Whether it's cheese and chats or cornbread, collards, calligraphy and ’cue, this week's culinary calendar has an eclectic slate of events; you're sure to find something to whet your appetite, whether it's online or in person. Then keep reading for ongoing online happenings almost every day of the week.
Monday, June 22
So you've spent months mastering that finicky sourdough starter and you can't bear the thought of taking on another months-long project, but you're not quite ready to rush down to LoDo for un-socially distanced mingling with maskless, sweaty bar-goers. The Art of Cheese, a Longmont cheesemaking school, is setting a completely safe and achievable goal with its Seven Day Cheese Challenge, which starts Monday, June 22. Join an instructor via Zoom every day at noon through Sunday, June 28, and learn to make seven different cheeses (which can of course be used to top your perfect sourdough boules): mascarpone, paneer, chèvre, quark, cottage cheese, feta and a hard Italian-style variety. You'll also get bonus recipes that pair nicely with cheese as apps or dessert, recordings of the sessions for reference, and access to three months of weekly Cheese Chats, where you can follow up with live questions, troubleshooting and show and tell. Find out more and register for just $89 on the Art of Cheese website, and by the time the second wave of COVID-19 hits, you'll be a skilled enough maker to ride out quarantine redux in style.
On Monday, June 22, the Bindery's kitchen at 1817 Central Street is being taken over by SoulNia, a Denver catering company that crafts soul food with all the love you might expect, but none of the meat. Starting at 6 p.m., SoulNia will be serving a four-course vegetarian menu that includes zucchini fritters with savory dill, shallot and cumin crème fraîche atop salad, pepitas and garlic dressing; homemade cornbread with slow-braised collard greens and vegan mac and cheese; and sweet-potato casserole with pecan crumble and ginger, honey and cardamom whipped topping. Drink pairings are included in the $79 price (which includes tax and tip). In addition, 20 percent of ticket sales will be split between donations to the Center on Colfax (an LGBTQ+ community center) and Black Lives Matter 5280 — and the Bindery will match those donations. Call the restaurant at 303-993-2364 to reserve a table or to order the feast for takeout.
Tuesday, June 23
If ever you wanted to learn to cook from the comfort of your own kitchen, now's the time. With the glut of online cooking classes available for every skill level and palate imaginable — everything from free TikToks to elaborate classes streamed by pro cooking schools — the main problem is finding an instructor you can trust. Enter Bridget Bagel, the aptly and adorably named chef and co-owner of Postcard Foods, a trailer that sits off I-70 and provides delicious, globally inspired, flash-frozen fare like spicy African peanut and carrot soup and Moroccan chicken to people heading into the mountains who don't want to spend mountain-town prices on meals. On Tuesday, June 23, Bagel is launching a trio of virtual cooking classes at 6 p.m. Visit Temple Emanuel Denver's Facebook page for the Zoom link, then tune in from 6 to 7:30 p.m., when she'll be demonstrating a selection of Vietnamese recipes. Future classes will focus on Mexican and Southern food; keep on eye on Temple Emanuel's Facebook page for future installments.
Wednesday, June 24
Raíces Brewing Co., 2060 West Colfax Avenue, opened with a mission of celebrating the rich tapestry of Latino culture through the medium of food and drink. On Wednesday, June 24, it's inviting Spanish-speaking LGBTQ+ people to a charla (chat) and panel discussion on the topics of pride, community and resistance. The panel includes community leaders; representatives from AmbienteColorado, a coalition of LGBTQ+ activists in the Denver area; Queermunidad of Colorado, a queer Latinx social and support group; and Miss Trans Sonora. Ensure that you have a seat at the discussion by making a reservation on the Raíces website; the panel runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and will be conducted primarily in Spanish. Find details and complete lists of panelists on the brewery's Facebook page.
