If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, hop to it — but don't forget to take a moment in between paying for expedited shipping to enjoy some of the weekend's best food and drink events, including a south-of-the-equator celebration and the beginning of Hanukkah.
Friday, December 20
Before Giada was a twinkle in anyone's eye, there was Lidia Bastianich, who ruled public television cooking shows by cooking Italian and Italian-American specialties, confounding viewers with her definition of "a little" olive oil and bossing around her grown children (all restaurateurs in their own right) and her own mother whenever they appeared on her show. She's also authored over fifteen cookbooks, and recently visited Comal Heritage Food Incubator for the latest installment of her television special, Lidia Celebrates America: Return of the Artisans. The episode, airing on Friday, December 20, at 8 p.m. on PBS, features Erika Rojas, who graduated from the food incubator and training program and has since started her own business, Prieto's Catering; see a preview of Lidia and Erika on the PBS website. Tune in, then contact Prieto's for your next party, and visit Comal, 3455 Ringsby Court, for your next weekday lunch.
Saturday, December 21
’Tis the season to treat yo' self to brunch at the Corner Office, 1401 Curtis Street. From Saturday, December 21, through Wednesday, January 1, the restaurant is serving up Twelve Days of Brunch. No matter what days you have off from now until the end of the month, you'll be able to show up any time between 6 a.m. (7 a.m. on the weekends) and 3 p.m. for the full brunch menu, including treats like a croque madame, beignets with chocolate ganache, and red velvet waffles topped with cream cheese frosting. And no brunch is complete without bottomless mimosas; the Office serves theirs with the usual suspects (orange and grapefruit) as well as cherry vanilla, pomegranate, passion fruit and more. Find the entire menu and book your table on the eatery's website.
Celebrate the longest day of the year on Saturday, December 21. You heard us: While Denver's shrouded in darkness for upwards of fourteen hours, folks south of the equator are basking in the sunshine — so Dos Luces is throwing a summer solstice fiesta. Starting at noon, the heat will be cranked up in the taproom at 1236 South Broadway, the kiddie pools will be inflated, and the new brew ponche pulque (fermented agave juice brewed with eight different fruits and nuts) will be flowing. Also on site: grub from food trucks, live music and a toy drive for CASA in Colorado, which recruits and trains court-appointed advocates for children in the state's court system. Visit the brewery's Facebook page for details about the free party and prepare to beat the heat over the weekend.
Saturday, December 21, will be a sad day for everyone who fondly recalls the Denver of a decade ago. Colt & Gray had just opened its doors at 1553 Platte Street and was the talk of the town — and as bizarre as it seems to mourn the passing of a spot that's been around for just over ten years as a sign of the death of Old Denver, that's what Colt & Gray's closing feels like. But keep your chin up, kids, because the restaurant (and its downstairs bar, Ste. Ellie) isn't going down without a party. Starting at 7 p.m., show up for what's sure to be an epic Drink the Bar Dry bash, with food and drink specials designed to empty the larders and drain the bottles. Visit the spot's Facebook page for the details and show up ready to give the staff an epic sendoff and heartfelt "thank you" for ten great years.
Sunday, December 22
Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 22, and with its arrival comes celebratory food at our two favorite Israeli restaurants in town. Ash'Kara, 2005 West 33rd Avenue, is serving a menu of rotating Hanukkah specials through Monday, December 30. Show up — more than once! — to see what the kitchen is turning out; preliminary reports call for pastrami short ribs, root-vegetable latkes and sufganiyot, a jelly doughnut traditionally devoured by the dozen for the holiday, and more. Reservations are available on Ash'Kara's website. Meanwhile, Safta's holiday menu includes a latke board with all the accompaniments (tsimmes, a dish of sweetened veggies; matbucha, a red pepper dip; zhoug, a spicy cilantro sauce; and labneh, strained yogurt) and rose sufganiyot with quince filling. You'll be able to get the goods at 3330 Brighton Boulevard through Sunday, December 29; make your reservation on the eatery's website.
And if you're planning ahead...
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 benefit Conscious Alliance, a nonprofit feeding the hungry via food drives at concerts and the sale of music-themed art and memorabilia.
Tuesday, December 31
A new year, a new slate of boozified and potentially appropriated "holidays" to celebrate: New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo. But of all the drunken ways to end 2019, you could do way, way worse than Lost in Japan at Colorado Sake Co. The taproom at 3559 Larimer Street is hosting a party that pays homage to the Land of the Rising Sun with bottomless sake, sushi, traditional Japanese New Year activities, games and a midnight cherry blossom drop. The bash runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and tickets, $70, are available now on Eventbrite.
Sunday, January 5
Your New Year's Eve hangover has gone the way of 2019, and now it's time to make good on your resolution to learn a new hobby. And while YouTube is great for makeup tutorials and movie trailers, it leaves something to be desired when you're trying to learn to make fried Brussels sprouts and the pot of oil on your stove suddenly boils over and catches fire. What next? Will your entire apartment go up in flames before you can Google "How to put out an oil fire"? That's why Cook Street, 43 West Ninth Avenue, offers its Classic Techniques Essentials I class with real, live instructors who are able to give you a hand before you chop your finger off trying to execute a chiffonade. The series of four classes begins Sunday, January 5, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., then runs weekly through Sunday, January 26. Tuition is $476 on Cook Street's website, where you can also find future class dates if you're still regrowing that finger you lost in a Thanksgiving cooking mishap.
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.
Sunday, February 9
Accio pint glass! On Sunday, February 9, all you have to do is swish your wand about to summon good times and cheer at the generically named Wizard's Beer Festival (the wizarding world has become significantly more litigious, it seems). Diebolt Brewing Co., 3855 Mariposa Street, is the site of the shenanigans, with four two-hour sessions throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. There will be tarot card readers, DJs and wand-making classes; your $45 ticket will get you a welcome beer and tickets for five further potions. Just remember: You can't evanesco your hangover the next day. Pick up your tickets at Eventbrite before those sneaky Slytherins find a way to steal them all.
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