Lists

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

This little oinker could not be more excited to ring in the Year of the Pig.
This little oinker could not be more excited to ring in the Year of the Pig. Mark Antonation
There's no doubt about it: February (not April, Mr. Eliot!) is the cruelest month. It's frigid. It's dark. It's icy. There's Valentine's Day. Football is over (unless you want to root for the upstart Rams or the loathsome Patriots). At least this month's food and drink calendar gets off to a strong start, with a trio of month-long specials followed by colorful and tasty celebrations. Here are seven great food and drink events this weekend, plus more in the upcoming weeks.

click to enlarge The Piri Piri Pavo, coming to Blackbelly from Chicago for one month. - COURTESY BLACKBELLY
The Piri Piri Pavo, coming to Blackbelly from Chicago for one month.
Courtesy Blackbelly
Friday, February 1
It's an early-February tradition that rivals Groundhog Day in importance and is definitely more satisfying. Because no matter what a buck-toothed rodent from back east says, Front Range beer lovers know that Friday, February 1, heralds the return of Stout Month. For the next 28 days, all five Mountain Sun locations (Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse, Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, Southern Sun Pub and Brewery, Under the Sun Eatery and Pizzeria, and Vine Street Pub and Brewery) will be pouring nearly seventy different inky ales; 35 of Mountain Sun's own brews will rotate through the taps, as well as 33 other offerings, mostly from Colorado outfits. Take a look at mountainsunpub.com for a (mostly) complete list of stouts, some of which have names almost as long as this entire write-up (we're looking at you, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Oatimus Prime Imperial Oatmeal Stout).

Boulder's Blackbelly Butcher, 1606 Conestoga Street, is teaming up with Chicago's Publican Quality Meats for a swap meat. The Windy City deli is partnering with joints all around the country to swap sandwiches for a month, and for the entire month of February, Blackbelly will be offering Publican's Piri Piri Pavo, a turkey sandwich with a punchy piri piri sauce packed with garlic and chiles, avocado, sprouts and sunflower aillade (a French condiment generally made up of ground nuts and herbs). And if you're in Chicago any time during the month, make a visit to Publican, where you can snatch up Blackbelly's Pork Belly PB&J, which makes only occasional appearances on the Boulder sandwich board.

While Denver isn't in the grip of a polar vortex, we're still in the depths of winter — and that means short days, icy roads and a long, long slog until spring returns. All of that adds up to the need for some stiff drinks, which is why Breckenridge Brewery and Lyft are teaming up for Free Ride February. Starting February 1, discount codes up to $10 will be released every Friday at breckbrew.com; you'll be able to use the codes on any Lyft to select bars across the metro area, including the British Bulldog, Icehouse Tavern, the Midwestern Saloon, Don's Club Tavern and the College Inn. The promotion is capped at 1,000 codes per week, so be sure to claim yours early.


Diners in the western suburbs — and anyone who loves a good deal — will want to take advantage of Golden's Winter Lights, Winter Nights promotion that runs from Friday, February 1, through Sunday, February 10. During the smaller, more charming and much less cutthroat version of Denver Restaurant Week, more than fifteen bars and eateries are offering food and drink specials with mention of the event. Get half off any flight at Colorado Plus Cidery & Pub before heading to Abejas for a braised-short rib entree and glass of red wine for $30; the next night, get two-for-one cocktails all evening at State 38 Distilling. In addition, theaters and museums around town are offering discounts and free admission as well; find all the details on Visit Golden's website.

click to enlarge Roasted butternut squash with dates, pistachios and feta and cilantro appears on Root Down's tenth-anniversary menu. - COURTESY ROOT DOWN
Roasted butternut squash with dates, pistachios and feta and cilantro appears on Root Down's tenth-anniversary menu.
Courtesy Root Down
Root Down: the gas station-turned-restaurant that launched a thousand Denver hot spots. It's hard to believe it's been around for ten years; we remember the deafening buzz about the food, the decor and the views like it was yesterday. But a decade on, Justin Cucci's first restaurant, at 1600 West 33rd Avenue, is still going strong, and from Friday, February 1, through Sunday, February 3, the joint is offering a three-course, prix fixe menu of its greatest hits for just $35. Beet flan with fennel and watercress; Moroccan chicken with preserved lemon, coriander, olives and tangerines; croissant bread pudding sided with sour cream ice cream and whiskey butter; and the famed (some would say infamous) winter veggie and tofu pot pie will all be making appearances. Visit the restaurant's Facebook page for the full menu, then make your reservation at rootdowndenver.com — because even after all these years, it can be tough to snag a table.

click to enlarge Lion dancers are part of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration. - MILES CHRISINGER
Lion dancers are part of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration.
Miles Chrisinger
Saturday, February 2
Chinese (or lunar) New Year falls on February 5 this year, when the Year of the Pig will be ushered in. And while we're sad to see the Year of the Dog go (who can resist twelve months devoted to a wagging tail?), tradition has it that porkers' chubby faces and big ears are signs of wealth. And on Saturday, February 2, you can retain some of your hard-earned wealth while you celebrate the ascendancy of swine at the free Colorado Chinese New Year Celebration. From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a cultural fair, market and food stalls will take over Citypoint Church at 200 South University Boulevard; visitors will experience traditional Chinese music, art, costumes and calligraphy as well as nosh on New Year snacks; we're hoping for malt candy, dumplings and rice cakes to ring in the Year of the Pig. Those willing to part with some of their cash can stick around for the Celebration Show from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; acrobats, dancers (folk, modern and lion), musicians and martial artists will perform. Visit denverchineseschool.org to purchase tickets ($25 or $50) and to see some truly spectacular pictures from previous celebrations.

click to enlarge Join bikers, broads and broilers at the Piper Inn for Super Bowl 53. - WESTWORD FILE PHOTO
Join bikers, broads and broilers at the Piper Inn for Super Bowl 53.
Westword file photo
Sunday, February 3
February 3 is Super Bowl Sunday, and while the prospect of watching the big game barely elicits any emotion other than ennui from us (New England rides again — snooze), there are more watch parties around town than there are NFL team owners colluding against Colin Kaepernick. Two that caught our eye? The Tavern Downtown, 1949 Market Street, is offering a proposition both enticing and frankly terrifying from 3:30 p.m. until a half-hour after the game ends: Settle in to watch on one of sixty TVs with all-you-can-eat sliders, chili, wings, wieners, pizza and pasta, plus bottomless Bud and Bud Light for $35. Get your tickets at the TicketFly website. Meanwhile, Aurora's favorite biker bar/wing house/Chinese restaurant, the Piper Inn, 2251 South Parker Road, is offering an endless wing and egg roll buffet for just $18 from 4 to 8 p.m. with the purchase of any drink (including non-alcoholic ones); find the details on the bar's Facebook page. And finally, if you just can't bear to participate in pigskin this year, visit Spangalang Brewery, 2736 Welton Street, from 3 to 8 p.m. The taproom is sans television, but there will be super bowls of Cajun food, thanks to customers' potluck contributions. So rustle up a gumbo recipe and break out the hot sauce; more info is up on the brewery's Facebook page.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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