denver food service and dining scene slowly returning to normal? While it is definitely not the time to take off your masks and curl up at a communal table next to a stranger (seriously, if you plop down next to a hot girl at a table, don’t be surprised if you see her bottle of beer shattered and swaying at you) we can enjoy the illusion that two pop-ups, a rare whiskey release, and beer and wine dinners herald the slow return of the Before Times. Make the most of these six food and drink events over the weekend, then read on to find activities worth adding to your calendar for the future.
Remember that harvest week lasts until October 4th. So head to your favorite restaurant and order the Harvest Week Special to support GrowHaus and EatDenver, a coalition of independent restaurants on the Denver metro. See the full list of participating restaurants, dine out, or order takeaway.
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A Ghanaian po’boy from Chef Modou Jaiteh of Jacaranda.
Michael Emery Hecker
Friday September 25th
Bruto, located in the Dairy Block building at 1801 Blake Street, is hosting another fantastic pop-up at Chef Motou Jaiteh of Jacaranda who recently vacated Boulders Rosetta Hall on Friday September 25th and Saturday September 26th Has. Jaiteh offers West African-inspired tasting menus for both lunch ($ 30 from 11:15 am to 1:15 pm) and dinner ($ 55 from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm). The full menu includes a trio of flatbreads made with Jamaican curry lamb, pumpkin, and brown butter with ricotta, and wild mushrooms with cauliflower, cheese, and honey; Domoda (African peanut stew) with rice; Jollof rice with smoked chicken and lard; Lamb ribs; and vegetables with jollof rice, peas and fried plantains. Both zero-safe and soft drink pairings are available ($ 20 to $ 35). And if you prefer to skip Bruto’s cozy dining room, you can either pre-order your meal from Thursday, September 24th on Tock or use the QR code on site. Head to Tock to reserve your table – and hope Bruto continues to host hard-to-find cuisines like Jamaica and West Africa.
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Ah, 2010. It seems like a lifetime ago, a year where the worst was Bristol Palin appearing in Dancing With the Stars, Lost botched its series finale, and BP spilled over 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico (okay , the last one was pretty bad). But in summary, it was an innocent time. It was the year Stranahan poured a lot of whiskey into new barrels. Now – because 2020 is a total shit show and we all need something good, the distillery on South Kalamath Street 200 has released 500 (and only 500) bottles of the ten year old whiskey. But even if you have a hard time getting your hands on a full bottle, you can taste the spirit at Stranahan’s weekly Mountain Angel guided tastings, which start on Friday, September 25th. For $ 55, guests can get four different branded whiskeys: 4- and 7-year-old versions, single-cask strength, and the elusive Mountain Angel itself, now the oldest whiskey the distillery has ever released. You’ll also get bites of chocolate, caramel, and cheese to nibble on, and notice how they change the flavor of the whiskey. The tastings take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and are limited to eight participants. So get your tickets as soon as possible on the distillery’s website.
The Marco Underground Osteria may not be your first choice for indoor dining during a pandemic; Fortunately, the Italian eatery has access to a high rooftop on Larimer Street, which is hosting the 10th annual Hooves and Hops beer dinner on Friday September 25th. The Larimer Uprooted rooftop terrace and garden towers over the Larimer Square parking garage at 1450 Larimer Square, and it hosts a five-course feast from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. along with Great Divide Brewing Co. beers. Think crispy maple and chili pork ears with Oktoberfest lager; a “hot bag” of ham and cheese with hoppy titanium IPA; Ribs and caramelized cabbage with a barrel aged Belgian ale; and other tempting foods. Doors open at 6pm if you’d like to watch the sunset. Tickets are $ 65 plus tax and tip on Tock, which is where you can find the full menu.
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The guests will be spread out on the Wewatta Bridge for the upcoming Coohills Wine Dinner.
Saturday, September 26th
Note: According to the organizer, this event has been postponed to September 25th. A new date (expected in October) will be announced pending approval from the city. Everyone loves bubbles (unless they’re the economical type)! Pour some sparkling wine into a glass and it will be celebrated immediately. And on Saturday September 26th, you have to celebrate that you got through the first 269 days of this year (hey, we have to bring our luck to where we can get it in 2020). Enter Spark !, a sparkling wine festival that highlights bubbly wine styles from around the world. Champagne and prosecco will appear, of course, but you’ll also have the option to try lesser-known styles like sparkling wine and crémant. More than twenty producers will pour for three tasting sessions at Peak Beverage, 4375 Brighton Boulevard: a VIP session (USD 100) from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. with exclusive tastings from five champagne makers, a cheese and sausage box, a tasting book, a branded Face mask, raffle ticket, and more; and a GA session ($ 65) from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (the GA session at 5:30 p.m. is already sold out). There are also virtual tastings for those who want to treat themselves but prefer to do so at home (and in their sweatpants); Packages range from $ 120 to $ 200 and all include at least three half bottles of wine or champagne, snacks, and four 40-minute workshops. Visit the Spark! Instagram page for details, then grab your tickets at Night Out.
Saturday, September 26th, promises to be a perfect day for al fresco dining as temperatures are forecast not to exceed 90 degrees and air quality in Denver is finally beginning to improve. Coohills, 1400 Wewatta Street, uses the bridge that spans Cherry Creek for another wine-paired dinner. This consists of two cocktails, three wines and four courses, including lobster bisque with brandy cream, Colorado bison short rib and Alamosa striped perch with butternut squash ceviche, shallots and sherry vinegar. Visit the restaurant’s website to see the full menu for dinner at 6:00 PM. Then call 303-623-5700 or email [email protected] to secure your spot.
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Get all of these goodies – plus the pan – from Lola if you pre-order by September 24th.
Lola Coastal Mexicans
Sunday September 27th
If you learned the art of paella cooking just by watching Jason Schwartzman’s Devon in Wine Country, you might think that to prepare the iconic Spanish dish you need special equipment – like a canoe paddle. That’s right (the oar is optional, a paella pan is mandatory), but it’s not as difficult as you might think – especially if you order the dish from Lola’s paella pop-up. While pre-orders are now closed, you can still reserve a table in the dining room at 1575 Boulder Street on Sunday, September 27th – or take your chance by walking in from 4pm on Sunday, September 27th. For $ 45, you can get enough saffron rice, clams, shrimp, crab, chicken, and chorizo to feed two; You can also grab a bottle of wine for $ 25 or less, or sangria and coin margs ($ 25 or $ 30) along with the spread. Quantities are extremely limited, so reservations are recommended. Visit Tock to reserve your table. Note: From Friday, September 25th, this dinner will be sold out. Check with Lola about cancellations.
And mark your calendar …