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The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

The 2018 National Western Stock Show Parade makes its way down 17th Street.EXPAND
The 2018 National Western Stock Show Parade makes its way down 17th Street.
Brandon Marshall
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Parades and pilsners — and one political appointee — are making appearances on Denver's food and drink scene this week. Here are five great events for the second week of 2019, with four more in the days ahead:

Stem is tapping a warm-weather cider in the depths of winter.EXPAND
Stem is tapping a warm-weather cider in the depths of winter.
Krista Kafer

Monday, January 7
Monday, January 7, marks the return of Stem Ciders' Firkin Mondays in 2019, and its first release of the year will whisk you away to warmer climes; the Raspberry Toasted Coconut cider will conjure tastes of sweet berries and tropical fruit when firkins are tapped at 2 p.m. at Stem Ciders, 2811 Walnut Street, and 3 p.m. at Acreage, 1380 Horizon Avenue in Lafayette. Those of you who yearn for summer the second the ball has dropped can get a bit of respite from the winter days with a few summery sips; visit the cidery's Facebook page for details.

Introducing igloo dining: for the diner who feels a room with four walls and a roof is passé.
Introducing igloo dining: for the diner who feels a room with four walls and a roof is passé.
Courtesy Mister Tuna Facebook

Tuesday, January 8
Troy Guard's lively RiNo restaurant, Mister Tuna, 3033 Brighton Boulevard, is known for its inventive cuisine, but this winter, it has created an equally unusual private dining space — in an igloo. The heated space will keep up to eight people toasty while dining under the stars, and you'll be able to order your favorites off the regular menu or up the ante with a four- or six-course menu (starting at $55 per person). Not sure what to opt for? You've already proven yourself game by donning your fur coat for dinner in the dome; let loose and enjoy an opulent feast. The igloo will be around through the end of March, but it's sure to book quickly, so don't delay. Call Daniel at 512-297-1236 to ensure your group gets a seat at the table.

Wednesday, January 9
The Notorious RBG: Has any other Supreme Court justice become such a beloved figure in popular culture? On Wednesday, January 9, you can spend the evening with Ruth Bader Ginsburg when Wild Women Wine, 1660 Champa Street, screens the eponymous documentary RBG. At 6:30 p.m., the lights go down and the brilliant, sassy octogenarian takes to the silver screen. Tickets, $20, are available at onsameside.com and include snacks, a wine flight and a full pour of your choice, plus action points for eliminating the gender wage gap. Can't make it this week? More screenings are scheduled for January 16 and 23.

Barbecue: the before picture.EXPAND
Barbecue: the before picture.
Brandon Marshall

Thursday, January 10
Like the return of swallows to Capistrano or the chorus of "There's no good barbecue in Denver!" from aggrieved Texas transplants whenever we write about smoked meat, the National Western Stock Show inevitably and eternally returns to Denver in January. And on Thursday, January 10, the kick-off parade and barbecue will take over downtown as a herd of Longhorns and the accompanying cowboys step off from Union Station (1701 Wynkoop Street) at noon and stampede down 17th Street to the Wells Fargo Center (1700 Lincoln Street), where you can compare the cattle's parading "before" to the "after" that ends up on your plate. The barbecue lunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and costs $11.

No sake, just beer at the Oriental this weekend.
No sake, just beer at the Oriental this weekend.
Bree Davies

Friday, January 11
This is just the second Friday of the year and we're already pimping a beer festival (though we're sure there's already been one or two we missed). Still, hitting your first fest of the year on Friday, January 11, isn't too shabby. The Northwest Beer (and Wine) Fest hits the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, from 8 to 11 p.m., when Denver Beer Co., Joyride Brewing Co., Briar Common Brewery and more will be pouring while a cover band cranks out retro tunes. Tickets are just $30 at theorientaltheater.com, or you can spring for the VIP option, $50, and get access at 7 p.m. plus a private tasting and brewer's talk from the folks at Woods Boss Brewing.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Saturday, January 26
You don't have to travel far and wide to be privy to interesting historic tidbits; Denver has plenty of them, and you'll hear more than a few on Atlas Obscura's Drinking History Tour. On Saturday, January 26, if you're a curious (and thirsty) historian, gather at 3:30 p.m. at the Buckhorn Exchange (which has the state's first liquor license), 1000 Osage Street, for a drink and the start of the three-hour tour (which won't be taken on S.S. Minnow, but on public transportation). Stops include Union Station and a third suprise location. Early-bird tickets are currently on sale at eventbrite.com for $25 ($30 regular price).

Il Porcellino owner Bill Miner breaking down a hog that might just show up in your meat CSA box.
Il Porcellino owner Bill Miner breaking down a hog that might just show up in your meat CSA box.
Courtesy Il Porcellino

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.

Learn to ham it up like a pro at Stir Cooking School.EXPAND
Learn to ham it up like a pro at Stir Cooking School.

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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