Birthday cake and brunch, farmers' markets and festivals, and Mother's Day happenings are on the menu this weekend. Keep reading for six of the best food and drink festivities from Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 12, as well as a pair of piggy parties and taco tastings in the days to come.
Friday, May 10
Mark Zuckerberg built an empire on finding sneaky ways to get people to part with their personal info — and the embattled Facebook has doubled down on its data mining in the past few years, even as it gives lip service to privacy concerns. On Friday, May 10, the social-media behemoth is partnering with bakeries around the country, including the Rolling Pin Bakeshop, 2716 Welton Street, to roll out a new Facebook feature that has something to do with you giving the website your birthday. But, hey, at least you'll get one of the bakery's excellent pastries (either a mini chocolate croissant or birthday cake) for free in exchange for the info, instead of just giving it away while taking a quiz that's going to tell you which Hogwarts house you'd be sorted into based on whether you click on a kitten or baby kangaroo. The giveaway starts at 8 a.m. and goes until the sweets run out; find more details on — of course — Rolling Pin's Facebook page.
Ever tasted a stale tortilla at a restaurant and thought, "I can do better than that!?" Making the Mexican specialty from scratch is both easier (corn) and more difficult (wheat) than you might think; witness the agony and the ecstasy firsthand at Clínica Tepeyac's Tortillas for Tepeyac fundraiser on Friday, May 10, at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street. The nonprofit clinic provides low cost, bilingual primary and preventative health care, but at 11:30 a.m. it's setting aside prescriptions and picking up rolling pins at its luncheon, which pits local politicians, media figures and sports mascots against each other in a tortilla-making contest. Visit the Clinic's Facebook page for details and to purchase your $50 ticket.
Start your weekend off with a sugar rush at the Colorado Chocolate Festival, which kicks off on Friday, May 10, at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, at 4 p.m. and runs through Saturday, May 11. Dozens of vendors will on on hand, hawking goodies filled with, flavored by and covered in chocolate. There will also be a chocolate martini bar, a blind chocolate tasting, a pudding-eating contest (no hands!) and an appearance from drag queen/pastry chef Chocolatina, Queen of the Desserts. Admission is a bargain at $5 (with $10 for twelve tasting tickets), or indulge in VIP tickets ($50), which include early entry, reserved seating for all stage shows and 24 tasting tickets; find details on the fest's website. Bonus: Parking at the venue is free. Sweet!
If eating and drinking local is important to you, you don't want to miss this fall's Colorado Mountain Winefest, a weekend celebration of more than sixty Colorado wineries (plus meaderies, cideries and even a port producer) converging on Palisade's picturesque Riverbend Park from September 19 to 22. There are also food and wine pairings, wine country bus tours, and workshops like Intro to Grape Growing and the ubiquitous yoga and booze session, all of which have sold out for the past three years — and VIP tickets to the Saturday wine tasting have already been snapped up. So nab your tickets as soon as they go on sale Friday, May 10, on the festival's website (workshops start at $30; the tasting costs $60), and block off a lovely fall weekend on the Western Slope.
Saturday, May 11
Our favorite farmers' market of the season (because it's the closest to booze) opens on Saturday, May 11: the Union Station Farmers' Market, at 1701 Wynkoop Street. The majority of the booths are occupied by farmers and ranchers like Mile High Fungi, Corner Post Meats and Kiowa Valley Organic Orchards, but if you skipped breakfast in favor of getting there exactly when the market opens at 9 a.m., there are also prepared-food vendors such as Il Porcellino Salumi, Haystack Mountain Creamery and Hinman's Bakery, with its spectacular hand pies. Finally, you'll need to hydrate after a hard morning of shopping, so grab a seat at any of the restaurant patios surrounding the plaza (Snooze, Mercantile, Terminal Bar, Ultreia) and quench your thirst with a tasty beverage. Note that this week, the first 100 moms to show up get a free succulent in honor of Mother's Day; just stop in at the orange information booth to claim your plant baby (which is probably easier to keep alive than your human baby).
Sunday, May 12
Who's getting wined and dined on Sunday, May 12? Your mom — if you're a good child. Or you, if your child/partner/baby daddy has their act together. In any case, here are a handful of fun Mother's Day events that any mom will enjoy — provided she's not the person making sure the toddler doesn't get into the carafe of mimosas on the table. Re:Vision presents the Mother's Day Garden Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westwood Food Co-op, 3738 Morrison Road; a plant sale, bites from Mujeres Emprendedoras, photos by El Chingona, and gardening demos are on the schedule. If you're craving a traditional brunch, The Nickel, 1100 14th Street, will have a professional photographer on hand during brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., snapping complimentary shots of the whole family and ensuring mom's brunch blowout and makeup don't go to waste. Finally, Izakaya Den, 1487 South Pearl Street, is opening its doors for a rare Sunday evening service from 3 to 9 p.m., so snag a reservation on Resy for a meal in one of the most stylish dining rooms in town.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Tuesday, May 14
Chef/owner Jeff Osaka's 12@Madison, 1160 Madison Street, is putting its money where its mouth is on Tuesday, May 14, with the inaugural Seasonal Charitable Dinner. The twelve-course meal will make use of traditional spring ingredients (baby root veggies, shell beans, rabbit) while donating a full 100 percent of the proceeds to the Gathering Place, a day shelter providing meals, counseling and job, education and financial support to women, children and trans folks. Seating is extremely limited — just 28 seats — so email email@example.com to reserve your spot for $150, with optional beverage pairings for $75. More info is up on the restaurant's Facebook page.
Saturday, May 18
Think your barbecue can stand up to the pros? If you think you know your back fat from your Boston butt, sign up to compete in the Proud Souls Barbecue & Provisions' Backyard BBQ Rib Competition on Saturday, May 18. From noon to 8 p.m., the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway in Englewood, will host aspiring pit masters; barbecue demos from pros around town (Bill Espiricueta of Smok on wings, Jason Ganahl of GQue cooking up a delicate lobster tail and Tony Roberts of Proud Souls on brisket); a beer garden; food for sale from GQue and Sugarfire Smoke House; and a concert by Slim Cessna's Auto Club. While admission to the event is free, tickets for the concert will run you $20 on the Proud Souls Facebook page, and if you're interested in putting your ribs up against the competition, sign up on the shop's website or stop by the storefront at 2485 Federal Boulevard to sign up.
If you didn't enroll in author Michael Ruhlman and chef Brian Polcyn's Praise the Lard! two-day butchery class happening this week, fret not: You still have a chance to benefit from their passion for pork. On Saturday, May 18, Julep, 3258 Larimer Street, is the site of the duo's Praise the Lard! dinner. Chef Kyle Foster will join the two in the kitchen, turning out six swine-y courses that put their butchering, curing and smoking skills on display. Tickets are $122.90 on Eventbrite (including tax and tip) for the 7 p.m. homage to the hog.
Thursday, June 27
Nobody loves tacos more than us — 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 over 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.
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. Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
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