While Denver diners and drinkers are still waiting impatiently for news on when restaurants and bars can reopen, life creeps on, and some summer traditions are slowly returning to the Mile High City — albeit in a very different form. This weekend brings the reopening of the Boulder Country Farmers' Market and Little Man Ice Cream, plus online cooking classes and wine dinners and tastings-to-go that are a hallmark of the new...whatever this is. Keep reading for food and drink activities this weekend, plus ongoing and online events.
Friday, May 22
Denver Milk Market knows how to do online wine dinners right. It doesn't fussily portion out inevitably-too-small wine pours; it just sends you home with the whole bottle. Among other reasons, that's why you should hurry and reserve your spot at the (virtual) table right away; the feast on Friday, May 22, includes three bottles of wine and four courses (fresh mozz with prosciutto and focaccia; bucatini in a luscious tomato-y, cheese-y and guanciale-y sauce; veal scallopini with wild mushrooms; and butterscotch budino with salted caramel). Order, pay and schedule pick-up at 1800 Wazee Street between noon and 6 p.m. on Tock; $120 gets you food and wine for two — or fewer; we're not here to judge. Trying times and all that.
Saturday, May 23
The much-anticipated opening of the Boulder County Farmers' Market street market has finally arrived — but shoppers should plan ahead for some serious changes this year. Instead of just rolling up to the stalls in your floppy hat with the goldendoodle in tow and fondling produce with a devil-may-care attitude while you stroll leisurely along, you're going to have to reserve a shopping slot and spend your limited shopping window efficiently collecting pre-ordered produce. Boulder's Saturday market, at 13th Street and Canyon Boulevard, is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23 through Saturday, November 21; reserve a pick-up time on Eventbrite, then visit the market's website to order ahead. You'll be required to wear a mask for entry, limit your party to just one or two people, and pay with credit cards (or small bills — no market bucks). And while you can purchase goods on a whim (not all items are available for pre-order), you'll need to complete your shopping quickly, as slots are only twenty minutes each. BCFM's website has the full details, including a complete list of regulations as well as info on opening dates for the Longmont (Saturday, May 30) and Union Station (Saturday, June 13) markets.
Chef Elise Wiggins's Southern roots are no secret, and she's just hauled back 3,000 pounds of crawfish and 200 pounds of andouille sausage from her native Louisiana for a massive crawfish boil on Saturday, May 23. Call Cattivella at 303-645-3779 to place your order for enough boiled mudbugs, corn, potatoes and sausage, plus pralines for dessert, to feed four ($125), then pick up the feast at the restaurant, 10195 East 29th Drive, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Of course, pre-batched Hurricanes and Sazeracs are also available for purchase if you want to spend your time sucking head instead of mixing your own drinks. Visit Cattivella's Facebook page for details.
Beast + Bottle, 719 East 17th Avenue, is turning the sidewalk in front of its Uptown restaurant into a drive-by farmers' market on Saturdays. Since many of the region's markets are closed to in-person browsing, Beast + Bottle has teamed up with Longmont's Ollin Farms to offer produce boxes for pick-up every Saturday. Order and pay online between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Thursday; different veggies are available every week (previous boxes have included rhubarb, radishes, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, mixed and mustard greens for $30), and you can add on items like fresh asparagus, microgreens, local honey, hot sauce, pickles and peanut butter. Then pull up to the loading zone outside the restaurant on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon (you must wear a face mask) for contact-free pick-up. Details are up on Beast + Bottle's Instagram page.
The lines at Little Man Ice Cream (2620 16th Street and 4411 West Colfax Avenue) are about to get even longer. While the iconic milk can-shaped ice cream shop and its sisters (Sweet Cooie's, 3506 East 12th Avenue; Dang, 2211 Oneida Street; and Constellation, 10175 East 29th Drive) have been shuttered since March, they're now serving scoops for sweet-toothed Denverites — as long as customers wear masks and stand six feet from each other in line. On Saturday, May 23, all locations are hosting an ice cream social (distancing) party from 2 to 4 p.m., with music from local performers (perhaps live, perhaps not) and specials to celebrate their return to commerce. Customers will be required to to wear masks, pay with credit cards and observe social distancing, but it's a small price to pay for a modicum of summer normalcy; visit Little Man's website for details and new store policies.
