The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Ring in the new year with cherry blossoms instead of confetti.EXPAND
Ring in the new year with cherry blossoms instead of confetti.
Colorado Sake Co.
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As the decade hurtles rapidly toward its close, you'll want to take a look at our comprehensive list of Denver restaurants serving New Year's Eve specials, then start 2020 with great drink deals and a comfy, cozy segue into the first weekend. Plus, keep reading for a half-dozen events during the first quarter of the year.

Monday, December 30
The miracle is nearly over. Monday, December 30, is your last chance to experience one more dose of Christmas cheer at Miracle Bar, the sparkly pop-up on the second floor of Avanti Food & Beverage (3200 Pecos Street). There are tables open from 5 to 11 p.m., so visit Miracle Bar's Facebook page for reservations and a list of signature cocktails.

Tuesday, December 31
A new year, a new slate of boozified and potentially appropriated "holidays" to celebrate: New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo. But of all the drunken ways to end 2019, you could do way, way worse than Lost in Japan at Colorado Sake Co. The taproom at 3559 Larimer Street is hosting a party that pays homage to the Land of the Rising Sun with bottomless sake, sushi, traditional Japanese New Year activities, games and a midnight cherry blossom drop. The bash runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and tickets, $70, are available now on Eventbrite.

Wednesday, January 1
If you're the superstitious type, you already know that what you do on New Year's Day is what you'll do for the next twelve months, so ensure an endless supply of good cheer on a budget with $5 bottomless mimosas from Gattara on Wednesday, January 1. The Uptown eatery at 1776 Grant Street opens bright and early, at 6:30 a.m., to accommodate early risers (or those who never hit the sack at all), when it will serve unlimited breakfast cocktails plus its regular brunch menu until 2 p.m. Take a look at Gattara's Instagram page for more details.

Thursday, January 2
With so many amazing Denver beers to seek out, it's easy to forget about the craft-beer classics from around the country that paved the way for Colorado's current boom. California's Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is celebrating its fortieth anniversary with new releases — and Fire on the Mountain is here to make sure you get a sip of the magic. Show up at the Highland FotM (3801 West 32nd Avenue) between 5 and 11 p.m. on Thursday, January 2, so you can try Sierra Nevada's 40th Anniversary IPA, plus Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Skiesta Lager, Hazy Little Thing IPA, and Fantastic Haze Double IPA. Visit the event's Facebook page for more details.

Bring your own board game to Liberati and get your first brew for free during its recovery weekend.EXPAND
Bring your own board game to Liberati and get your first brew for free during its recovery weekend.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, January 3
Liberati, 2403 Champa Street, knows this weekend is going to be rough. In the past two weeks alone, you've consumed the equivalent of a whole roast turkey, one five-pound bag of mashed potatoes, Belgium's entire annual chocolate production and your body weight in hard liquor; emptied your bank account purchasing presents; and have spent more hours on your feet making torturous small talk at holiday parties than you care to tabulate. So on Friday, January 3, and Saturday, January 4, visit the Curtis Park brewery for its recovery weekend: The taproom has installed cozy electric fireplaces and is serving up steaming soups with a garnish bar, plus Boody Mary and hot chocolate bars and non-alcoholic seltzer spiked only with replenishing electrolytes. Settle in at the bar for a relaxing and rejuvenating first weekend of the year; see Liberati's Facebook page for more details.

And for events in the coming days...

Sunday, January 5
Your New Year's Eve hangover has gone the way of 2019, and now it's time to make good on your resolution to learn a new hobby. And while YouTube is great for makeup tutorials and movie trailers, it leaves something to be desired when you're trying to learn to make fried Brussels sprouts and the pot of oil on your stove suddenly boils over and catches fire. What next? Will your entire apartment go up in flames before you can Google "How to put out an oil fire"? That's why Cook Street, 43 West Ninth Avenue, offers its Classic Techniques Essentials I class with real, live instructors who are able to give you a hand before you chop your finger off trying to execute a chiffonade. The series of four classes begins Sunday, January 5, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., then runs weekly through Sunday, January 26. Tuition is $476 on Cook Street's website, where you can also find future class dates if you're still regrowing that finger you lost in a Thanksgiving cooking mishap.

