Take advantage of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals to stock up on booze and provisions for the holidays, and see an irreverent version of A Christmas Carol and more the weekend after Thanksgiving; then fill the rest of the month with more food and drink fun.
Friday, November 29
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Holy-Shit-It's-the-Day-Before-Christmas-WTF-Am-I-Gonna-Do Tuesday: Whatever you call your biggest shopping day of the year, there are plenty of fine dining gifts you can give the picky, hard-to-please or impossible-to-shop-for people (sorry, loved ones) in your life. Here are a few goodies you can pick up starting Friday, November 29. Through Sunday, December 1, swing by any of Josh Pollack's restaurants serving East Coast specialties (Rosenberg's, Lou's, Famous Original J's) to purchase a $50 gift card, and get a free $10 gift certificate for yourself. Secret Sauce restaurants (both Steuben's locations, Ace Eat Serve and Vesta) are offering the same deal for in-store purchases, plus a $40 bonus card if you splurge on a $200 gift certificate. Finally, our favorites (because they can be purchased in your own house while eating leftovers in your pajama pants — or, if you're living dangerously, no pants at all): Through Wednesday, December 4, get a $75 gift certificate to craft brewery and Italian restaurant Liberati for just $50 on the Liberati website; and Postino wine bar is offering a $30 bonus card with the purchase of $100 in gift cards on its website through Monday, December 2.
More food and drink deals on Black Friday can be found at the Proper Pour at the Source (3350 Brighton Boulevard), which is offering a whiskey tasting from 1 to 3 p.m., with select bottles (including all tasting bottles) on sale for 10 percent off. Then return on Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 30) for a 15 percent discount on wine and 10 percent off beer and spirits when you present a receipt from any neighboring business at the Source.
Finally, Denver Bazaar is setting up shop at Northfield Stapleton, 8340 Northfield Boulevard, from noon on Friday, November 29, through 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 1. In addition to vendors selling infused maple syrup and olive oil, coffee and tea, spices and cakes and cookies (all of which make great gifts), you can treat yourself with the Shop & Sip package, $30, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Think of it as self care; it includes unlimited local brews and wine (from Station 26, Elvtd Seltzer, Westminster Brewing Co. and Buckel Family Wine, among others), a commemorative drinking vessel (so, unlike your last drunken Amazon spending spree, you'll recall the event), and a BOGO Breweries coupon book with two-for-one deals at 25 taprooms around town. Get your ticket and a complete listing of participating brewers and winemakers on Eventbrite.
Saturday, November 30
How many ways can you regurgitate A Christmas Carol? If you're a sucker for top hats, waistcoats and poncy accents, the sudden preponderance of Charles Dickens's seasonal story won't bother you in the least, but if you don't go weak in the knees for a period piece, your chances of escaping the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future in the next 26 days are still slim to none; it's just that at least one of those ghosts will be played by Jim Carrey in a missing-the-mark remake. But don't despair, Christmas cynic: Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, is hosting the debut of Audacious Theatre's Christmas production, Drunk Christmas. It's an abridged version of the tale, with interactive goodie bags (think a red-and-green Rocky Horror Picture Show), a drinking game and a bake sale. Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance are just $15 on Audacious Theatre's website. Can't find it in your heart to leave the house the weekend after Turkey Day, Ebeneezer? The show will be staged at breweries around town through December 21.
If your holiday feast was cat-astrophic (or even if it was purr-fect) and you still have family lingering about on Saturday, November 30, that you're desperate to escape, consider Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue's Cat Crawl. The annual fundraiser will not only get you out of the house, but also put you in costume so the paw-sibility of Great-Aunt Millie discovering your whereabouts that evening are low. For $20 (all of which benefits RMFR) and the cost of a kitty costume, you'll check in at Bang Up To the Elephant, 1310 Pearl Street, before making your way to three other Capitol Hill bars between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. for free and discounted beverages. Snap up (fee-free!) tickets now on the Rescue's website.
