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The Six Tastiest Events in Denver This Weekend

Funnels — whether in cake or fry form — make for good eating.
Funnels — whether in cake or fry form — make for good eating.
Flickr / watz
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Get ready for funnel cake Fry-day, shopping Saturday and seafood Sunday (and an extra Monday on the mend). Here are our six picks for weekend food and drink events, at price points that will appeal to your inner miser — aka responsible adult —since the highest cost of entry is just $40.

Then keep reading for future culinary events in the months of June, July and beyond.

Friday, May 28
We're not nearly as anxious for 2021 to come to an end as we were 2020, but Dang!, 2211 Oneida Street, has come up with a gimmick/concept/stroke of genius that has us hoping the month speeds past at an alarmingly fast pace: funnel cake fry weekends on the last weekend of every month. Starting Friday, May 28, the soft-serve ice cream and French fry purveyor will be serving up sweet fries in addition to the traditional savory version. Both, of course, can be shoved into your face straight out of the fryer and piping hot, or cooled down by a quick dip in ice cream. The shop's also offering a funnel cake sundae; the specials will be available through Sunday, May 30, or as long as supplies last. If you miss out, don't despair — just clear your calendar for the last weekend in June.

Fort Greene hosts Made by Us market on Saturday, May 29.
Fort Greene hosts Made by Us market on Saturday, May 29.
Ladd Forde

Saturday, May 29
The sun is out (mostly), the vaccination has kicked in (hopefully) and your paycheck just cleared (maybe): It's time to thrown on a romper and go shopping. You can get a full day of it (and eating and drinking) on Saturday, May 29. Start down south at Denver Bazaar, which is taking over three blocks outside Belleview Station's Tap & Burger, 4910 Newport Street. Admission is free, but we always recommend shopping with a drink or two in hand (it quiets that pesky voice whispering, "Do I really need that?") For $25 on Eventbrite, get bottomless mimosas and aperol spritzes between 10 a.m. and noon or noon and 2 p.m. (the market itself runs until 4 p.m.) Over seventy vendors will be on hand, including Marijuanuts (CBD-infused nuts); Bjorn's Colorado Honey; Yampa Valley Sauce Company (strawberry and avocado hot sauces); and Casa Crobu (frozen lasagna, ravioli, mezzelune and more).

Afterward, head down to Fort Greene, 321 East 45th Avenue, for a little night shopping courtesy of Made by Us merchant collective from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit its Instagram page for a complete lineup; regular participants include  Dead Veggies (kimchi), Kind Confections (you guess), Meringue and Company (macarons) and Colorado Cocoa Pod (chocolate bonbons).

These guys are going down your gullet at a May 30 seafood boil.EXPAND
These guys are going down your gullet at a May 30 seafood boil.
Tom's Seafood

Sunday, May 30
Tired of brunches that have you $30 in the (egg in the) hole before you've even finished your first round? Hit up Cheapskates Action Sports Bar, 7501 Grandview Avenue in Arvada, where the name tells you all you need to know. On Sunday, May 30, the joint (where you can score country fried steak with two eggs and hash browns for under $10) is celebrating its tenth birthday starting at noon. Live music, a Maker's Mark patio bar, games and giveaways are on the agenda; visit Cheapskates' Facebook page for the band lineup.

If your idea of brunch is less "I need some hair of the dog" and more "I've been partying since Friday night — why stop now?," Munchies and Mimosas is the event for you. After over a year on hiatus, the party is returning to the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, for a brunch event with bottomless bubbly and a banger vibe. For $40, from noon to 6 p.m. you'll get a brunch spread, all the mimosas you can drink and over a hundred people dancing to tunes from DJs KScott, Simone Says and KDJ Above. Visit the Munchies and Mimosas Instagram for details, then snag tickets on Eventnoire.

For a weekend celebration that will be just as messy as a bottomless mimosa brunch (but in a very different way), go west — to the VFW Post 4171 at 15725 West Tenth Avenue in Golden. Chef Jeff Stoneking (formerly of ChoLon and LeRoux) is putting on a seafood boil from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 30. The main attraction is the aquatic spread — mussels, clams, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab cakes — but there will also be burgers, hot dogs and chicken to nosh on, drinks from the VFW bar (no $13 cocktails here), live music and a guitar raffle. Local vendors including Moon Raccoon Baking Co., Mama Sue's Kitchen (chili oil) and DittyPop Smoothies will also be on hand. Admission is free, though you can pre-order a plate for $30 that includes seafood, slaw or salad, a glass of booze and a raffle ticket on Stoneking's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events....

Carboy is pouring exclusively pink drinks at its Rosé La La La event on June 4.EXPAND
Carboy is pouring exclusively pink drinks at its Rosé La La La event on June 4.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, June 4
Nothing says summer like pink patio pounders — and Carboy Winery's Denver outpost, at 400 East Seventh Avenue, is bringing together a pack of producers for its Rosé La La La festival on Friday, June 4. In two sessions (3:30 to 5 p.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m.), you can sample rosé wine from thirteen Colorado wineries, including the Storm Cellar, Sauvage Spectrum, BookCliff Vineyards, Jack Rabbit Hill Farm and Chill Switch Wines. Admission is a steal at $38 — which includes apps and a stemless wine glass to take home — but finding your perfect post-COVID summer wine is worth its weight in gold. Visit Carboy's website to learn more and secure your spot.