Rioja is spotlighting Carrie Baird for the first of four alumni dinners on January 8.
Rioja is spotlighting Carrie Baird for the first of four alumni dinners on January 8.

Wednesday, January 8
While it's been decades since Denver could legitimately be called a cowtown, it's still a little big city — so the restaurant scene (while growing rapidly) remains significantly more intimate than in other American cities (transplants, here's your chance to chime in — we know you just can't help yourselves). So when it comes to homegrown kitchen talent, it's not surprising that a handful of Denver stalwarts have nurtured a significant number of Denver chefs and restaurateurs. Starting on Wednesday, January 8, one of those incubators, Rioja (1431 Larimer Street) is kicking off a quartet of alumni dinners with prodigal daughters and sons returning to the Larimer Square roost. Carrie Baird (Top Chef, Bar Dough) joins forces with chef Jen Jasinski to re-create her favorite menu items from her time at the Spanish restaurant, including dishes she developed. The throwback feast begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $95 (exclusive of wine pairings) or $135 (inclusive); the remaining meals in the series welcome back Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class, Super Mega Bien), Merlin Verrier (Street Feud) and Jorel Pierce (TAG Restaurant Group). Reserve your seat and get details on future dinners on Rioja's website.

Saturday, January 11
Is it too early to start planning your New Year's resolutions? Not if yours is to eat more oatmeal. On Saturday, January 11, the City of Lafayette is holding its 24th annual oatmeal festival. That's right: In the realm of quirky agricultural festivals around Colorado, this one celebrates neither peaches nor Pueblo chiles, but porridge. A massive breakfast of 200 gallons of oatmeal with 100 different toppings, 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 oatmeal muffins will be served from 7:30 a.m. to noon, At 9:30 a.m., you can take to the streets in a 5K run (and walk, if you're not looking to exceed the speed of an ocean of oatmeal oozing down the course). Breakfast runs $8, or $20 with race registration; find out more on the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website.

Leon is serving up food, fancy and a fine mess on January 19.
Leon is serving up food, fancy and a fine mess on January 19.
bunny M

Sunday, January 19
Nonprofit art gallery Leon, 1112 East 17th Avenue, is combining the visual and the culinary arts on Sunday, January 19, with the launch of its Fine Mess Supper Club. From 5 to 8 p.m., an intimate group of just twenty lucky souls will be treated to a five-course meal from chefs Luke McDonald (Coohills) and Anthony Urbany (Devil's Food) in the gallery, where the current exhibition Beasts of Burden by street artist bunny M. will be the conversational catalyst. Tickets, $85, include tax and tip; visit Leon's Facebook page for details and info on future installments of the monthly series, then email ifoundleon@gmail.com or call 303-832-1599 to claim your spot.

Sunday, February 9
Accio pint glass! On Sunday, February 9, all you have to do is swish your wand about to summon good times and cheer at the generically named Wizard's Beer Festival (the wizarding world has become significantly more litigious, it seems). Diebolt Brewing Co., 3855 Mariposa Street, is the site of the shenanigans, with four two-hour sessions throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. There will be tarot card readers, DJs and wand-making classes; your $45 ticket will get you a welcome beer and tickets for five further potions. Just remember: You can't evanesco your hangover the next day. Pick up your tickets at Eventbrite before those sneaky Slytherins find a way to steal them all.

Thursday, March 12
A wealth of Denver's A-list restaurants are uniting under one roof on Thursday, March 12, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation at its annual feast, Great Chefs of the West. Starting at 6 p.m., Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, plays host to talent from Death & Co., Mercantile, the Bindery, American Elm, El Five, Woodie Fisher and over fifteen other restaurants and bars serving their most extravagant bites and beverages. And while tickets aren't cheap ($200, though you can save $20 by purchasing before January 6), you'd spend that much on Lyft rides alone trying to navigate from one from one end of town to another to hit up each and every eatery. Find out more about the event on the NKF website

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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