The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Danielle Lirette
Recover from your weekend debauchery with an oh-so-healthy dinner Monday night, then deal with your hangover on Tuesday before heading straight into summer indulgence with cocktails, crabs and community beer gardens. Here are five of our favorite food and drink events this week, plus a handful of parties worth planning for.

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Go raw at Vital Root on Monday night.
Danielle Lirette
Monday, June 3
Go Meatless Monday one better at Vital Root, 3915 Tennyson Street, where the kitchen will be chopping, puréeing and and pickling — but not cooking — all manner of veggies for its June 3 raw dinner. This month's edition (the dinner series happens the first Monday of each month) starts at 4:30 p.m. with a Thai theme, offering four courses for just $30. Think nori cucumber noodles with chiles, grapefruit salsa and sesame dressing; cabbage rolls with mushroom and walnut larb and pickled veggies; and coconut rice pudding flavored with tropical fruit. Find the full menu on Vital Root's Facebook page,

Tuesday, June 4
If you want to enjoy the company of a few hundred of your closest friends while settling in for a movie this summer — but don't want to make the trek to Morrison for Film on the Rocks — you're in luck. Avanti Food & Beverage, 3200 Pecos Street, is kicking off its summer movie series on Tuesday, June 4. Come 9 p.m., the patio will be the site of a free screening of The Hangover. Prizes will also be given out (hopefully not rings). Weekly screenings through August 27 include cinematic classics like Clueless, Zoolander  and Anchorman. Stay tuned to Avanti's Facebook page for upcoming films, and meanwhile, enjoy the venue's main draw: cheaper drinks you don't have to scale a mountain for.

Wednesday, June 5
While everyone is swilling rosé or ice-cold lager, you're the kind of person whipping up elaborate and tasty cocktails for the hot summer months. Why not get some recognition for your talents at a pair of cocktail competitions currently under way? Distillery 291 is running its fourth summer cocktail showdown; drinks must use the brand's product as the base spirit, and prizes total $400 (that buys a lot of whiskey); submit your beautiful baby on Distillery 291's website by Saturday, June 15.

The stakes are higher at Bombay Sapphire's international Most Imaginative Bartender contest, which includes cash stipends for drink development and a whopping $25,000 purse; submit your idea along with a ninety-second video at the contest website by Sunday, June 30. Now get shaking!

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There's no doubt about what you're eating when soft shell crabs are on the menu (this one is courtesy of Savory Vietnam.)
Mark Antonation
Thursday, June 6
Soft shell crabs are in season right now, and even though Colorado is landlocked, you can still get the leggy little critters at a few places around town. On Thursday, June 6, the best place to indulge is Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street, where the kitchen will be serving a four-course crab menu at 6 p.m. Expect three different treatments of the star ingredient (Mexican, with cornmeal crusted crab, masa and salsa verde; Asian, with tempura crab, soba noodles and ramen broth; and comfort food, with panko-fried crab, creamed corn, peas and pancetta) and wine pairings for $110. Make your reservation by calling the restaurant at 303-444-3622. The best part of this seafood dinner? Unlike when you scarf shrimp, you don't have to worry about where to put the shells.

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Dreams of global foosball domination will be achieved and dashed at Skyline Beer Garden starting this week.
Kenneth Hamblin III
Friday, June 7
Employees who brave central Denver traffic to labor thanklessly at their downtown desks have at least one reason to smile starting on Friday, June 7: Tthey can sneak down to Skyline Beer Garden for a refreshing beverage that will help them swallow the bitter taste of wage slavery. Skyline Park (at Arapahoe and 16th streets) will be open Tuesday through Sunday every week through October 12 (weather permitting), with Colorado craft beer plus wine, cocktails and bites available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. DJs and live bands will be performing on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the season, and yard games will be available when your inner child just can't cope with the spreadsheets anymore. Keep up to date on summer events via the Garden's Facebook page.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.