The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

These Tessa burgers with KREAM kimchi were served at a previous Night Market; here's hoping they show up again at Sunday's Brunch Market.EXPAND
These Tessa burgers with KREAM kimchi were served at a previous Night Market; here's hoping they show up again at Sunday's Brunch Market.
Courtesy of KREAM Kimchi/Tessa Delicatessen
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Welcome to 2021, when 3 p.m. is the new 10 p.m., cheese is now vegan, and Girl Scout cookies come plated from some of the highest-end restaurants in town.

Don't believe us? Keep reading for the best events on the culinary calendar this weekend, and in the weeks to come.

Friday, January 29
Denver's Night Market pop-up bazaar is less a night market than a late-afternoon market these days, but who needs an excuse to knock off work early on a Friday to start sipping and shopping? This one is pitching tents at Acreage, 1380 Horizon Avenue in Lafayette, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, January 29. Shop for samosas, Detroit-style pizza, kimchi fries, tea blends, tacos, vegan mac and cheese and doughnuts. Visit Night Market's Instagram page for details, and if you can't stay up late enough to make it to Friday's market, you can aim for Brunch Market, a late-morning/early-afternoon market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 31, at Tessa Delicatessen, 5724 East Colfax Avenue.

Saturday, January 30
Vegan cheese lovers, rejoice! On Saturday, January 30, plant-based eaters can dig in to the wonderful world of cheese-making with a virtual vegan cheese-making class. You'll learn how to make three different varieties: tofu-based gorgonzola and feta, as well as cashew-based ricotta. The 2 p.m. class is run by Longmont farm animal sanctuary Good Life Refuge, and the cost of the class ($15 or $20, depending what you want to pay) will go directly to the goats, cows, turkeys and pigs in its care. Sign up on the nonprofit organization's website and you'll receive a shopping list and a Zoom link.

Rioja, Ultreia and others are putting their spin on Girl Scout cookies just in time for the season.
Rioja, Ultreia and others are putting their spin on Girl Scout cookies just in time for the season.

Sunday, January 31
COVID has stopped beer fests big and small, the Stock Show and a million other things that make Denver Denver. One thing it can't stop? Girl Scout cookie season, which starts Sunday, January 31 (find a booth manned by the girls in green on the Girl Scouts website). In addition to getting a box or 27 of your favorite flavor, you can find upscale versions of the treat at Crafted Concepts restaurants downtown through March 7. Get a coconut panna cotta with chocolate ganache, caramel sauce and shortbread inspired by Samoas (clearly the best flavor) at Stoic & Genuine, or peanut butter flan based on Do-Si-Dos (a distant second, possibly even third) at Ultreia, both inside Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street. There's also tart-sweet vanilla cheesecake with lemon curd and a Lemon-Ups crust (Lemon who?) at Rioja, 1431 Larimer Street, and dark-chocolate mousse with mint ganache based on The-Flavor-That-Must-Not-Be-Named at Bistro Vendôme, 1420 Larimer Street. Try all four and be entered into a contest to win a restaurant gift card and a year's worth of cookies.

Keep reading for future food and drink happenings.

Monday, February 1
On Monday, February 1, you're invited to put on something other than sweatpants that haven't seen the inside of a washing machine for three weeks, take out your ponytail to shampoo your hair and maybe put on some mascara (we don't want to get too crazy here) for Speakeasy 303. Happening at Max Gill & Grill, 1052 South Gaylord Street, the live-music performance by Shawn Eckels will be accompanied by a dinner menu that includes options like étoufée, pepita-crusted salmon, cioppino and a lobster roll. In other words: It's a real night out. Tables for two, four or six are for sale for $80 to $330 (which works out to $40 to $55 per person) on Eventbrite.

The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This WeekendEXPAND
Courtesy Brass Tacks

Saturday, February 6
If you're looking for some really, really expensive bottles of whiskey to spend your money on, visit the Brass Tacks Instagram page at noon on Saturday, February 6, for a live auction of rare whiskeys. Brass Tacks bartenders will wax rhapsodic about the ten bottles up for auction; bidding on a few of them starts at $100 (a relative bargain, when the starting price for Old Rip Van Winkle aged only ten years is $400 and a twelve-year-old Van Winkle Reserve is $500). Our favorite offering? The bar's private label from Weller that's being sold with the barrel it was aged in (starts at $300). Photos and starting bids are up now on Instagram.

The Dairy Block calls these "bubble igloos." You'll be forgiven for thinking of them as Saran Wrap tents.EXPAND
The Dairy Block calls these "bubble igloos." You'll be forgiven for thinking of them as Saran Wrap tents.
Jeff Fierberg

Thursday, February 11
The Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee Street, is hosting another progressive dinner in advance of Valentine's Day — albeit one that's stationary for you (the diner) and pretty far removed from the original ’70s-era experience of going door to door in the suburbs to eat with your neighbors. This progressive dinner includes five courses that will be served to you while you sit inside one of the Dairy Block Alley's bubble tents: charcuterie board and rosé from Blanchard Family Wines; ceviche from Kachina with a cocktail from Poka Lola; braised pork belly and a cocktail from Foraged; yakitori skewers from Bruto with a Seven Grand cocktail; and opera cake from Denver Milk Market with Irish coffee. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, or Friday, February 12; the cost is $175 per person, with the heated tents seating a maximum of four people. Read more details and purchase tickets through Rebel Experiences.

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, a 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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