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The Best Food and Drink Things to Do This Week

The shrimp po' boy from Pirate Alley (Julep's lunch concept) is re-emerging at Stir Cooking School this week.EXPAND
The shrimp po' boy from Pirate Alley (Julep's lunch concept) is re-emerging at Stir Cooking School this week.
Mark Antonation
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This week may be a bit slow on the food and drink front (though that makes for the perfect opportunity to dine out or order to go from one your favorite Denver-area eateries), but there are plenty of events coming up on the culinary calendar.

Keep reading to see what's going on now and in the coming days.

Adrian Miller is busy this month.EXPAND
Adrian Miller is busy this month.
DPL

Monday, January 11
Adrian Miller (also known as the Soul Food Scholar and the hustling-est Denver native we know) is hosting two virtual food events in January. The first, Books & Beyond, is in partnership with the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation on Monday, January 11, at 5:30 p.m. It will focus on Miller's change of career from attorney to food historian and author, and include the lowdown on his favorite restaurants and recipes. Registration is still available on the Foundation's website; while the discussion is free, a donation to the Foundation is encouraged.

Thursday, January 14
If you're missing Southern specialties from the recently shuttered Julep (we are!), here's a little solace: Pirate Alley Po' Boys, Julep's to-go lunch offshoot, is reopening on Thursday, January 14, at Stir Cooking School. The spot will be open for all your po' boy needs beginning at 11 a.m. every Thursday and Friday. Online pre-orders are required; see the full menu (we're opting for the surf and turf — a combo of fried shrimp and roast beef — though the turkey option with smoked grapes is also high on our list) on Stir's website. Pick-up is at Stir, 3215 Zuni Street. See Pirate Alley's Instagram page for more info.

Experienced home brewers looking for instruction significantly more advanced than beer ABCs will want to enroll in the Burns Family Artisan Ales series of quarterly home-brewing classes. The next installment of the online lessons is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, and tackles lautering. Don't know what that is? Go back to the basics; do not pass Go, do not collect $200. But for those who want to take a deep dive into the process, this class is for you. For just $30, you'll get an hour of instruction, plus another 45 minutes of Q&A. Sign up on Eventbrite, where you can also find dates and topics of future classes.

Zoe Ma Ma owner Edwin Zoe making ramen noodles at his other restaurant, Chimera Ramen.EXPAND
Zoe Ma Ma owner Edwin Zoe making ramen noodles at his other restaurant, Chimera Ramen.
Mark Antonation

Saturday, January 16
It's soup weather, and if you've been wanting to cook up a pot of something a little more complex than crock pot chili, now's your chance. On Saturday, January 16, Zoe Ma Ma owner Edwin Zoe is taking to Zoom at 5 p.m. for a cooking class where he, along with food writer John Lehndorff, teaches you how to make the Chinese eatery's roast duck wonton soup. For $25, you'll get a meal kit that includes duck broth, fresh noodles, roasted duck and bok choy (pick it up at Zoe Ma Ma's Boulder location, 2010 Tenth Street, on Saturday), plus a cooking class filled with food history, lore and instructions for using chopsticks in a way that won't embarrass you too badly. See Zoe Ma Ma's Facebook page for more info and ordering instructions.

and plan ahead:

Wednesday, January 20
On Wednesday, January 20, Adrian Miller (see above) is celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with Presidential Soul: A Virtual Presidential Inauguration Event. Attendees will get recipes for four tribute menus being prepared by chefs around the country; music and dancing; discussions with Black chefs who worked for previous presidential administrations and were subjects of Miller's second book, The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families From the Washingtons to the Obamas; and author Jesse J. Holland, who's written two books on the history of enslaved people in Washington, D.C., and the White House. Buy your ticket ($46 before January 15, $70 after) on Eventbrite, where you can also find the program for the entire evening, starting at 6:40 p.m. A portion of ticket sales goes to food-related organizations benefiting BIPOC people, including the food-studies program at Spelman College and the James Beard Foundation Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans.

