Skip breakfast this morning, because you’ll want to have as much room as possible in your belly this weekend for jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken, pizza, bacon — and that’s just Saturday’s menu.

Keep reading for seven fantastic food and drink events this weekend, as well as six more in the weeks to come.

Friday, September 4
If ever there was a year that deserved to be stabbed in the eye with a foreign object, it’s 2020. Whether you’re using your chef’s knife to come for the forces of evil that took T’Challa and carefree indoor dining from us, or you just want to slice some summer squash, you’ll learn something at the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts knife skills class on Friday, September 4, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at 43 West Ninth Avenue. Learn (or brush up on) the basics and get a few pro tips while you turn out a three-course dinner including strawberry, apple and walnut salad; roasted chicken with veggies; and a dessert. The cost is $119 and includes wine pairings; visit Cook Street’s website to enroll.

If 2020 has left your tastebuds — in addition to all your emotions, any hustle and your sense of outrage — completely numb, you need some chimichurri. We can’t speak to the rejuvenating properties of the tangy, garlicky, herby sauce on your heart and soul, but we can tell you it will make your mouth stand at attention. You can stock up on the Argentinean condiment this weekend at Vine Street Pub, 1700 Vine Street, where the aptly named Chimichurri Bros. will be grilling up the perfect goodies to top with chimichurri: fries (both naked and poutine), Hatch burgers (patty topped with Hatch chile pimiento cheese as well as bacon jam), a mushroom French dip, and — our favorite, obviously — the Jala at Your Grilled Cheese (stuffed with cream cheese jalapeño poppers, prosciutto, cheddar, smoked Gouda and raspberry jam). Show up between 2 and 7 p.m. from Friday, September 4, through Sunday, September 6; see details on the Chimichurri Bros. Facebook page.

Saturday, September 5
Do you need an excuse to eat bacon? Nope. But we’ll give you one anyway: On Saturday, September 5, all Snooze locations are celebrating International Bacon Day with a trio of salty, savory delights available for just one day. Start with the Bacon It Easy Bloody Mary mixed with bacon-infused vodka and topped with bacon bits; then choose between sweet and savory (the Graceland pancake, with caramelized sugar, bacon mascarpone, candied pecans and bacon crumble) and just plain savory (a habanero pork belly grilled cheese Benedict topped with smoked cheddar Hollandaise). All locations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the exception of Boulder’s outpost, which won’t open until 7 a.m.

Just because the Kentucky Derby wasn’t run the first Saturday of May doesn’t mean we didn’t spend most of our time between then and Saturday, September 5, wearing silly hats and drinking ourselves even sillier on bourbon (even if we didn’t take the time to make it into a mint julep). But Derby Day has finally arrived — albeit four months late — and Julep, 3258 Larimer Street, is taking the opportunity to raise a glass and pretend for just a moment that the world is normal. Julep will be projecting the race at 12:30 p.m.; reservations via the Southern eatery’s website are strongly encouraged (and must be made separately from brunch bookings). Julep is also offering a hat-decorating session during dinner service on Friday, and is selling its Derby fried chicken dinner and mint julep kits to go; pre-order at least twelve hours in advance for Friday or Saturday pick-up.

The shadowy back-room cabal that organizes national (and international!) food days went off the rails when they designated Saturday, September 5, as both International Bacon Day and National Cheese Pizza Day. After you’ve gotten your fill of bacon for breakfast, don’t miss out on pizza for dinner; you can score a deal at Sexy Pizza by signing up for a virtual pizza party with Paruzal Games. Register for one of Paruzal’s virtual escape rooms (is there one where you can escape 2020?) starting at 4 p.m. using code SEXYPIZZA, and you’ll get 20 percent off the regular price of $15 per person. You’ll also get a code for 20 percent off any Sexy pie the same night. Find out more on Paruzal’s Facebook page. 

If you’ve ever wondered where you can get your kimchi, sourdough bread, dumplings, leafy greens (of the houseplant, not the eating variety), collages, huaraches (of the footwear, not the flatbread variety), flower petal-encrusted CBD pre-rolls and minimal streetwear all under one roof, wonder no more. From 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, and Sunday, September 6, Fort Greene (321 East 45th Avenue) is hosting a night market. Food and condiments from Yuan Wonton, Get Right cottage bakery, Linji Market, Feedd [sic] Your Friends, KREAM Kimchi and more will be for sale, as well as all the goodies listed above. Visit the Night Market Instagram page for details and links to all the participating vendors.

Il Posto knows its Negronis — and by the end of September, you will too.EXPAND

Il Posto knows its Negronis — and by the end of September, you will too.

Courtesy Il Posto

Sunday, September 6
It’s Sunday afternoon, so you’ve already rolled out of bed, pranced into brunch and made the absolute most of that bottomless mimosa deal. But now your two-hour table is up, and you’re not done drinking. What to do? Get over to Il Posto, 2601 Larimer Street, for its weekly Camparty, which is running from 2 to 5 p.m. every Sunday this September. Cleanse your palate (if not your liver) with cold, refreshingly (never unpleasantly) bitter Aperol spritzes and Americanos (Campari, vermouth and soda) for $7 and Negronis for $8. You can’t blame brunch brain for your inability to remember the last time you snagged a cocktail in a swanky setting for under $10. Take a look at Il Posto’s Facebook page for more details.

Keep reading for future food and drink shenanigans….and watch for a Labor Day list.

The Wine Classic at Vail is pouring a different type of booze, but the setup is the same as the recent Vail Craft Beer Classic.EXPAND

The Wine Classic at Vail is pouring a different type of booze, but the setup is the same as the recent Vail Craft Beer Classic.

