This week is starting off right, with a pair of cassoulets and some stiff drinks to keep you warm through the long, winter nights, and will end with a family reunion of the best kind (where everyone has fun cooking and no one gets kicked out into the snow). Here are five of the best food and drink events over the next several days, plus four more in the upcoming weeks.
Monday, January 28
There's nothing heartier on a winter night than a steaming helping of cassoulet — all the better if it's packed with duck and served at a great local brewery. On Monday, January 28, Call to Arms Brewing, 4526 Tennyson Street, is inviting Amy Hoyt of local condiment producer OO Mommie to dish up bowls of her duck confit cassoulet from 4 p.m. until sell-out. Hoyt makes her own confit, and all together, the recipe takes three days to complete; it will be served with bread from Raleigh Street Bakery and a pint from the brewery, all for just $13. Reservations aren't required, but you are requested to RSVP on the taproom's Facebook page, where you can also get a glimpse of the preparation of the classic French dish.
Tuesday, January 29
Boulder's West End Tavern, 926 Pearl Street, is closing out its Kentucky Whiskey Month with a grand hurrah on Tuesday, January 29: the Whiskey Smash Up. Starting at 6 p.m., the kitchen will be turning out five courses (including a green-onion biscuit topped with seared foie gras and satsuma marmelade, monkfish cassoulet, bourbon-praline babka and a peppered beef filet) paired with traditional Bluegrass State libations and their Colorado counterparts; after each course, guests will vote for their favorite dram, and the winning state takes home...well, nothing, but you'll definitely want to take a Lyft home. Tickets to the Colorado v. Kentucky showdown are $60; get them (and the full whiskey lineup) at Eventbrite.
Wednesday, January 30
Forget crockpots, cheese balls and a jug of Carlo Rossi — we have a progressive dinner for you that won't transport you back to 1977. On Wednesday, January 30, Den Corner (Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, 1487 and 1501 South Pearl Street) will be the site of a five-course progressive meal that will transport your tastebuds much farther than half a Denver city block. Start at Sushi Den with two sushi courses and sake pairings before continuing to Ototo, where you'll nibble on binchotan skewers of wagyu beef, foie gras, duck and unagi along with craft beer. The night winds down at Izakaya Den with dessert and an after-dinner drink, coffee or tea. At $350 per couple, tickets aren't cheap for this rare opportunity, but miraculously, as of this writing they're still available for both the 6 and 7:45 p.m. seating. And if you need some time to save your pennies, plan ahead for the next installment on Wednesday, February 20 (surely your honey won't mind delaying your Valentine's Day celebration a few more days once they see what's up your sleeve). Visit sushiden.net to score your seats.
Thursday, January 31
Make sure your Lyft or Uber app is up to date; you're going to need it on Thursday, January 31, when Old Major, 3316 Tejon Street, and Mythology Distillery team up for a craft-cocktail dinner at 6 p.m. The six-month-old distillery is packing its beautifully labeled bottles of whiskey, vodka, rum and gin over to the nearby restaurant, where five cocktails will be mixed to accompany Justin Brunson's four-course spread. Dinner will run you $80 — a steal in a town where you can easily spend $15 on a single cocktail. Reserve your spot by visiting Eventbrite.
Friday, February 1
Before chef Carrie Baird took over the kitchen at Bar Dough, she was on a little TV cooking competition. You may have heard of it: season fifteen of Top Chef, which was filmed in Denver in 2017. Now Baird will join fellow competitors Brother Luck (of Colorado Springs's Four by Brother Luck) and mustachioed top-three finalist Joe Sasto for a Top Chef alumni dinner at the restaurant, 2227 West 32nd Avenue, on Friday, February 1. The six-course menu and wine pairings will run you $130 ($90 without booze), or splurge on a seat in the eatery's private room, which includes a chance to chat with each chef, for $150. Expect Baird's signature fancy toast, two pasta courses from Sasto and dessert from Luck, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting victims of California's devastating Camp Fire. Call 720-668-8506 for your chance to channel Tom or Padma.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Tuesday, February 5, and Wednesday, February 6
Get ready for some Big Easy eating at Jax Fish House in February. Founder Dave Query and culinary director Sheila Lucero are bringing in New Orleans chef Ryan Prewitt for two five-course dinners, one at Jax in Boulder (928 Pearl Street) on February 5, and the second in LoDo (1539 17th Street) on February 6. Prewitt, director of operations for the Donald Link Restaurant Group, won a James Beard award for Best Chef South in 2014, and one of his restaurants, Pêche, won Best New Restaurant in America from the JBF the same year. These mark the first in a series of guest dinners with New Orleans friends of Query and Lucero's coming to Jax to cook. The five-course dinners are $85 each ($125 with wine pairings); reservations can be made by calling the Boulder Jax at 303-444-1811 or the LoDo Jax at 303-292-5767.
Friday, February 8
Whether you use macaroni, rigatoni, penne, farfalle, fusilli, orecchiette, cavatappi or cavatelli — or cheddar, Gouda, provolone, mascarpone, Monterey Jack, muenster or mozzarella — there's really no wrong way to construct mac and cheese. On Friday, February 8, you can sample more than fifteen creamy, crusty and cheesy creations from local restaurants at the Denver Mac & Cheese Festival, which runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 3560 Chestnut Place. Tickets start at $59 (which includes unlimited mac and wine, beer and spirit samples) and top out at $109 (5:30 p.m. entry, a T-shirt, unlimited mac and an open bar). The most intriguing part of this fest? The commemorative spork that comes with each ticket purchase. We're a fan of commemorative flatware: It takes up less space than beer glasses, and if you're resourceful enough, you can scrounge up a full set for next Thanksgiving. Ensure your entry to the extravaganza by snagging tickets on Eventbrite.
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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 are up on the Visit Denver site; be sure you book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table. Find out more here.
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.
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