The challenges of this pandemic-ravaged past year have inspired local chefs to new heights of creativity, and Denver’s jam-packed calendar of pop-ups and foodie events is a testament to their collaborative spirits and ability to innovate. Expand your horizons—and satisfy your appetite—with one of these six culinary experiences taking place in March.
Freaky Sundays with Misfit Snackbar & To the Wind Bistro | March 7 & 14
Hosting events with other local chefs has always been Bo Porytko’s favorite thing to do, but the chef-owner of Misfit Snackbar inside Middleman Bar on East Colfax Avenue says that right now, it’s more important than ever. “This year, especially, I want be more collaborative with other chefs in town,” he says. That’s why Porytko is teaming up with Royce Oliviera, chef-owner of To the Wind Bistro, to host Freaky Sundays—a takeover of each other’s kitchens on March 7 and 14.
While the March 14 event at To the Wind is sold out, you can attend the first-come, first-served March 7 affair at Misfit Snackbar, where Oliviera will offer his takes on Porytko’s elevated pub grub. Highlights include Gin and Tonic Mussels with a Kaffir lime- and tonic-infused broth, Juniper aïoli, and grilled bread and mole duck nachos with fermented black beans, crèma, queso blanco, and corn salsa. Can’t make it on Sunday? Don’t fret: Porytko plans to announce additional kitchen swap pop-ups with other restaurants on East Colfax soon. Menu prices vary; 3–10 p.m.; 3401 E. Colfax Ave.
A love for community and conversation inspired Ms. Betty’s Cooking chef-owner Tajahi Cooke to join forces with Denver-based event company Fireside at Five to launch the Supper Club, a series of intimate monthly dinners prepared in collaboration with different local chefs. Cooke says the series has been in the works for the past four years but received the push he needed to jump start the endeavor when restaurateur Frank Bonnano offered his downtown bistro, French 75, as a venue for the events through September. “Coming out of 2020, I wanted to continue connecting chefs with the community,” Cooke says. “And when Frank offered me French 75, I couldn’t resist.”
On March 11, Cooke and Bonanno will kick off the series at French 75 with a six-course meal complemented by libations from Mythology Distillery. Future dinners star chefs Carrie Baird and Natascha Hess of Ginger Pig (April 8) and chef Jesusio Silva of Misaki on Broadway (May 13). $125 per person; 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; reserve your table here; 717 17th St., Ste. B
Duck COVID Dinner at American Elm | March 16
To ring in the anniversary of the first pandemic restaurant shutdown on March 16, 2020, the team at American Elm will host a duck-centric (get it?) feast. Chef Brent Turnipseede’s four-course meal will include a duck duo with confit leg and breast, grilled frisée lettuce, and blood orange jus; deviled duck eggs; seared fois gras with hazelnuts, maple gastrique, and a morello cherry “vaccine;” and duck custard pie with blackberry, duck fat whip, and macadamia for dessert. Drink pairings will be curated by star bar manager Jesse Torres. $85 per person; 6 p.m.; reserve your table here; 4132 W. 38th Ave.
Rioja’s seventh wine dinner event of the past year features a five-course menu from chef-owner Jennifer Jasinski and her team, paired with importer Olé & Obrigado’s vintage wines from across Portugal. Jasinski will serve a multi-textured green apple and fennel appetizer; Portuguese salt cod with sunchokes and olives; house-made tortelli stuffed with linguiça (Portuguese sausage) served with Manila clams, tomato, spring garlic, and marinated peppers; and prime tri tip steak with XO sauce, shiitakes, and black garlic. Don’t forget to save room for the strawberry, rhubarb, and whipped goat cheese Napoleon. $99 per person; 6:30 p.m.; reserve your table here; a finish-at-home virtual wine dinner is also available; 431 Larimer Square
Comal@Home from Comal Heritage Food Incubator | Every Friday
This month, the rotating meal kit program from Focus Points Family Resource Center’s Comal restaurant and training program includes fan-favorite Mexican recipes from chefs Silvia Hernandez and Raymunda Carreon. Each Friday in March, a different recipe and meal kit will be available for curbside pickup. Choose from mole de pollo (chicken legs simmered in a cinnamon- and chile-tinged chocolate mole sauce) for March 12; costillas de puerco (St. Louis-style pork ribs roasted in a zesty red chile sauce) for March 19; and tamales de rajas con queso (tender masa stuffed with roasted poblano peppers and muenster cheese) for March 25. $60 (serves four to six); order here by Wednesday of each week for pickup on Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. 3455 Ringsby Ct., Ste. 105
The Denver Box | Every Saturday
The Lion Project’s monthly Denver Box, an initiative supporting local restaurants, farmers, and nonprofits, is a meal package with sides, a dessert, and beverages curated by a rotating cast of local chefs. For each box sold, 50 percent of proceeds go to the participating restaurant while the other 50 percent is donated to nonprofit partners of the Lion Project. This month’s meal will be prepared by chef Troy Guard of FNG (among many others) and will benefit the Foster Source’s efforts to provide meals and other essential resources to area foster parents. Guard will be making a chipotle ketchup-glazed beef-and-pork meatloaf meal with mashed potatoes and gravy, broccolini, and onion rings; chicken Parmesan with pasta, salad, grilled zucchini, and focaccia; and chicken enchiladas with rice and beans, slaw, avocado, and crema. Triple chocolate chip cookies with sea salt come as dessert for all three meals, and vegetarian options are available. $100 (serves four); order here by Wednesday of the desired weekend for Saturday pickup at FNG (3940 W. 32nd Ave.)