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The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

You can replicate Pizzeria Locale's pies in your own kitchen.
You can replicate Pizzeria Locale's pies in your own kitchen. Mark Antonation
Word on the street is that there's a holiday honoring the patron saint of epilepsy coming up next week (on February 14), but there are plenty of interesting celebrations this weekend, too. You can start your morning with free breakfast for International Bike to Work Day at the Webb building, among other spots; find the full schedule on the Winter Bike to Work site. To find out how to honor National Pizza Day, Chinese New Year and Carnival, just keep reading.

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McNichols Building will host the largest Chinese New Year celebration in Denver on February 9.
Courtesy of Nathan Yip Foundation
Friday, February 9
Rather than observe National Pizza Day on Friday, February 9, with a trip to any old pizza joint, try your hand at making your own. Both Denver outposts of Pizzeria Locale (550 Broadway and 3484 West 32nd Avenue) are offering dough-making classes from 10 to 11:30 a.m., where you'll learn to form pizza dough to achieve the perfect chewy, bubbly base for all your toppings. Tickets are $25 for expert instruction, lunch — including dessert and wine or beer — and two dough balls to cook up at home; we promise even the most inexperienced cooks will be able to craft a pie far better than that Totino's Party Pizza nestled in the back of your freezer.  Email [email protected] to reserve your spot.

Everyone's favorite nostalgic college pizza, Blackjack, is also getting in on National Pizza Day. A staple of night owls and bargain hunters since 1983, the Denver original completed a renovation of its flagship store at 3023 Walnut Street in Boulder (with a design that will be carried throughout the company's other locations) and is celebrating by offering a one-topping square pan pie for $5.99 if you use the promo code PRPAN. The deal is good through March 31, 2018. Call 303-442-6677 or stop in the snazzy new pizzeria (which boasts a CU logo on the floor and a window where you can watch your pizza being made) to get yours.

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.

Saturday, February 10
What happens when you combine a decades-old cliché (chocolates for Valentine's Day) with two very specific modern food trends (pop-ups and artisan everything)? You get events like the Craft Cacao and Chocolate Pop-Up on Saturday, February 10, and Sunday, February 11. The Source, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, will gather six Colorado producers under one roof, where you'll be able to procure highly artistic, environmentally conscious and thoughtfully described truffles, chocolate spreads, cacoa nibs, drinking chocolate, white chocolate and even single-origin brownies. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day; afterward, check out RiNo Yacht Club's chocolate pairings to take away the sting of having spent $22 on six sweets (yet another food trend being thrown into the mix). Visit the Source's Facebook page for a complete list of vendors.

Rio de Janeiro's Carnival may be the most famous, but the pre-Lent party is celebrated throughout Latin America. Maria Empanada, 1298 South Broadway, purveyor of flaky Argentine pastries, is kicking off its own celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 10. Samba dancers in full-feathered regalia will be shimmying up a storm, and dance instructors will lead a free lesson, after which you can put your newfound moves to the test on the open dance floor. Feeling shy? Loosen up before dancing with the most charming wine vessel in all of the Americas: the pingüino. Find out more on the event Facebook page.


Sunday, February 11

Valentine's Day may be the most exclusionary of holidays, but bar crawls discriminate against no one (except those under 21): All are welcome at the Galentine's Day Brunch Crawl taking place on Sunday, February 11. While the event is nominally about brunch, we're not sure what kind of bites you're going to be getting in boutiques and bars, and it appears the only food on the menu will be coffee and mini-muffins when you check in at the Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, at 11 a.m. But there will be plenty of drink specials and store discounts as you wend your way to Epic Brewing Co., Starlet Clothing & Accessories, Gerard's Pool Hall, The Matchbox and Stem Ciders. Details about the crawl and tickets, $20, are up at itsaonesiefullife.com.

Watching seniors party is good fun, and on Sunday, February 11, a bunch of your grandparents' favorite things (soup, bingo, the local VFW, cheap drinks and early dinner) combine to make Bingo Ramen. Ramen aficionado and whiskey maker Jake Norris will be cooking up the noodle bowls at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2461, 1350 South Broadway; meanwhile, guests will be able to play a couple of rounds of bingo and enjoy $1 beer and $2.50 cocktails from the canteen (drink up, because bar proceeds benefit the VFW). The first of three seatings starts at 4 p.m. — perfect for those who expect to be in their robe and slippers by eight . Find out more and get your tickets, $22, at Ramen Mafia's Facebook page.

Keep reading for more culinary events beyond the weekend...
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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation