Seamus Feeley and Justin Brunson go head to head this week. The field? French dips.EXPAND
Seamus Feeley and Justin Brunson go head to head this week. The field? French dips.
Linnea Covington

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The Stock Show has arrived, but horses and cows aren't the only wildlife in town: This week's culinary calendar includes monkeys, ponies, dogs and marmots. Keep reading for seven savory events over the next five days, plus more in the weeks to come.

Scenes from last year's Service Industry Survivors Ball.EXPAND
Scenes from last year's Service Industry Survivors Ball.
Kenneth Hamblin III

Monday, January 14
So, service industry peeps, you've made it through the holidays, braving not only your own difficult family, but everyone else's, as well — plus flaky co-workers, shitty hours and horrible bosses. You deserve a treat. On Monday, January 14, hit up the Monkey Barrel, 4401 Tejon Street, for its Service Industry Survivors Ball. Doors open at 7 p.m., with music from ’90s cover band Star 69 as well as giveaways and drink specials all night long. Details are on the bar's Facebook page, so get your shift covered and get out there for some well-deserved fun.

This regal French bulldog might decide the tiebreaker at Pony Up's French dip faceoff.EXPAND
This regal French bulldog might decide the tiebreaker at Pony Up's French dip faceoff.
Mark Antonation

Tuesday, January 15
Pony Up, 1808 Blake Street, is one of our favorite new bars in Denver, thanks in part to the quintet of French dip sandwiches on the menu that run the gamut from traditional to Vietnamese-style to a taste of the Windy City. Not content to rest on its laurels, the joint has invited chef Justin Brunson (of Masterpiece Delicatessen and Old Major) to try and beat the house at 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, with his own sandwich creation. Opt for Brunson's version or owner Seamus Feeley's take; the highest-selling sammie wins the day. Our call? We'll take one of each — and then another one of our favorite, because (unlike French people) you can never have too many French dips. Find out more on the bar's Facebook page.

You can get this crème brûlée as part of Julep's prix fixe deal right now.EXPAND
You can get this crème brûlée as part of Julep's prix fixe deal right now.
Alana Watkins

Wednesday, January 16
Comal Heritage Food Incubator's next Impact Dinner is a first for the nonprofit restaurant: While the monthly meals are often cooked by local restaurateurs or program participants from Mexico and Syria, this month's meal, on Wednesday, January 16, is the first to feature an Ethiopian menu. Building on the Ethiopian coffee service and lunch she serves on Thursdays at the eatery, 3455 Ringsby Court, chef Sara Gebre is taking to the kitchen at 6 p.m. to prepare a full feast of sambusas, pasti (a savory fried dough appetizer), mead, berbere chicken stew,  siga alicha (beef stew seasoned with turmeric), injera with all the accompaniments, and, of course, coffee service — and carrot cake! — after the meal. Tickets, $75 to $100, are on sale now at eventbrite.com and include cocktail and wine pairings, tax and tip.

If you're looking for a homey, inexpensive night out for regular weeknight dining, consider Julep's new prix fixe deal on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Starting Wednesday, January 16, guests can opt for one course each from the snacks, shared plates and dessert menu for just $30. Dinner service at the RiNo restaurant, 3258 Larimer Street, starts at 5 p.m. nightly.

The Wolf's Tailor knows a thing or two about housemade noodles, and they'll have an expert in the house this weekend.EXPAND
The Wolf's Tailor knows a thing or two about housemade noodles, and they'll have an expert in the house this weekend.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, January 17
Sonoko Sakai has worn many hats in her life: film producer, food writer (her third cookbook, Japanese Home Cooking: Authentic Recipes for the Everyday Cook, will be on shelves in late 2019), cultural ambassador and noodle maker are just a start. She's currently in Colorado for the University of Colorado's Grain School, and has teamed up with equally grain-obsessed chef Kelly Whitaker for a pair of events at his eateries around town. On Thursday, January 17, Sakai is teaching a soba noodle-making workshop using Japanese buckwheat flour and Whitaker's own house-milled grains; the class runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at 3601 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder and costs $125 on Basta's website. If buckwheat isn't your bag, head to the Wolf's Tailor, 4058 Tejon Street, on Sunday, January 20, for a three-course ramen dinner that includes beverage pairings. Seatings are available for $55 starting at 4:30 p.m.; book yours on the restaurant's website.

