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Ride off into the sunset on an old Vespa scooter at Jovanina's Broken Italian.EXPAND
Ride off into the sunset on an old Vespa scooter at Jovanina's Broken Italian.
Mark Antonation

The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The holidays are past, and now begins the long, dark, wintry slog until the days get longer and patios start to become habitable. But there's no reason to retreat under your afghan until May: Denver's dining scene is offering plenty of fun food and drink events to keep you occupied until the weather warms up. Here are five this weekend. and more in the upcoming months:

Western wear is strongly encouraged at Jovanina's Spaghetti Western Dinner on Friday.EXPAND
Western wear is strongly encouraged at Jovanina's Spaghetti Western Dinner on Friday.
Rachel Ayotte

Friday, January 4
What do Italy and spaghetti have in common? Spaghetti Westerns, of course! On Friday, January 4, Jovanina's Broken Italian, 1520 Blake Street, is celebrating Sergio Leone and friends with a Spaghetti Western Dinner. For $59, servers dressed in their finest chaps will treat diners to a five-course menu including classics like bucatini and clams, short ribs braised in Marsala wine with mushroom ragu, and zeppole with Nutella and lemon-rhubarb sauce. In between courses, Clint Eastwood will be chewing his cigar (and the scenery) as his finest cinematic moments are projected in the dining room. Dinner service starts at 5 p.m.; get along over to jovanina.com to make sure you get your vittles.

Say "¡Salud!" at Briar Common this Saturday.EXPAND
Say "¡Salud!" at Briar Common this Saturday.
Courtesy Briar Common Brewery

Saturday, January 5
Did this holiday season expose some of your most embarrassing weaknesses to the outside world? We don't mean fractured family dynamics or your maudlin tendencies after that final mug of nog — we mean the really humiliating stuff, like your inability to make a decent pie crust. If this year's attempt at a pecan pie left your in-laws struggling to pry an overcooked piece out of the pie plate, get a lesson under your belt on Saturday, January 5, so you can get in plenty of practice for next year. Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market, 7043 West 38th Avenue in  Wheat Ridge, is teaching a Learn to Make the Perfect Pie Crust class from 10 a.m. to noon; for $10, you'll get all the ingredients and instruction to help you turn out flaky, buttery crusts that will garner the accolades of all your friends and family — next year. Sign up at eventbrite.com and get ready for a year of delicious practice.

What's a dedicated partier to do during the chilly stretch after New Year's Day? Not much: Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn't known for its associated revelry, President's Day even less so. But Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, 2298 Clay Street, is inventing its own holiday on Saturday, January 5. Cinco de Enero (the wintrier and less hyped cousin of Cinco de Mayo) celebrates the release of the brewpub's German-style Mexican lager, Das Bueno. From 3 to 8 p.m., the kitchen will be turning out German and Mexican food specials, and no tickets are necessary for this fiesta: Just show up para celebrar la temporada.

Grab two or three of your nearest and dearest and indulge in Adrift's Pingu's Playground: cachaca, coconut, cinnamon, lime and fun-loving penguins.EXPAND
Grab two or three of your nearest and dearest and indulge in Adrift's Pingu's Playground: cachaca, coconut, cinnamon, lime and fun-loving penguins.
Courtesy Adrift

Sunday, January 6
Sunday, January 6, marks the debut of Talk With Your Mouth Full, Black Cube's monthly brunch series devoted to local artists. The experimental museum dedicated to art pop-ups will host Denver sculptor Amber Cobb at Black Cube Headquarters, 2925 South Umatilla Street in Englewood, for a casual and conversational discussion over food and drinks from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Get the details on Black Cube's website. 

If you're not ready to let go of the holiday spirit quite yet, Adrift is your place to be for the next week. The tiki bar at 218 South Broadway has extended its festive cocktail menu through Saturday, January 12, and is even offering a cocktail competition. Keep the spirit of the season alive by voting on your favorite seasonal cocktail (offerings include You Butter Not Pout, Sandy Claws and the Yuletide Mule), and you'll have a chance to win dinner for two at the next Adrift luau on January 27.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Chances are good you'll get some fresh sausage in Il Porcellino's meat CSA box.
Chances are good you'll get some fresh sausage in Il Porcellino's meat CSA box.
Courtesy Il Porcellino Salumi Facebook

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 on Eventbrite.

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

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