Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone, leaving us in the no-man's land of the weeks before Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa: The massive deals have dried up, the holidays aren't quite imminent (leading to a false sense of security), and most of us are focused on simply negotiating lousy weather, never-ending social obligations and family dynamics. But lest you drop the ball on conspicuous consumption (of both the literal and capitalistic variety), we're here with a handful of holiday shopping opportunities — plus great drinking and dining to fuel yourself in the weeks ahead.
Friday, December 6
Looking to learn how to make traditional Latin American tamales for this holiday season? Westwood food co-op and business incubator Re:Vision, 3738 Morrison Road, is offering four tamale-making classes in December that cover different countries' versions of the dish. Starting Friday, December 6, you'll learn how to make Mexican tamales in a two-hour class that begins at 6 p.m. Future classes are scheduled for Saturday, December 7, at 10 a.m. (covers Guatemalan-style tamales); Friday, December 13, at 6 p.m. (Mexico); and Saturday, December 14, at 10 a.m. (Puerto Rico). Each class costs $20; sign up for them on Re:Vision's website, where you can also place your holiday orders for pork, chicken, vegetarian, vegan and sweet tamales, if you can't attend class.
Saturday, December 7
Where can you get festive food gifts for everyone on your list: your gluten-free mom, your colleague who shows up at work with cookies that resemble hockey pucks, your sister who brings her ill-behaved dog everywhere, and your mother-in-law who's never met a chili flake in her life? Shop for this motley crew at the Women's Bean Project Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 7. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the women's employment training program will transform its production facility — a decommissioned firehouse — at 3201 Curtis Street into a fun and cozy holiday marketplace, with allergy-friendly soup and cornbread mixes, foolproof cookie mixes, dog treats, spice blends and more for sale. Visit the Bean's Facebook page for details on the sale, plus a discount code to use for 20 percent off your purchase.
Inspired by the Populist's June bake sale to benefit Planned Parenthood, Safta, at 3300 Brighton Boulevard, is taking up the torch on Saturday, December 7, with a second fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to Safta pastry chef Liliana Myers, vendors include bakers from Reunion and Moxie Bread companies, Blackbelly, Dio Mio and Work & Class. Most items will ring in at $5, with a selection of Myers's holiday pies — pumpkin, sweet potato, bourbon pecan and apple baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend) — for $25 or $30. All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and if you'd like to raise more than the Populist's effort (a whopping $25,000), we recommend lining up at Safta's counter very, very early to purchase tokens that can be used to buy baked goodies.
On Saturday, December 7, chef Edwin Sandoval, who's turning out some of our favorite Latin American food at his Xatrucho pop-ups around town, is setting up shop at Fort Greene, 321 East 45th Avenue, for late-night noshing. From 8 p.m. until last call, Sandoval will serve his creative cuisine, with all menu items under $12. This version of Xatrucho's menu will include fried-chicken roulade with mole gravy; squash soup with crema catracha, plantains and sofrito jam; red beans and rice with an egg and optional achiote porchetta; and pork tenderloin with chimichurri and citrus aioli.
Sunday, December 8
Think that just because there's snow on the ground (and, God help us, on the streets, in an endless cycle of melting and re-freezing) there aren't any local foodstuffs for sale? Think again: Boulder County Farmers' Markets is holding its 13th annual Winter Market on Sunday, December 8 — and as with its summer cousin, there are plenty of Colorado farmers on hand to sell you the perfect holiday gift along with your dinner ingredients. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., over fifty growers and producers (and an equal number of artisans) will set up shop at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont, with cold-weather veggies, local meat, cheese, honey, condiments, chocolate and holiday baked goodies from gingerbread people (men have dominated this shape of cookie for too long) to tamales. Entrance to the indoor market is free, and if you can't make a sizable dent in your holiday shopping, you're not really trying. Visit the market's Facebook page for a complete list of vendors and gift ideas.
And if you're planning 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
On Tuesday, December 10, 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.
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, 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.
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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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