The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Milk Market has something for everyone.
Milk Market has something for everyone. Danielle Lirette

It's the time of year to get off your couch and get outdoors. But we don't mean going hiking or trekking up to the mountains — why would we waste time in physical activity when there are so many outdoor food and drink events primed to take advantage of this weekend's sunny forecast? Settle into an outdoor bar, wander along food-truck-lined streets or plant some herbs. Here are the seven best culinary events from Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3, 2018.

click to enlarge The Garden doesn't have much greenery, but it has a great view. - ELLIOT CLARK
The Garden doesn't have much greenery, but it has a great view.
Elliot Clark
Friday, June 1
National Doughnut Day has finally arrived! On Friday, June 1, bakeries around town are handing out free pastries, and we've done the hard work of figuring out where you can go for glazed goodies. Of course, all Dunkin' Donuts locations are giving away a free classic doughnut with the purchase of any beverage, while LaMar's Donuts around town are offering a free pastry to anyone who comes in with a ticket printed from the company's website. Other bakeries are making it a bit easier; no purchase or ticket is required to get an OC Sand doughnut at Fractured Prune Doughnuts, and Krispy Kreme gives you the run of the menu when it comes to choosing your flavor. So set the alarm bright and early for your crack-of-dawn sugar rush.

Frank Bonanno's Milk Market food court has been eagerly awaited for months, and the day is finally here. Friday, June 1, marks the opening day of the food hall at 1800 Wazee Street. It's jam-packed with the restaurateur's concepts; both the familiar (Lou's Hot Chicken, Salt & Grinder, Bonanno Bros. Pizzeria) and the new (FEM Crepes, gelato from Cornicello and the ubiquitous poke from MoPoke) co-exist in a single space. The opening weekend is packed with events: a photo booth, puppy yoga, free milkshakes and live music for Sunday brunch. Visit the Market's Facebook page for a complete schedule.

The team behind Death & Co., the bar at The Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th Street, is taking advantage of Denver's sunny days to open a cozy summer bar on the hotel's mezzanine patio. The Garden opens its doors at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 1, with a separate menu from its downstairs sibling and a focus on classic and tropical cocktails. As long as the heavens don't open and the weather's palatable, the Garden will be open at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

click to enlarge 2017's Truck Stop brought out fans of trucks and food. - BRANDON MARSHALL
2017's Truck Stop brought out fans of trucks and food.
Brandon Marshall
Saturday, June 2
Civic Center Eats is the best-known food-truck rodeo in town, but if you don't work in downtown Denver, it's nearly impossible to wrangle a few hours away for lunch — not to mention parking in Capitol Hill. Luckily, Truck Stop, a weekend food-truck rally, is taking over Five Points from 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 — so even if you commute to the hinterlands during the week, you can enjoy the wealth of food offered by more than thirty trucks. There's an entire truck dedicated solely to funnel cake, for God's sake — how can you pass that up? Admission to the rally (on Welton Street between 25th and 29th streets) is free, though dedicated eaters who plan on staying for the duration of the feast may want to pony up $25 for a Pit Stop Pass, which entitles them to bottomless booze from 4 to 8 p.m. Find out more on the event's website.

If you haven't hit Old Major, Bar Dough or Señor Bear recently, take a shortcut by attending the Colorado Culinary Challenge on Saturday, June 2, when chefs Justin Brunson, Max MacKissock and Blake Edmonds, as well as Tobias Burkhalter of Corinne and Nikki Baldacci of Coohills, will be cooking up a storm at Le Méridien, 1475 California Street, to benefit the James Beard Foundation. Starting with a reception at 6 p.m., diners will be treated to a luxe four-course meal with cocktail pairings for $124. Snag tickets for this epic dinner at Eventbrite.

Rebel Restaurant, at 3763 Wynkoop Street, is one of our favorite places in town for all sorts of animal parts; its constantly changing menu has offered up tripe poutine, pig ear biscuits, beef heart tartare and an entire pig head (eyeballs and teeth intact). On Saturday, June 2, Rebel is going straight for your funny bone, with a night of free comedy starting at 10 p.m. Jake Flores, Samantha Ruddy, Zeke Herrera and Olivia Schyling will take the stage while the audience takes advantage of specials on tamer fare: wings, which the adventurous eatery only serves once a month. Get there early to take advantage of unusual cocktails by the talented bar staff; a recent visit resulted in a Mexican coffee cocktail that blew our socks off.

click to enlarge Lavender is used to treat anxiety, insomnia and depression. - FLICKR/KATHRYN YENGEL
Lavender is used to treat anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Sunday, June 3
If you've got a green thumb but no garden, you can still cultivate your Mother Earth vibe this summer by growing herbs. Tasty and versatile, many varieties are easy to grow and thrive in pots — and if you're especially interested in growing plants for medicinal purposes, visit Sharona Thompson's Medicinal Herbs Plant Sale on Sunday, June 3. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thompson's urban homestead at 1870 South Raritan Street will have  forty types of medicinal and culinary herbs for sale (including horehound, rue, skullcap and calendula), along with herbal medicine classes and raffle prizes. Visit Facebook for a complete list of available plants, and start sharpening your gardening shears.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation