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Try La Chiva's corn empanadas at Tuesday's Progressive Beer Dinner with Dos Luces Brewery.EXPAND
Try La Chiva's corn empanadas at Tuesday's Progressive Beer Dinner with Dos Luces Brewery.
Mark Antonation

The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Didn't make it to the grocery store this weekend? Staring into an empty fridge? No worries: Our food and drink calendar is serving up plenty of dinners — from mild to wild, from piquant to piggy — for every palate. Keep reading for suppers to satisfy all week, then keep reading for a trio of worthwhile culinary events over the next three months.

Rioja's calm exterior belies the wildness within.EXPAND
Rioja's calm exterior belies the wildness within.
Courtesy of Rioja

Monday, March 18
Take a walk on the wild side at Rioja this spring at the Mediterranean restaurant's Wild and Wine dinners. From Monday, March 18, through Wednesday, March 20, the eatery at 1431 Larimer Street will offer an off-the-beaten-path five-course dinner highlighting unusual proteins like venison (not so strange), boar, snake, alligator and ostrich (completely bizarre — that neck!). Unfiltered, natural and wild-yeast-fermented wines will accompany the dishes. Tickets ($80 without wine, $110 with) are available on Rioja's website; choose from 5:30 or 7:45 p.m. seatings.

Inside La Chiva.EXPAND
Inside La Chiva.
Mark Antonation

Tuesday, March 19
Take on two of Denver's unique food and drink experiences in one night on Tuesday, March 19, when Dos Luces Brewery, 1236 South Broadway, and La Chiva, 1417 South Broadway, team up for a progressive beer dinner of three courses of Colombian food and six South American chichas and pulques (two ancient Latin American beer-like beverages). The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. at the brewery, where you'll be treated to a welcome drink and the first course (empanadas — can't go wrong!), then head down the block to La Chiva's dining room, where you'll enjoy bandaja montañera (a platter traditionally piled high with a variety of foods including red beans, rice, chicharrones, arepas, chorizo and a fried egg) and dessert. Take a look at the event's Facebook page for details and pairings, then get your ticket ($50, including tip!) on the brewery's website.

Fruition's chef de cuisine Franco Ruiz in the restaurant's kitchen.EXPAND
Fruition's chef de cuisine Franco Ruiz in the restaurant's kitchen.
Linnea Covington

Wednesday, March 20
Easter is coming in a month, and with it, the overcooked ham your mom insists on serving alongside deviled eggs and green Jell-O. Not that we have anything against ham; properly prepared pork is one of God's great gifts to humanity. So if you want to show your parents how it's done — or if you're looking for inspiration or just for something fun to do on Hump Day — visit Fruition, 1313 East Sixth Avenue, on Wednesday, March 20, for a whole-hog dinner prepared from Fruition Farms' own animals, produce and housemade cheese. The five-course dinner includes ham salad with ricotta burrata, blood orange and cracklings; smoked shoulder and ribs over grits with pickled trotters and Wonderbread crumble; and bacon-wrapped loin seasoned with onions and achiote. Reservations are available from 5 to 10 p.m. for the $95 meal; make yours by calling the restaurant at 303-831-1962.

Get homebrew hacks as well as hops this week.EXPAND
Get homebrew hacks as well as hops this week.
Courtesy CO-Brew

Thursday, March 21
Rare as it may seem, there are home brewers in Denver who haven't made the leap to brewery ownership after crafting their first — or even fifth — keg. If you're new to the game and are looking to improve your brews (Chad's a great buddy, but we're pretty sure he was blowing smoke up your ass when he said your first pale ale was as good as anything he's ever had and you should totally open a brewery, bro), register for the free Homebrew Tips & Tricks Panel at CO-Brew, 1133 Broadway, on Thursday, March 21. From 7 to 9 p.m., experienced professional and amateur beer makers will be on hand to answer your questions and help out with troubleshooting. RSVP on CO-Brew's website; space is limited, but there are still a few seats left.

Get some at Ignite Friday night.
Get some at Ignite Friday night.
Courtesy Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails Facebook

Friday, March 22
Hungry party-goers who have recovered from St. Patrick's Day and are braced to tear up the Ballpark neighborhood again this weekend will want to start their rampage at Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails, 2124 Larimer Street, for its Laws Whiskey Pairing Dinner on Friday, March 22. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., the kitchen is serving a five-course feast (think duck confit and cassoulet; wagyu beef with horseradish, Bordelaise and celeriac purée; and candied pork belly) accompanied by five of Laws's best bourbons and ryes. Tickets, $50, are up on the restaurant's website, along with the complete menu and pairings.

Visit the GrowHaus's annual seed swap, and you can cultivate your own healthy veggies instead of buying them.
Visit the GrowHaus's annual seed swap, and you can cultivate your own healthy veggies instead of buying them.
Courtesy The GrowHaus Facebook

Saturday, March 23
The GrowHaus, at 4751 York Street, has been serving the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood for years now, and its food production, distribution and educational offerings just keep getting bigger and better. On Saturday, March 23, the nonprofit is hosting its ninth annual seed swap from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with workshops on growing mushrooms, starting seedlings indoors, vermiculture and beekeeping alongside the trading of organic seeds (make sure you bring your own containers to tote your bounty home) with fellow gardeners. Kids' activities, food vendors (cash only!), farm tours and live music will also be part of the day. Children under twelve and residents of Elyria-Swansea and Globeville get in free; the rest of us will have to pay a very reasonable admission price of $12 ($15 the day of) on the GrowHaus website.

Chefs Brandon Becker and Samantha New will be cooking at Kingman Estates Winery next month.
Chefs Brandon Becker and Samantha New will be cooking at Kingman Estates Winery next month.
Courtesy Cirque Kitchen Facebook

Tuesday, April 19
It may feel like winter will never end in the Mile High City, but in fact it's already time to start planning your spring garden dinners. The early bird gets the worm, after all, and the earliest feast to hit the table this year is already scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, at Kingman Estates Winery, 800 East 64th Avenue. Chefs Samantha New (Éclat Culinary) and Brandon Becker (Cirque Kitchen and Spirits) are teaming up to turn out an impressive nine-course meal, with pairings crafted from grapes grown entirely in Colorado, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fresh ingredients like melon will be served with chicory, speck and riesling, while heavier courses of beef and morels with merlot will be accented with seasonal ramps. Tickets, $138, include tax and tip, and are on sale now on the winery's website, where you can get a peek at the entire menu.

Sunday, May 19, and Monday, May 20
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.

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

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