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The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The Dairy Block is taking Lent seriously with weekly seafood specials.EXPAND
The Dairy Block is taking Lent seriously with weekly seafood specials.
Courtesy of the Dairy Block
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Lent began this week — though after the orgy of trauma, anxiety, depression and illness that has marked the past year, we don't see a reason to deprive yourself for the next six weeks. In fact, don't pass up anything fun or delicious, ever.

Here are our picks for this weekend and beyond to keep you full and happy:

Friday, February 19
From Friday, February 19, through Friday, April 2, the Dairy Block, at 1800 Wazee Street, is pushing out weekly seafood specials in honor of Lent. (Are you on firmer moral ground if you stay home during a pandemic, or you don't eat meat for six weeks? Discuss.) In what the Dairy Block is dubbing FRYDays on the Block, participating restaurants will offer dishes like fried red snapper (Kachina Cantina); scallops with sunchoke purée, truffle pea sauce and lemon (Foraged); and tuna poke bowls and lobster rolls (Milk Market). And just in time for Lent, Milk Market's seafood counter, Albina by the Sea, is back open after a hiatus, so you'll have even more fresh fish choices. Blanchard Family Wines and Seven Grand will also be offering discounts. Find out more on the Dairy Block website.

Grab your Girl Scout cookie ice cream flavors before they're gone for good.EXPAND
Grab your Girl Scout cookie ice cream flavors before they're gone for good.
Kenneth Hamblin III

Saturday, February 20
Saturday, February 20, and Sunday, February 21, aren't supposed to be as frigid as last weekend — not that it matters if you're determined to get your mitts on one of Little Man Ice Cream's Girl Scout cookie flavors, which are released just once a year. All of the company's brands (Little Man — both the milk can and the factory, Sweet Cooie's, the Constellation Ice Cream and Dang Soft Serve) will be scooping Coconut Caramel Samoa, Tagalong Fudge and vegan Chocolate Thin Mint for two days. Visit Little Man's Facebook page for details and its Instagram page for ice cream glamour shots.

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.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Lola's award-winning margaritas are the perfect way to celebrate National Margarita Day.EXPAND
Lola's award-winning margaritas are the perfect way to celebrate National Margarita Day.
Danielle Lirette

Monday, February 22
You'll want to be one of the first sixty folks at Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street, on Monday, February 22. The restaurant is celebrating National Margarita Day by giving away airplane bottles of Casamigos Tequila to sixty lucky borrachos at its walk-up window, which opens at 4 p.m. You'll also be able to grab free elotes (Mexican street corn) while supplies last. Even if you miss the giveaway, you'll still be able to snag double margs to go for $12. If you choose to dine in, Lola will be offering a lamb barbacoa taco special.

Wednesday, February 24
Bigsby's Folly, the sprawling winery at 3563 Wazee Street, is hosting a wine dinner on Wedenesday, February 24, with a focus on the wines of Oregon's Willamette Valley. For $99, you'll get a four-course meal with dishes like roasted halibut with charred fennel and pea purée, filet mignon with morel mushrooms and a strawberry and pear tart finished with a glasslike mirror glaze (gluten- and dairy-free versions of the menu are also available). You'll taste six wines, including Bigsby's own white blend (dubbed the White RiNo), and side-by-side pinot noirs from Bigsby's and Oregon's Lange Estate. Reserve your seat for the 6:30 p.m. dinner on Tock.

Thursday, February 25
Logan Street Restaurant & Bar, unintuitively located at 400 East Seventh Street, is bringing North Africa to Denver on Thursday, February 25, with the first in a series of international street food spreads. The eatery's courtyard will be transformed into a Moroccan market, with harira (tomato, lentil and chickpea stew); lamb couscous and spiced veggies; pita stuffed with grilled sardines and fried lemons; chicken kefta kabobs; maakouda batata (potato fritters); sfinji (unsweetened doughnuts served with cardamom syrup); and a ras al hanout bourbon sour. For $35 on Eventbrite, you'll get five food and drink tickets (you can buy more at the event) and ninety minutes to sip and savor (4:30 to 6 p.m. or 6:30 to 8 p.m.). Find details on Logan Street's Instagram page.