Catering incubator Food Bridge consistently provides access to lesser-known immigrant and native cuisines with its meals for groups, and now through a series of online cooking classes. Previous classes have tackled Burmese and Lakota Sioux dishes, and Food Bridge is continuing the tradition on Saturday, May 23, by turning the camera on Tirhas Girmay Petros, who will be cooking dishes from rural Eritrea, where she grew up. The class runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and costs $33 ($25 of that goes directly to Petros), and you'll receive recipes and a link to the Zoom meeting (or recording of the class if you can't make it live). Get details and purchase tickets on Food Bridge's Facebook page or Eventbrite.
Sunday, May 24
The Dairy Block's Blanchard Family Wines, 1855 Blake Street, is hosting a virtual wine tasting on Sunday, May 24, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project in anticipation of Memorial Day. Place your order on the winery's online store no later than May 17, and you'll get four half-bottles of wine — enough for two people (theoretically) — delivered to your doorstep in advance of the tasting. Tune in to Zoom from 7 to 9 p.m. for a tasting guided by co-owner James Blanchard, and 20 percent of the $70 fee (not including the $18 in shipping costs) will be donated to the nonprofit organization, which assists injured military service members.
Friday, May 29
Longmont's Dry Land Distillers' insistence on using local ingredients for its beverages — endemic prickly pear cactus for its mezcal-adjacent spirit, Antero wheat (developed by Colorado State University) and heirloom White Sonora wheat for its whiskeys, and native botanicals for its gin — makes it a natural bedfellow for the Slow Food movement (liquor is food, obviously). On Friday, May 29, at 4 p.m., the distillery is joining Slow Food USA for a free virtual tour and mixology class. Sign up for the webinar on Slow Food's website, then start gathering equipment and ingredients to make two of Dry Land's house cocktails using its goods. Pre-order your bottles on Dry Land's online storefront, then pick them up at the tasting room, 471 Main Street in Longmont, between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Wednesday, June 3
Starting Wednesday, June 3, Denver-based Good Food 100 Restaurants, an industry survey that strives to document business and purchasing practices in the hospitality field, is launching Save Good Food, a series of weekly virtual dinner-table discussions about food and the supply chain. At 6 p.m., tune in to hear local and national fine-dining restaurateurs, farmers and distributors discuss the realities and future of finding good food. The first episode ("Save Good Meat") includes chefs Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), hog and poultry farmer Greg Gunthorp and Chris Oliviero from Niman Ranch. Future installments — the series runs through June 30 — feature Denver chefs Alex Seidel, Jen Jasinski, Kelly Whitaker and Caroline Glover; visit the organization's website to register for the free webinars. Attendance is limited, so don't delay.
Keep reading for ongoing online events every day of the week....
Sure, you can teach yourself to cook for free by scouring the Internet for blogs, recipes and YouTube videos; the problem with that is after you've waded through a twelve-paragraph essay about the scent of earth after a fresh rain on the blogger's last trip to Emilia-Romagna, mile-long ingredient lists so poorly written you're left confused as to what exactly you need to pick up at the store, and interminable video intros from cooks so dull you're snoozing even before you get to the tedious parts like chopping veggies, you have no idea if the recipe that follows is going to be worthwhile. Not so with Stir Cooking School's new online subscription service. For $20 per month (prorated for your first month), you'll get at least three new (and concise!) recipes uploaded each week in categories like apps, cocktails, dinners, one-pot meals, baking and pastry, as well as engaging videos and the chance to submit recipe requests. Visit Stir's website now for more info and to get one month of the service free with code NEWSTIR.
