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The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Get growing in the city with help from Dirt! workshops.
Get growing in the city with help from Dirt! workshops.
Laura Shunk
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Although today is officially National Fast Food Day (did you know Denver was the fast-casual capital?), this weekend is all about self-sufficiency. With opportunities to learn how to grow your own veggies, mix your own cocktails and whip up an impressively boozy brunch, you'll be the DIY doyen of your social circle. By Monday, you might even feel like an actual adult. Here are six of the best food and drinks events from Friday, November 16, through Sunday, November 18, plus more in the months ahead.

Friday, November 16
Vegan caterer Scam Likely's last pop-up dinner at La Fillette, 4416 East Eighth Avenue, sold out quickly, so the company decided to repeat the event on Friday, November 16. Per the Baby's So Vain Facebook page, this four-course, $35 meal is good for anyone who likes sunshine and puppies (although cat people are welcome, too), but chef Spencer Caine's creations appear to be selling like hotcakes regardless of your preference of domesticated animals. Reservations for the 5:30 p.m. meal are a must; call or text 347-205-0440 or email sam@babyssovain.com to make yours. NOTE: This event is currently sold out; call or text to be added to the wait list.

Plant the Seed Project kicks off Dirt!, two days of free urban-farming education on Friday, November 16, at the People's Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Platt Park Brewing Co. is sponsoring a happy hour at 6 p.m. that includes a silent auction and art exhibit; at 7 p.m., our favorite local barbecue judge and author, Adrian Miller, will host a screening of Can You Dig This, a documentary chronicling the experiences of five south Los Angeles residents as they plant and tend gardens — sometimes clashing with police and the city while trying to grow their own food. On Saturday, seven workshops run from 1 to 4:30 p.m., covering seed saving, mushroom cultivation and garden planning, among other things. All events are free and open to the public; find out more on the event's Facebook page.

It's fall, and bars can finally start serving beer that'll put hair on your chest.
It's fall, and bars can finally start serving beer that'll put hair on your chest.
Courtesy Wynkoop Brewing Co. Facebook

Saturday, November 17
The arrival of the holiday season is great news for beer drinkers who are sick and tired of the pilsners and pale ales that are ubiquitous during the summer months. Finally, we can find a brew that isn't overly fizzy or fruity, one that actually tastes like something other than hop-flavored soda. In that spirit, Wynkoop Brewing Co., 1634 18th Street, is hosting its annual Day of Darks (not to be confused with the Day of Dorks, which occurs each spring) on Saturday, November 17, from noon to 4 p.m. For $35, drinkers with good taste will get a commemorative glass, chocolates and dark, moody beer from thirty local brewers, including Epic, Little Machine, Ratio and Westbound & Down. Get your ticket and find a complete list of participating breweries on Eventbrite.

Amaro is having a moment, with restaurants around town embracing the bitter Italian liqueur or even making house versions. On Saturday, November 17, Coperta, 400 East 20th Avenue, is bringing amaro to the masses with its Amaro: The Bitter Truth cocktail class. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., attendees will nosh on bites from chef Paul C. Reilly while tasting a selection of amari and learning how to use it to enhance the flavor of mixed drinks. The holidays are inexorably advancing, so learn how to turn your bitterness on your cocktails instead of your kin for $45; call the restaurant at 720-749-4666 to reserve your spot.

No, there's no such place as Jefferson Square in Denver, but that's the name used by the merchants near the intersection of West 25th Avenue and Elliot Street to describe their little enclave. That's where you'll find the Jefferson Square Holiday Affair on Saturday, November 17. Come between 1 and 6 p.m. to experience a European-style market with goods for sale and food and drinks to keep your holiday hunger at bay. There will be roast chestnuts, hot toddies, hot cocoa, a beer garden with local craft brewers pouring suds, and a lineup of food trucks in case you're just not good at cracking open those nuts. The event is hosted by corner Italian eatery Sarto's, and other area sponsors include Sexy Pizza, Federal Bar & Grill, 2914 Coffee, El Cazo, True Eye Care, Colorado Modern Kitchen, the Dental Collective, and Bonsai Design + Build. For more info, see Sarto's Facebook page, email info@sartos.com or call 303-455-1400.

Gather ’round the kitchen island to learn the brunch basics.
Gather ’round the kitchen island to learn the brunch basics.
Courtesy Cook Street School of Culinary Arts Facebook

Sunday, November 18
Denver loves brunch. But what if — just what if — there was somehow a way to get tipsy and enjoy a lovely mid-morning meal on a Sunday without having to pay a Lyft driver a small fortune to ferry you around town? And what if we told you that you could do all of this in the comfort of your home and pajamas? It seems like an impossible dream, but Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, 1937 Market Street, is nothing if not ambitious, and it's determined to help you overcome all the obstacles that stand between you and a DIY brunch (namely, laziness and lack of skill) with a Bites and Brews Brunch cooking class. Jagged Mountain Brewery is providing the beer, and you'll put the brews to good use as ingredients in the food (sausage made with blackberry saison, pumpkin ale and sage biscuits, and caramelized brioche French toast made with IPA  are on the menu) and as samples and flights throughout your lesson. Reserve your spot for $65 at cookstreet.com (you know you'd spend more than that by the time Sunday Funday is over) and never have to put on pants to eat brunch again.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

June's Impact Dinner at Comal set a welcoming, colorful table.EXPAND
June's Impact Dinner at Comal set a welcoming, colorful table.
Adam Larkey

Wednesday, December 5
If you haven't made it to Comal yet — and unless you work near the Taxi Building, 3455 Ringsby Court, chances are you haven't, since it's only open for weekday lunch — you've got a rare opportunity to grab dinner at the eclectic Mexican/Syrian/Ethiopian joint on Wednesday, December 5. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., the restaurant will serve its final Impact Dinner of 2018, with proceeds benefiting nonprofits Focus Point Family Resource Center and Colorado Village Collaborative. For $75 (tickets are on sale at Eventbrite), diners will get a five-course Mexican feast with wine and cocktail pairings; highlights of the meal promise to be fried chicken in a pepita and tomatillo sauce and and consomme de res, braised beef short rib served in a rich bone broth over rice. If you're feeling extra hungry, chef's-counter tickets are available for $125 and include additional courses of king crab, scallops and winter truffles — but hurry, only four counter tickets are available for this dinner.

2018's Collaboration Fest was so successful, tickets are already on sale for 2019.EXPAND
2018's Collaboration Fest was so successful, tickets are already on sale for 2019.
Nikki Rae Photography

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Beer festivals in this town are serious business; there's at least one happening somewhere in the metro area every weekend, and many are long-running ventures with the attendee count growing each year. Some people (not us, of course) even plan their fests a year in advance. Collaboration Fest is hoping you're one of those people, as tickets for the Saturday, March 16, even are currently on sale — six months before the bash itself. Early bird tickets are priced at $55 and $80 at collaborationfest.com, where you can get a few details about the festival, which will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street. The upside to snatching up those tickets now? By the time the fun rolls around, you'll have forgotten how much you spent to have it.

May 19 and May 20, 2019
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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