Thursday, June 25
What happened the last time you drank four cocktails in one night? Hopefully, you didn't text an ex, and hopefully, it wasn't too sloppy (spoiler: yes, you did, and yes, it was). If that's how you roll, Stranahan's has an event that will keep you from drunkenly hitting "send": its virtual cocktail and calligraphy class on Thursday, June 25. For $60, you'll get a half-bottle (four servings) of one of the distillery's classic or seasonal cocktails (such as the Strawberry Swing or Stranhattan), pens and pencils, a lettering workbook, Lettermate diecut, and blank cards with envelopes, plus virtual instruction via Zoom from 6 to 8 p.m. Order your kit on Stranahan's website no later than Wednesday, June 24, then retrieve your supplies from the distillery, 200 South Kalamath Street, between noon and 7 p.m. from Friday, June 19, through Thursday, June 25. And if you just can't resist dredging up a postage stamp and mailing a beautifully lettered card requesting a booty call to your last hookup....well, at least it will look lovely.
Friday, June 26
Remember all the chatter during the depths of Colorado's stay-at-home order about how dining out would look different once restaurants were allowed to reopen? Well, that time is now, and (if the artist's rendering is accurate) it looks fucking awesome. On Friday, June 26, get a glimpse of the future when Smok, 3330 Brighton Boulevard, partners with the Family Jones for a whiskey dinner that will be staged in the former parking lot in front of the Source Market Hall. Diners will enjoy cool wood-and-canvas geodesic domes that provide both seating and shade, and will get a barbecue platter (pulled pork, burnt ends, coleslaw, beans, pickles and bread) and bourbon praline ice cream, plus two cocktails per person and a bottle of the Family Jones's newest bourbon to take home. Visit Eventbrite to book a table for two ($100), four ($175) or six ($265) diners; seatings are available at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Keep reading for ongoing online events every day of the week...
Sure, you can teach yourself to cook for free by scouring the Internet for blogs, recipes and YouTube videos; the problem with that is after you've waded through a twelve-paragraph essay about the scent of earth after a fresh rain on the blogger's last trip to Emilia-Romagna, mile-long ingredient lists so poorly written you're left confused as to what exactly you need to pick up at the store, and interminable video intros from cooks so dull you're snoozing even before you get to the tedious parts like chopping veggies, you have no idea if the recipe that follows is going to be worthwhile. Not so with Stir Cooking School's new online subscription service. For $20 per month (prorated for your first month), you'll get at least three new (and concise!) recipes uploaded each week in categories like apps, cocktails, dinners, one-pot meals, baking and pastry, as well as engaging videos and the chance to submit recipe requests. Visit Stir's website now for more info and to get one month of the service free with code NEWSTIR.
Need a mid-day pick-me-up? Colorado Springs-based Distillery 291 is keeping the bar fires burning by posting short Facebook Live videos daily at 2 p.m. (and often at 5 p.m., as well). Tune in to see staff taking shotskis (appropriately socially distanced, with just one person on each end of the ski), mixing cocktails, bantering and sanitizing everything in sight. Anyone — even those who don't live south of the Denver County line — can benefit from daily cocktail recipes and a quick time-out between Zoom meetings. Distillery 291 just took home double gold for its High Rye Colorado Bourbon at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so you can order a bottle for your home bar and virtual-toast along with the 291 team.
Colorado Sake Co. is sending home sushi and sake kits to customers every night of the week for sushi-rolling classes; the packages include enough seafood, rice, nori and veggies to make six rolls (two each of three different styles), plus a rolling mat, chopsticks, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Oh, and the most important part — two 350-milliliter bottles of sake: the American Standard (a junmai ginjo, if you're into details) and one flavored version, such as raspberry-lavender. The kits ring in at $80 and are built for two, and you can add more bottles of sake for $10 each. Sign up for the classes on the Colorado Sake Co. Facebook page; they're offered daily at 6:30 p.m., with a second session at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And more good news from the sake house: Denver Sushi House's menu is now available to eat in the taproom Wednesday through Sunday.
Knowing when to log out of your email is tough when you're working from home — and it's even harder turning off your work brain when your work space is the same as your sleeping, eating, cooking, TV-watching, hand-washing and gritting-your-teeth-and-trying-not-to-bite-your-roommate's-head-off space. But every day from 7:15 to 7:30 p.m., the folks at Burns Family Artisan Ales are hosting Socially Distanced Drinking with Wayne and Laura on Facebook Live. Tune in and chat in the comments with like-minded beer aficionados about what you're drinking and what it pairs with.
The Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street, has shifted operations to function as a grocery store — and that makes it one of the few markets where you can get your pantry essentials and your hard liquor in the same spot. Curio, the in-house bar, won't mix up a cocktail to sip while you shop, but you can order cocktail kits and bottles of booze for pick-up Tuesday through Friday (2 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) For the most part, the cocktail kits don't include booze, but instead are substantial baskets of fruit, mixers, garnishes, syrups, bitters and ice that make from eight to ten drinks; prices range from $25 to $50. And while you can splurge on a bottle of booze — there are several $300 options for sale on Curio's website — you can get a liter of most house spirits for $25 or $30. You can even get fancy ice cubes, which will run you $4 for four, if for some reason you lack access to water and a freezer. Once you have your goodies in hand, start shaking with the help of the bar's Cocktail Sessions, free videos in which bartenders from Curio, Brass Tacks and Roger's Liquid Oasis walk you through the steps to creating perfect quarantine quaffs.
Stem Ciders isn't letting a little thing like a global health crisis put a crimp in its long-running tradition of Tuesday pairings. The cidery continues to offer four cans of cider accompanied by four food items (upcoming: cupcakes and sushi) picked by bakers, chefs and producers for pick-up between 3 and 7 p.m. from the Stem taproom at 2811 Walnut Street. Unlike in pre-pandemic times, you can reserve your plate (costs vary, but hover in the $25 range) in advance on Eventbrite (recommended) through noon on the prior Monday, but there will be a limited supply of pairings for sale on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday. Take a look at Stem's Facebook page for details on the week's selections.
The City of Aurora is doing its part to make sure kitchens are stocked with a weekly Wednesday mobile food pantry that will run through August 26. Aurora residents can show up at locations around the city starting at 10 a.m. to receive a box of free groceries that can be used to make up to nine meals. The city's goal is to distribute 1,000 boxes per week; the first week of the pantry's operation, supplies were exhausted within an hour, so eligible families (all Aurora households with proof of residency) should plan to be punctual. Emergency food supplies for homeless citizens as well as pet food and supplies will also be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Distribution locations change every week; visit the City of Aurora website for future locations and complete details.
The folks at Flying Pig Burger Co. (5935 South Zang Street in Littleton and 5777 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada) and Westrail Tap & Grill (195 South Union Street in Lakewood) are showing their appreciation for first responders through Sunday, June 28, by giving away a free cheeseburger and fries to firefighters, nurses, doctors and EMTs (in addition to police officers, who could probably use some good PR more than a free burger right now) from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Show up with your ID, and remember to show your appreciation for their appreciation by tipping well. See each restaurant's Facebook page for details.
While the safer-at-home rules are a little more relaxed than they were a month ago, the Colorado Wine Facebook page is still celebrating a weekly virtual happy half-hour beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. Winemakers from across the state join the stream each week and chat about tasting tips, the winemaking process and viewer questions. Visit Colorado Wine's website to connect with wineries close to you and find out how you can purchase their wares to drink during happy hour (or — let's be honest — any hour of the day).
Starting Wednesday, June 3, Denver-based Good Food 100 Restaurants, an industry survey that strives to document business and purchasing practices in the hospitality field, is launching Save Good Food, a series of weekly virtual dinner-table discussions about food and the supply chain. At 6 p.m., tune in to hear local and national fine-dining restaurateurs, farmers and distributors discuss the realities and future of finding good food. The first episode ("Save Good Meat") includes chefs Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), hog and poultry farmer Greg Gunthorp, Chris Oliviero from Niman Ranch and market owner Pete Marczyk. Future installments — the series runs through June 30 — feature Denver chefs Alex Seidel, Jen Jasinski, Kelly Whitaker and Caroline Glover; visit the organization's website.
The Source Market's hip liquor store, the Proper Pour, at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is teaming up with members of the funk band Lettuce (who also happen to have a natural-wine distribution company, Benny & Zoid Selections) to ease you through Hump Day with its wine and music pairing, Tasting Notes. Purchase a pair of wines on the Proper Pour's website, then check back or visit Benny & Zoid's Instagram page on Wednesday morning to get the link to the Zoom meeting. Join the crew at 7 p.m. for tasting notes on the booze followed by a jam session. The liquor store delivers within Denver city limits; otherwise, you'll need to arrange for curbside pick-up. Find out more on the Proper Pour's Facebook page (after all that careering around the web, you'll definitely have earned a drink).
