As the temperatures get colder and the air gets drier, keeping hydrated is especially important for your health. That won't be a problem this week: Choose from coffee, beer, wine, whiskey and punch — and that's just for starters — at one of these eight great food and (mostly) drink events around town. Then keep reading for more activities in the weeks ahead.
Monday, December 9
Ice cream emporium High Point Creamery is setting up shop in the lobby of the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, from Monday, December 9, through Monday, December 23, to celebrate Hanukkah with a special ice cream flavor created just for the holiday. Bob's Babka is a rich olive oil ice cream studded with chunks of homemade chocolate babka (a sweet, yeast-risen loaf of bread similar to coffee cake). You can purchase a pint of this holiday cheer for $8, with over 40 percent of the proceeds going to support the JCC. In addition, the organization is holding a food drive, so bring canned food and toiletries for drop-off through Wednesday, December 18; the goods will be donated to Stapleton's Isabella Bird Community School.
Tuesday, December 10
Beer dinners are nothing new in ale-obsessed Denver, but a coffee and beer dinner? That's a happy outgrowth of the partnership between Queen City Collective Coffee and Novel Strand Brewing Co., which share the space at 305 West First Avenue. The coffeeshop-brewery combo is bringing in chef Will Harris of Linger to prepare a four-course meal with coffee and beer pairings from 6 to 10 p.m. Courses include charcoal-roasted prawns with rice grits, sofrito and coffee broth, and coffee sorbet; some accompanying beverages are Queen City's Worka pour-over coffee, Scottish Wee Heavy beer and a coffee Imperial stout. A limited number of tickets, $70 (including tip), are available on Eventbrite, but the majority of tickets will need to be purchased (fee-free!) at the coffeehouse itself.
Jovanina's Broken Italian is partnering with Attimo winery for a dinner highlighting the Denver winemaker's beverages. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the cute and comfortable dining room at 1520 Blake Street will host guests for five courses with accompanying wines; we're most excited about rabbit ragu paired with barbaresco; tender osso buco and polenta with barolo; and semifreddo with caramelized bananas and amaro. Tickets are $162 (includes tax and tip) on Eventbrite now.
Receive the gift of knowledge so you can give the gift of booze at Golden Moon Speakeasy's holiday punch class on Tuesday, December 10. The ninety-minute workshop at the tasting room, 1111 Miner's Alley in Golden, begins at 5:30 p.m.; you'll get drinks and appetizers while you learn how to craft three punches (sorry, batched cocktails) that you can easily make in advance of your holiday entertaining. And while we can't guarantee you won't spend that extra time refilling the bruschetta platter instead of socializing, at least you'll have one less thing to worry about as you try to maintain the illusion you have it all together during the most stressful (sorry, joyous) time of the year. Pick up your ticket ($45) on Eventbrite, where you can also find out what you'll be making. Our favorite? The Pistol Packing Punch, a concoction of rye whiskey, bitters, black tea and citrus.
Wednesday, December 11
The Source's market hall bar, Isabel, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is Yuletide-ing up the joint on Wednesday, December 11, with a 7 p.m. screening of the 1954 film White Christmas, wherein two dancing girls and a pair of borderline sleazy producers bring about a holiday miracle thanks to a fake engagement, tap dancing, eavesdropping and a healthy dose of jingoism. Pair the classic musical with with an equally classic winter drink — hot toddies, on special for $7 all night — and you've got a thoroughly modern Denver setting in which to enjoy one of the most beloved Christmas movies of the last 65 years.
Thursday, December 12
Nothing warms your belly on a cold winter night quite like a few fingers of amber whiskey. And on Thursday, December 12, Denver distiller Laws Whiskey House, 1420 South Acoma Street, is spreading the warmth not only to customers, but to kids who otherwise might not receive a holiday gift. From 5 to 9 p.m., the tasting room is practically giving away flights for $10 and pours and cocktails for just $5 — and it's literally giving away one cocktail if you show up with a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que will also be on hand with its own brand of smoky sustenance; get more details on the Laws Whiskey website and Facebook page.
Rioja, the venerable Spanish restaurant at 1431 Larimer Street, has stayed fresh for its fifteen years in business by executing its food impeccably and (perhaps more important) continuing to create unique dishes. The menu for its Thursday, December 12, wine dinner with Spanish producer Muga is no exception; the five-course meal kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and includes dishes like fig and Manchego mezzaluna pasta, octopus with pickled mushrooms, and venison with black tea demiglace and savory onion and fennel bread pudding. The $200 price tag includes tax and gratuity; secure your seat on the restaurant's website.
Friday, December 13
In partnership with the Knockout art exhibit that opened at the Dairy Block on December 1, chef Kelly Whitaker (Basta, Wolf's Tailor, Bruto) is cooking a Knockout Cancer dinner on Friday, December 13, that benefits First Descents, a nonprofit organization that provides free outdoor experiences for people impacted by cancer and other serious illnesses. Billed as an "experiential" and "immersive" dinner produced by Thrice, the evening begins at 6 p.m. at Bruto, 1801 Blake Street, with cocktails and oysters before moving to neon artist Scott Young's studio at 1821 Blake Street, where dinner and drinks from Blanchard Family Wines and Run for the Roses will be followed by an art auction. Tickets, $165, are on sale now at Eventbrite.