Need a mid-day pick-me-up? Colorado Springs-based Distillery 291 is keeping the bar fires burning by posting short Facebook Live videos daily at 2 p.m. (and often at 5 p.m., as well). Tune in to see staff taking shotskis (appropriately socially distanced, with just one person on each end of the ski), mixing cocktails, bantering and sanitizing everything in sight. Anyone — even those who don't live south of the Denver County line — can benefit from daily cocktail recipes and a quick time-out between Zoom meetings. Distillery 291 just took home double gold for its High Rye Colorado Bourbon at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so you can order a bottle for your home bar and virtual-toast along with the 291 team.
Colorado Sake Co. is sending home sushi and sake kits to customers every night of the week for sushi-rolling classes; the packages include enough seafood, rice, nori and veggies to make six rolls (two each of three different styles), plus a rolling mat, chopsticks, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Oh, and the most important part — two 350-milliliter bottles of sake: the American Standard (a junmai ginjo, if you're into details) and one flavored version, such as raspberry-lavender. The kits ring in at $80 and are built for two, and you can add more bottles of sake for $10 each. Sign up for the classes on the Colorado Sake Co. Facebook page; they're offered daily at 6:30 p.m., with a second session at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Knowing when to log out of your email is tough when you're working from home — and it's even harder turning off your work brain when your work space is the same as your sleeping, eating, cooking, TV-watching, hand-washing and gritting-your-teeth-and-trying-not-to-bite-your-roommate's-head-off space. But every day from 7:15 to 7:30 p.m., the folks at Burns Family Artisan Ales are hosting Socially Distanced Drinking with Wayne and Laura on Facebook Live. Tune in and chat in the comments with like-minded beer aficionados about what you're drinking and what it pairs with.
The Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street, has shifted operations to function as a grocery store — and that makes it one of the few markets where you can get your pantry essentials and your hard liquor in the same spot. Curio, the in-house bar, won't mix up a cocktail to sip while you shop, but you can order cocktail kits and bottles of booze for pick-up Tuesday through Friday (2 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) For the most part, the cocktail kits don't include booze, but instead are substantial baskets of fruit, mixers, garnishes, syrups, bitters and ice that make from eight to ten drinks; prices range from $25 to $50. And while you can splurge on a bottle of booze — there are several $300 options for sale on Curio's website — you can get a liter of most house spirits for $25 or $30. You can even get fancy ice cubes, which will run you $4 for four, if for some reason you lack access to water and a freezer. Once you have your goodies in hand, start shaking with the help of the bar's Cocktail Sessions, free videos in which bartenders from Curio, Brass Tacks and Roger's Liquid Oasis walk you through the steps to creating perfect quarantine quaffs.
Stem Ciders isn't letting a little thing like a global health crisis put a crimp in its long-running tradition of Tuesday pairings. The cidery continues to offer four cans of cider accompanied by four food items (upcoming: cupcakes and sushi) picked by bakers, chefs and producers for pick-up between 3 and 7 p.m. from the Stem taproom at 2811 Walnut Street. Unlike in pre-pandemic times, you can reserve your plate (costs vary, but hover in the $25 range) in advance on Eventbrite (recommended) through noon on the prior Monday, but there will be a limited supply of pairings for sale on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday. Take a look at Stem's Facebook page for details on the week's selections.
The Mile High City's own self-serve chicken sandwich chain, Birdcall, is taking a cue from its namesake and bestowing beautiful music on the people of Denver. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through the end of Denver's stay-at-home order, the restaurant's Facebook and Instagram pages will be streaming free mini-sets from local musicians as part of its Birdcall Lockdown concert series. Past artists include Wildermiss and Neoma; tune in at 8 p.m. for your fix of local music — even better if it's enjoyed with one of the joint's family meals or sandwiches, which you can order online, pick up from the restaurant and enjoy from the comfort of your own couch.
The folks at Flying Pig Burger Co. (5935 South Zang Street in Littleton and 5777 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada) and Westrail Tap & Grill (195 South Union Street in Lakewood) are showing their appreciation for first responders through Sunday, June 28, by giving away a free cheeseburger and fries to police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors and EMTs from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Show up with your ID, and remember to show your appreciation for their appreciation by tipping well. See each restaurant's Facebook page for details.
