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A fanciful churro doughnut from one of the Inventing Room's previous molecular doughnut pop-ups.EXPAND
A fanciful churro doughnut from one of the Inventing Room's previous molecular doughnut pop-ups.
Danielle Lirette

The Four Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

As the credit card bills from December roll in and we're all still recovering from end-of-year overstimulation, bars and restaurants continue to throw things at the wall to see what sticks and what will lure people out of their winter cocoons. So this weekend's calendar is eclectic, with fun for people who want to uphold their New Year's resolutions and people who want to bread them, as well as underfed kinksters and those of us who just want to get drunk on a Sunday.

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.

Curry meets BDSM meets puns on Friday, January 10, at MCA Denver's Black Sheep Friday. The ongoing museum event that mixes up lectures, food and drink flavors and arts and crafts is back with a reprisal of one of its most popular events from the past decade: Thai One On, wherein guests will sample Thai curries while offering guests a shibari (Japanese bondage technique) demonstration. So if you're up for having your tastebuds tickled while the rest of you is straight-up titillated, the 6 p.m. event is free with museum admission ($10 before 5 p.m., $5 after). Visit the Museum's website for the ins and outs of the evening.

Saturday, January 11
So your New Year's resolution was to eat more oatmeal — how fortuitous that on Saturday, January 11, the City of Lafayette is holding its 24th annual oatmeal festival. That's right: In the realm of quirky agricultural festivals around Colorado, this one celebrates neither peaches nor Pueblo chiles, but porridge. A massive breakfast of 200 gallons of oatmeal with 100 different toppings, 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 oatmeal muffins will be served from 7:30 a.m. to noon, At 9:30 a.m., you can take to the streets in a 5K run (and walk, if you're not looking to exceed the speed of an ocean of oatmeal oozing down the course). Breakfast runs $8, or $20 with race registration; find out more on the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website.

Brewery food is more than just pretzels and popcorn at Burns Family Artisan Ales on Sunday.EXPAND
Brewery food is more than just pretzels and popcorn at Burns Family Artisan Ales on Sunday.
Jonathan Shikes

Sunday, January 12
There's nothing more Colorado than heading over to your local craft brewery and settling in for an afternoon of brews, board games and bites, but heading out to the food truck in between beers can get tiresome. Burns Family Artisan Ales, 2505 West Second Avenue, is solving that problem on Sunday, January 12, by teaming up with caterer Thistle & Mint to serve a pairing dinner within the taproom walls. For $80, you'll get courses like duck-fat potatoes with blue-cheese cream served with an herbed, hop-less gruit, and thirty-day dry-aged steak alongside a robust Belgian quad. And considering it's not unheard of to spend that much on an afternoon of drinks, a few bags of stale pretzels behind the bar and (if you're lucky) an order of loaded tater tots from a truck, the 5 p.m. feast is a steal; visit Burns's Facebook page for the full menu and Tock to book your seat.

Keep reading for future food events...

Tuesday, January 14
The City of Denver wants to help you figure out how to reduce your food waste with its Striving for Zero Waste: Food Waste Reduction 101 Workshop on Tuesday, January 14. Come to room 4.H.2 of the Wellington Webb Building (201 West Colfax Avenue) from noon to 1 p.m. and learn about which plastics are recyclable, how to save money by minimizing food waste at home, and how the City and County of Denver are tackling the issue. The session will also provide information on composting and recycling to get you started on a zero-waste lifestyle; find out more here.

Uchi is hosting a sake dinner on January 16.EXPAND
Uchi is hosting a sake dinner on January 16.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, January 16
Japan's Niigata prefecture — one of the top sake producing regions in the country — is known for its high-quality beverages, and on Thursday, January 16, you can taste some of the brews that rarely make it out of the Land of the Rising Sun at Uchi. The spot at 2500 Lawrence Street is hosting a sake dinner at 6:30 p.m., with four inventive courses (lamb belly with matcha salsa, hirame crudo and cherry blossoms, duck confit with persimmon kimchi and shortrib accompanied by miso and cherry mostarda) served alongside sake pairings. Tickets for the luxe dinner, $115, include tax and tip and are for sale now on Eventbrite, where you can also find info on the sakes, some of which are being shipped to from Japan especially for the feast.

