The holiday season is officially here, and no matter what your traditions — pumpkin pie, tamales, glitzy cocktails or shopping, shopping, shopping — there's something to catch your interest this week. Keep reading for the best food and drink events over the next five days, and then keep reading for more tasty fun in December.
Monday, November 25
It's going to be a long, long week for Long I Pie. As befitting a bakery that specializes in flaky pie crusts filled with all kinds of sweet and savory insides, the outfit has been busy gearing up for Thanksgiving. And while baker Shauna Lott Harman has sold out of Turkey Day pre-orders, you still have a chance to get your mitts on some of her delicious creations this week — whether you're shopping for yourself or your dinner companions. Starting with a wine and pie pairing at Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street, on Monday, November 25, when $25 will get you three pies and three pours from 5 to 8 p.m., Long I will then match up pastries with cider at Stem on Tuesday, November 26, and with beer at Ratio on Wednesday, November 27. There will also be a limited number of whole pies available for sale, so show up early to snag dessert for the spread. Visit Long I Pie's website for details on her pie pop-ups.
Tuesday, November 26
What is it about the holidays that entices red-blooded, apple pie-eating, coffee-loving Americans to forget the Boston Tea Party and go nuts for mid-day meals of tiny sandwiches and tea served on delicate patterned china? We don't know, but the arrival of holiday tea parties in November and December is as reliable as the return of the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story to TBS. This week's entry into the fray is Thanksgiving tea at Cherokee Castle, 6113 North Daniels Park Road in Sedalia. On Tuesday, November 26, the gates open at 11:45 a.m. for an elaborate spread of tea with sweet and savory accompaniments, followed by a one-hour tour of the Scottish-style castle. Book your afternoon ($50 to $60, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus available) on the Castle's website.
Wednesday, November 27
Ever wonder how Santa makes it to all the houses around the globe in a single night? Booze, boys and girls: Lots of sugar and lots of booze keep the old man energized and awake as he dashes down chimneys and races over endless suburban sprawl. So obviously, tiki drinks are the best beverage choice for His Claus-ness. Luckily, he can make a pit stop at the Arvada Tavern, 5707 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada, starting on Wednesday, November 27, to refuel. The eatery is hosting Sippin' Santa, an unholy combination of kitsch — Christmas and tiki — resulting in festive, frou-frou drinks like the Festivus Flip (bourbon, rum, amaro and pomegranate) and Christmas Eve of Destruction (rum, lime juice, nutmeg syrup and Benedictine). The pop-up bar will be in residence daily at 4 p.m. through December 28 and — miracle of Christmas miracles — this joint actually takes reservations. Find out more and book your seat at the bar on the Arvada Tavern's website.
Thursday, November 28
Not into Thanksgiving — either the food, the family or the fraught history of the day? You can still get a great meal on Thursday, November 28, without all the baggage at Re:Vision co-op, 3738 Morrison Road. Chef Edwin Sandoval of Xatrucho is serving a family meal from 2 to 6 p.m. that's inspired by the custom of restaurant family meal (no actual family required); the menu includes seven à la carte items — all priced under $12 — including dishes like squash soup with fried plantains and annatto-marinated pork tenderloin basted with garlic-ginger butter. Reservations aren't required — just walk up to the window and order with an adventurous palate. Can't get away on Thursday? The same menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Black Friday, when you can also shop the co-op's holiday market and get the first look at its newest art show, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Find more information on Re:Vision's Facebook page.
Friday, November 29
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Holy-Shit-It's-The-Day-Before-Christmas-WTF-Am-I-Gonna-Do Tuesday: Whatever you call your biggest shopping day of the year, there are plenty of fine dining gifts you can give the picky, hard-to-please or impossible-to-shop-for people (sorry, loved ones) in your life. Here are a few goodies you can pick up starting Friday, November 29. Through Sunday, December 1, swing by any of Josh Pollack's restaurants serving East Coast specialties (Rosenberg's, Lou's, Famous Original J's Pizza) to purchase a $50 gift card, and get a free $10 gift certificate for yourself. Secret Sauce restaurants (both Steuben's locations, Ace Eat Serve and Vesta) are offering the same deal for in-store purchases, plus a $40 bonus card if you splurge on a $200 gift certificate. Finally, our favorite (because it can be purchased in your own house while eating leftovers in your pajama pants — or, if you're living dangerously, no pants at all): Through Wednesday, December 4, get a $75 gift certificate to craft brewery and Italian restaurant Liberati for just $50 on the Liberati website.
Keep reading for future food and drink fun.
Wednesday, December 4
What do you get when you cross two regional specialties (St. Louis barbecue and Colorado weed), former Denver Broncos and a pair of competitive eaters? That would be Rocky Mountain Hi, a mash-up of two of chef/restaurateur Mike Johnson's food-service concepts, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive In. Both joints originated in St. Louis, with Hi-Pointe dubbing itself "the munchie capital of the Midwest" and Sugarfire expanding outside the region only in 2018. But on Wednesday, December 4, the two menus are colliding at the Westminster Sugarfire outpost at 14375 Orchard Parkway for a Mile High-themed menu, with items like bacon blunts (bacon-wrapped mac and cheese), the Denver Burncos (a burger stuffed with cheese and burnt ends), the Dabwood (a burger served with brisket, turkey, bacon and hemp aioli) and Hot Cheeto mac and cheese cupcakes. There will also be appearances by former Broncos including Mark Jackson (you can beg him to take the field again; he'd probably be an improvement to this year's team) and competitive eaters vying to ingest as many pounds of food as they can in twenty minutes. The fun starts at 11 a.m. with the celebrity appearances at 5 p.m. Visit Sugarfire Westy's Facebook page for more details.
