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The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

A chicken pot pie from Hinman Pie.EXPAND
A chicken pot pie from Hinman Pie.
Courtesy Hinman's Pies
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It's March in Denver, so the weather forecast is between zero and 91 inches of snow this weekend. The fun part? You won't know which until the last minute. So if all your frantic toilet paper, frozen pizza and beer purchases are in vain, here are eight things to do on the city's food and drink scene, plus another eight for the rest of March.

Bonnie Brae restaurant Brightmarten (pictured pre-pandemic) is pouring South American wines on March 12.
Bonnie Brae restaurant Brightmarten (pictured pre-pandemic) is pouring South American wines on March 12.
Courtesy Brightmarten

Friday, March 12
The Denver Box is back with another installment, this time from Highland neighborhood joint FNG. For the month of March, order one of three meals from the Denver Box website, and you'll get enough food (and drinks!) for four people from the comfort food kitchen for just $100. Choose from meatloaf with chipotle ketchup, mashed potatoes and gravy, onion rings and broccolini; chicken parmesan and pasta, grilled zucchini, focaccia and green salad; or enchiladas — chicken or vegetarian sweet potato — with rice and beans, slaw, avocado and crema. All meal kits come with salted chocolate chip cookies and your choice of sangria, margaritas, whiskey sours or non-alcoholic blackberry-lime agua fresca. Pick-up is at FNG, 3940 West 32nd Avenue, every Friday and Saturday from March 12, through March 27. Half the proceeds from your order go to participating restaurants; the other half is donated to a local nonprofit organization (this month, it's Foster Source, which provides training as well as financial and other resources to foster parents). Orders must be placed no later than 8 p.m. the Wednesday before your desired pick-up day; see the website for more details.

Mark your calendar for a visit to the Art District on Santa Fe from March 12 to 14 and again on March 16. Salud! is a restaurant and bar pop-up designed to give you a destination other than your couch. The Skylight event space, at 833 Santa Fe Drive, is hosting Salud! with food from Latin-Asian kitchen Chuey Fu's and caterer Love Pop. The $12 admission includes entry, a drink from the bar (both tipplers and teetotalers will be able to get something satisfying) and ninety minutes inside somewhere that's not your house; food is extra. Hours vary (4:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Tuesday; 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday), and you're requested to purchase your tickets as a group on Eventbrite. Ten percent of ticket sales will be donated to Colorado Event Alliance, which provides financial assistance to event-industry workers in need.

Say "Salud!" over South American wine on Friday, March 12, at Brightmarten, 730 South University Boulevard. The eatery is hosting a five-course dinner with wine pairings from Argentina and Chile. Dig in to scallop crudo with Sauvignon Blanc, Chilean sea bass marinated in sherry and paired with Chardonnay, and succulent duck arepas with masa cake, avocado and beans and Cabernet and Syrah. Email marc@brightmarten.com to reserve your meal, $100, either in the restaurant dining room at 6:30 p.m. or to go (pick-up between 5:30 and 6 p.m.). There are just fourteen tables available for in-person dining, so act quickly.

We might judge you for getting hammered on Coors Light with green food coloring, but this guy never will.EXPAND
We might judge you for getting hammered on Coors Light with green food coloring, but this guy never will.
Courtesy Union Station

Saturday, March 13
If the weather forecasters are right, we'll have anywhere from zero to sixty inches of snow come Saturday, March 13. And what do you do when you're snowed in the house and in the house bored? You cook something homey and comforting. Chicano Humanities & Arts Council (CHAC) is offering a free cooking class that fits the bill; from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., tune in to see Denver entrepreneur Lindita (of Lindita's Salsas) cooking her version of arroz con pollo. It won't be as easy as simply adding tomatoes to her namesake instant salsa mixes, but you'll end up with warm comfort food that will fuel you if you need to make a last-minute trek to to the liquor store (uphill both ways, with no shoes). Find out more and enroll on CHAC's website, where you'll also find the Zoom link. 

