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The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

One of the cocktails you can learn to make this holiday season.EXPAND
One of the cocktails you can learn to make this holiday season.
Courtesy The Nickel
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This week brings an eclectic array of food and drink events. A Wrestlemania-inspired toy drive and a fancy sake pairing dinner are definitely on opposite ends of the culinary spectrum, but they both wound up on our list of the five best culinary events over the next five days. Keep reading for the details, as well as future food and drink happenings.

Monday, December 10
Channel your inner Undertaker on Monday, December 10, at Wrestlemania. Come to Steuben's, 523 East 17th Avenue, for its annual toy drive, which this year is themed after the event that's delighted more than three decades of children and lovers of fake sports. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., show up with a toy valued at $10 or more and get your first cocktail for free, with $5 drinks thereafter. Costumes are encouraged, so break out your championship belt, spray tan and singlet, or (in a nod to the greatest photo ever released onto the Internet) go business-casual with a silver chain, black turtleneck and fanny pack. Check out the details on Steuben's Facebook page and get ready to rumble.

Get cozy with cocktails at Hotel Teatro's Study.
Get cozy with cocktails at Hotel Teatro's Study.
D'Arcy Leck

Tuesday, December 11
If you haven't created a Christmas cocktail yet, what are you waiting for? (Our most memorable concoction: a drink containing gin, ruby port and grenadine, appropriately named the Holiday Bloodbath.) If you need a bit of help (or inspiration), Hotel Teatro, 1100 14th Street, is happy to give bartending guidance. On Tuesday, December 11, the Study inside the hotel is offering a cocktail class from 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees will taste a barrel-aged Manhattan, an Old Fashioned and rum eggnog, then learn how to make and modify all three. Take tips from the workshop and use them to up your mixology game — or perhaps create something entirely new. Tickets are $20 and on sale now at Eventbrite.

Wednesday, December 12
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts is kicking off its annual restaurant week — a chance for students to prepare a three-course meal for the public — with two days of lunch for diners looking for something a little more elaborate than a standard fast-food lunch. Seatings are at 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, and Friday, December 14, and menus for both days will be different. Wednesday's consists of piri-piri scallops with crispy chickpeas, local lamb accompanied by smoked chile crema, and hazelnut cake; Friday will see salad with pistachio and tahini vinaigrette, stout-braised beef with blue-cheese polenta, and citrus panna cotta and pumpkin brittle. Reserve your spot at the table for $30 at cookstreet.com.

Mizu Izakaya is all set to host a five-course sake dinner on December 13.
Mizu Izakaya is all set to host a five-course sake dinner on December 13.
Lindsey Bartlett

Thursday, December 13
Mizu Izakaya, 1560 Boulder Street, is known for its large selection of Japanese whisky, but on Thursday, December 13, the restaurant is focusing on another Japanese spirit and hosting a sake dinner. The kitchen will be turning out five courses, including housemade tofu with three-year-old soy sauce, bluefin tuna sashimi, and steak accompanied by roasted garlic and mirin. A representative from Hakkaisan Sake will be on hand to discuss the pairings, the most intriguing of which is a sake aged in a snowdrift for three years. Visit eventbrite.com to buy tickets ($80) and see the entire menu and sake lineup.

Friday, December 14
How many beers does it take to get you on the dance floor? Cerveceria Colorado is betting at least one, and on Friday, December 14, you'll find out if that's accurate as the brewery, 1635 Platte Street, hosts Noche de Salsa. From 8 to 8:30 p.m., a beginner's salsa class will be in session followed by open dancing for the rest of the night to practice your new moves. Tickets are $8 for adventurous singles or $15 for couples, and include one beer to help you loosen up. Purchase yours on the taproom's Facebook page. Already know your cumbia from your casino style? Tickets aren't required for the rest of the evening's dancing.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Festivus: There has to be a better way.EXPAND
Festivus: There has to be a better way.

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 info@craftyfox.beer 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 someone else nabs your table.

2018's Collaboration Fest was so successful, tickets are already on sale for 2019.EXPAND
2018's Collaboration Fest was so successful, tickets are already on sale for 2019.
Nikki Rae Photography

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 cafe@westword.com.

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