Let Green Russell mix you a New Year's Eve cocktail.
Let Green Russell mix you a New Year's Eve cocktail.
Westword file photo

The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Is 2017 coming to as ignominious an end as 2016? It's hard to say — at least Carrie Fisher can't die twice. But you can make it through the last three days of the year in style, plus sleep in and still start the year off with a bargain on bubbly. Keep reading for eight great events this weekend.

Friday, December 29
Netflix is releasing season four of Black Mirror on Friday, December 29 — just in time to show us what techno-sociological horrors we can expect in the upcoming year. But VOAA, a vegan-advocacy organization, is betting we'll do better facing the future together, and to that end, the group is hosting a Black Mirror Viewing Party and Vegan Potluck at 8 p.m. Bring a vegan dish and sleeping bag or blanket (the binge-watching goes on until 2 a.m.) and settle in for a long night of crowdsourced food and too-close-to-home entertainment. Who could resist it? The fun will take place at 3135 Lawrence Street; visit VOAA's Facebook page for details.

Torchy's Tacos will be catering Eve of the Eve.EXPAND
Torchy's Tacos will be catering Eve of the Eve.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, December 30
What's an agoraphobic who wants to get glammed up and go dancing to do for the biggest party night of the year? Get started early at Eve of the Eve, happening on Saturday, December 30, from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Celebrate the New Year with all the good stuff (open bar, midnight countdown and balloon drop, ’80s music, dancing, sparkly eye shadow) and none of the annoying things that make some people — not us, of course — refer to NYE as "amateur hour" (huge crowds, lousy traffic, surge pricing on everything). The Studios at Overland Crossing, 2205 South Delaware Street, will be hosting the good times, and 5280 Burger Bar, Torchy's Tacos and Blue Sushi Sake Grill will be feeding you as midnight draws near. The party benefits Special Olympics Colorado; tickets are still available ($100 for GA or $200 for VIP, which includes 7 p.m. entry and a meet-and-greet with athletes) at classy.org, or see the Facebook page for more info.

Green Russell's bar is ready to serve NYE revelers.EXPAND
Green Russell's bar is ready to serve NYE revelers.
Westword file photo

Sunday, December 31
If you want to celebrate New Year's Eve in style this year, but have failed — yet again — to plan ahead and get a reservation somewhere, go to Green Russell early (and we mean early) for a high-end evening. The subterranean space at 1422 Larimer Street will be opening at 5 p.m. for its New Year's Eve Soiree, and reservations aren't accepted. The cover is just $5, which includes one welcome cocktail and champagne at midnight; visit the bar's Facebook page for details. So settle into those luxe armchairs, turn your phone off, and enjoy a civilized holiday (for a change).

Attention, parents (everyone else stop reading now): If you want to celebrate the start of 2018 with your kiddo, it's unlikely you'll be taking them out to an overpriced prix fixe menu in a crowded restaurant. But all four locations of Mici Handcrafted Italian are throwing a Kids' New Year's Eve Party on Sunday, December 31. Feed your little one for just $4 and enjoy noisemakers and party favors at every table while the eatery counts down to "midnight" (that would be 7 p.m. for the toddler set); there will even be a free sparkling-cider toast to celebrate the event, and each child gets a free ball of dough to play with while they wait. The countdown starts promptly at 6:59 p.m., so be sure to get there in plenty of time to enjoy a glass of wine or beer for yourself while you hang out in a room of dough-covered children with noisemakers. Happy New Year!

Pretend we're not in the depths of winter on Sunday, December 31, at Southside Bar and Kitchen's Unhidden Idol New Year's Tiki Party. From 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., the bar, at 3014 East Colfax Avenue, will be transformed into a tropical hideaway that harks back to Denver's tiki-centric past. Southside will offer up Polynesian food, classic umbrella drinks and South Seas cinema, along with a free champagne toast at midnight. There's no cover for the night, so if you've been frozen by indecision about your New Year's plans (or just the weather), you can warm up at this luau.