Who's never going to judge you for getting trashed on green beer and acting a fool on St. Patrick's Day? Your dog, that's who. Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, knows this, so on Saturday, March 13, it's hosting its Pop-Up Puppy Pub from noon to 8 p.m. Camp out on the patio with man's best friend and enjoy food and drink specials from several Union Station restaurants and bars, like a peach and green tea smash (Terminal Bar); Portuguese green eggs (Ultreia); Coat of Arms cocktail with Jameson, Guinness and coffee (Mercantile & Provision); Not Your Dog's Puppuccino with Bailey's, espresso liqueur and ice cream (Pigtrain Coffee, which will also give your furry friend a free, dog-safe puppuccino with your purchase); and corned salmon on rye (Stoic & Genuine). Even better, a buck from the purchase of these items will be donated to the Denver Animal Shelter. See Union Station's Instagram page for more details.

Stop by Steuben's for hand pies on Pi Day.EXPAND
Stop by Steuben's for hand pies on Pi Day.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, March 14
Sunday, March 14, is the day we've all been waiting for: Pi Day. It's the day when you can eat every single sweet and savory circular baked good under the sun — and no one can judge you. For your pie-buying delight, here's a quick roundup of pie purveyors:

Smok, inside the Source at 3330 Brighton Boulevard, has springy rhubarb-strawberry hand pies on its regular menu, but is selling them for just $3.14 each.

Both Steuben's locations (523 East 17th Avenue and 7355 Ralston Road in Arvada) are following suit with to-be-determined fruit hand pies on the menu for one day only (also $3.14).

Hinman Pie, 5604 Kendall Court in Arvada, is hosting a Pi Day Party with Colorado's foremost pie expert, John Lehndorff, joining baker John Hinman to discuss the history and hot takes of pie (butter or lard, glass or metal, straight from the oven or straight from the fridge?). The 6 p.m. virtual gathering costs just $12, though there may be a few pie bundles left for sale that include three miniature pies and can be picked up at the bakery and consumed during the party (or as soon as you get back to your house). Check Hinman's website for further details and to place your order; a portion of sales will benefit Culinary Hospitality Outreach Wellness (CHOW).

Don't be misled by the name of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts' Wake Up & Bake class. The cooking school at 43 West Ninth Avenue isn't providing the weed on March 14, but it is providing a scrumptious brunch cooking class from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For $119 per person, you'll get in-person instruction on an orange peel and black sesame-seed babka (traditionally a sweet, enriched bread); carrot cake with cardamom, cinnamon, cream cheese frosting and streusel; almond and raisin challah with pastry cream; and a bacon, cheese and maple scone. The class also includes snacks and a glass of wine; there won't be any munchies in sight. Sign up now on Cook Street's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink happenings.

American Elm has made it a year since COVID upended the industry.EXPAND
American Elm has made it a year since COVID upended the industry.
Lucy Beaugard

Tuesday, March 16
Tuesday, March 16, marks twelve months since all Colorado restaurants were ordered to shut down the next day to indoor dining because of COVID-19. On that date, celebrate at least one eatery that's managed to survive the past year: American Elm, 4132 West 38th Avenue, is hosting a Duck COVID dinner. The $85-per-plate meal includes four courses of duck preparations, including deviled duck eggs, seared foie gras with maple gastrique and cherries, duck confit with blood orange jus, and duck egg custard. See the full menu and reserve a spot on Resy.