Our favorite place for Negronis, Bar Helix, is doing double duty as a smokehouse on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can order the bar's ribs and sides from 2 p.m. until sellout for no-contact pick-up at 3440 Larimer Street. Details are up on Bar Helix's website, where you can place your order for food as well as large-format cocktails designed to serve six people or more.
The longer Colorado's stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders drag on, the worse our case of cabin fever gets (at this point, your cousin's wedding in Rapelje, Montana — population 110 — sounds positively enticing). But while you're stuck at home, you can prepare for your next trip to somewhere closer and much, much tastier: Colorado's wine country. Starting Wednesday, April 15, the Colorado Wine Facebook page launched its weekly happy half-hour at 4:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. Winemakers from across the state join the stream each week and chat about tasting tips, the winemaking process and viewer questions. Visit Colorado Wine's website to connect with wineries close to you and find out how you can purchase their wares to drink during happy hour (or — let's be honest — any hour of the day).
The Source Market's hip liquor store, The Proper Pour, at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is teaming up with members of the funk band Lettuce (who also happen to have a natural-wine distribution company, Benny & Zoid Selections) to ease you through Hump Day with its wine and music pairing, Tasting Notes. Purchase a pair of wines on the Proper Pour's website (this week's selections include a riesling and a zinfandel from California's Stirm Wine Co.), then check back or visit Benny & Zoid's Instagram page on Wednesday morning to get the link to the Zoom meeting. Join the crew at 7 p.m. for tasting notes on the booze followed by a jam session. The liquor store delivers within Denver city limits; otherwise, you'll need to arrange for curbside pick-up. Find out more on the Proper Pour's Facebook page (after all that careering around the web, you'll definitely have earned a drink).
Even coronavirus can't kill Wine Wednesday, and Bigsby's Folly is doing its part to uphold the Hump Day tradition. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., the winery crew is holding virtual gatherings on Instagram Live; while you're there, be sure to take a moment to peruse the feed and enjoy frequent, costumed moments of levity from owners Chad and Marla Yetka.
Popular pop-up shopping destination Denver Bazaar has had to rethink its business model — after all, tipsy shopping and close talking in a bustling market space aren't exactly copacetic these days. So the bazaar has teamed up with local producers and restaurants to shift operations online while giving consumers the same access to local food, drink and handmade items. Visit Denver Bazaar's website to order farmers' market items, cocktails and family meals, then schedule your pick-up location and time. Current locations are Highland Tap & Burger (2219 West 32nd Avenue) on Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger (1565 North Raleigh Street) Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Mister Oso (3163 Larimer Street) Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Belleview Station Tap & Burger (4910 South Newport Street) Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market is looking to add more items and locations, so stay tuned to its website; also note that orders must be placed no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the current week or Thursday for the weekend.
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts had recently moved into new digs at 43 West Ninth Avenue when COVID-19 shuttered the dining rooms of restaurants and bars across the state. While we're still waiting (and waiting...and waiting) for guidance on when they will be allowed to reopen, Cook Street has begun offering a slate of online classes on Thursday and Friday nights at 6 p.m. that have been selling out. Previous editions include Indian and Thai cuisine, pizza for the family and date night with Italian food; tuition runs around $45 per person and includes ingredients for one, recipes and a Zoom live stream. Sign up on Cook Street's website, where you can also see specifics on time, pricing and menus.
Thursday afternoon has rolled around, you haven't been to the grocery store in weeks (all your masks are in the laundry), and the sole contents of your refrigerator are unidentifiable leftovers from the last restaurant you ate in three months ago, stale corn tortillas and the tail end of a year-old bottle of vermouth. Perhaps even more important, your home bar has been depleted, and the only booze around is a bottle of vanilla extract (oh, and that oxidized vermouth). Never fear, last-minute man: Here's a dinner-and-drinks option you barely have to plan for. Starting at 3 p.m. on Thursdays, call Italian-inspired joint Gattara, 1776 Grant Street, and order its weekly wine dinner for that evening. Phone 303-318-7272 to order pick-up, or order online for Grubhub delivery and you'll get three courses plus three wine pairings for a mere $30. Then visit Gattara's Facebook page between 6 and 8 p.m. to talk with the crew via Facebook Live about the pairings. This is a weekly event, but the menu changes monthly; May's menu includes burrata with heirloom tomatoes, olives and lemon olive oil; pizza topped with prosciutto, mascarpone, cured egg yolk and pecorino; and a chocolate torte for dessert. Get the details on Facebook.
