As more restaurants reopen for takeout in anticipation of getting the go-ahead to finally welcome diners for eat-in service, some are testing the waters of walk-up service and eschewing the rigmarole of having customers order in advance. This weekend, you can take advantage of a couple of rare moments of dining-out spontaneity. (Yes, you still have to wear a mask, and yes, hipster couple, that means you — just holding your T-shirt over your nose while you wait in line doesn't count.)
We also included a beer dinner, a market, a cooking class and a wine tasting you won't regret planning ahead for, plus ongoing online and socially distant events.
Friday, May 15
You don't have to miss out on a perfectly prepared steak just because you can't visit a steakhouse; take the bull by the horns and learn how to make a restaurant-worthy steak dinner at home with Uncorked Kitchen's dinner for two on Friday, May 15. Bourbon and beef are what's for dinner, and starting at 4:30 p.m., you'll be guided through making spinach salad with bacon; bleu cheese and bourbon dressing; sweet potatoes with a boozy maple sauce; and bourbon-glazed steaks with Roquefort sauce. In addition to ingredients and instruction, purchase of the class, $95, gets you pre-mixed cocktails, apps to munch on while you cook, and a prepared dessert (double bourbon pecan pudding); you can also enroll without the cocktails for $65. Pick up ingredient kits from the school, 8171 South Chester Street, Centennial, then cook along with the chef from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Saturday, May 16
One of the great delights of visiting a bar that's just a bar (not a gastropub, not a music venue and definitely not an experimental cocktail "concept" where you'll find pretension and snootiness mixed into every fussy fifteen-ingredient, fifteen-minutes-to-prepare beverage) is the simplicity of the experience. Belly up to the bar, pick your poison and start a conversation with the bartender (no "mixologists" here). Or don't — there's no shame in solitary drinking at just-a-bar. While you can't do that yet, one of our favorite joints for such indulgences, Englewood Grand, at 3435 South Broadway, is offering drinks to go from its walk-up window on Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17. From noon to 8 p.m. each day, the Grand is serving to-go drinks with no need to pre-order or reserve a pick-up time. It's also sending you home with a bag of popcorn — the only grub you'll find here, even under normal conditions. It's the closest thing you can get to the bar experience right now; find details on the Englewood Grand Instagram page.
Last weekend, staff at Stoic & Genuine, 1701 Wynkoop Street, took to the restaurant's patio to shuck and shill oysters in a move that proved so popular it prompted a quick sellout, as well as accusations that the seafood shack had opened its outside space for dining. It hadn't — cooks were just serving takeout orders from the patio — but let that be a reminder to Denverites that unless you want to be mistaken for Trumpers from Castle Rock, wear a mask and maintain a six-foot distance when you show up for S&G's second oyster pop-up this weekend. Starting at noon on Saturday, May 16, you'll be able to get oysters, lobster rolls and fish and chips, plus paella from sister restaurant Ultreia, until the grub is gone. (Stoic's regular takeout menu is still available until 8 p.m.) No need to pre-order; just show up (early!), and if you miss the goodies, try again on Sunday, May 17 — the restaurant has doubled the amount of bivalves on hand in order to ensure a second day of patio pop-ups. Find details on its Instagram page.
Sunday, May 17
Chef Franco Ruiz (of the temporarily shuttered Woodie Fisher) is teaming up with longtime friend and colleague Drew Watson (Hops & Pie) and Golden's Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. for a takeout beer dinner on Sunday, May 17. The tentative menu includes Southern-inspired comfort foods (jalapeño fried chicken, collard greens, bread and butter pickles and banana pudding) as well as Mexican fare (mole-glazed baby back ribs, posole with trimmings like onion, lime and cabbage, refritos made from Ruiz's mother's recipe, and churro doughnuts), paired with three pints of Cannonball brews (Mindbender IPA, Tenacious P pilsner and Return of the Mackaroon, a coconut and chocolate oatmeal stout). Dinner can be purchased for two, four or six diners at $50, $75 or $100 with suds — the latter includes three Crowlers instead of 16-ounce pours — or $35, $60 or $85 without libations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your meal, then pick it up on Sunday at Hops & Pie, 3920 Tennyson Street, starting at 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 23
Chef Elise Wiggins's Southern roots are no secret, and later this month, she's heading home to Louisiana and hauling back 3,000 pounds of crawfish and 200 pounds of andouille sausage 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 on heads 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 (last week's box included rhubarb, radishes, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, mixed greens 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.
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 storefront 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.
Keep reading for ongoing online events every day of the week....
Even though it may feel like the world has shut down forever, Mother Nature is actually doling out some good with the bad: Spring has sprung, and now's a great time to start planning a garden. In addition to growing your own food and mitigating grocery-store trips, gardening can also be a meditative hobby — and nothing could be better in these trying times. That's why farmers' advocacy group Frontline Farming is carrying on with its annual heirloom seedling sale. This year, though, all orders must be placed via the organization's online store. Choose from snowy white Japanese eggplant, lemon-colored cucumbers, violet bell peppers, pale yellow to fiery red chiles, and pitch black, burgundy, scarlet and citron hued tomatoes. Don't have a yard? Not to worry — you can also stock up on herb seedlings (oregano, basil, thyme, chamomile, cilantro and parsley) that do great in pots. Then pick up your babies May 16 at 7000 Garrison Street in Arvada and get growing.
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.
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.
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 3 to 7 p.m.; Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger (1565 North Raleigh Street) Fridays from 3 to 8 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.
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.
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.
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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 email@example.com or message Long I Pie's Facebook page and you'll receive a link to the class.
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