Friday, February 26
Close out the month of February with a celebration of Black beverage producers at the Fade 2 Black weekend. The festival includes three-course wine dinners on Friday, February 26, and Saturday, February 27, each with four wine pairings from Black winemakers ($115). Adrian Miller, who appears to have the preternatural ability to be in seventeen places simultaneously, will be talking about historical contributions of Black Coloradans, including Barney Ford, a restaurateur, hotelier and civil rights activist in the late nineteenth century. Sunday, February 28, brings a virtual wine party with two bottles from Maison Noir, nibbles, music, a guided tasting and a chat with the producer ($75). Get tickets on the event website; dinners and wine kit pick-up are at Peak Beverage, 4375 Brighton Boulevard, though the wine kit can be delivered within Denver. NOTE: Dates and format of this event have changed since previous culinary calendar posts.

Jovanina's Broken Italian (pictured pre-2020) is cooking up a feast for this year's Great Chefs of the West.EXPAND
Jovanina's Broken Italian (pictured pre-2020) is cooking up a feast for this year's Great Chefs of the West.
Courtesy Jovanina's Broken Italian

Thursday, March 4
The annual Great Chefs of the West is usually a gala fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation, but this year it looks different. For one thing, it's happening on two nights: Thursday, March 4, and Thursday, March 11. And for another, it will also benefit participating restaurants: the Bindery, Woodie Fisher, Guard and Grace, Jovanina's Broken Italian, Hop Alley and Four by Brother Luck. Purchase tickets ($125 per person or $225 per couple) on the event website, and choose from prix fixe menus from the above eateries (all offer on-site dining as well as takeout options), cocktails and wine. You'll also get a cookbook of the restaurants' recipes and access to a silent — really silent — auction and awards ceremony.

The interior of To the Wind Bistro.
The interior of To the Wind Bistro.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, March 7
Starting Sunday, March 7, chefs Bo Porytko of Misfit Snackbar (inside Middleman at 3401 East Colfax Avenue) and Royce Oliveira of To the Wind Bistro (at 3333 East Colfax Avenue) will trade kitchens and characters for Freaky Sunday, a pop-up swap that spans two weekends. On Sunday, March 7, from 3 to 10 p.m., Oliveira will take over Misfit's tiny food-service window inside Middleman and channel Porytko's frankly unhinged and fiercely delicious style as he turns out bar snacks like whiskey-boiled peanuts with five spice, and mole duck nachos dusted with crema powder and fermented black bean powder. Service is first come, first served. Sunday, March 14, will find Porytko cooking a six-course meal with beer pairings in To the Wind's relatively spacious kitchen. For $85, you'll get refined and beautifully plated courses, including tandoori duck à l'orange (curried duck confit, orange chutney, garam masala creamed spinach) and winter Waldorf salad (pickled apples and celery, apple butter, candied walnuts). Seatings are at 5 and 8 p.m. and reservations are required; make them by emailing misfitsnackbar@gmail.com. Check Misfit's Instagram page for upcoming details.

Mythology Distillery and Colorado Symphony, unite!EXPAND
Mythology Distillery and Colorado Symphony, unite!
Emily Sierra

Thursday, March 11
On Thursday, March 11, Mythology Distillery is joining forces with the Crescendo Society, a group of dysfunctional siblings endowed with superpowers and raised by an emotionally distant, demanding father as a vigilante...oh, wait, wrong press release. In any case, the Crescendo Society (which we prefer to think of as a super-secret, under-35, militant cheerleading troupe rather than the "young professionals society" of the Colorado Symphony) will be joining symphony musicians as well as Mythology for a virtual cocktail class with live musical performance at 7 p.m. Purchase your cocktail kit for $35 ($25 for a second kit) and you'll get four ounces of three different spirits, plus the rest of the drink ingredients, the cocktail demo and a chat with musicians after their performance. The deadline to order is Friday, March 5; cocktail kit pick-up is at the distillery's tasting room, 3622 Tejon Street, during regular business hours (4 to 8 p.m.) from Monday, March 8, through Thursday, March 11. Get details and tickets on the Colorado Symphony website.

Sunday, March 21
It's been a long time since any of the famously fancy James Beard dinners were held in a Denver restaurant (and it will probably be a while before any are held again). But on Sunday, March 21, you can join the James Beard Foundation's virtual Taste America event along with nine other major food cities around the country. Denver residents will pick up a three-course meal from Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue, that consists of chef/co-owner Cindhura Reddy's always-fantastic focaccia with ricotta; rabbit confit with saffron cavatelli (a vegetarian option with turmeric-roasted cauliflower is also available); elk tartare; and vanilla and mango custards topped with cardamom-pistachio crumble. Cocktails, wine and Spuntino's housemade amaro will accompany the meal. You'll also get access to online cooking demos and the JBF's national broadcast at 6 p.m. Order your ticket ($95 per person or $175 per pair) on the JBF website.

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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