Popular pop-up shopping destination Denver Bazaar has had to rethink its business model — after all, tipsy shopping and close talking in a bustling market space aren't exactly copacetic these days. So the bazaar has teamed up with local producers and restaurants to shift operations online while giving consumers the same access to local food, drink and handmade items. Visit Denver Bazaar's website to order farmers' market items, cocktails and family meals, then schedule your pick-up location and time. Current locations are Esters (2201 Oneida Street) on Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger (1565 North Raleigh Street) Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Mister Oso (3163 Larimer Street) Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Belleview Station Tap & Burger (4910 South Newport Street) Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market is looking to add more items and locations, so stay tuned to its website; also note that orders must be placed no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the current week, or Thursday for the weekend.
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts had recently moved into new digs at 43 West Ninth Avenue when COVID-19 shuttered the dining rooms of restaurants and bars across the state. The cooking school is reopening to live classes (with restrictions), but it's still offering a slate of online classes on Thursday and Friday nights at 6 p.m. that have been selling out. Previous editions include Indian and Thai cuisine, pizza for the family and date night with Italian food; tuition runs around $45 per person and includes ingredients for one, recipes and a Zoom live stream. Sign up on Cook Street's website, where you can also see specifics on time, pricing and menus.
Curtis Park residents have an easy way to decide where to order Friday night takeout: Curtis Park Neighbors has recently formed the Curtis Park Meal Train. Each week, nearby denizens can order a meal for two for $35 (plus two drinks for just $5 more if the selected restaurant has a liquor license!) no later than Thursday for Friday night delivery straight to your doorstep — if you live within five miles of the participating restaurants. Past participants include Dio Mio Handmade Pasta, Hop Alley and Lou's Italian Specialties. Stay tuned for upcoming collabs and order on the Meal Train website.
Beast + Bottle, 719 East 17th Avenue, is turning the sidewalk in front of its Uptown restaurant into a drive-by farmers' market on Saturdays. Since many of the region's markets are closed to in-person browsing, Beast + Bottle has teamed up with Longmont's Ollin Farms to offer produce boxes for pick-up every Saturday. Order and pay online between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Thursday; different veggies are available every week (previous boxes have included rhubarb, radishes, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, mixed and mustard greens for $30), and you can add on items like fresh asparagus, microgreens, local honey, hot sauce, pickles and peanut butter. Then pull up to the loading zone outside the restaurant on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon (you must wear a face mask) for contact-free pick-up. Details are up on Beast + Bottle's Instagram page.
Long I Pie owner Shauna Lott Harman has been peddling pies for years, but has had to hit pause because of the current pandemic. Despite the shutdown, Harman still makes sure her love of baking gets shared with anyone who wishes to bask in it. Each Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m., Harman is hosting a free virtual baking class on Zoom, where's she's turned out carrot whoopie pies, homemade Oreos, biscuits, strawberry pretzel pies and more; upcoming classes will include soft pretzels, pizza dough and cookies. To sign up, email email@example.com or message Long I Pie's Facebook page and you'll receive a link to the class.
Boulder denizens seeking high-end dining have long relied on Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street, to scratch that itch. That's finally possible again with Frasca recently reopening its dining room, but you can still get the white-tablecloth experience at home. Every Sunday, the restaurant is offering Frasca at Home kits, with enough ingredients to create an entree for two people (don't worry, you'll get detailed instructions and a video tutorial), plus appetizers, dessert and a bottle of wine. Previous kits have included paella, fresh pasta with Bolognese, and roast chicken seasoned with fennel pollen (all with accompanying sides, breads and wines). Orders must be placed on Tock no later than 5 p.m. Saturday for pick-up on Sundays. Want to order but live in Denver? No worries: Order on Tavernetta's Tock page and collect your goods at its Denver dining room, 1889 16th Street.
Know of an event or activity that belongs here? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.