How do you celebrate the month of December? Champagne or sugar-saturated kids? Beer or bourbon? Luckily, you don't have to choose, as there's something for everyone on the culinary calendar this weekend. Plus, keep reading for events through the rest of the month and into the new year.
Friday, November 30
As Christmas draws ever closer and temperatures (theoretically) continue to drop, keep cozy by visiting Frisco for its long-running Wassail Days. The ten-day fest kicks off on Friday, November 30, at 5:30 p.m., with carolers, cider and mulled wine at the town's tree-lighting ceremony; afterward, visitors can sample different wassail recipes from more than sixty local businesses through December 9 and judge the Soup Cup Classic on December 2. Free tubing sessions, sleigh rides and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are also on the calendar for the week. Visit townoffrisco.com for the complete schedule before bundling up and heading up to the hills for a bit of holiday cheer.
Saturday, December 1
Even the most cynical of celebrants — the ones who refuse to allow any Christmas music to be played in the house before Thanksgiving, even if the snow is falling fast and thick — can't argue that the first day of December is the perfect time to kick off the holiday season. The folks at Jax Fish House must be sticklers, too, since Saturday, December 1, is the date of their Champagne and Pearls party. From 2 to 4 p.m., all locations will be getting extra festive with sparkling wine, oysters and caviar decorating the tables and ensuring all revelers (even the Grinches) are in the holiday spirit. Tickets, $55, are on sale now at Eventbrite.
Want to make treasured holiday memories of decorating sugar cookies with your kids — without the not-so-pleasant memories of having to scrub flour, food coloring and powdered sugar out of every nook and cranny afterward? Olive & Finch Eatery & Bakery, 3390 East First Avenue, is the white knight you've been waiting for, as it will be hosting a holiday cookie decorating party from 4 to 5:30 p.m. every Saturday in December. Starting December 1, kids will get a dozen sugar cookies and decorating supplies, plus hot chocolate and healthy finger foods to snack on (yeah, right). Parents can get in on the decorating as well — or they can focus on the wine, cocktails and appetizers that will be on hand for the over-21 set. And while the cost of the event may seem high ($85 for one adult and child, plus $10 for each additional person), consider that you'll come out of it with ninety minutes of warm and fuzzy memories with your kid — without having to clean a damn thing. Priceless. Reserve your spot by calling 720-257-4763 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On any given Saturday night in Denver, chances are more than 70 percent that you'll end up in a local brewery at some point; on Saturday, December 1, make it LandLocked Ales, 3225 South Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood, for the Gala in the Pines. Unlike the stuffy, fancy-pants event you may be envisioning, this gala is a laid-back affair benefiting Gateway Domestic Violence Services, an organization providing a crisis hotline, counseling and shelter to victims of domestic violence, their children and even their pets. Starting at 6 p.m., 20 percent of the brewery's sales for the evening will be donated to Gateway; there will also be burgers and tacos from Farmer in the Hive food truck, the release of the brewery's CinnaGrinch ale, and fully decorated Christmas trees for auction (with all of the auction proceeds going to the shelter), so that you can do some good while not having to deal with burnt-out, tangled Christmas lights. Find out more at landlockedales.com and prepare to knock back a few more pints than usual — for a good cause, of course.
Sunday, December 2
The Broncos have done just well enough in the past two weeks to instill some (almost certainly false) hope into the hearts and souls of fans across the Front Range. On Sunday, December 2, the team is going into its 11 a.m. game against the Bengals as the favorite, though we know Keenum and company can screw that up if they try hard enough. If you're dead set on watching the game, though, don't let it get in the way of your brunch plans. West End Tavern, 926 Pearl Street in Boulder, is serving a special bourbon-y, bacon-y meal coinciding with kickoff; its first course is Irish coffee, because you're going to need caffeine and booze to steady your nerves. Next up are a bacon flight (served with bourbon maple syrup) and pancakes topped with bourbon banana caramel, pecans and whipped cream, all for $25. Whether you end up celebrating or commiserating with your team, at least you'll be full. Find out more on the bar's Facebook page, then call 303-444-3535 to make your reservation (required).
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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 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 two counter tickets are left for this dinner.
Thursday, December 6
You can sit around in your yoga pants and watch reruns of Chopped, or you can get cleaned up and step out for a night of food and competition Denver-style. On Thursday, December 6, Mister Tuna (3033 Brighton Boulevard) is hosting its Chef Throw Down, where chef Brent Turnipseede of Guard and Grace and chef Mike Mayo of the brand new Morin will battle it out in a rapid-fire culinary competition. This will be a late-night showdown beginning at 10 p.m., when the chefs will create dishes using three surprise ingredients. The event is sponsored by Colorado Sake Co. and a portion of each ticket sale will be donated to We Don’t Waste. Tickets, which include bar bites during the event, are $10 if you buy them in advance at chefthrowdown.nightout.com, or $12 at the door. Drinks will be extra so bring a little cash.
Saturday, December 15
Is it too early to be training for the Feats of Strength? Not if you want to crush your family and friends (physically and emotionally) at this year's Festivus. Nor is it too early to start planning for this year's Denver Beer Festivus, which takes place on Saturday, December 15, at the Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway, from 3 to 6 p.m. Over fifty Denver breweries will be pouring brews to take the edge off all that family time; our favorites include Black Project, the unique Dos Luces and brand-new Liberati. Tickets are on sale now for $40 or $65 at denverbeerfestivus.com; get yours quickly, or you'll be the subject of your drinking buddies' Airing of Grievances.
Monday, December 17
You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but the same can't be said for people experiencing homelessness. With the holiday season comes freezing temps and (thanks to Denver ordinances that increasingly penalize the homeless) limited spaces for people without shelter to eat, sleep and simply exist. But on Monday, December 17, the Crafty Fox Taphouse & Pizzeria, 3901 Fox Street, is inviting all homeless individuals to enjoy a free meal from 5 to 7 p.m. for its inaugural Christmas at Crafty. The restaurant is preparing for up to 500 guests, and needs volunteers to help put on the dinner. So instead of bemoaning the return of the work week, take a few hours that evening to ensure that everyone who wants to can enjoy one of life's simple pleasures — a hot meal. Email email@example.com for more info and to sign up.
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. Stay tuned to Visit Denver for a list of participants and menus, and book your first choices right away before some suburban cretin nabs your table.
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, event are now on sale — even though the beers won't touch your lips until March. 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 the 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.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.