Things to Do

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

No shirt, no shoes, no service at the Brown Palace?
No shirt, no shoes, no service at the Brown Palace? Danielle Lirette
Events at a handful of Denver institutions (CoraFaye's, Brown Palace, VFW Post No. 1) are on the menu this week, as are gluten-free and vegan dinners, a celebration of immigrant cuisine and a whodunit with a meal as well as a mystery. Pull up a seat and dig in to the best food and drink happenings over the next five days, with more to plan for through the month of March.

click to enlarge CoraFaye's dining room is downright homey. - MARK ANTONATION
CoraFaye's dining room is downright homey.
Mark Antonation
Monday, January 20
The folks at soul-food stalwart CoraFaye's, 16251 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, usually take a well-deserved day of rest on the first day of the work week, but this Monday, January 20, the eatery is opening its doors in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. From 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., some of MLK's favorite dishes will be served, among them fried chicken, corn bread, collard greens and the King of Pies, pecan. It's the perfect opportunity for Denverites to honor Dr. King's work by supporting a black-owned business as well as get some great grub for just $15 per plate; visit CoraFaye's Facebook page for more info.

Tuesday, January 21
The tiny kitchen at Fruition, 1313 East Sixth Avenue, has never limited the creativity or quality of the dishes emerging from it, and on Tuesday, January 21, the restaurant's chef, Jon Lavelle, is teaming up with Stem Ciders' chef, Eric Lee, for a three-course pairing menu that showcases the best of both local producers. At 6:30 p.m., guests will be treated to passed apps (including lamb tartare and brandade fritters) before sitting down to plates of Carolina gold fried rice with crispy shallots and Stem's farmhouse brew; duck roulade, preserved blueberries, duck liver and crème fraîche with Cascara cider; and peach crisp with sheepskyr gelato and hopped cider. The entire menu and all drink pairings are gluten-free; make your reservation on Resy or by calling Fruition at 303-831-1962.

click to enlarge It's no mystery which Colorado brewery makes the best fried chicken. - THE POST BREWING CO.
It's no mystery which Colorado brewery makes the best fried chicken.
The Post Brewing Co.
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.

If you sat through Knives Out rolling your eyes not only at Daniel Craig's delightfully overripe Southern(?) accent, but at the ineptitude of Lakeith Stanfield's police work and the idiocy of the assorted Thrombey clan, here's your chance to do better: On Wednesday, January 22, the Post Brewing Co., 105 West Emma Street in Lafayette, is putting on its own Wild West Mystery Dinner, complete with beer, bites and bloodshed. At 6 p.m., the sleuthing kicks off with the first of three courses and its beer pairing; as you drink and dine your way through the evening, live theatrical performances depict the dastardly deed, and you'll work in teams to determine the culprit. Details are available on the Post's website; purchase tickets ($75, including tax and tip) on Tock.

click to enlarge Chef Ivan Ceballos turns his attention from meat to meatless for January 23's vegan, zero-proof dinner. - MARK ANTONATION
Chef Ivan Ceballos turns his attention from meat to meatless for January 23's vegan, zero-proof dinner.
Mark Antonation
Thursday, January 23
Vegans and those hardy few whose January resolutions aren't a distant sight in the rear-view mirror will want to reserve a spot at Que Bueno Suerte, 1518 South Pearl Street, on Thursday, January 23, for its New Year's Cleanse dinner at 6:30 p.m. The four-course vegan menu includes non-alcoholic drink pairings; you won't miss the protein in dishes like chilpachole (a Veracruzano stew usually made with fish, but here with jackfruit, chayote, tomatoes and chiles); tamales in roasted tomatillo salsa; chiles rellenos stuffed with plantains, black beans, cheese and guajillo sauce; and cactus macaroons. Book your seat for the $35 meal on Eventbrite, where you'll be required to pay a deposit of $10; the balance of the price is due at dinner itself.

click to enlarge Brown Palace Afternoon Tea with the National Western champion steer. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Brown Palace Afternoon Tea with the National Western champion steer.
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 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 the royal treatment, spring for VIP tickets ($99 on Eventbrite), which include lunch, an open bar and first crack at pro photos with the bovine baron.

Now that late January has arrived, the same weather that seemed festive just thirty days ago now seems bleak and interminable. Luckily, the same spirit that kept you warm and cozy last month can help you through the dark, chilly nights of January. Not the Christmas spirit; the spirit called whiskey. On Friday, January 24, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 1 — the first VFW post in the nation — is hosting a whiskey tasting and fundraiser at 7 p.m.; Whiskey Ambassador Ryan Negley will walk guests through the flavor profiles of a group of exclusive beverages and pairings of light bites, after which you'll get a guided tour of the historic building (at 841 Santa Fe Drive), including cocktails in the veterans' art gallery. All of the proceeds from ticket sales ($80 at go directly to VFW Post No. 1 and its programs.

Keep reading for future culinary events to put on your calendar....
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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