Vail Craft Beer Classic

Thursday, September 10
Rastafarian cooking, known as Ital, isn’t a foodway that many Denverites are familiar with. Diners can rectify that starting Thursday, September 10, when chef Taj Cooke (formerly of Mother Tongue and the late, lamented Biju’s Little Curry Shop) kicks off his two-month-long Ital Dinner Series at Bruto (inside the Dairy Block at 1801 Blake Street). While Ital cuisine isn’t particularly standardized among Rastas, most practitioners adhere to a vegetarian diet, with emphasis on whole foods that come directly from the earth. Cooke will be creating three courses (all vegetarian) with produce from Denver’s Acres Farm as well as fellow chef Chris Starkus’s Lost Creek Micro Farm. Seats ($75 per person, minimum of two people per booking) are available starting at 5:30 p.m. on Tock; both zero-proof and boozy beverage pairings will be available for $25 to $35. Mark your calendar for future dinners, which are scheduled to take place September 17, October 15 and and October 22 (all Thursdays).

Friday, September 18
Wine festivals have a bit of an advantage over beer festivals in the Age of COVID: Harvest season falls in autumn, so a handful of mountain wine fests are still on. One of those is the Wine Classic at Vail, which is offering four — count ’em, four — grand tastings on Friday, September 18, and Saturday, September 19. More than thirty beverage producers from around the globe will be pouring samples for guests to enjoy on the lawn of Ford Park (adjacent to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, 522 South Frontage Road East). Each ninety-minute tasting session is limited to 175 people to encourage social distancing. Find out more on the fest’s website and nab tickets, $69, on Eventbrite; tastings start at 2 and 4:30 p.m. on Friday and noon and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

If you're looking to get boozy seltzer sprayed directly into your mouth from six feet away, Seltzerland is the event for you.EXPAND

If you’re looking to get boozy seltzer sprayed directly into your mouth from six feet away, Seltzerland is the event for you.

Seltzerland

Saturday, September 19
As event producers cautiously dip their toes back into the murky waters of large-scale gatherings, they’re forced to be creative about how to ensure that safety, social distancing and summer fun are all on tap in a single afternoon. Seltzerland, a traveling hard-seltzer fest that’s landing in Denver on Saturday, September 19, is taking an approach as intriguing as any: Vendors and guests will tee off on Erie’s Colorado National Golf Club, 2700 Vista Parkway, for nine holes of drinks. Leave your clubs at home (long metal sticks are generally frowned upon at any gathering where booze is the main attraction) for your walk along the fairway with a cohort of up to fourteen other attendees. Entry is timed in ten-minute intervals, and social distancing is required between groups as well as between vendors. While we’re not sure how you’ll get your seltzer samples if you’re maintaining six feet from the seltzertender (is that the right word?), you’re promised more than fifty different beverages and ninety minutes of fresh air and drinking with friends. Tickets are $39 for general admission, which runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. (participants are given an entry time during that window), or $79 for VIP, which goes from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and includes one cocktail, a full can of seltzer, free parking and bites in addition to samples. Visit the event website for details and to purchase tickets.

April 21 — the day government officials from Bavaria and Munich announced the cancellation of Munich’s iconic Oktoberfest celebrations — was a sad day for beer drinkers around the globe. Denver’s Oktoberfest was not so quick to follow, but finally put the kibosh on the Mile High City’s annual dunkel drinking and dachshund racing festivities on July 31. So while large-scale gatherings have been given das Boot this year, you can still enter Breckenridge Brewery’s drawing for a mini-Oktoberfest through September 12. Visit the brewery’s website to throw your name in the hat to receive a private performance by the Rhinelanders (okay, as private as a Jeep hauling a three-piece band on a trailer and parking in your driveway can be), steins, brats and pretzels — all free. The beer, sadly, is not free (due to legal restrictions), but that means you can furnish whatever brews you prefer. Seven mini-bashes will be provided in Denver and Colorado Springs on Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20.

Monday, September 21
Start your week off really, really, right at Bettola Bistro, 10253 East Iliff Avenue. The sweet Italian dining room is launching the first of its monthly dinner series themed around a wide-ranging list of inspirations: friends, colleagues, ingredients, geography. On Monday, September 21, Bettola is teaming up with one of the original meat men in Denver: OG charcuterie expert Mark DeNittis, whose Il Mondo Vecchio was way ahead of its time. DeNittis will be turning out a four-course feast focusing on Duroc pork; the evening will also include a short butchering and coppa-making demo. Seatings are available at 6 and 8 p.m. and will run you $125 plus tip (tax is included). Email info@bettolabistro.com or call 303-750-1580 to reserve your spot, and follow Bettola’s Instagram page for mouthwatering pics and details on upcoming installments.

Harvest Week takes a very different form this year.

Harvest Week takes a very different form this year.

Mark Antonation

Wednesday, September 23, through Sunday, October 4
Denver’s Harvest Week is a beloved tradition — if you’ve been fast enough to snag a seat at one of the wildly popular dinners under the roof of the GrowHaus, the nonprofit organization providing food and food education to residents of Denver’s Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. This year, things look different, both because of COVID and because the GrowHaus building was shuttered as a result of severe structural issues. The upside? Harvest Week is being revamped as a citywide celebration of Colorado food and drink. More than thirty Denver and Boulder eateries (including Cart-Driver, Ace Eat Serve, Ultreia, Santo, Jax, Blackbelly and Tap & Burger) will be using local ingredients to create uniquely Colorado dishes and cocktails. Visit the event’s Facebook page or website for a complete list of participating restaurants, then start making reservations. Meal planning has never been easier.

Know of an event or activity that belongs here? Send information to cafe@westword.com.

Best Denver Food and Drink Events This Weekend

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