Saturday, January 18
Denver Beer Co. knows how to lure your sorry ass out of bed bright and early on a weekend morning; its annual two-day Beer, Bacon and Coffee Fest at the taproom's Arvada outpost (5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard) sells out every year. Starting at the unholy hour of 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19, the fest features all the salty, porky, bitter, black, boozy goodness that you can fit in your belly until 11 a.m. So whether you're hitting the taproom after a restful night's sleep or just wrapped up a graveyard shift, this fest is sure to start the day off right. Tickets are $45 on the brewery's website and include a breakfast burrito (veggie option available), bottomless brews (coffee and beer) and bacon and a commemorative mug (because everyone knows you're not really an alcoholic if you're drinking beer out of a coffee cup before 9 a.m.).

Sunday, January 19
Now that the holidays are behind us and your mind is unclouded by merriment, cheer or the desire to chug as many drinks as quickly as possible to mitigate the awkwardness of family gatherings and work parties, you'll recall that you drank some very regrettable champagne during December (or maybe you don't remember, but trust us — you did). Bubbly may be celebratory, but that doesn't mean it's all good. Luckily, you can start honing your champagne-tasting skills now so you know what to serve, order and avoid like the plague in eleven months' time. Hotel Teatro, 1100 14th Street, is hosting a tasting class on Sunday, January 19, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., with a pair of the Nickel's sommeliers guiding you through tastings of capital "C" champagne and other sparkling wines and giving advice on pairings. Tickets, $45 on Eventbrite, include a charcuterie plate with nuts and fruit, and invaluable knowledge that will help you avoid a bad bubbly hangover the next time someone decides to pop a cork.

Nonprofit art gallery Leon, 1112 East 17th Avenue, is combining the visual and the culinary arts on Sunday, January 19, with the launch of its Fine Mess Supper Club. From 5 to 8 p.m., an intimate group of just twenty lucky souls will be treated to a five-course meal from chefs Luke McDonald (Coohills) and Anthony Urbany (Devil's Food) in the gallery, where the current exhibition Beasts of Burden by street artist bunny M. will be the conversational catalyst. Tickets, $85, include tax and tip; visit Leon's Facebook page for details and info on future installments of the monthly series, then email ifoundleon@gmail.com or call 303-832-1599 to claim your spot.

Wednesday, January 22
Turns out, diversity tastes great, too. On Wednesday, January 22, the Village Exchange Center (VEC), a local organization dedicated to creating a safe space of belonging while celebrating religious and cultural diversity, is hosting an international bazaar-themed benefit in celebration of the nonprofit’s third anniversary. The event takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Stanley Marketplace (2501 Dallas Street, Aurora) and costs $81 per person if you purchase tickets by January 15, or $100 between January 15 and 22. Food vendors include Jasmine Syrian Food, Taste of Sudan, Nepali Mountain Kitchen and others, and there will also be crafts for sale, live music and special guests, including Congressman Jason Crow and Reverend Dr. Timothy E. Tyler. Purchase tickets on the VEC website.

The littlest cowgirls will love tea with the biggest steer at the Brown Palace.EXPAND
The littlest cowgirls will love tea with the biggest steer at the Brown Palace.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, January 24
Take afternoon tea with royalty on Friday, January 24. No, we don't mean the Duchess of Sussex; we don't even mean American royalty (as if the Kennedys would even deign to leave the East Coast). We mean Denver royalty — the kind with hooves, horns and a fluffy blow-dried coat. For the 75th year, the National Western Stock Show's Grand Champion steer is visiting the Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street, to take tea with Denver's finest. The biggest boy in town will be in the Brown's lobby from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., where he'll be surrounded by adoring fans, paparazzi and the best-dressed cowpokes around. While anyone can stop by the hotel for a glimpse of the guest of honor, if you want to enjoy tea (which starts at $41 per person), we recommend you make reservations on the Brown Palace website.

