Happy 4th of July weekend, Denver. It's really summer in the city now, when patios beckon and menus bloom with produce. In celebration, we're serving up twenty things to eat in restaurants around town between now and fall.
1. The tangy cucumber white gazpacho, bobbing with a scoop of refreshing watermelon sorbet, at Linger.
2. The seven greens salad -- rife with watermelon radishes, fat sugar snap peas and beets -- and a light, white-whiskey-focused Swizzle Me Timbers cocktail at Colt & Gray.
3. Creamy, housemade burrata and a glass of crisp, bubbly Prosecco on the patio at Osteria Marco.
4. Lambrusco sparkling red wine and a salumi platter -- piled with silky cured meat, swiped with spicy horseradish sauce and sided with thin, crackly breadsticks -- at Pizzeria Locale or Frasca Food and Wine.
5. Green papaya salad, studded with cherry tomatoes, dusted with peanuts and made as spicy as you can handle it, at US Thai Cafe.
6. Breathtakingly cold oysters, which no longer have to only be consumed in months ending in R, at Ototo Food and Wine Bar.
7. Ripe tomato, cubed toast, fresh basil and acidic red-wine vinaigrette blended into panzanella at Row 14.
9. Sweet watermelon, tart goat cheese and toasted pepitas make an ideal match in the watermelon salad at Kaos, where it will be on the menu for the month of July.
10. The brothy shrimp cocktail, swimming with fat pink prawns, spiked with onions and cilantro and ringed with avocado, at El Camaron Loco.
11. The refreshing combination of fruit juice, water and sugar in the aguas frescas at El Taco Veloz. We'd supplement the drink with a taco or two.
12. A nest of bibim naeng myun -- spicy cold noodles, topped with Asian pear, minced beef, cucumbers and translucent strips of radish, plus enough spice to asphyxiate you -- at Sae Jong Kwan.
13. The market pizza, made with fresh produce from different Boulder farms, on the bubbling, wood-fired crust swiped with hand-crushed local tomatoes at Pizzeria Basta.
14. Fat, seared scallops sided with fava beans and English peas on the July menu at twelve.
15. A lobster roll, exploding with claw meat, from the Steuben's Food Truck.
16. A burger, crowned with cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon aioli on a City Bakery bun, at the Friday night burger night at Marczyk Fine Foods.
17. One of the inventively flavored popsicles -- like the unlikely, and spectacular, match of celery and lime -- at Spuntino.
18. The fancied-up s'mores, which include homemade marshmallows, a decadent chocolate sauce, a chocolate graham cookie for dipping and fat fresh strawberries, at Bittersweet.
19. An ice cream sandwich at Lola. Go the traditional route, asking for chocolate or vanilla, or ask for the flavor of the week -- which has included such inventions as Cap'n Crunch ice cream ringed with Cocoa Puffs and smashed between a couple of Fruity Pebbles cookies.
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20. A glass of crisp white or rose wine from the extensive list at Lala's Wine Bar and Pizzeria.