The Seven Tastiest Events on the Culinary Calendar (That Aren't St. Paddy's Day), March 17-19

It's back-to-school time! Yes, seriously. Tonight is packed with St. Patrick's Day events, but for those looking beyond green Coors Light and Irish whiskey cocktails, the city is awash in culinary self-improvement opportunities. Learn to be an adult by shopping for organic produce and mastering pizza dough, fresh pasta and classic cocktails from scratch. As a reward for your efforts, pig out in grand fashion at the famed Cochon555. Keep reading for the seven tastiest culinary events in Denver this weekend.
Friday, March 17
It's springtime in the Rockies, and that means you may have missed the deadline to sign up for your local CSA — again. But don't worry: Grower's Organic GOBOXes are for procrastinators and commitment-phobes alike. Unlike traditional CSA boxes that require a season-long subscription, Grower's Organic has debuted a more practical model for the consumer: Check the organization's Facebook page every week for a preview of what's in the box, select your size ($22 for a small box, $32 for the larger option) and order by noon each Thursday for pick-up the next day. Go to 6400 Broadway from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays or 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays to pick up your order. If you missed the order window this week, drop by during pick-up hours and peruse the mini-market, which will offer extra organic produce as well as local eggs, jam and tortillas — then set a reminder for next Thursday.

A confession: We couldn't write this list without at least one St. Patrick's Day event — but there's no green beer here, and nary a shamrock in sight. Head over to La Güera at 1610 Little Raven Street for a Crazy Mountain Brewery Tap Takeover today at 4:30 p.m. Seasonal limited-release brews will be on tap, along with some brand-new suds. Food specials include $4 nachos, quesadillas and tacos. Feliz Día de San Patricio, as the traditional Mexican saying goes.
Pizzeria Locale can teach you to make pizza crust this good. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Pizzeria Locale can teach you to make pizza crust this good.
Danielle Lirette
Saturday, March 18

Here's a wake-up call: Dunkin’ Donuts will host a customer-appreciation celebration at its newest restaurant in Englewood — at 2766 South Broadway — starting at 9 a.m. today; the first 100 guests in line will receive a coupon book valid for free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for a year. The event will also offer free hot and iced coffee samples, Dunkin’ Donuts prizes, giveaways and more! And anyone who donates 25 cents to Food Bank of the Rockies will receive a coupon valid for a free doughnut.

So you're tired of Tombstone frozen pizza, you say — disappointed in DiGiorno, fed up with Freschetta. Why not take a step up and start making your own pie at home? Become il doge of dough with a class from the Pizzeria Locale team today from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 550 Broadway. James Beard Award-winning chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson will teach you how to mix, toss and top dough like a pro for just $25, and you'll receive lunch and a beer to boot. E-mail [email protected] to reserve your spot; seating is extremely limited, but the classes will be offered monthly, with the next one scheduled for Saturday, April 22.

After learning to make a grown-up pizza, capitalize on your momentum by learning to make a cocktail that isn't a Long Island Iced Tea. Beginning today and continuing on the second Saturday of each month through December, The Way Back, at 4132 West 38th Avenue, is offering a mixology series. From 2:30 to 4 p.m. today, you'll learn how to mix three classic cocktails and pair them with bites from the kitchen. Future classes include punches and party drinks, hot cocktails, amaros and digestifs, and tiki drinks. Customize your curriculum for $40 per class, or save by purchasing a package of four classes for $140 or all ten for $350 (hopefully you were paying attention in math class). See the Way Back's website for details; call 720-728-815 to reserve your spot.
click to enlarge There's nothing like fresh, homemade pasta. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
There's nothing like fresh, homemade pasta.
Danielle Lirette
Sunday, March 19
Continue your learning curve today with Dio Mio Handmade Pasta's pasta-making class. For two hours, chef/owners Alex Figura and Spencer White will instruct you in classic pasta-making techniques and shapes, including how to tell your tortellini from your tagliatelle. There will be complimentary wine and bites on hand, and you'll leave with floury fingers and two portions of fresh, handmade pasta. Class is in session from noon to 2 p.m. today in Dio Mio's own kitchen at 3264 Larimer Street. Tickets are $75 and available at

Cochon555, the biggest, porkiest celebration of the whole hog, returns to Denver for another year today. Buy your tickets at, then head to the Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street, at 4 p.m. for more than three hours of pigging out on creations from five Colorado chefs. This year’s porcine practitioners are Bill Miner of Il Porcellino Salumi, Will Nolan of the Viceroy in Snowmass, Darrell Truett of Barolo Grill, Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly, and Burton Koelliker of Osteria Marco. Each chef has been assigned a different heritage-breed hog, and they’ll be competing to see who can come up with the best array of prize-winning plates. Tickets start at $125; early admission and a special dinner on Saturday, March 18 (part of the Bespoke weekend package), will run you extra.