Carbon Beverage Cafe will turn up the kink factor on NYE.EXPAND
Carbon Beverage Cafe will turn up the kink factor on NYE.
Westword file photo

Carbon Beverage Cafe, 1553 Platte Street, is bypassing the usual party themes (how many Roaring ’20s events and Snuggie-themed bar crawls have we told you about this year? Answer: too damn many) to get right to the heart of the matter: Everyone wants to get laid more in 2018. And Carbon's Kinky New Year's Ball will do its best to usher in a new year full of (doughnut) holes and (brioche-wrapped) sausages. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., revelers will get an open bar and midnight bubbles, DJs, art and an innuendo-laden menu — think Warm and Gooey (mac and cheese), Wrap and Roll (spring rolls) and Dough-Gasm (bread pudding with caramel and chocolate sauce). Advance tickets are $65 for one or $115 for a pair; find out more at Carbon's Facebook page, pervert.

There's nothing more Colorado than a craft-beer festival, and no holiday is going to get in the way of Denverites standing in long lines for libations. Enter New Beers Eve at The Lobby, 2191 Arapahoe Street, on Sunday, December 31. Local breweries including Comrade, Dry Dock, Elevation, Epic and Great Divide will come together from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. to help you welcome in the New Year with a bellyful of beer. The restaurant is also offering a four-course beer-pairing dinner at 6:30 p.m.; tickets start at $50 for the meal alone and run to $115 for dinner and the premium all-you-can-drink package. There are still some tickets left, so grab them at twoparts.com before they're gone.

Drink two or more mimosas at Cru's New Year's Day brunch.
Drink two or more mimosas at Cru's New Year's Day brunch.
Westword file photo

Monday, January 1
Recover from your New Year's Eve hangover with some hair of the dog at Crú's New Year's Day brunch. From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., just $20.18 will get you a two-course meal and bottomless mimosas; choose your bites from the regular menu, which includes a substantial steak and eggs, goat-cheese beignets, and a shrimp-and-lobster scramble. There's still time to make your reservation by calling 303-893-9463, but get on it — you surely won't find a better brunch deal for the rest of the year.

Keep reading for more events in 2018.

Lost Highway poured at 2017's Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
Lost Highway poured at 2017's Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
Sarah Cowell

Saturday, January 6
If you only go to one beer festival in 2018, make it the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival on Saturday, January 6. Yes, it's only six days into the year, but we guarantee there won't be any better event for fans of dark, sweet, spicy, malty, high-alcohol beers in the state. Over 150 breweries (Dogfish Head, Paradox, Duvel and Jester King among them) will be pouring suds from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Beaver Run Conference Center, 620 Village Road in Breckenridge, and for die-hard beer geeks (or pros), seminars earlier that morning are included in the $75 ticket price. Visit bigbeersfestival.com for a complete schedule of events through the weekend, and start planning for a weekend getaway as epic as the fest itself.

Chef Sarah Grueneberg, Food & Wine editor Nilou Motamed and Gail Simmons at Aspen Food and Wine 2016.
Chef Sarah Grueneberg, Food & Wine editor Nilou Motamed and Gail Simmons at Aspen Food and Wine 2016.
Linnea Covington

Thursday, January 25
Host Padma Lakshmi might be the most recognizable face on Bravo's Top Chef, but we think Gail Simmons has the better job — she gets to eat (and judge) the food in a no-nonsense manner without having to deliver awkward sexual innuendo. After fifteen seasons on the show, Simmons recently penned Bringing it Home: Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating, and will be hosting a dinner at Frasca on Thursday, January 25, that showcases recipes from the cookbook. Diners will get a five-course dinner with wine pairings and an autographed copy of Bringing it Home for $160 (a veritable bargain at the Boulder restaurant); seatings start at 5 p.m. Call Frasca, 1738 Pearl Street, at 303-442-6966 to reserve your seat for a dinner with true foodie royalty.

Friday, February 23
Gentle readers who still get bent out of shape that Westword covers Boulder as well as Denver: CineCHEF 2018 is the event for you. The event's fourth iteration happens on Friday, February 23, 2018, at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street in Boulder, when Boulder chefs face off against Denver chefs to prove who can create the tastiest, most creative bite based on a beloved film. Last year's roster included Daniel Asher of River and Woods serving smoked scallops, ceviche and Peruvian chile in an homage to Up in Smoke, and Steven Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth tapping Mia Wallace to hand out miniature burgers and a $5 shake à la Pulp Fiction. Tickets, $95, are on sale now at ticketfly.com and include admission to the film Michelin Stars: Tales From the Kitchen. So, gentle readers, etc., purchase your tickets and start planning the long and dangerous trip up to The Town That Totally Isn't Part of Denver to support your hometown heroes as they compete in hostile territory.

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

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