This bull has just learned what he'll be turned into.EXPAND
This bull has just learned what he'll be turned into.
Brandon Marshall

The Four Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The excitement of the holidays is over — cue the winter blahs. What's there to do in that winter wasteland between New Year's Day and St. Patrick's Day? Plenty, it turns out, particularly with the National Western Stock Show heading into town. We've rustled up a few food and drink this week, plus plenty of future foodie fun in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 2
If your New Year's resolution was to be more cultured (whose wasn't?), start by going to the theater. The King and I kicks off its run at the Buell Theatre on Tuesday, January 2, and Range, 918 17th Street, is taking advantage of its close proximity to the theater by introducing its Theatre Cocktail series. The restaurant has created an Asian-inspired margarita, the Bangkok, with fresh pineapple, Thai pepper and lemongrass, to pair with the classic musical. The cocktail — and the show — run through Sunday, January 14, so there's no time to waste. Future installments in the series are Tommy's Tea with Pimms and Tekoe tea (for The Who's Tommy) and the Oscar with Lillet Blanc and elderflower-ginger liqueur (for Les Misérables). Attendees of the show — or hell, anyone — gets free valet parking with dinner, making Range the perfect place to start your night of dining, drinking and indulging (in, ahem, culture).

Morrison Holiday Bar is the end of the line for Star, the Texas Longhorn.EXPAND
Morrison Holiday Bar is the end of the line for Star, the Texas Longhorn.
Scott Lentz

Wednesday, January 3
Morrison is getting in on the Stock Show action early with its own mini-cattle drive down the town's Main Street at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3. The guest of honor is a Longhorn bull named Star; he isn't so miniature, weighing in at 2,250 pounds. Star will make the trek down Main Street to the classic Morrison Holiday Bar, 403 Bear Creek Avenue, where he and his six-foot-wide horns will be maneuvered through a three-foot-door to spend the evening posing for photos, which are sure to be oh-so-Instagrammable. Star will be on site until 9 p.m., so you'll have plenty of time to make an appearance yourself and start cultivating your own Stock Show aesthetic for the month.

Who says Denver isn't a cowtown?EXPAND
Who says Denver isn't a cowtown?
Brandon Marshall

Thursday, January 4
January in Denver means the Stock Show, and the Stock Show means the city's restaurants are overrun by beef and cow punchers alike. To kick off the three weeks when Denver truly is a cowtown (and damn proud of it), a herd of Longhorn cattle will be driven down 17th Street on Thursday, January 4, as part of the official Stock Show Parade. While the parade leaves from Union Station at noon, you can camp out at the Wells Fargo Center, 1700 Broadway, starting at 11:30 a.m. to nosh on some barbecue and see the parade finish. Meal tickets are $10 (they benefit the 4-H) and include music (both kinds, country and Western) and a Western fashion show. Find out more at nationalwestern.com.

Tap handles at Samples.EXPAND
Tap handles at Samples.
Samples Facebook page

Friday, January 5
Love him or hate him, Guy Fieri continues to inspire strong emotions as he crosses the country shoving oversized burgers into his gaping maw (guess what side we're on?). And last September, Fieri hit Samples, 370 Main Street in Longmont, for a poutine burger and Korean barbecue sandwich. That episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives will air at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 5, and the beer bar and eatery will hold a viewing party to celebrate. If you're not a Fieri fan? Go anyway: Samples has a fantastic beer list, and part of its mission is to employ physically and intellectually challenged people in Boulder County at a living wage, providing benefits and paid time off. Get some good food (c'mon — poutine burger!), drink some good beer and have a good old-fashioned party. Find out more — and reserve your spot — at the Samples Facebook page.

And here are a few additional events in the coming weeks...

There will be plenty of dark beers at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
There will be plenty of dark beers at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
Sarah Cowell

Saturday, January 6
If you only go to one beer festival in 2018, make it the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival on Saturday, January 6. Yes, it's only six days into the year, but we guarantee there won't be any better event for fans of dark, sweet, spicy, malty, high-alcohol beers in the state. Over 150 breweries (Dogfish Head, Paradox, Duvel and Jester King among them) will be pouring suds from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Beaver Run Conference Center, 620 Village Road in Breckenridge, and for die-hard beer geeks (or pros), seminars earlier that morning are included in the $75 ticket price. Visit bigbeersfestival.com for a complete schedule of events through the weekend, and start planning for a weekend getaway as epic as the fest itself.

Thursday, January 25
Host Padma Lakshmi might be the most recognizable face on Bravo's Top Chef, but we think Gail Simmons has the better job — she gets to eat (and judge) the food in a no-nonsense manner without having to deliver awkward sexual innuendo. After fifteen seasons on the show, Simmons recently penned Bringing It Home: Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating, and will be hosting a dinner at Frasca on Thursday, January 25, that showcases recipes from the cookbook. Diners will get a five-course dinner with wine pairings and an autographed copy of Bringing It Home for $160 (a veritable bargain at the Boulder restaurant); seatings start at 5 p.m. Call Frasca, 1738 Pearl Street, at 303-442-6966 to reserve your seat for a dinner with true foodie royalty.

Il Porcellino is hosting a charcuterie class with Brian Polcyn in February.EXPAND
Il Porcellino is hosting a charcuterie class with Brian Polcyn in February.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19
If you love cured meats — and we mean really, really love cured meats — you know who Brian Polcyn is. The George Clooney of salumi, James Beard Award nominee and author of Charcuterie and Salumi  is coming to Denver on Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19, to teach a two-day charcuterie and whole-animal butchery course. The class will be held at Il Porcellino, 4334 West 41st Avenue, starting at 9 a.m. both days. And while this course isn't for the casual learner (Polcyn will cover topics like European vs. American butchery and how to purchase and break down whole animals and still turn a profit) or the squeamish (a whole pig will be used for demonstration), it's a unique opportunity for chefs and serious hobbyists. See Polcyn's Facebook page for more details.

Friday, February 23
Gentle readers who still get bent out of shape that Westword covers Boulder as well as Denver: CineCHEF 2018 is the event for you. The event's fourth iteration happens on Friday, February 23, 2018, at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street in Boulder, when Boulder chefs face off against Denver chefs to prove who can create the tastiest, most creative bite based on a beloved film. Last year's roster included Daniel Asher of River and Woods serving smoked scallops, ceviche and Peruvian chile in an homage to Up in Smoke, and Steven Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth tapping Mia Wallace to hand out miniature burgers and a $5 shake à la Pulp Fiction. Tickets, $95, are on sale now at ticketfly.com and include admission to the film Michelin Stars: Tales From the Kitchen. So, gentle readers, etc., purchase your tickets and start planning the long and dangerous trip up to The Town That Totally Isn't Part of Denver to support your hometown heroes as they compete in hostile territory.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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