Anyone who's ever made mole at home knows the strong temptation to leave it to the pros when they're craving the ingredient- and labor-intensive sauce. While the multi-hour process of frying, pulverizing and straining (and straining and straining and straining) chiles and spices may result in the best dish you've ever eaten, it also leaves a path of destruction and dirty dishes in its wake. But from now through Sunday, March 31, you can satisfy your mole craving with ease as Tamayo, 1400 Larimer Street, adds four new dishes to its menu for its Mole Festival. Red and black mole may be familiar to Denver diners, but the Distrito Federal's green pipian mole (made with pumpkin seeds) and Oaxaca's unusual white mole (prepared from skinned nuts, banana and golden raisins) make appearances as well. Entrees range from $22 to $27, or you can get a sampler of all four glossy sauces for $15; visit Tamayo's website to see the full menu.
Tuesday, January 22
Put down the milk, all you cookie monsters. Tart and dry ciders make a surprisingly fitting foil for cookies, especially when those ciders are being poured at Stem Ciders' RiNo taproom at 2811 Walnut Street. On Tuesday, January 22, nibble on four cookies baked by Good Sugar Baking with four ciders. These will be far from standard sugar cookies, so ready your tastebuds for tomato cookies with chile guava cider, white chocolate cranberry cookies with spiced black currant cider, butterscotch pecan cookies with pear cider, and triple chocolate cookies with coffee cider. The quartet runs $20 per person, starting at 5 p.m. until the cookies run out.
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. Participating restaurants and menus will be up on Visit Denver on Wednesday, January 23; be sure you book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table.
What's an avid eater to do in the depths of winter, when the days are short and Colorado farms aren't producing? Start dreaming of the return of spring markets and CSA boxes, of course. And even though veggies haven't been planted yet, the deadline to sign up for north Denver's winter CSA (that's Community Supported Artisans of Denver) is Wednesday, January 23. The eight-week commitment will cost you $480 and includes a weekly box of goodies from Colorado Craft Butchers, cafe and bakery the Noshery, Call to Arms Brewing and excellent cottage business Raleigh Street Bakery. Stop by the Call to Arms taproom at 4526 Tennyson Street (where you'll also pick up your box every Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. from January 28 through March 25) to sign up, or email [email protected] to snag one of the thirty available spots. Get all the details on the Call to Arms Facebook page.
While the Inventing Room Dessert Shop, 4431 West 29th Avenue, is closed for the winter, fans of owner Ian Kleinman's whimsical creations can still get a mouthful at the Gobblefunk dinner on Wednesday, January 23. This is the ninth version of Kleinman's monthly dinners — which often sell out, so hopefully you've already reserved your spot. The meal's theme is "Galaxy," and diners will definitely be transported with otherworldy "Moon Pies" of pumpkin-seed cake stuffed with goat cheese and crab, and an entree of smoked tenderloin with gravlox and charcoal potatoes dubbed "The Black Hole." The four-course dinner starts at 6 p.m. and includes paired nitro cocktails for $100. Call 303-885-2802 to reserve your seat on the spaceship; details are online at the dessert parlor's website.
It's a few weeks until Valentine's Day, but do yourself (and your bae or bestie) a favor by planning ahead — way ahead — and booking a seat at The Bindery's His & Hers dinner on Thursday, January 24. The "his" (chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy of the late, great Rebel Restaurant) and "her" (Linda Hampsten Fox, chef/owner of the Bindery, 1817 Central Street) are each taking on the same ingredients for seven courses, resulting in an epic fourteen-dish spread that's sure to capture the straight-up weirdness of Rebel, the refined creativity of the Bindery, and the magic that happens when the trio takes to the kitchen. Dinner runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets ($109 on eventbrite.com) include one cocktail, tax and tip.
Seafood may not come from anywhere near Denver, but craft beer certainly does. For a dinner serving both, Bamboo Sushi, at 2715 17th Street, will get the fresh fish to town, while Zuni Street Brewing will bring the beer — from just a few blocks away. On Thursday, January 24, enjoy four courses, each paired with a different Zuni Street beer, for $50. Tickets are available at Eventbrite for two seatings, the first at 6 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Don't be shellfish; bring a friend.
Two Los Angeles-area gang members from opposing factions found common ground over cooking, and the result was peace — and Trap Kitchen. Malachi "Chef Spank" Jenkins and Roberto "Sous Chef News" Smith are bringing their Compton brand of culinary magic to Rock Steady, 2100 Curtis Street, on Thursday, January 24. Two options are available from 8 to 11 p.m.: a buffet dinner for $30, or the Trap Kitchen Full Meal Deal Bundle, which includes dinner, the Trap Kitchen cookbook and a T-shirt for $75. Get your tickets on eventbrite.com. Menu details are limited, but expect a combination of soul food and LA street eats.
If you're the kind of person who doesn't even think about hitting the town until at least 9 p.m., Mister Tuna (3033 Brighton Boulevard) has your kind of event on Thursday, January 24. Starting at 10 p.m., chef Ryan Rau of Urban Farmer and chef Ian Wortham of Tavernetta will face off in a rapid-fire culinary showdown. After a secret ingredient is revealed, the chefs must prepare a number of dishes while racing against the clock. Tickets are $10 each at chefshowdown.nightout.com or $12 at the door. Small bites will be available with the cost of admission, but drinks (including sake from Colorado Sake Co.) are extra. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to We Don't Waste.
For the 74th year in a row, the Brown Palace Hotel is welcoming a very unusual guest to on Friday, January 25: the National Western Stock Show's 2019 Grand Champion steer. This cowtown doesn't roll out the red carpet for just any cow, though; in addition to being blow-dried and fluffed to within an inch of its life, the steer (as with most creatures that pass through the doors of the Brown, 321 17th Street) has some serious money behind him: Last year's Grand Champion sold for $140,000. The grand entrance into the hotel's atrium happens at 11 a.m., followed by photo ops and, if you're feeling flush, afternoon tea, before the steer of the show departs at 1 p.m.; secure your spot by calling 303-297-3111. Better straighten those pinkies and brush up on your Emily Post if you're going to spring for tea, which will run you upwards of $40; you don't want to look like, well, a bull in a china shop.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.