Thursday, January 28
Major props to the Flatirons Food Film Festival, one of the few food events that knows the true meaning of the word "postpone." As in: The festival was postponed from October 2020, to January 2021. We implore other food event organizers to take a page out of FFFF's book and stop claiming, "Our bacon-brownie-burger bash has been postponed from July 2020 to July 2021," when what they really mean is, "We've canceled our overcrowded festival this year because the world is on fire." In addition to the correct and not-common-enough understanding of the term, the fest has made another great decision in moving the celebration completely online from Thursday, January 28, through Friday, February 5. See films about about Los Angeles chef Evan Funke's life after walking away from his restaurant Bucato (Funke); indigenous chefs fighting to maintain their traditional food ways (Gather); the quest for elusive wild cacao and the perfect, sustainable chocolate (Setting the Bar); and a period piece about a cook seeking his fortune in the early-nineteenth-century Wild West (First Cow). You can get an all-access pass to watch the complete festival schedule — ten features and three short films — for just $90, or two-, four- and six-packs for $22 to $80 on the Fest's website.

Friday, January 29
The Inventing Room is hosting another in its series of virtual Magical Mystery Taste Tours on Friday, January 29, and Saturday, January 30. This one is Harry Potter-themed, and even Muggles can get their hands on a box of the sweet shop's mind-bending bites by ordering a box of sweets for $55 on the Inventing Room's online store. The package and a Zoom link will be delivered to you the week of January 25, and at 5 or 7 p.m., dessert devotees will tune in for an interactive discussion of the science of tastebuds, candy tasting and the grand finale of a blind fruit tasting with the assistance of miracle fruit, a berry that makes sour food taste sweet.

Chef Biju Thomas (center) in the kitchen at Biju's Little Curry Shop in the Before Times.EXPAND
Chef Biju Thomas (center) in the kitchen at Biju's Little Curry Shop in the Before Times.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, February 14
Normally, we can predict with some degree of accuracy what a Valentine's Day meal in a restaurant is going to look like (prix fixe menu, crowded dining room, harried servers). This year? Making any kind of prediction is a fool's errand, especially when the most beloved epidemiologist in the world (call me, Dr. Fauci) can't predict whether or not eateries are going to be open. So stay home and put your money toward a good cause at a Sunday, February 14, fundraiser for Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of community gardens across the city. From 5:30 to 7 p.m., join chef Biju Thomas (of Mixn Match and the late, lamented Biju's Little Curry Shop) making a cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage, fattoush, winter veggie roast with chicken, falafel or tofu, and a pistachio pastry for dessert. Order a VIP meal kit for two, $250, on DUG's website and pick it up at the outfit's offices, 1031 33rd Street. You can also opt to purchase your own ingredients with the Table for Two package (includes an ingredient list and access to the party) for $150.

Sunday, February 21
If your love affair with boxed wine is waning at the same time your income is soaring, enroll in Frasca's series of wine classes. Each lesson includes six bottles of wine, a workbook, pre-recorded course video and access to a live Q&A. Visit Tock to choose from one of three classes (or sign up for them all, though at $350 a pop, you'd better be one loaded learner): the Rhône Valley (Q&A scheduled for Friday, March 19); Reisling (Q&A takes place on Friday, March 26); and soil and minerality (Q&A on Friday, April 2). You'll pick up your course materials on Sunday, February 21, so you'll have a month to sip, study and mull over questions before the Q&As (all of which are scheduled at 5:30 p.m.). Pick-up locations in both Denver and Boulder are available; visit Frasca's website for details.

Wednesday, March 24
Denver's Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center generally hosts its expansive JAAMM (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music) Festival over several months in the fall, with live cultural events across the city. In 2020, of course, that was upended. The silver lining: The fest is going on for a full twelve months (starting last year and well into 2021), and all programming is virtual. On Wednesday, March 24, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, food historian and deeply engaging Instagram presence Michael Twitty will discuss the holiday of Passover. Tickets for the 7 p.m. lecture, $18, are on sale now at the festival's website, where you can also see previous events on demand.

Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Send information to cafe@westword.com.

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