Last year's Drink Red Wear Red came just before March's COVID shutdown.EXPAND
Last year's Drink Red Wear Red came just before March's COVID shutdown.
Courtesy Colorado Restaurant Association

Thursday, June 17
If you're bereft because, for the second June in a row, Aspen Food & Wine isn't happening (it's taking place in September this year), you can stop clutching your pearls. Another über-extravagant, ultra-expensive food festival is taking place in Aspen from Thursday, June 17, through Sunday, June 20: the Little Nell Culinary Fest. The event includes a sommelier lunch, Dom Pérignon dinner, champagne breakfast, Father's Day rosé brunch, sustainable seafood dinner and more. Individual events run from $100 to $450; an inclusive pass will cost you $1,100 and gets you 40 percent off a room at the Little Nell hotel, 675 East Durant Avenue in Aspen. Visit the Little Nell website for details about the weekend, then purchase your tickets on Eventbrite.

Chef Gregory Gourdet left town when his Cherry Creek restaurant Departure shuttered in 2019, but he's back (for two nights, at least) on Thursday, June 17 and Friday, June 18. Gourdet is taking over the kitchen at Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street in Boulder, as a guest chef. The four-course menu features recipes from his latest cookbook, including slow-cooked salmon with jerk plantains and sos ti malice (a Caribbean sauce made of habaneros, lime and onion); short rib curry with cauliflower-cashew purée; and coconut custard with strawberry jam, pickled rhubarb and soursop sorbet. The cost of dinner ($145) includes a signed copy of Gourdet's cookbook, Everyone's Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, and both non-alcoholic beverages and wine pairings are available for an additional $25 or $55. Reservations start at 5 p.m. both nights and they're going fast; snag your spot now on Tock.

Restaurant and bar workers need a party after the last eighteen months (hoo boy, do they ever). Enter Drink Red Wear Red, an industry bash on Thursday, June 17, that is even more impactful in 2021. That's because the event, put on by the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) and Foundation (CRF), benefits the CRA Mile High Chapter's Hardship Relief Fund as well as the CRF, which administers the statewide Angel Relief Fund. (Both assist hospitality workers facing hard times.) This year's party is an open-air celebration at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, and includes wine (red, of course), cocktails, bites from a dozen Denver restaurants (including the Bindery, Esters, GQue Barbecue, Maria Empanada, the Pig & the Sprout and Comida) and live music from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are currently $45 or $125; VIP tickets include 5:30 p.m. entry as well as a rooftop reception with views of City Park and downtown Denver. Get your tickets on the CRA's website before prices go up on June 1.

Thursday, June 24
The Boulder International Film Festival is back in person — sort of. Films will be screened both outdoors and online, but one event that's not virtual, takeout or at home? CineCHEF, the annual fundraiser at which Front Range chefs compete to see who can make the best movie-inspired dish. The 2021 version takes place on Thursday, June 24, at Boulder's Rayback Collective, 2775 Valmont Road, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Will there be Quarter Pounders with cheese? Timpano? Ratatouille? We're not sure, but with chefs Linda Hampsten Fox (the Bindery), Liliana Meyers (Safta), Daniel Asher (River and Woods), Chris Royster (the Flagstaff House) and more cooking, you're sure to leave satisfied. Tickets, $100, include wine and beer and are on sale now on BIFF's website

Thursday, July 8
No sooner had Uchi, 2500 Lawrence Street, announced the return of its summer garden dinner series on June 3 than — poof! — tickets had vanished into thin air (even at $150 a pop). We're not surprised; aren't you anxious to resume "normal" summer activities? Mark your calendar for Uchi's next garden dinner, which is set for Thursday, July 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. Chef and menu details have yet to be announced, but you can count on impeccable sushi and, in a change from previous family-style seating and plating, your own table of up to ten guests. Visit the restaurant's website for information on upcoming events.

Last year's Vail Wine Classic gave attendees plenty of room to spread out.EXPAND
Last year's Vail Wine Classic gave attendees plenty of room to spread out.
Team Player Productions

Thursday, August 12
Treat yourself to a long, boozy weekend in Vail from Thursday, August 12, to Sunday, August 15, at the Vail Wine Classic. The fest — which was one of the very few events that didn't go digital or "postpone" (aka cancel) its 2020 iteration — is putting on a pair of two-hour grand tastings at 1:30 and 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets will run you $99 for GA; $129 for thirty minutes early entry; or $225 for the aptly named "double trouble" pass, which gets you into both sessions at the early entry time. The tastings are an outdoor affair at Vail Athletic Fields, 646 Vail Valley Drive. Details about wine dinners, seminars and the inevitable day-after brunch are yet to be announced, but you can visit the event website for complete info and Eventbrite for tickets.

Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Send information to cafe@westword.com.

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