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The Best Food and Booze Happenings This Weekend

Grey Ray, a previous National Western Stock Show Grand Champion and current steak, has had enough of 2021 already.EXPAND
Grey Ray, a previous National Western Stock Show Grand Champion and current steak, has had enough of 2021 already.
Danielle Lirette
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True to the hot mess that was the last twelve months, we were only five days into 2021 before shit hit the fan. This weekend, take a break from huddling silently over your iPhone, obsessively refreshing for the latest news of domestic terrorism, and focus for a few hours on something else.

Food, for example. And definitely drink. Here are some distracting options:

The Best Food and Booze Happenings This WeekendEXPAND
Courtesy Dairy Block

Friday, January 8
Poka Lola, the adorable soda shop-inspired cocktail bar at 1850 Wazee Street, is reopening its doors Friday, January 8. Yes, you can sit on a couch inside a room that's not in your house and (legally) enjoy a drink starting at 4 p.m. But if the bar's 25 percent capacity fills up fast (as it probably will), there are still heated patios to camp out on in the Dairy Block alley; seating options include "private bubble gazebos" — also known as clear plastic tents — if you're eating at neighboring restaurants Seven Grand, Blanchard Family Wines, Kachina or Foraged. Diners also get covered garage parking for just $3. Visit Dairy Block's website for the most recent info about the restaurants, bars and reservations.

The Best Food and Booze Happenings This WeekendEXPAND
Courtesy Number Thirty Eight

Saturday, January 9
This time of year, we're usually talking up the National Western Stock Show parade, drinks at the Stockyard Saloon and tea with the Grand Champion Steer at the Brown Palace Hotel. This year? Not so much (though you can still patronize the no-nonsense Stockyard Saloon at 4710 National Western Drive, which we highly recommend). But you can also get a taste of the Wild West at Number Thirty Eight, 3560 Chestnut Place, which is touting Western Week from Saturday, January 9, through Sunday, January 17, with live country and bluegrass performances (on the outdoor stage, so dress accordingly), food specials like smoked turkey legs and barbecue bao (though we have a hard time passing up the K-pop fries) and Bison's Tail, a whiskey cocktail including Forbidden Fruit (a historical liqueur made by Colorado's Lee Spirits Co., currently the only maker of the spirit in the country). There's no cover, but reservations are required; make them on Number Thirty Eight's website.

If your sourdough starter didn't survive 2020, start anew with Rebel Bread's Bread Camp.EXPAND
If your sourdough starter didn't survive 2020, start anew with Rebel Bread's Bread Camp.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, January 10
Rebel Bread bakery, which is currently selling its wheaty wares at the Farmers Market LSQ, 1445 Larimer Street, is launching a virtual baking academy this month, with online classes tackling a variety of sweet and savory baked goods. Up first? The Art of Tarts from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 10, where you'll learn how to make a pat-in-the-pan crust and a pastry cream tart. Sign up for $39 on Rebel Bread's website, where you can also find a list of ingredients you'll need as well as details on future classes. Mark your calendars for classes on pierogi (February 7 and 21), sourdough bread (a whole week of baking at Camp Bread from January 25 through 30), and bagels (February 7 and March 7).

Adrian Miller (third from the left) studies ’cue (along with other soul foods) across the country.EXPAND
Adrian Miller (third from the left) studies ’cue (along with other soul foods) across the country.
Rex Miller

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.

Plan ahead:

And on Wednesday, January 20, Miller 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.

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.

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

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