Sunday, January 26
A good argument could be made for January being the worst month of the year: While the days are technically lengthening, we still spend many of our waking hours in frigid darkness, holiday cheer has curdled like that carton of eggnog forgotten in the back of your refrigerator and — most incomprehensibly of all — some of you have decided to compound the horror by vowing to not have a drink until February 1. At least the rest of us will have some solace on Sunday, January 26, when Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, teams up with Osaka Ramen for a beer and ramen pairing from noon to 2 p.m. For just $25, you'll get three steamy, soulful bowls (spicy miso, shoyu and vegetable curry) accompanied by dark lager, French saison and IPA. Tickets for the exclusive event (just thirty seats) are on sale now on Eventbrite.

Sunday, February 9
Accio pint glass! On Sunday, February 9, all you have to do is swish your wand about to summon good times and cheer at the generically named Wizard's Beer Festival (the wizarding world has become significantly more litigious, it seems). Diebolt Brewing Co., 3855 Mariposa Street, is the site of the shenanigans, with four two-hour sessions throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. There will be tarot card readers, DJs and wand-making classes; your $45 ticket will get you a welcome beer and tickets for five further potions. Just remember: You can't evanesco your hangover the next day. Pick up your tickets at Eventbrite before those sneaky Slytherins find a way to steal them all.

The Four Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This WeekendEXPAND
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, February 15
The folks that brought you November's mac and cheese festival are doubling down on dairy with a grilled cheese and beer festival on Saturday, February 15. Yes, after stuffing yourself on ooey, gooey, creamy mac, you can now get your cheese and carb combo in the form of crispy, crunchy sandwiches washed down by craft beer. Show up for unlimited bites from Blake Street Tavern, Maine Shack and Cheese Love Grill, among others; bottomless brews are courtesy of Horse and Dragon, Mockery, Spice Trade and Zuni Street. Tickets are currently on sale on Eventbrite or Facebook for $54 or $89 (the Big Cheese option gets you early entry and full-sized beers instead of samples), though prices are set to increase as the event approaches. Choose from the afternoon (12:30 to 3:30 p.m.) or evening (5 to 8 p.m.) session at the Runway 35 Park, 8863 East 47th Avenue.

Friday, February 21 through Sunday, March 1
For ten days in late February, Denver eateries are going to be crammed with diners seeking great deals. Yes, Denver Restaurant Week returns on Friday, February 21, and runs through Sunday, March 1; both longstanding institutions and trendy hot spots will be serving multi-course prix fixe menus offered at just $25, $35 or $45. And while participating restaurants haven't yet been announced, a visit to the event website provides scrumptious pics of some of 2019's most delectable dishes, past players and the opportunity to sign up for email alerts so you'll be among the first to know when menus are posted online. Then begins the race for reservations, wherein it's you vs. the rest of Denver scrambling to book the best tables in town. Feeling bold? Make your best guesses as to which joints will be joining the fun and start booking your dinners right now.

Thursday, March 12
A wealth of Denver's A-list restaurants are uniting under one roof on Thursday, March 12, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation at its annual feast, Great Chefs of the West. Starting at 6 p.m., Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, will play host to talent from Death & Co., Mercantile, the Bindery, American Elm, El Five, Woodie Fisher and over fifteen other restaurants and bars serving their most extravagant bites and beverages. And while tickets aren't cheap ($200, though you can save $20 by purchasing before January 6), you'd spend that much on Lyft rides alone trying to navigate from one end of town to another to hit up each and every eatery. Find out more about the event on the NKF website

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

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