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The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

These sweet potato tots are tater free at Fire on the Mountain.
These sweet potato tots are tater free at Fire on the Mountain.
Linnea Covington

We enter this week on the heels of gray skies and a ceaseless snow. In other words, it's winter. Warm up with booze, booze and more booze this week. Whether you call it liquor, firewater, hooch, rotgut, moonshine, sauce or John Barleycorn, enjoy some liquid courage at one of these events from Monday, January 22, through Friday, January 25. (Oh, and we included some food events in there, too.)

Monday, January 22
Friendly competition never hurt anyone, unless two renowned bars are vying for bragging rights and you're the beneficiary of their best work on a school night — and the recipient of a wicked hangover. That's the case on Monday, January 22, when Williams & Graham (3160 Tejon Street) and Occidental (1950 West 32nd Avenue) will host Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Room and Miami's Sweet Liberty for a battle royale of beverages. Just show up at 7 p.m. (neither space is taking reservations) for the bar takeovers — menu, drinks, music and all. Details are up at Williams & Graham's Facebook page. Try one or both bars; just make sure you come thirsty (and prepared to call in sick tomorrow).

It's still not too late to celebrate the new year, at least as far as industry folks are concerned. Professional bar staff who have mixed the last Long Island Iced Tea and poured out the last drop of Jäger for all those "holiday" office parties that get pushed into January can give themselves a break and enjoy the Colorado Bartenders' Guild Holiday Hangover on Monday, January 22. Members of the Guild get in for free, but everyone else — not just restaurant and bar employees — is welcome to buy tickets for $20. There will be samples of more than thirty beer, wine and spirits options at the Rackhouse Pub, 2875 Blake Street, from 6 to 10 p.m., as well as music, cocktails and a raffle. Find out more and get tickets on Facebook or at nightout.com.

A basket of sweet-potato tots from Fire on the Mountain.EXPAND
A basket of sweet-potato tots from Fire on the Mountain.
Linnea Covington

Tuesday, January 23
Tuesday night is the night you always go out for a Frisbee of french fries and deep-fried Nutter Butters for dessert, right? We thought so. On Tuesday, January 23, choose Fire on the Mountain, 3801 West 32nd Avenue, for your fried-food needs (it's one of a plethora of Denver eateries offering these delicacies), as 10 percent of the day's sales will be donated to Share Our Strength. The joint is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. — plenty of time to work your way through the extensive battered menu. Find out more on Fire on the Mountain's Facebook page.

Hang out with Denver's favorite cougar at the Nuggets Social.
Hang out with Denver's favorite cougar at the Nuggets Social.
Westword file photo

Wednesday, January 24
As of this writing, the Denver Nuggets' season is less than stellar, with a record of 23-23. On Wednesday, January 24, you can do better than .500 at Punch Bowl Social's Nuggets Social. From 6 to 9 p.m., you can mingle with Nuggets players, coaches, dancers and — most important — super-mascot Rocky while enjoying food, drinks and plenty of games. With PBS's penchant for turning out tasty food and beverages, you'll come out a winner, even if you throw gutter balls. The fun happens at 65 Broadway; get your tickets ($150, which benefits Kroenke Sports Charities) at axs.com.

Thursday, January 25
Host Padma Lakshmi might be the most recognizable face on Bravo's Top Chef, but we think Gail Simmons has the better job — she gets to eat (and judge) the food in a no-nonsense manner without having to deliver awkward sexual innuendo. After fifteen seasons on the show, Simmons recently penned Bringing It Home: Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating, and will be hosting a dinner at Frasca on Thursday, January 25, that showcases recipes from the cookbook. Diners will get a five-course dinner with wine pairings and an autographed copy of Bringing It Home for $160 (a veritable bargain at the Boulder restaurant); seatings start at 5 p.m. Call Frasca, 1738 Pearl Street, at 303-442-6966 to reserve your seat for a dinner with true foodie royalty.

Think beef is bland? Fatigued by fowl? Consider serving lamb at your next party. The underutilized protein is the star of the show at the CeLAMBrate Workshop on Thursday, January 25. From 6 to 8 p.m., Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street, will host the party-planning workshop, with party tips, cooking demos (lamb pita toasts and Turkish lamb sliders with labneh), charcuterie and cheese (sheep's milk, of course), and plenty of drinks to get those creative juices flowing. The best part of this party? You'll actually leave with a practical party favor: a pound of lamb, plus spices and recipes to whet your and your guests' appetites. Get your tickets, $35, at American Lamb's website.

Interstate Kitchen & Bar, 1001 Santa Fe Drive, will also spend the evening of Thursday, January 25, cooking up some less-common proteins and pairing them with whiskey for its Whiskey Supper and Social. Woodford Reserve whiskey will be the drink of choice for the dinner, which starts at 6:30 p.m. You can also expect rabbit pot pie, smoked duck breast, barramundi in a pistachio crust and harissa lamb to grace your plate. Dinner will run you $55 per person, and reservations are required; call 720-479-8829 to secure yours.

It's important to stay hydrated, even in winter.EXPAND
It's important to stay hydrated, even in winter.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, January 26
To paraphrase the USPS: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor month of the year nor day of the week stays beer drinkers from the swift completion of their appointed pint. No matter the time of year, there's a beer fest happening somewhere in Colorado. On Friday, January 26, and Saturday, January 27, it's the Denver Winter Brew Fest. Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue, hosts the bacchanal, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. each day, with more than forty breweries in attendance. To plan your weekend, visit denverbrewfest.com for each day's participating brewers, then get your ticket, $40, at eventbrite.com (a VIP ticket for $50 will get you in at 6 p.m.). Now, get out there and do your duty!

Chinese calligraphers will be on hand at the Chinese New Year Celebration in February.
Chinese calligraphers will be on hand at the Chinese New Year Celebration in February.
Courtesy of Nathan Yip Foundation

Friday, February 9
Lunar New Year isn't until February 16, but why wait to celebrate the Year of the Dog (obviously the best year)? The Nathan Yip Foundation, which funds educational projects for children in rural Colorado and China, is putting on the dog at the biggest Chinese New Year bash in town on Friday, February 9. From 6 to 11 p.m., three floors of the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, will be transformed into a Chinese night market; from the traditional (lion dancers, calligraphers, fortunetellers) to the modern (silent disco, karaoke), revelers will be treated to pawsome entertainment while wining and dining at mastiff food stations and enjoying the open bar(k).  Tickets are $100 for those under 35 (called "young professionals" tickets) and $225 for everyone else; fetch yours at nathanyipfoundation.org and get ready to party your tail off.

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Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19
THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT. If you love cured meats — and we mean really, really love cured meats — you know who Brian Polcyn is. The George Clooney of salumi, James Beard Award nominee and author of Charcuterie and Salumi  is coming to Denver on Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19, to teach a two-day charcuterie and whole-animal butchery course. The class will be held at Il Porcellino, 4334 West 41st Avenue, starting at 9 a.m. both days. And while this course isn't for the casual learner (Polcyn will cover topics like European vs. American butchery and how to purchase and break down whole animals and still turn a profit) or the squeamish (a whole pig will be used for demonstration), it's a unique opportunity for chefs and serious hobbyists. See Polcyn's Facebook page for more details.

CineCHEF: The only part of the Boulder International Film Festival that comes with pork belly.EXPAND
CineCHEF: The only part of the Boulder International Film Festival that comes with pork belly.
Mark Antonation

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 23, 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 $5 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.

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

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