The Nine Tastiest Events on Denver's Culinary Calendar, January 9-13

While most of the city turns its attention toward the National Western Stock Show, chefs are still turning out some good food, with a lunchtime pop-up from Troy Guard sandwiched between an early-harvest olive-oil dinner in Boulder and a Buffalo Bill tribute feast that might just attract a few cowboys to the table. This week you can also help the Cherry Cricket collect food for Metro Cares, or eat actual crickets at an insect-based dinner at Linger.

Monday, January 9
Some connoisseurs take their olive oil as seriously as their wine, delving into the unique flavors of the world's finest olive-growing regions. Join Frasca Food & Wine co-owner/sommelier Bobby Stuckey and his team tonight for the restaurant's Olio Nuovo dinner, the first in its 2017 Tastemaker series. The dinner stars the "best and freshest unfiltered oils made from olives harvested during the first two weeks of the season," according to Frasca. Giuliana Imports proprietor Steve Lewis is overseeing the arrival of the olive oils and will also pair dishes made with specific oils with wines from his company's portfolio. A seat for the dinner runs $130, including the wine flight (but not tax and tip). Contact Frasca at 303-442-6966 for menu details and reservations.

Tuesday, January 10
Mister Tuna doesn't normally do lunch, so when chef/owner Troy Guard rings the lunch bell for an occasional midday pop-up at his RiNo eatery, it's best to heed the call. Head over between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for salads, sandwiches and savory bowls to experience Guard's wood-fired cooking without the dinnertime price tag. Attention-grabbing sandwiches from past pop-ups that could be back for the latest edition include Colorado bison pastrami with Swiss cheese and housemade kraut; rotisserie lamb with fontina cheese, arugula and lamb au jus; and a charcoal-roasted catch of the day served on bread. Or dig into a pork-shoulder burrito bowl with rice, pinto beans, pico de gallo and chile de arbol. The pop-ups have been popular in the past, so Mister Tuna recommends calling 303-831-8862 to save a table.

Denver distillery Stranahan’s is partnering with the Made Shop and actor Noah Segan for a 35mm screening of the angsty teen murder mystery Brick at the Alamo Drafthouse (7301 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton) tonight. The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a high-school loner who receives a panicked call from his ex-girlfriend before learning she’s been murdered. He goes on a mission to figure out who killed her by associating with high-school cliques he has long avoided and navigating a world of unseemly characters. The 7:30 p.m. screening comes with a dinner that includes grilled oysters; sweet potato-goat cheese agnolotti with pork belly; a croque madame; and chocolate flan. Segan, who played Dode in the movie, will be in the house, and the $60 ticket also comes with cocktails pairings and a special event mug. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Alamo Drafthouse website.

Wednesday, January 11
The Cherry Cricket is currently closed for repairs following a kitchen fire in November, but the staff still wants to make a difference in the community — even if it's not with burgers.  The Cricket crew will be in the restaurant parking lot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today to host Cherry Cricket Cares, a food drive benefiting Metro Caring, a nonprofit organization dedicated to hunger prevention and food waste reduction. Bring non-perishable food items to help with the cause.

New Era Colorado Foundation is hosting its seventh annual happy hour to toast the opening of the Colorado legislative session at Prohibition (504 East Colfax Avenue) from 5 to 7 p.m. Representative-elect Leslie Herod (House District 8), one of New Era’s founding boardmembers, will be on hand to discuss what's in store for the 2017 session. The happy hour is free, and New Era monthly donors can check in at the door for a free drink. Contact Sally Anderson at [email protected] for details and sign in on the event's Facebook page so the group will know you're coming.

Linger chef/owner Justin Cucci has been an advocate of alternative and sustainable protein sources for years and has been experimenting with cricket-based dishes on Linger’s menu to help Denver diners come to terms with great food made with creepy, crawly ingredients. At 7 p.m. tonight, Cucci is hosting the Denver Bug Banquet & Benefit, a five-course feast from guest chef David George Gordon, famed insect cook and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. For $75 each, guests will receive five dishes made with insects paired with a wine or craft beer. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, Colorado’s only edible-insect farm, which provides crickets for Linger’s bug-based tacos and empanadas. Advance tickets can be purchased at

Thursday, January 12
William Frederick Cody is better known as Buffalo Bill: scout, Wild West showman and proponent of fringe jackets. But he was also a pioneer in the restaurant business, opening the first Mexican eatery outside the Southwest in New York City in 1886. When he died in Denver in 1917, he was temporarily interred at the Olinger Mortuary because the ground at the site of his permanent resting place on Lookout Mountain was too frozen to dig a grave. Now, a century later, Lola Coastal Mexican (which sits on part of the original Olinger property) is presenting Buffalo Bill's Dinner, a tribute to Cody's contributions to Mexican-American cuisine. The dinner will be served at 7 p.m. tonight, following a 4 p.m. happy hour. Executive chef Jamey Fader, with input from Steve Friesen, director of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, has re-created the menu of Buffalo Bill's original restaurant (a pop-up by modern standards), using Colorado meats and heirloom produce. Fried oysters, braised bison cheeks, huevos rancheros, a carved bison roast and housemade doughnuts are all part of the night's fare, and Friesen will talk about Cody's place in Colorado history.  There will also be historical actors dressed as Buffalo Bill so you can get a selfie with the guest of honor. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling Lola at 720-570-8686 or stopping by in person.
Nosh & Posh is back at Civic Center Park for its first food-truck and boutique clothing rally of the new year. Hosted by the Civic Center Conservancy from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the monthly event is a great chance to shop for local fashion while enjoying lunch from one of eight mobile food vendors. Check the Nosh & Posh website for a complete list of food and fashion trucks. Nosh & Posh continues on the second Thursday of each month through April, after which Civic Center Eats returns for another summer season.

Friday, January 13
TBD Foods, a personal chef and catering company at 1410 Gilpin Street, is putting on a buffet spread at 8 p.m. tonight with fried chicken, classic sides and New Orleans-style beignets. For $40, you'll get six dishes, including macaroni and cheese, cornbread and winter-vegetable crudites. TBD says bring your own beverages and dig in. Tickets can be purchased on the TBD Foods website.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.