The week is packed with toys, tea, Turkish food and tacos, so take time to treat yourself to tantalizing tastes of all kinds this week — and then celebrate Friday by getting totally trashed. Here are the six best events on the culinary calendar through December 15, as well as more to plan for in the weeks ahead.
Monday, December 11
Monday is usually a slow restaurant night, and Denver goes to bed notoriously early, but you should stay up late on Monday, December 11, for Steuben's holiday Toy Drive from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Visit the eatery at 523 East 17th Avenue bearing an unwrapped toy valued at $10, and your first cocktail of the evening is free. Even better, drinks for the rest of the night are just $5. The toys and proceeds will go to children and families living in Denver Housing Authority properties. DJ Jack Burton, a photo booth, guest bartenders from Ace and Vesta and snacks will be on hand to keep the drive alive. Visit Steuben's Facebook page for more details about the event.
Tuesday, December 12
R Bazaar's second market day is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, and you'll want to visit the pop-up market at The Spring Cafe, 1373 Grant Street, from 4 to 8 p.m. It's a triple whammy: You can pick up some artisan Christmas gifts for your "nice" list (art from Adri Norris of Afro Triangle, jewelry from Or Jewelry Atelier and knits from Broadwick Fibers, to start with); support Denver's refugee community; and give yourself the gift of delicious food, with Zamzam's pillowy Iraqi flatbread, Burmese bites from Zin Zin, the Turkish Chef on Wheels food truck (the only Turkish food available in Denver) and more to keep your strength up for holiday shopping. Find out more about R Bazaar and see the complete list of vendors at R Bazaar's website.
Space: the final frontier, where no yeast has gone before. On Tuesday, December 12, beer geeks and plain old geeks (there might be some overlap) can converge at BarFly, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, for the bar's Ninkasi Ground Control Tasting Party. The 7 p.m. event combines two fandoms traditionally dominated by bearded men — beer and outer space — by serving 2015, 2016 and 2017 versions of Ground Control, an imperial stout crafted with brewer's yeast that was shot 77 miles into Earth's atmosphere and returned to the planet before continuing its life as a delicious beverage. So you're not a bearded man (or a man at all) — no worries; stouts definitely aren't as dude-ish a drink as they used to be. Geeks of all genders are welcome to join the party (and no one has to don a Princess Leia-style gold bikini to get in).
Wednesday, December 13
There's something about Christmastime that makes otherwise sensible Americans want to put on their white gloves and sit in uncomfortably hard chairs while nibbling crustless sandwiches and sipping tea (we're Yanks, y'all; we dumped that tea into the ocean and switched to coffee 244 years ago). But if you're somehow overtaken by the Old World urge this time of year, consider Castle Marne's Holiday Tour and Teatime. The Denver Architectural Foundation is leading a tour of the late nineteenth-century inn starting at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13, with tea and treats to follow at 5 p.m. Tickets, $30, are available at eventbrite.com. Get yours and take a step back in time to the days when a combo of Wonder Bread, cucumber and butter was considered a meal.
Thursday, December 14
People who love their slow cookers really, really love them. Their zealotry approaches that of Yankees fans, native Chicagoans and militant vegans. Good news, crock pot proselytizers: Sardonic Southern chef, James Beard Award winner and Top Chef alum Hugh Acheson is on your side. He's rolling through town on Thursday, December 14, promoting his new cookbook, The Chef and the Slow Cooker. From noon to 2 p.m., Acheson will be preparing a beer-braised-taco recipe from his tome at Punch Bowl Social, 65 Broadway. The demo and Q & A are free, and tacos and signed cookbooks will be available for sale. After the demo? No need to rush home: You can sit a spell and play some games, secure in the knowledge that your dinner will be waiting for you (in a crock pot, of course) whenever you get home.
Friday, December 15
Go bar-hopping for a cause bigger than yourself (or your ugly holiday sweater) with the Twelve Bars of Charity on Friday, December 15. The massive crawl has mapped out twelve LoDo bars with half-price specials from 8 p.m. to midnight to benefit six local charities: Denver Dumb Friends League, Make-A-Wish Colorado, Epic Experience, Brent's Place, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado and Food Bank of the Rockies. Buy your $30 ticket at eventbrite.com, and $10 of the cost will go directly to the charity of your choice; you'll get a sweatshirt to keep you toasty warm on the crawl (as if the booze won't do that) and free shuttle transportation between bars. Check-in starts at 6 p.m. at ViewHouse Ballpark, 2015 Market Street; see 12barsofcharity.com for a complete list of participating establishments and information on each of the charities.
Keep reading for a few more future food and drink events.
Saturday, December 16
Put up the aluminum pole, brace yourself for the Airing of Grievances, and start training for the Feats of Strength — it's Festivus! And while traditional Festivus dinners involve covertly sipping from a flask while those around you look on soberly and disapprovingly, Denver Beer Festivus gives you the opportunity to celebrate the season with like-minded lushes. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, join your real tribe at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard. Tickets will run you $40 to $65 and are already on sale at denverbeerfestivus.com. ’Tis the season!
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Friday, February 23
Gentle readers who still get bent out of shape that Westword covers Boulder as well as Denver: CineCHEF 2018 is the event for you. The event's fourth iteration happens on Friday, February 28, 2018, at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street in Boulder, when Boulder chefs face off against Denver chefs to prove who can create the tastiest, most creative bite based on a beloved film. Last year's roster included Daniel Asher of River and Woods serving smoked scallops, ceviche and Peruvian chile in an homage to Up in Smoke, and Steven Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth tapping Mia Wallace to hand out miniature burgers and a $14 shake à la Pulp Fiction. Tickets, $95, are on sale now at ticketfly.com and include admission to the film Michelin Stars: Tales From the Kitchen. So, gentle readers, etc., purchase your tickets and start planning the long and dangerous trip up to The Town That Totally Isn't Part of Denver to support your hometown heroes as they compete in hostile territory.
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