If you didn’t manage to snag a good table Derby weekend, there are several very cool chances to sample good food and good drinks for very reasonable prices in the three special dinners that are on the horizon. As usual, the  chefs involved will present dishes not on the regular menus, devised to pair with the drinks theme, and to show off their culinary imaginations.

  • Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m., 8UP Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen, 350 W. Chestnut St., will serve a 3-course dinner featuring cocktails made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon.

The Welcome cocktail will be an Angel’s Old Fashioned, served with passed hors d’oeuvres. The first course will be smoked scallop with chawanmushi (a Japanese savory custard), pickled kumquat and salmon roe, paired with a Manhattan. The entrée will be a grilled pork chop, served with a liquid corn ravioli and smashed golden potatoes. The cocktail pairing will be a

New York Sour made with Kopke Tawny Port. Chef Jacob Coronado calls his dessert Wonka In Manhattan, an elaborate edifice of granita, Luxardo maraschino sphere and orange meringue, served with a Bourbon Cherry Rhubarb.

Dinner and Angel’s Envy cocktail pairings will be $75. Call (502) 631-4180 or go to 8uplouisville.com

  • On Tuesday, May 17, Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave., will host a dinner featuring wines from the Spanish wine producer Barón de Ley.  Barón de Ley’s expert, Inigo Echavarri, will be at the dinner to discuss the making of his company’s wines and the thinking behind the pairings.

The menu will begin with a bruschetta topped with char-grilled Spanish octopus, shrimp and roasted corn, served with a Gran Cuvée Reserva Brut Cava. The salad will be Tuscan kale with crispy chick peas, goat cheese and coppa ham with a cured lemon vinaigrette, served with a Rioja blanco.

The third course will be chorizo and mussel paella served over Valencia rice, followed by grilled quail served over migas. The wine with the main course will be a Rioja Reserva, to accompany a spit-roasted leg of lamb finished with a chimichurri sauce. The dessert wine will be a Brut Rose Cava; the dessert will be rice pudding and raspberry jam with toasted almonds and a Nutella churro.

The cost of dinner will be $65.  Call (502) 899-9904 or email letsdine@varanese.com.

  • Thursday May 19, at 6:30 p.m., Brasserie Provence, 150 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy will offer a 4-Course Loire Valley Wine Dinner. David DuBou, Wine Expert for Vintner Select, will be at the dinner to discuss his selection of Loire Valley wines paired with Chef Laurent Geroli’s menu. 

The meal will start with pike mousseline and poached white asparagus accompanied by Château Soucherie Anjou Blanc. The pasta course will be open ravioli topped with beef cheek and Red Russian kale. The wine will be Château Soucherie Anjou Red.

The entrée, old-fashioned chicken fricassee with sweet potato and oyster mushrooms velouté will be paired with Domaine de Noire Chinon “Elegance”. Dessert will be traditional Tarte Tatin, served with a sparkling Crémant de Loire from Château de L’Epèronniere.

The dinner will be $65.  Wines will be available for purchase by participants with a 15% discount through Westport Whiskey & Wine. Call (502) 210-9572 or go to www.brasserieprovence.com.