If your social calendar is looking a little light, these food- and drink-related events should keep you happy (and hoppy) and well fed for the next couple of weeks.
Saturday, Feb. 18
Butchering Class, Sausage Making: Master the skill that will make your house parties unlike any other — sausage making. That’s right. At this 9 a.m. wakeup call, you’ll learn to grind, mix and stuff in a rigorous, not-so-tidy, hands-on instruction at the St. Paul Meat Shop, then take those links home to grill. If you’re the kind of sausage eater who wants to pull back the curtain from meat making, this class is for you. Purchase the $175 tickets at eventbrite.com.
Brews, Blues and BBQ: Modist Brewing in Minneapolis is getting serious about the three B’s with this extravaganza featuring local bands and grub from ZZQ Smokehouse in Eagan. Tickets are $49 at getknitevents.com and include tokens for three Modist pints — there will be special brews on hand — plus pork and chicken sliders with a side from ZZQ. More beer and food will be available for purchase while you jam to a lineup that includes Hurricane Harold, Doug Otto and the Getaways and several more performers. And if this all sounds like a little too much fun, well, Modist is partnering with the nearby Hewing Hotel for some overnight specials — so you don’t have to worry about driving home.
Sunday, Feb. 19
Cochon 555: This national culinary tour is rolling into town, and instigating one massive food showdown. Chefs Jorge Guzman (Surly Brewing Co.), Thomas Kim (the Rabbit Hole), J.D. Fratzke (Strip Club Meat & Fish, Saint Dinette), Grae Nonas (Tullibee) and Justin Sutherland (Handsome Hog) will be cooking 1,500 pounds of heritage-breed pig in a nose-to-tail competition. The winner will be named Prince of Pork. If that doesn’t satisfy your hunger, look for the ramen bar, the tartare bar, a smoked Old Fashioned bar, the many luxury wines (there will be a Sommelier Smackdown, as well), piles of sweets and more. The bash at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel goes from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Learn more at cochon555.com.
Restaurant Week begins: The winter iteration of the event is back, featuring lunch and dinner specials all around the metro through Feb. 24. Check out mspmag.com/promotions/restaurantweek for a full list of participating eateries.
Wednesday, Feb. 22
Social All Stars Pardi Gras: Constantine barmen Jesse Held and Jeff Rogers are going back to their roots and crashing Eat Street Social’s Torpedo room for Mardi Gras shenanigans. Expect some serious cocktailing from 7 p.m. until midnight.
Friday, Feb. 24
Winterfest 2017: The cold, dark days of winter are for drinking beer, and, frankly, that excuse should be enough. But if you need another, here’s this: Nearly 100 of the state’s craft breweries will be stationed at Target Field for this Friday night bash featuring snacking (charcuterie, sliders, chicken wings and warm soft pretzels) from Green Mill Restaurant and Bar and all the brew you can put back. Tickets (mncraftbrew.org) are $75.
Saturday, Feb. 25
Bittercube at Lawless: For a cocktail class that will certainly extend beyond the ordinary, go see how the entertaining fellows from Bittercube put together one of the city’s wildest drink menus. And make sure you eat a hefty meal beforehand – there is typically more than ample booze to consume. Tickets are $50 and include seven mini cocktails, plus whatever else they decide to throw your way.
Monday, Feb. 27
Pigeonhole: Popol Vuh dinner: Restaurateur Ben Rients’ upcoming project – an upscale Mexican restaurant – has a name (Popol Vuh) and will be the theme of another five-course dinner held at Lyn 65 in Richfield. Rients’ plan is to develop his menu for the new spot, which is expected late in the year, through these dinners – so make sure to give him your feedback! Tickets are $50 for any of the six seatings, and drinks will be available for purchase.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
Haskell’s Wine Dinner at Lela: A five course meal, prepared by Lela chef Stewart Woodman will be complimented by wines from Maxville Lake, a Napa Valley newbie. The lineup includes a Sauvignon Blanc, a Petite sirah, a Cabernet and a Cab Franc, paired with the likes of parsnip bisque, roasted cod, prime rib and chocolate mousse. Tickets are $80.
Clash of the Super Beers reception: Because society needed another way to recognize “Logan,” the new Marvel movie out March 3, there’s a showdown between six superhero-inspired beers from Surly Brewing Co., Fulton Beer, Indeed Brewing Co., 612 Brew, Lake Monster Brewing and Lake & Legends Brewing Co. It’s going down at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar at the Mall of America on Wednesday at 7 p.m., with each brewing team taking over two of FireLake’s taps. Tickets are $30 and include 5-ounce pours of each of the six Super Beers. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite and hang out to hear the winner.
Bock Fest: Seriously — didn’t we tell you winter is for beer drinking? There’s more: If you fancy a road trip to Schells Brewery in New Ulm (or get brunch and take a bus with bockfestbus.com), you can take part in this indoor/outdoor event that’s part scavenger hunt and part excuse to drink, eat brats, listen to live music and gather around a fire. Tickets are $10 and can be bought in advance at schellsbrewery.com or at the gate.
Polar Plunge Freezer Jam: If you like a side of crazy with your foodie excursions, hit this frigid fest for a dip in the, ahem, crisp waters of Lake Calhoun for a good cause. Then dry off and put some clothes on, for Pete’s sake, and avail yourself of the array of drinks and food from Surly and Sociable Cider Werks. Participants must raise $75 to plunge — a sum that goes to support Special Olympics Minnesota. Register at polarplungemn.org.