Chilly treats, Chinese New Year, cuisine from South America and a coffee class are all on the roster this weekend. Here are the five best food and drink events on the Denver culinary calendar for the next few days...and others to watch for in the weeks ahead.
Friday, February 16
Every dog has its day, but pooches get a whole year starting this weekend, according to the Chinese calendar. Whole fried fish, ping-pong and scratch tickets are a great way to celebrate Chinese New Year on Friday, February 16. Join Ace Eat Serve (501 East 17th Avenue) for food and drink specials — like that fish served Cha Ca Ha Noi style (with pickled shallots, ginger and charred pineapple), a Year of the Dog cocktail and discounted Tsingtao beers from 6 to 11 p.m. Grab your lucky red envelope for prizes like gift cards, free ping-pong time and complimentary beers.
Saturday, February 17
It might be the depths of winter, but when has that stopped hungry Denverites in search of good ice cream — or a good deal? Ice cream parlor CREAM Belmar is opening at 7357 West Alaska Drive in Lakewood on Saturday, February 17, and to celebrate the momentous occasion, it's giving away its specialty — ice cream sandwiches — to all comers between noon and 7 p.m. CREAM's Facebook page has the details.
Peru offers one of the most diverse culinary landscapes of any country, far beyond ceviche and the frothy cocktails called pisco sours. Comunidades Unidas Peru wants you to learn more about Peruvian food — and to enjoy a taste of the country's cooking. From 3 to 5 p.m. at the Posner Center for International Development (1031 33rd Street) on Saturday, February 17, chef Francesca Ruiz of Los Cabos restaurant will teach you how to make ceviche with sweet potatoes; paella with saffron rice, shrimp, chicken, red peppers and pork; mango mousse; and sangria. Tickets are $45 each at eventbrite.com and include three courses, sangria and two glasses of wine. You might have too much fun to remember the recipes, so chef Ruiz will also send you home with recipe cards. Vegetarian and alcohol-free options will be available for food and drink.
Saturday, February 17, is the last day at Parisi Italian Market & Deli (4401 Tennyson Street) to enjoy a Julietta pizza (pesto, mozzarella, artichokes, olives, mushroom and sausage), named in honor of Julieta, a seventeen-year-old friend of Parisi's owner who has been undergoing treatments for a brain tumor for the past several months. For each pizza sold, the restaurant will donate $10 to TeamJules to help the family with medical expenses. Pies are $13 for an eleven-inch and $17 for a fourteen inch for either dine-in or takeout orders. If you can't make it in for the tasty fundraiser, you can also donate directly to the TeamJules GoFundMe campaign.
Sunday, February 18
So you're feeling nervous and jittery at the thought of serving your friends the perfect cup of espresso — or maybe you just drank too many of your own practice rounds. Build confidence in your coffee game with an Espresso 101 class this Sunday, February 18, at Copper Door Coffee's west-side location (900 West First Avenue at the Yard on Santa Fe). The class is open to the public for $50 each, but you'll learn to pull a shot like the pros. Pick up a ticket at eventbrite.com, then give it your best shot from 2 to 4 p.m.
Keep reading for more tasty events beyond this weekend...
Friday, February 23 through March 4
Denver Restaurant Week returns not for a week, but for ten full days of eating opportunities at hundreds of restaurants, which will offer $25, $35 or $45 options. Find the full roster of restaurants and many menus on the Denver Restaurant Week website.
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.
Wednesday, February 28
Chef Kevin Grossi's The Regional, inside Avanti F&B at 3200 Pecos Street, is going national on Wednesday, February 28, as part of its Oyster, Farm and the Table Dinner benefiting No Kid Hungry. From 6 to 9 p.m., the joint will be serving regional foods from across the United States, focusing heavily (but not entirely) on seafood: Cape Cod oysters, mushroom hot dish from the north Midwest, Washington Coast Dungeness crab salad and Low Country hoppin' John are just a few of the dishes on the menu. Your $65 ticket ($120 per couple) also includes two beverages from the bar; get yours at universe.com.
Wednesday, March 7
Elevate that oh-so-crafty Blue Moon beer with Beethoven and Brews on Wednesday, March 7, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., when the Colorado Symphony's ongoing series hits Blue Moon Brewing Company, 3750 Chestnut Place; its largest performance group to date will take advantage of the expansive taproom to serenade drinkers with a selection of classical music while the suds flow. For $65, guests will enjoy a performance by symphony musicians, plus appetizers and two pints; $85 VIP tickets include a brewery tour, VIP seating, souvenir glassware and an additional tasting. Because no one in Colorado can truly enjoy a happening without a beer in hand, these events sell out quickly, so nab your ticket at coloradosymphony.org. And if you miss out on this one, you can always book the next event in the series, at Left Hand Brewing on Wednesday, May 30.
Thursday, March 15
Great Chefs of the West is back on Thursday, March 15, for another year of dazzling your tastebuds and raising money for the National Kidney Foundation. This is the 35th year of the event, and the roster of participating restaurants is perhaps the best yet: The Populist, Ototo, Sushi Den, Rioja, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Izakaya Den, Hop Alley, Fish N Beer, Beast + Bottle and Hop Alley, among others, will compete at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, to see who can create the best dish. Add to that an open bar with signature cocktails and a live auction, and the night can't get any more fab. Get your ticket for the fest, $200, at the National Kidney Foundation's website.
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Saturday, March 31
The adorably retro Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street, is going back to basics. If you're tired of stopping by the nearest fast-casual joint for dinner five nights a week but the idea of tackling Thai cuisine or pasta from scratch is way over your head, consider Stir's Learn to Cook series starting on Saturday, March 31. The three-class curriculum starts small on the stovetop (sautéeing and pan-searing), then shows you how to turn on your oven (roasting and grilling) and finally helps you figure out the difference between salt and sugar (seasonings and flavorings). Classes start on Saturday, March 31, at 11 a.m. and run weekly through Saturday, April 14; tuition is $200 — a bargain when you consider how much you're going to save in the long run. To see the menu and reserve your spot, visit stirtolearn.com.
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