It's a brunch-tastic weekend in Denver. While we don't usually pimp brunch here (after all, it's not really a special event when a restaurant serves breakfast), there are a couple of boozy mid-morning happenings that are worth your attention. Here are our seven favorite food and drink events — for brunchers and non-brunchers alike — on this weekend's culinary calendar, as well as a few events to note for future weeks.
Friday, May 18
We know you'd never go to El Chingon and order a chimichanga; you, Gentle Reader, are far too sophisticated for that. But ordering a deep-fried burrito when you're sitting in a darkened movie theater and already a pitcher of beer down? That's another story. Indulge in the guilty pleasure at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas on Friday, May 18, when you can order Wade Wilson's favorite meal while taking in a screening of Deadpool 2. Tequila cocktails (of course) will be flowing; our favorite, Pegged, celebrates International Women's Day. Drink up!
Limoncello could be the perfect summer drink: It's sweet, tart, and comes with enough plausible deniability that you might be able to convince yourself you're drinking a giant glass of lemonade — not a tumbler full of grappa — after mowing the lawn. The best part about the beverage? There are a wealth of variations (sub oranges, grapefruit, yuzu, limes...anything citrusy, really, for the lemon), and it's easy to make at home. Learn how at Sarto's Hello, 'Cello class at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 18, where you'll get a cocktail, snacks and the knowledge for just $35. Register at Sarto's website and prepare for an epic summer of drinking.
Hello, night owls — have we got a midnight snack for you! Fly By Night — the culinary creation of chefs Ben Whelan and Blake Stine — is cooking up a late-night pop-up of Southeast Asian street food on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19, at Osaka Ramen, 2611 Walnut Street. Join the fun from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. as Whelan and Stine take over the ramen kitchen with chao ga (forbidden rice porridge with tea-smoked chicken), banh bot loc goi la (shrimp dumplings with pork belly and wood ear mushrooms), banh xeo (curry coconut crepes) and other wondrous Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Each dish can be ordered individually, or bring friends so you can try them all; prices range from $6 to $12. See the Fly By Night website for complete menu details.
Saturday, May 19
Many farmers' markets have already sprouted up around town, and Ridge at 38 Four Seasons Outdoor Market will host its opening day today. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through October 20, the Four Seasons Market at 7043 West 38th Avenue in Wheat Ridge will host an outdoor market with fresh produce, baked goods, kids' activities, free samples and more! Opening festivities also include the Upcycle Fair, a plant sale and live music by Jon Romero y Amanecer. Find out more here.
Think a sushi bar can't pull off brunch? Think again. Our Best Sushi Bar winner this year, Bamboo Sushi, is starting summer right by launching weekend brunch service on Saturday, May 19. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the alley entrance at 2715 17th Street will be your portal to delicious and frankly strange-sounding dishes. There's the Saikyo Monsoon cocktail, made with yuzu, soju and miso; a brunch roll with tamago, bacon, crispy sweet potato and cured egg yolk; and sweet and savory waffles — the savory variety being made with kimchi and cheddar cheese. To reserve your seat (and if it's sunny, don't pass up the opportunity to sit on the beautifully simple patio), call the restaurant at 303-284-6600.
Sunday, May 20
Much as Thanksgiving heralds the start of the holiday season, Harvey Milk Day (May 22) is a precursor to Denver's PrideFest. We'd like to see the months of May and June become as widely celebrated as November and December, not least because the family you're hanging out with at PrideFest is probably way cooler than the family you sit around the holiday dinner table with. So gather your tribe and kick off the season at There..., 3254 Navajo Street, for the Harvey Milk Boozy Brunch on Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. As at any good brunch, the sangria and mimosas will be bottomless, the company will be fabulous, and the cause (supporting LGBTQ rights in Colorado) will be just. If you're lucky, milk punch will even be on the menu. Pick up your ticket, $60, at eventbrite.com, and have a very merry Pride.
Southern African food isn't readily available in Denver, despite the fact that the braai (a gathering with grilled meats of all sorts — typically chicken, beef, goat and sausage) is a natural fit for Denver's outdoor culture. On Sunday, May 20, Elephant Energy, a nonprofit organization working to provide solar lights in Namibia, is hosting a braai at The Posner Center for International Development, 1031 33rd Street. From 3 to 6 p.m., kids twelve and under get in free, while adults can sample traditional African fare while competing in a less traditional cornhole tournament. Get your tickets ($20 for admission, $10 for cornhole) at Elephant Energy's website.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Thursday, May 24
The fight is on! No, it's not a cockfight (though there will certainly be some of that, especially after all the whiskey is consumed), it's Chicken Fight!, Denver's celebration of fried yardbird. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, the pecking order will be established as Birdcall, Injoi Korean Kitchen, the Post, Au Feu and more go head to head. River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, hosts the unlimited food-and-drink fest (so plan ahead, as the second-most hotly contested death match will be for parking); tickets will run you $69 to $125 at the Chicken Fight! website.
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Saturday, May 26
There are plenty of great restaurant patios in town, but one of our favorites doesn't show up on many lists; that's because it's at the MCA Denver, which isn't known as a dining destination. But on Saturday, May 26, the warm, wooden rooftop patio decorated with succulents at 1485 Delgany Street will host Block & Larder and Colorado Cider Company for MCA Dinner Society. For $125, guests will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Cleon Peterson's Shadow of Men exhibit, as well as a four-course menu with cider pairings and a snack to take home (or eat in the car on the way there). These events always sell out, so snap up your ticket at eventbrite.com while you still can.
Saturday, June 16
If you're curious about the luxury food festival Cochon555 but the prospect of being packed into a hotel ballroom so tightly your drink spills every time someone next to you takes a deep breath makes you itch, you might fare better at Heritage Fire Snowmass, Cochon's outdoor version of the whole-animal competition. Chefs from all over the country will set up camp at Snowmass Base Village, 120 Carriage Way, to cook more than 3,000 pounds of beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, duck, fish and goat over open fires on Saturday, June 16, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy the fresh air, smell of woodfire and unlimited food and drink. Snag your tickets ($150 to $200) at cochon555.com before they're gone.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.