This week sees a truly accessible pay-what-you-can farmers' market, a new late-night dining option in Boulder, and preparations for the Fourth of July on the menu, plus a future pop-up you don't want to miss. Keep reading for our picks from Wednesday, July 1, through Friday, July 3, and a selection of ongoing happenings.
Wednesday, July 1
Focus Points (the nonprofit organization behind one of our favorite lunch joints in town, Comal) is teaming up with neighboring coffeeshop Lost City to launch a brand-new, weekly farmers' market on Wednesday, July 1. In a departure from the standard Lululemon and Labradoodle customer base, the market, which is open from 5 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday at 3455 Ringsby Court, embraces a "pay-what-you-can" model that's most notably been employed by Denver's SAME Cafe since 2006 to make fresh, local food accessible to everyone. Customers shop for food and provisions, then pay the suggested market price, or pay whatever they can afford, or pay for their groceries by volunteering their time at a future market. Confirmed vendors include Lost City, Comal, Rebel Farm, Mile High Micro Greens and Rebel Bread (which is not affiliated with Rebel Farm). Lost City Market is scheduled to run through October 28; find out more — including how to become a vendor — on the Lost City website.
Thursday, July 2
The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday in 2020, leaving workers with the ideal three-day weekend (Friday to stock up and pre-game, Saturday to party, Sunday to recover). So, of course, this year's celebrations start even earlier. While the majority of fireworks displays in metro Denver are a no-go (there are still a few shows being shot off in outlying communities like Castle Rock and Berthoud, along with your annoying neighbors who insist that blowing shit up is a constitutional right), Julep, 3258 Larimer Street, is kicking off the pre-pre-weekend with all-night happy hour on Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3. Starting at 4 p.m. until close, the kitchen will be turning out all-American burgers (an upgraded fast-food stack with two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese — and bacon!) instead of its usual Southern fare, and Patriotic Punch served in a juice bag. While the eatery is closed Saturday, it picks up again with brunch on Sunday.
Friday, July 3
If your previous experiences with Fourth of July celebrations only include John Philip Sousa, fireworks and Lee Greenwood, you've been doing America wrong. On Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, Aurora's Stanley Marketplace (2501 Dallas Street) is hosting a gathering that aims to celebrate the differences in skin color, language, background, identity and tastes that makes the U.S. a fascinating (and often delicious) place to live. From 5 to 9:30 p.m., groups of up to ten people can spread out in ten-by-ten-foot picnic spaces in the sprawling field just west of the Stanley and enjoy entertainment from drag queens, comics, religious leaders, tap-dancing troupes and musicians who most definitely aren't channeling militaristic marches or mid-’80s ’Muricanism. Entry is $30 per person ($15 for kids) with the option to add on a meal from Comida, Mondo Market or Rolling Smoke Barbecue at the time of purchase ($18 for adults, $10 for kids). You can buy drinks on site; visit Eventbrite for a full entertainment lineup as well as menus and event details.
Boulder night owls looking for late-night dining more sophisticated than greasy slices of pizza and soggy subs washed down by foamy pints of Coors Light will want to visit Cafe Aion, 1235 Pennsylvania Avenue, which has just launched Night Moves. The Spanish-influenced eatery's answer to the dining habits of actual Spaniards consists of a four-course prix fixe meal available on Friday and Saturday nights. The menu changes with each night's service, and you can reserve a spot at 9, 9:30 or 10 p.m. for $62 per person. Visit Aion's website for details, where you can also drool over the menu and book your table for a late night out that doesn't involve being unceremoniously booted from a bar on the Hill at last call.
Saturday, July 4
For a Fourth of July celebration on the day itself, visit the Fort Restaurant, 19192 Highway 8 in Morrison, where you can choose from indoor or outdoor dining. The steakhouse's full menu, including classics like Rocky Mountain oysters, roasted bison marrow and steaks, will be served inside its dining room, while you can get casual burgers and barbecue (not to mention great views of the Denver skyline) on the eatery's enormous patio. In lieu of watching multiple pyrotechnic shows blast off along the Front Range, you'll be treated to the firing of an 1800s-era cannon every hour on the hour. Make sure you have a tight grip on your drink, as well as a reservation (required); book a table on the Fort's website.
Tuesday, July 7
Boulder's Arcana, 909 Walnut Street, only reopened for in-house dining this week, but it's already got a brand-new pop-up on the calendar. From Tuesday, July 7, through Sunday, July 12, the kitchen will be serving food from Modou Jaiteh, the chef/owner of Jacaranda, a kitchen at Rosetta Hall turning out West African (and African-influenced Southern) fare. The menu hasn't been finalized, but based on Jacaranda's regular menu items — like a vibrant brick-colored peanut stew studded with beef, carrot, eggplant and rice, as well as specials such as benne toast (sweet potato bread topped with silky sweet potato sauce, pumpkin seeds, mascarpone and lime zest) and red red (Ghanaian stewed black-eyed peas, chiles, palm oil and fried plantains or cassava) — we expect great (and great-tasting) things. Call 303-444-3885 to book a table on Arcana's patio, but if you miss out on a seat, don't worry; you can also preorder the menu for takeout. Stay up to date on Arcana's Instagram page.
Keep reading for a selection ongoing weekly events....
The City of Aurora is doing its part to make sure kitchens are stocked with a weekly Wednesday mobile food pantry that will run through August 26. Aurora residents can show up at locations around the city starting at 10 a.m. to receive a box of free groceries that can be used to make up to nine meals. The city's goal is to distribute 1,000 boxes per week; the first week of the pantry's operation, supplies were exhausted within an hour, so eligible families (all Aurora households with proof of residency) should plan to be punctual. Emergency food supplies for homeless citizens as well as pet food and supplies will also be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Distribution locations change every week; visit the City of Aurora website for future locations and complete details.
On June 3, Denver-based Good Food 100 Restaurants, an industry survey that strives to document business and purchasing practices in the hospitality field, launched 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") included chefs Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), hog and poultry farmer Greg Gunthorp, Chris Oliviero from Niman Ranch and market owner Pete Marczyk. The final installment ("Save Good Fruit and Veggies"), on Tuesday, June 30, includes Denver chef Caroline Glover and farmer Chris Corrigan of Project Worthmore's Delaney Farm, among others; visit the organization's website.
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 Esters (2201 Oneida Street) 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.
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.
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