Rioja's salt cod with sunchokes, green onions and olives.
Rioja's salt cod with sunchokes, green onions and olives.
Courtesy Rioja

Wednesday, March 17
Who says you have to eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day? Definitely not us (and you'll never, ever catch us recommending watery green lager). On Wednesday, March 17, opt for more southerly food and far more sophisticated drinks at Rioja's monthly wine dinner, 1431 Larimer Street. The dinner includes five courses paired with Portuguese wines; we're looking forward to bacalao (salt cod) with sunchokes and olives and prime tri-tip with XO sauce, black garlic and shiitake mushrooms, but you'll also see tortelli stuffed with linguica (a garlicky Portuguese sausage) and a strawberry-rhubarb Napoleon with whipped goat cheese. Visit Tock to book a table for the 6:30 p.m. dinner for $99. Interested in to-go? For $70, get the meal prepared for pick-up between 4 and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, through Friday, March 19. You can purchase bottles of all five of the accompanying wines for $204 (that includes a 10 percent discount) or individual bottles starting at $30.

If you do want to eat the most American of Irish dishes on Wednesday, March 17, at least make it a good version, as the corned beef and cabbage at Coohills, 1400 Wewatta Street, is sure to be. The four-course meal starts off with the aforementioned meat and veg, but we can give it a pass since the next three courses — sole with green garlic, lamb shepherd's pie and bread pudding — are appropriately Irish. The meal starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $65, or $90 with drink pairings. Find out more on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Friday, March 19
If you think the only things worth drinking in Mexico are lagers and margaritas, listen up. The country has been making wine since the Spanish invasion (that would be the 1520s), and after trying for what seems like 500 years (but was only five), Lola Coastal Mexican has succeeded in importing Baja California wines to Denver. On Friday, March 19, the restaurant, at 1575 Boulder Street, is offering a four-course wine dinner in celebration. Tables for four and six are available for $340 or $510 (don't spit out that shwag you're drinking right now — that works out to a reasonable $85 per person) at 5:30 and 8 p.m. The menu includes a mezcal cocktail; octopus with salt-cured cactus and habanero vinaigrette; fideuà, which is similar to paella, but made with pasta instead of rice; short ribs with mole negro, plantains and rice with cashews and golden raisins; a chocolate-chile torte; and wine pairings. Book your table now on Tock.

We made it to spring 2021 without succumbing to despair or COVID. Raise a glass at Dos Luces.EXPAND
We made it to spring 2021 without succumbing to despair or COVID. Raise a glass at Dos Luces.
Fermentable Sugar

Saturday, March 20
Everyone remembers the collective desire of humanity for 2020 to end almost as soon as it began. And while we're not feeling quite as desperate for time to move faster during 2021, there is a palpable jonesing for spring and summer — not to mention warm weather and widespread COVID vaccinations — to just be here, already. Dos Luces Brewery, at 1236 South Broadway, can't do anything about pandemics or weather patterns, but it is enthusiastically welcoming spring on Saturday, March 20, with a vertical tasting of six Túpac Amaru III imperial chichas. The 2019 and 2020 vintages have been brewed with sour cherry, mango and chile de arbol, and pomegranate, and have been aged in bourbon and rum barrels. Ticket holders will also be able to taste the newest release, a black chicha aged in brandy barrels. Purchase tickets for the 3 p.m. tasting for $20 each on the brewery's online storefront. Don't want to spring for the tasting? You can stop by any time between noon and 10 p.m. for pours of the new release and empanadas from the Oh My! Empanada food truck.

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
On Wednesday, March 24, EatDenver is resuming ED Talks, its version of TED Talks, after it was canceled in 2020 because of (gestures broadly)…all this. And for the first time ever, the lectures are open not only to restaurant and bar owners and  inemployees, but to the public as well. Log in to Zoom from 9 to 11 a.m. to see six short presentations (just ten minutes each!) from industry insiders and experts. Three speakers have already been announced, with Marcus Samuelsson — familiar from stints on Top Chef Masters as well as his cookbooks and his own show, No Passport Required — headlining. Other topics of conversation include mental health in the restaurant business and how avocado toast is related to anxiety (the $16 price tag might have something to do with it). Find details (including the full lineup) and register for the free webcast on the EatDenver website.

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, Michael Twitty, James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, food historian and deeply engaging Instagram presence, will discuss the holiday of Passover and the common histories of exodus in both Jewish and African-American communities. 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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