The Boulder-based Cocktail Squad, purveyor of canned cocktails and 1989-era Taylor Swift catchphrases, has launched a series of music sets from local musicians on its YouTube channel. Every Thursday you can watch new performances from artists like Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, Andrew McConathy of the Drunken Hearts and more. Presumably, not every musician making an appearance will be a bearded white dude named after one of the Twelve Apostles, but you'll have to tune in to find out — and even if they are, it'll go down easier with one of the Squad's cocktails in hand; visit its website to find out where you can order them for delivery. In lieu of tips, the beverage producer is requesting that you donate to nonprofit organizations Feed the Frontlines Boulder, United States Bartenders' Guild National Charity Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Relief Fund.
American Elm, 4132 West 32nd Avenue, is hyping a different cocktail each week during its Friday happy hour — because once you've learned everything there is to know about your housemate(s), pet(s), Tik Tok feed, Joe Exotic and the offerings of every streaming platform you can think of, God knows you need some variety. Bartenders will walk you through the weekly drink at 4 p.m. on the restaurant's Instagram page; to play along, visit American Elm's website, where you can place a pick-up or delivery order for the bar's pre-mixed cocktails. And because every alcohol purchase must include food, you can indulge in one of the spot's excellent entrees or family meals.
Denver Beer Co. is hosting a virtual happy hour and tasting every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. on Facebook Live and its YouTube channel; the taproom's head brewer and owners will discuss select brews each week, which will be posted on DBC's Facebook page in advance so that you can drink along if you'd like.
Golden spirits maker State 38 Distilling is hosting a virtual happy hour every Friday at 4:30 p.m. (times subject to change based on guests). Past online gatherings have included cocktail recipes, whiskey 101 education and expert guest appearances. Visit State 38's Facebook page for details about each week's edition.
Dos Luces Brewery will hold Friday night meetups on Google Hangouts at 6 p.m. until the taproom reopens. Owner/head brewer Judd Belstock will be discussing his chicha and pulque. Details are up on the Dos Luces Facebook page, where you can also find info on pre-order and pick-up of its brews.
Proof Wine & Spirits, 3360 Larimer Street, is moving its weekly in-store wine tastings into the virtual Wild West (aka Instagram). Each Tuesday, the shop will announce two wines that it will uncork; you can order the bottles on its website and pick them up at the store. Then on Friday at 6 p.m., join store manager and sommelier Jessica Barrand on Instagram Live as she tastes and takes notes on the wine. We'll raise a glass to that.
Curtis Park residents have an easy way to decide where to order Friday night takeout: Curtis Park Neighbors has recently formed the Curtis Park Meal Train. Each week, nearby denizens can order a meal for two for $35 (plus two drinks for just $5 more if the selected restaurant has a liquor license!) no later than Thursday for Friday night delivery straight to your doorstep — if you live within five miles of the participating restaurants. Past participants include Dio Mio Handmade Pasta, Hop Alley and Lou's Italian Specialties. Stay tuned for upcoming collabs and order on the Meal Train website.
Long I Pie owner Shauna Lott Harman has been peddling pies for years, but has had to hit pause because of the current pandemic. Despite the shutdown, Harman still makes sure her love of baking gets shared with anyone who wishes to bask in it. Each Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m., Harman is hosting a free virtual baking class on Zoom, where's she's turned out carrot whoopie pies, homemade Oreos, biscuits, cornbread and more; upcoming classes will include soft pretzels, pizza dough and cookies. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message Long I Pie's Facebook page and you'll receive a link to the class.
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