The lesser known but at least as culturally significant cousin to Christmas Eve has arrived: Repeal Day Eve. Remember that long-ago night in 1933 when adults around the country sleeplessly awaited the arrival of the end of Prohibition, at Hearth & Dram's Pappy Repeal Dinner on Wednesday, December 4. At 6 p.m., the four-course, six-drink meal begins with a welcome cocktail, followed by pairings that include smoked duck and foie gras sausage with Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year; a sixty-day dry aged steak with mushroom ragu and Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year; and housemade ice cream with Pappy Van Winkle Reserve 20 Year. Call the restaurant (1801 Wewatta Street) at 303-623-0979 to reserve your spot for $145.
Thursday, December 5
It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season — something much better. It's truffle season, when bristly hogs and (increasingly) adorable curly-haired doggos snuffle through the forest, uprooting pungent fungi. Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street in Boulder, is passing the harvest on to you with its truffle menu, available only at dinner from Thursday, December 5, through Saturday, December 7. The à la carte dishes range from $12 to $42 and include options like savory two-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano ice cream with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved truffles; prime rib with white Italian truffles and rich mushroom jus; an Umami Bomb Burger made of dry-aged beef, aged cheddar and truffles; and Japanese rice with Wagyu beef jerky and truffle shavings. Make your reservation at 303-444-3622.
Folks who don't drink booze but love the bar experience (the giant ice cubes, the tiny umbrellas) can scratch their itch on Thursday, December 5 at Dry Curious, a mixer for the sober and "sober curious" (also known as light drinkers). From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the space at 3899 Jackson Street will be the site of three non-alcoholic beverage stations, plus a panel discussion on sobriety. Tickets, $25, are available now on Eventbrite.
Friday, December 6
Looking to learn how to make traditional Latin American tamales for this holiday season? Westwood food co-op Re:Vision, 3738 Morrison Road, is offering four tamal-making classes in December that cover different countries' versions of the dish. Starting Friday, December 6, you'll learn how to make Mexican tamales in a two-hour class that begins at 6 p.m. Future classes are scheduled for Saturday, December 7, at 10 a.m. (covers Guatemalan-style tamales); Friday, December 13, at 6 p.m. (Mexico); and Saturday, December 14, at 10 a.m. (Puerto Rico). Each class costs $20; sign up for them on Re:Vision's website, where you can also place your holiday orders for pork, chicken, vegetarian, vegan and sweet tamales, if you can't attend class.
Saturday, December 7
Inspired by the Populist's June bake sale to benefit Planned Parenthood, Safta, 3300 Brighton Boulevard, is taking up the torch on Saturday, December 7 with a second fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to Safta's pastry chef Liliana Myers, vendors include bakers from Reunion and Moxie Bread companies, Blackbelly, Dio Mio and Work & Class. Most items will ring in at $5, with a selection of Myers's holiday pies — pumpkin, sweet potato, bourbon pecan and apple baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend) — for $25 or $30. All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and if you'd like to raise more than the Populist's effort (a whopping $25,000), we recommend lining up at Safta's Counter very, very early to purchase tokens that can then be used to buy baked goodies.
Monday, December 9
Ice cream emporium High Point Creamery is setting up shop in the lobby of the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, from Monday, December 9, through Monday, December 23, to celebrate Hanukkah with a special ice cream flavor created just for the holiday. Bob's Babka is a rich olive oil ice cream studded with chunks of homemade chocolate babka (a sweet, yeast-risen loaf of bread similar to coffee cake). You can purchase a pint of this holiday cheer for $8, with over 40 percent of the proceeds going to support the JCC. In addition, the organization is holding a food drive, so bring canned food and toiletries for drop-off through Wednesday, December 18; the goods will be donated to Stapleton's Isabella Bird Community School.
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Saturday, December 14
Of all the reasons to get rip-roaring drunk, the holidays are high on the list. Between awkward, mandatory office parties, gift-giving expenses and anxiety, fraught family dynamics and endless repetitions of Last Christmas (though the Wham! music video is a legit classic that should be viewed once and only once each December — sound is optional), it's no surprise that many of us want to shut down our brain cells with some tasty ethanol. For those who don't even celebrate the holiday, the endless hoopla surrounding snow and Santa is even more painful. Enter Festivus, the holiday anyone can celebrate, with traditions that appeal to our universal human nature. Add beer, and you get the Denver Beer Festivus, where the Feats of Strength are fueled by Denver breweries' favorite beers. This year, the aluminum pole is being set up on Saturday, December 14, at Major Studios, 3881 Steele Street; come ready to air your grievances from 3 to 6 p.m. Tickets, $45 or $60, are for sale on the event's website.
Wednesday, December 18
Sarto's Wednesday, December 18, dinner isn't technically a Feast of the Seven Fishes (it's not happening on Christmas Eve, and it doesn't include seven seafood dishes), but if you're not a purist, it'll be close enough — and by "close enough," we mean "delicious." The Jefferson Park kitchen, 2900 West 25th Avenue, is turning out six courses, including salt cod gnocchi tater tots with lemon aioli, lobster bisque and spaghetti with a spicy shrimp puttanesca sauce; even dessert includes the fruits of the ocean with a bottarga (cured fish roe) crumble over vanilla gelato. Make your reservations for the 6:30 p.m. dinner by calling 303-455-1400; the cost is $75, plus optional wine pairings for $35.
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