The Nine Best Events on the Culinary Calendar for Memorial Day Weekend

Get a New Haven-style pizza for lunch for just $10 through the end of June.EXPAND
Get a New Haven-style pizza for lunch for just $10 through the end of June.
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Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and with it the unofficial start of summer. So break out your flip-flops and cutoffs, because warm weather activities like cookouts, ice cream eating and outdoor festivals will fill your days. Here are nine great events from Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27, plus more to plan for through the rest of summer.

Friday, May 24
Ice cream purveyor Humphry Slocombe (known for bizarre flavor combos like salt & pepper, peanut butter curry and prosciutto) got its start in San Francisco before expanding to Southern California and eventually spreading eastward via Whole Foods stores. This Friday, May 24, the Whole Foods Market at 1701 Wewatta Street is handing out free scoops of Humphry Slocombe's latest flavor to hit the freezers, Mango Mojito. Depending on your perspective, the mix of mango, mint and rum is either refreshingly or disappointingly normal (at least when you compare it to foie gras ice cream), but either way, we won't say no to free sweet treats.

So ubiquitous is the appearance of pink drinks on patios around town come springtime, we're surprised the consumption of rosé hasn't been codified into cultural law. (Much like not wearing white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, you may think no other beverage except pink wine would be allowable during the summer months.) But while rosé is pervasive, it's also often delicious, so what the hell — we're all in. The Kitchen (1560 Wazee Street in Denver and 1039 Pearl Street in Boulder) is, too, with a curated All Day Rosé menu that kicks off on Friday, May 24, and is available until (you guessed it) Labor Day. Enjoy still or sparkling glasses from around the globe for $11 to $13, plus a spritz ($12) that includes Galliano, pineapple, lemon and mint. And if you want to keep drinking the pink stuff after Labor Day? We won't tell a soul.

Coloradans are a hardy bunch, but hopefully we won't be shivering while eating ice cream in tank tops at the fair this weekend.EXPAND
Coloradans are a hardy bunch, but hopefully we won't be shivering while eating ice cream in tank tops at the fair this weekend.
Courtesy Boulder Creek Festival

Saturday, May 25
Frontline Farming, a food-and-farmers advocacy group that farms five acres in metro Denver and hosts a crop  of programs, including pay-what-you-can food stands, will host the People's Gathering, a free conference focused on food justice and cooperative building, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at New Hope Baptist Church's Community Life Center, 3701 Colorado Boulevard. Brandon King, a founding member of Cooperation Jackson, will offer the keynote, talking about how food cooperatives are essential for the security of communities in shifting local and national landscapes. Children's activities will be offered while adults partake of a crop of programs; find out more at tpg.splashthat.com.

Uptown's White Pie pizzeria, at 1702 Humboldt Street, has stuck to dinner service since it first fired up its oven in 2017, but this week it opened its doors to the lunch crowd. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Italian counterpart to the nearby Dos Santos serves a hearty handful of grinders and pies with a few salads tossed in; you'll want to pay a visit ASAP, as every pizza on the lunch menu is just $10 through the end of June. Visit the eatery's website to get a peek at the full lunch menu.

The Boulder Creek Festival, the city's annual Memorial Day weekend bash, returns on Saturday, May 25, and runs through Monday, May 27. As we know, the best reasons to brave the traffic and parking snarls that surround the festival site, which runs along Boulder Creek from 9th to 14th streets, are the dining, drinking and dramatics of your fellow festival-goers. In addition, the wide variety of food trucks on site (you'll be able to nosh on everything from classic fair food like funnel cakes and cotton candy to international fare such as tacos, sushi and noodles), this year brings the Boulder Beer Bazaar from the folks behind Denver Bazaar, where you can sip samples from a dozen local beverage producers while shopping at more than fifty vendor booths. Admission to the festival is free (find the details on the event website), and while there's no charge to browse at the Bazaar, a drink package will cost you $30. Pick one up on the Denver Bazaar website.

Sunday, May 26
Kick off the unofficial start of summer at the legendary Don's Club Tavern (you may know it better as Don's Mixed Drinks). The seven-decade-old dive bar at 723 East Sixth Avenue is firing up its grills and giving away free hot dogs on Sunday, May 26, for its Sausage Fest. Show up promptly at 3 p.m., when the staff will start slinging hot dogs until supplies run out. After you're stuffed full of wieners, ante up for the hot dog toss and raffle; proceeds will benefit the Mountain Pet Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter based in Winter Park (sadly, no wiener dogs make an appearance on its website). Visit Don's Facebook page for details and pics of pup-doptable pooches.

