Things to Do

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

New year, new Masterpiece Delicatessen: The sandwich shop is now doing business out of Old Major.
New year, new Masterpiece Delicatessen: The sandwich shop is now doing business out of Old Major. Danielle Lirette
This week's food and drink agenda is especially meaty, with a deli brunch, barbecue, bone-marrow doughnuts and pork belly taking center stage. Keep reading for the six best food and drink happenings from Monday, January 6, through Friday, January 10, plus more in the days ahead.

Monday, January 6
The sunny corner spot that previously housed Masterpiece Delicatessen on Central Street is no more, but you can celebrate the sandwich shop's reopening bright and early on Monday, January 6, at the inaugural industry brunch at Masterpiece's new digs, inside Old Major at 3316 Tejon Street. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., folks who were stuck ferrying Bloody Marys and breakfast burgers to belligerent brunchers can get waited on by jovial restaurateur Justin Brunson, who will be manning the bar with $15 bottomless mimosas and $5 Hamm's with a whiskey back; a DJ will also be on hand providing tunes and proper brunch atmosphere. The event will be a weekly occurrence, but there's no better way to start the first full week of 2020 than with the rebirth of a LoHi institution.

Tuesday, January 7
We have to give it to Stem Ciders: Not only has the cider house been turning out delicious drinks for six years now, but it's just as dedicated to the art of the pairing. Stem's downtown taproom at 2811 Walnut Street has hosted a plethora of pairings over the years, generally focusing on sweets (cupcakes, shortbread, cookies, pie, ice cream and Pop-Tarts have all made appearances), but occasionally venturing into the savory by serving its sparkling beverages with cheese, oysters, Mongolian food and charcuterie. And on Tuesday, January 7, the taproom is going whole hog with a pork belly and cider pairing; for $20, you'll get four tastes (including bacon jalapeño poppers and sliders with blueberry barbecue sauce and papaya slaw) with four ciders. The tasting runs from 5 to 8 p.m., and tickets are currently on sale on Eventbrite, where you can also find the full menu.

click to enlarge Rioja is spotlighting Carrie Baird for the first of four alumni dinners on January 8. - RIOJA
Rioja is spotlighting Carrie Baird for the first of four alumni dinners on January 8.
Rioja
Wednesday, January 8
While it's been decades since Denver could legitimately be called a cowtown, it's still a little big city — so the restaurant scene (while growing rapidly) remains significantly more intimate than in other American cities (transplants, here's your chance to chime in — we know you just can't help yourselves). So when it comes to homegrown kitchen talent, it's not surprising that a handful of Denver stalwarts have nurtured a significant number of Denver chefs and restaurateurs. Starting on Wednesday, January 8, one of those incubators, Rioja (1431 Larimer Street) is kicking off a quartet of alumni dinners with prodigal daughters and sons returning to the Larimer Square roost. Carrie Baird (Top Chef, Bar Dough) joins forces with chef Jen Jasinski to re-create her favorite menu items from her time at the Spanish restaurant, including dishes she developed. The throwback feast begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $95 (exclusive of wine pairings) or $135 (inclusive); the remaining meals in the series welcome back Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class, Super Mega Bien), Merlin Verrier (Street Feud) and Jorel Pierce (TAG Restaurant Group). Reserve your seat and get details on future dinners on Rioja's website.

January is always dry in Colorado, so lotion up. But if you're looking to cut out booze for the next few weeks, Bar Helix, at 3440 Larimer Street, is launching Mocktail Month with a nightly happy hour and a series of three classes on how to make alcohol-free drinks that taste like more than just Ocean Spray and seltzer. The first class runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January, 8. Register on Nightout.com and pay $25, which will get you three mocktails, samples of herbal CBD infusions, class materials, snacks and swag. It may have been all champagne and caviar during the holiday season, but now it's time for a different kind of sophistication. (You can still load up on the fish eggs, though.)


click to enlarge These cattle are blissfully unaware of what awaits them at the end of the parade. - BRANDON MARSHALL
These cattle are blissfully unaware of what awaits them at the end of the parade.
Brandon Marshall
Thursday, January 9
Okay, we retract our above statement about the Mile High City not being a cowtown — at least for two weeks in January, when the National Western Stock Show returns. And on Thursday, January 9, the annual Stock Show
Parade and barbecue kick off the celebration of Western ranching culture that's been taking place in Denver for over a century. At noon, a herd of longhorn cattle, cowboys and covered wagons (led by furniture salesman and wild animal wrangler Jake Jabs, who longtime residents will swear has also appeared in TV commercials for over 100 years) will step off from Union Station and begin a drive straight down 17th Street. Afterward, spectators can chow down on the aforementioned bovines' brethren at 1700 Broadway, with a barbecue ($12), live music and a city proclamation declaring the day Dress Western Day. Visit the Stock Show's website for details on the kickoff and for the entire show schedule.

click to enlarge A selection of extravagant doughnuts from the Inventing Room's last Molecular Donut Shop: baklava, the Elvis (peanut butter, bacon, chocolate, banana), Laws Whiskey apple, and fried chicken with hot sauce caviar. - MARK ANTONATION
A selection of extravagant doughnuts from the Inventing Room's last Molecular Donut Shop: baklava, the Elvis (peanut butter, bacon, chocolate, banana), Laws Whiskey apple, and fried chicken with hot sauce caviar.
Mark Antonation
Friday, January 10
Embrace whimsy during the dark days of January at the Inventing Room, the over-the-top dessert shop at 4433 West 29th Avenue. While chef/owner Ian Kleinman's outfit generally shutters its doors in the winter months, this year it's giving us all a belated Christmas present by expanding its beloved molecular doughnut pop-up; every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of winter, Kleinman and company will oversee the exploding whipped cream machine, liquid nitrogen ice cream station and magic chocolate maker from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations aren't accepted for this casual affair (though you can pre-order a minimum of twelve doughnuts); just show up with an open mind and an empty stomach. And with more time than ever to enjoy the wild creations, you don't have to choose just one: Show up every week until you've worked your way through the entire menu, which can be found on the shop's Facebook page.

And mark your calendar for these future events....

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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