Sunday, December 1
On Sunday, December 1, ViewHouse Ballpark, 2015 Market Street, is jumping on the Christmas bar bandwagon with a nod to the most innocuous of wintry drinks: White Claw. While the only thing particularly topical about the popular hard seltzer line is the vague allusion to snow in its name (where are the limited-edition seasonal flavors: pumpkin spice, apple pie, Christmas cookie?), it seems to be enough to serve as the foundation for the White Claw Winter Wonderland pop-up that will run through January 31, with drink specials, holiday decor and Insta ops galore. Bonus: Show up with a new, unwrapped toy for the bar's toy drive through December 15 and get a free can of Claw or peppermint chocolate martini to boot. A silent disco, ugly sweater party and craft nights are also planned throughout this month; visit ViewHouse's website for the details.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Wednesday, December 4
What do you get when you cross two regional specialties (St. Louis barbecue and Colorado weed), former Denver Broncos and a pair of competitive eaters? That would be Rocky Mountain Hi, a mash-up of two of chef/restaurateur Mike Johnson's food-service concepts, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive In. Both joints originated in St. Louis, with Hi-Pointe dubbing itself "the munchie capital of the Midwest" and Sugarfire expanding outside the region only in 2018. But on Wednesday, December 4, the two menus will collide at the Westminster Sugarfire outpost at 14375 Orchard Parkway for a Mile High-themed menu, with items like bacon blunts (bacon-wrapped mac and cheese), the Denver Burncos (a burger stuffed with cheese and burnt ends), the Dabwood (a burger served with brisket, turkey, bacon and hemp aioli) and Hot Cheeto mac and cheese cupcakes. There will also be appearances by former Broncos including Mark Jackson (you can beg him to take the field again; he'd probably be an improvement to this year's team) and competitive eaters vying to ingest as many pounds of food as they can in twenty minutes. The fun starts at 11 a.m. with the celebrity appearances at 5 p.m. Visit Sugarfire Westy's Facebook page for more details.
The lesser known but at least as culturally significant cousin to Christmas Eve has arrived: Repeal Day Eve. Commemorate that long-ago night in 1933 when adults around the country sleeplessly awaited the arrival of the end of Prohibition, at Hearth & Dram's Pappy Repeal Dinner on Wednesday, December 4. At 6 p.m., the four-course, six-drink meal begins with a welcome cocktail, followed by pairings that include smoked duck and foie gras sausage with Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year; a sixty-day dry-aged steak with mushroom ragu and Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year; and housemade ice cream with Pappy Van Winkle Reserve 20 Year. Call the restaurant (1801 Wewatta Street) at 303-623-0979 to reserve your spot for $145.
Thursday, December 5
It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season — something much better. It's truffle season, when bristly hogs and (increasingly) adorable curly-haired doggos snuffle through the forest, uprooting pungent fungi. Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, is passing the harvest on to you with its truffle menu, available only at dinner from Thursday, December 5, through Saturday, December 7. The à la carte dishes range from $12 to $42 and include options like savory two-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano ice cream with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved truffles; prime rib with white Italian truffles and rich mushroom jus; an Umami Bomb Burger made of dry-aged beef, aged cheddar and truffles; and Japanese rice with Wagyu beef jerky and truffle shavings. Make your reservation at 303-444-3622.
Folks who don't drink booze but love the bar experience (the giant ice cubes, the tiny umbrellas) can scratch their itch on Thursday, December 5 at Dry Curious, a mixer for the sober and "sober curious" (also known as light drinkers). From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the space at 3899 Jackson Street will be the site of three non-alcoholic beverage stations, plus a panel discussion on sobriety. Tickets, $25, are available now on Eventbrite.
Friday, December 6
Looking to learn how to make traditional Latin American tamales for this holiday season? Westwood food co-op Re:Vision, 3738 Morrison Road, is offering four tamal-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. (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 a class.
Saturday, December 7
Inspired by the Populist's June bake sale to benefit Planned Parenthood, Safta, 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 then be used to buy baked goodies.
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.
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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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