And if you're planning ahead...
Saturday, December 14
Of all the reasons to get rip-roaring drunk, the holidays are high on the list. Between awkward, mandatory office parties, gift-giving expenses and anxiety, fraught family dynamics and endless repetitions of Last Christmas (though the Wham! music video is a legit classic that should be viewed once and only once each December — sound is optional), it's no surprise that many of us want to shut down our brain cells with some tasty ethanol. For those who don't even celebrate the holiday, the endless hoopla surrounding snow and Santa is even more painful. Enter Festivus, the holiday anyone can celebrate, with traditions that appeal to our universal human nature. Add beer, and you get the Denver Beer Festivus, where the Feats of Strength are fueled by Denver breweries' favorite beers. This year, the aluminum pole is being set up on Saturday, December 14, at Major Studios, 3881 Steele Street; come ready to air your grievances from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets, $45 or $60, are for sale on the event's website.
Wednesday, December 18
Sarto's Wednesday, December 18, dinner isn't technically a Feast of the Seven Fishes (it's not happening on Christmas Eve, and it doesn't include seven seafood dishes), but if you're not a purist, it'll be close enough — and by "close enough," we mean "delicious." The Jefferson Park kitchen, 2900 West 25th Avenue, is turning out six courses plus a briny appetizer (okay, it's seven fishes if you squint), including salt cod gnocchi tater tots with lemon aioli, lobster bisque and spaghetti with a spicy shrimp puttanesca sauce. Even dessert includes the fruits of the ocean with a bottarga (cured fish roe) crumble over vanilla gelato. Make your reservations for the 6:30 p.m. dinner by calling 303-455-1400; the cost is $75, plus optional wine pairings for $35.
What better theme for dessert virtuoso Ian Kleinman to tackle than the wizarding world of Harry Potter? The theme and date of the chef's next Gobblefunk dinner has just been released — Christmas at Hogwarts on Wednesday, December 18, at 6:30 p.m. — and as with all of Kleinman's pop-up dinners, this one is sure to sell out well before the menu is finalized. But with the regular offerings at the Inventing Room Dessert Shop, 4433 West 29th Avenue, including exploding whipped cream and ice cream noodles, we're sure the evening will be nothing short of magical. To reserve your spot for the $100 dinner, call 303-885-2802. If you haven't been blown away by Kleinman's creations yet, visit the Shop's website for previous Gobblefunk menus and to sign up for its newsletter, which is the quickest way to learn about upcoming feasts.
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Thursday, December 19
Dos Luces Brewery, 1236 South Broadway, has stayed true to its mission of producing pre-Hispanic tipples since it opened last year. And while its commitment to brewing agave and corn-based beverages like pulque and chicha seems like it would limit the outfit's market, it found the perfect partner for its Thursday, December 19, beer dinner: Four Directions Cuisine, which combines ingredients from indigenous cultures in Latin and North America to create a pan-native style of cooking. Courses includes salad with roasted winter squash, popped amaranth and elderberry balsamic, sweet potato hash with duck and juniper berry sauce, and wild rice pudding, all paired with very non-traditional variations of traditional brews like cranberry tepache (traditionally fermented from pineapple peels), passion fruit-orange zest chicha and ponche pulque (or pulque punch). Tickets for the three-course, 6:30 p.m. dinner are just $65 (inclusive of tax and tip) and are on sale now on the Dos Luces website.
Tuesday, December 24
Last Christmas Eve saw disappointed diners (Jewish and otherwise) heaving sighs of dismay as Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen took a hiatus from hosting its annual Jewish Christmas meal. But on Tuesday, December 24, the Chinese-Jewish deli mashup pop-up — inspired by the tradition of Jewish families heading out for a feast of Chinese food on the eve of a Christian holiday — is back at the eatery's Stanley Marketplace location, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. From 6 to 9 p.m., people of all faiths are invited to gather for Reuben egg rolls, smoked salmon rangoon, teriyaki kippered salmon and kung pao pastrami, along with beer, wine and spiked cider and cocoa. Proceeds from ticket sales ($70 for early-bird orders placed by Monday, December 8, on Eventbrite, $80 thereafter) will go to benefit Conscious Alliance, a nonprofit organization feeding the hungry via food drives at concerts and the sale of music-themed art and memorabilia.
Saturday, January 11
Is it too early to start planning your New Year's resolutions? Not if yours is to eat more oatmeal. On Saturday, January 11, the City of Lafayette is holding its 24th annual oatmeal festival. That's right: In the realm of quirky agricultural festivals around Colorado, this one celebrates neither peaches nor Pueblo chiles, but porridge. A massive breakfast of 200 gallons of oatmeal with 100 different toppings, 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 oatmeal muffins will be served from 7:30 a.m. to noon, At 9:30 a.m., you can take to the streets in a 5K run (and walk, if you're not looking to exceed the speed of an ocean of oatmeal oozing down the course). Breakfast runs $8, or $20 with race registration; find out more on the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website.
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