"Building community through food" is one of those phrases that can seem meaningless or even insufferable, especially when the only "community" that appears to exist is you, the other person at your two-top, and the harried server who rushes through the specials and then disappears for hours. But Citizen Rail, 1899 16th Street, is hoping to bridge the gap between kitchen and customer with its Chef Cooking Club. From 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 17 (and continuing on the third Thursday of every month), a local guest chef will be in the house to create three bites (for $9 each) reflecting his or her restaurant's style, then join guests in the bar for casual conversation. This month's chef is Justin Brunson (see above), fresh off his victory (or defeat!) at Pony Up; future chefs include Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Lon Symensma (ChoLon, Cho77, LeRoux). Visit Citizen Rail's Facebook page to keep up to date on the series.

Friday, January 18
What kind of a monster — nay, nihilist — would tread upon hundreds of years of brewing tradition and create an imperial blond stout with cacao nibs and coffee beans? Obviously, someone who cares nothing for the laws of nature or of man, who has no values or loyalties, who simply wants to watch the world burn — or someone who's just a fan of The Big Lebowski. While we can't vouch for the ideological leanings of the brewers at Gunbarrel Brewing Company, it appears they are fans of the Coen brothers classic, as the taproom at 7088 Winchester Circle in Boulder is screening the film on Friday, January 18, to coincide with the release of the Nihilist Stout. The movie, $5 at eventbrite.com, starts at 7 p.m., with doors at 6 p.m. so you can indulge in this Caucasian-style beer before the bowling balls start rolling. Can't make the Friday show? There will be an encore performance on Saturday, as well. And upon further reflection, we've decided the brewery isn't run by true nihilists; if it was, that brew would be a Belgian imperial blond rye session pastry stout.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

This vibrant emerald potato nettle soup with a slice of roasted porchetta was on the Bindery's spring menu.EXPAND
This vibrant emerald potato nettle soup with a slice of roasted porchetta was on the Bindery's spring menu.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, January 24
It's a few weeks until Valentine's Day, but do yourself (and your bae or bestie) a favor by planning ahead — way ahead — and booking a seat at The Bindery's His & Hers dinner on Thursday, January 24. The "his" (chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy of the late, great Rebel Restaurant) and "her" (Linda Hampsten Fox, chef/owner of the Bindery, 1817 Central Street) are each taking on the same ingredients for seven courses, resulting in an epic fourteen-dish spread that's sure to capture the straight-up weirdness of Rebel, the refined creativity of the Bindery, and the magic that happens when the trio takes to the kitchen. Dinner runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets ($109 on eventbrite.com) include one cocktail, tax and tip.

Il Porcellino Salumi is offering meat CSA boxes in 2019; the deadline to order is coming up.EXPAND
Il Porcellino Salumi is offering meat CSA boxes in 2019; the deadline to order is coming up.
Courtesy Il Porcellino Salumi

Sunday, January 27
Il Porcellino Salumi, 4334 West 41st Avenue, expanded dramatically this year with the addition of a production facility in Basalt, and with its increased capacity, it's also bringing a slew of new products to market. One of those is the meat CSA the Berkeley shop is debuting in 2019. Just think of a typical summer produce CSA, but for carnivores. Each box comes with the makings for two meals for two people, such as polenta, shredded beef in chile sauce and a half-chicken marinated in white wine, butter and garlic. The program will run from January through March, with four boxes each month; customers for February (the first month of the CSA) must order by Sunday, January 27, and can pick up their goodies at the shop each Sunday, beginning February 3. A one-month commitment ($200) is required, so call 303-477-3206 to sign up, then say goodbye to hitting the grocery store and fretting about recalled ground beef for the next thirty days.

Friday, February 22, through Sunday, March 3
Denver Restaurant Week is coming, so clear your calendar from February 22 through March 3; you'll want to visit a different eatery every day. Hundreds of Denver’s top restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for three tasty prices ($25, $35 or $45) during the fifteenth year of the wildly popular week. Participating restaurants and menus will be up on Visit Denver on January 23; be sure you book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table.

Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.

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

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