Sunday has arrived, but you're not quite ready to wind down your weekend. So hit the town — but make sure it's the right town. Pass up the usual Denver crowds and choose tiny Silver Plume for an evening of music, food and drinks in the cool mountain air. Silver Plume's only watering hole, Bread Bar (1010 Main Street), invites you to its Great Mountain Honky Tonk, beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. Music will be provided by Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels, Larry Nix and Erika Ryann; JKQ Barbecue and Long I Pie will dish up good eats. Tickets, available at breadbarsp.com, are $15 each. Bread Bar promises beer and cocktails and says brings the kids and the dog, too!

Current and past members of the military can get 25 percent off this spread on May 27.EXPAND
Current and past members of the military can get 25 percent off this spread on May 27.
Lauren DeFilippo

Monday, May 27
If you're partaking in Colorado's healthiest Memorial Day tradition (that would be the Bolder Boulder), bring it down a notch at Twisted Pine Brewing Co., conveniently located near the race starting line at 3201 Walnut Street in Boulder. From 6 to 9 a.m., the brewery will have a hydration station set up, along with stickers declaring "Will Run for Beer." Grab one even if you'll run without beer — even if you're not running at all! — because after the race, that little sticker will entitle you to a free brew between noon and 5 p.m. The brewery will also release a summery gose that afternoon, and will also have massage therapists on hand to soothe your weary muscles. Then indulge in some post-race carb loading (or as we call it: lunch). Find out more at Twisted Pine's Facebook page.

Forget Sunday Funday: At the end of a three-day weekend, it's Monday I'm-Never-Drinking-Again Day. Luckily, Spanky's Roadhouse, 1800 East Evans Avenue, is expanding its weekend brunch to Monday, May 27. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., hungover guests can hunch over a plate of breakfast, hoping hash browns will settle their stomach, or indulge in some hair of the dog at the Bloody Mary bar. As a bonus, active military and veterans will get 25 percent off their meal as long as they present proof of service.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Wings & Whiskey 2018.EXPAND
Wings & Whiskey 2018.
Mark Antonation

Sunday, June 2
Sunday, June 2, marks the sixth time that Ace Eat Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue, will put away the ping pong tables in favor of poultry at Wings & Whiskey. The event, a fundraiser for Denver Housing Authority's Youth Culinary Academy, brings eight restaurants in town together to pit their crispy, spicy, saucy or smoky version of the bar bite against one another — and you're the lucky judge. From 4 to 7 p.m., you'll get unlimited bird and beer, three whiskey cocktails (or sake) and the chance to enter the wing-eating contest, all for just $55. Don't chicken out: Pick up your tickets on Ace's website.

Us, too, girls. Us, too.EXPAND
Us, too, girls. Us, too.
Jake Cox

Thursday, June 27
Nobody loves tacos more than we do — but can you eat $135 worth of them? If you can't, it's not for lack of opportunity at this year's Top Taco. The annual competition takes place on Thursday, June 27, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, when more than fifty restaurants around town will go head-to-head to see who can serve the best iteration of the classic Mexican street food. There will be tacos for all tastes: street-style (Cilantro & Perejil, Adelitas, Las Delicias), crowd-pleasers (Uno Mas, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Los Chingones) and WTF (Tupelo Honey, Syrup). Not only will tacos fill your tummy, but tequila and margs are also on tap. Still don't think you can stuff over a hundred bucks worth of food in your estómago? Not to worry: GA tickets start at $75 on the event website.

Oyster tasting at Slow Food Nations 2018.EXPAND
Oyster tasting at Slow Food Nations 2018.
Linnea Covington

Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21
Slow Food Nations appeals to everyone (except, perhaps, unrepentant fast-food aficionados). The international food fest kicks off its third year in town on Friday, July 19, and will run nearly forty chef demos, lectures, workshops, parties and dinners — plus the enormous Taste Marketplace, with over 100 vendors hawking their wares and handing out samples — through Sunday, July 21. About half the events taking place around town (but mainly around Larimer Square at Larimer and 14th streets) are free, but the rest require tickets, which start at $20. Visit Slow Food Nations' website to see the whole weekend's schedule and make sure you nab tickets for your can't-miss events.

Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.EXPAND
Last year's Tacolandia offered tacos and takedowns.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks, including Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Antojitos La Poblanita, Carniceria Aaliyah, El Gallo Blanco, Issai's Catering, Kachina Cantina, La Fiesta, Los Chingones, Lucha Cantina, Mariscos El Rey 2, Los Mesones, Neveria Jedany's, Taco Block, Torta Grill, Yareth's, El Coco Pirata and more. Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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