Denver Food + Wine Festival Returns with Even More to Explore!

Denver Food + Wine Festival (DF+WF) returns next week for its thirteenth consecutive year September 5-10! This event has gradually expanded from one attracting epicureans and oenophiles into a multi-day extravaganza attracting all types of foodies and wine and spirit drinkers. The Grand Tasting event not only has a huge selection of wines and eats, but also has entertainment, themed lounge areas,cocktails, sake, even beer, I hear. It is a really fun event and is offers the largest, most diverse selection of wine than any other festival or tasting in the Denver area. In addition the the Grand Tasting, there are various other DF+WF events that week to explore with varying price points.

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To kick the week off the Dinner Under the Stars event, Sept. 6, celebrates the best that Denver’s culinary and beverage scene has to offer with a unique alfresco pairing dinners on the Coohills pedestrian bridge. This curated, six-course meal features a wine pairing with each course, hand-selected by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits’ Master Sommeliers. Each course is prepared by a lauded Denver chef, representing some of the hottest restaurants in the Mile High City. The menu can be found on the website.

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On Thursday 7, local celebrity bartenders from the Colorado Bartenders Guild will compete for Denver’s “best cocktail” at the ShakeDown. Guests are invited to mingle from 6:30-9:30 while trying as many food bites and cocktails as possible and voting for their favorites of each! Live music from a special acoustic Dragondeer set, featuring members of Dragondeer, will accompany the evening’s festivities. This was a boozy blast last year, but come prepared to drink or you may miss out on the best cocktail!

On Friday 8, join Riedel and the DF+WF for an educational and entertaining program that will change how each guest enjoys wine. In a unique wine glass tasting, Riedel ambassador Doug Reed will demonstrate the relationship between the shape of a glass and the taster’s perception and enjoyment of various varietals. After the seminar, guests can take home a four-glass Riedel kit, valued at $120, containing one glass for each varietal explored in the seminar.

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DF+WF’s Grand Tasting takes place outdoors on Saturday 9 and unites the region’s culinary leaders, award winning chefs, mixologists and wine professionals, for a day of exploring and celebrating Colorado’s food and beverage traditions. The all-inclusive layout allows guests to explore creations from more than 40 top restaurants, and more than 700 different pours from wine and spirit professionals. In addition, the 5280 Home VIP Lounge, will pair specialty wines selected by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Master Sommeliers with 12 upscale restaurants for an exclusive experience. Celebrity, award-winning chefs will offer demonstrations on the Wolf Specialty Appliance Culinary Stage and guests can participate in a silent auction.

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And to wrap up this incredible week of DF+WF is a fun brunch festival featuring what will be the world’s largest Bloody Mary bar, with over 65 toppings! Rise + Dine will also feature delicious breakfast bites, bottomless mimosas, and encourage guests to wear their pajamas if they’d like!

http://www.denverfoodandwine.com/

Tacolandia's Top Tacos And More

One of the many tasty tacos at Tacolandia. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacolandia put on by Westword was a fiesta to say the least. The festival celebrated authentic street tacos by offering unlimited samples from over 40 taquerias and Mexican restaurants around Denver. Guests also enjoyed live entertainment, a car show, cash bars and great people watching in the heart of Civic Center Park.

Taco pimps slanging their warm tortillas with morsels of heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

A VIP ticket gave you early access to the festival grounds, which was worth it, depending on how fast you can eat tacos. A full hour of early entry without the lines caused us to go into a taco-eating frenzy, followed by a taco coma. The coma timing was just right, coinciding with GA entry at 4pm, whence we made our way over to the VIP section to relax at a nice table in the shade, with drinks of course. VIP tickets included 2 cocktail or sangria drinks and a Bud Light, which pays for itself at most events where beers and cocktails are $7+, which was the case at Tacolandia. The VIP ticket holders were also treated to Lola Costal Mexican based in the Highlands. They had three tacos to choose from, including one of the only fish tacos we saw at the event, a "sustainably sourced red fish". After picking your tacos you moved to a toppings table with different salsas, a Serrano creama, kimchee vegetables, hot carrots, onions and cilantro. And last, they provided two aguas frescas, one a cherry base and one with a medley of melons. Those were delicious and so very vital on a hot day full of hot tacos!

Los Chingones with our favorite taco of the day. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

One of the non-traditional tacos featured Octopus. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

So let’s talk top tacos, because we all want to know where to eat bomb tacos in Denver. El Tejado was notable, as not only did they give you three tacos, but they were so tasty! They also had a very homey, welcoming feel, which translated in everything we tasted there.  Los Chingones served up one of the best looking tacos, with a colorful veggie slaw, pineapple and cilantro atop seasoned short rib. This taco was one I wanted to eat over and over again, but literally couldn’t because we had to try as many tacos as possible. Garibaldi's had a red chorizo taco that was so simple (there were no toppings, maybe they ran out) yet so delicious. Whatever they season their chorizo with and soak it in made it very flavorful, juicy/greasy(?) and so red that the juices stained our hands! Chuey Fu's food truck was onsite with four different taco options: roasted corn & black bean, char shu pork, Korean beef & the ancho chicken taco with peanut sesame sauce that was one of our favorites. Our final favorite was not a taco at all, but a shrimp ceviche from Suerte. Simple, fresh, and traditional.  Overall, there were only a couple veggie tacos, a couple seafood items, we found a lamb taco, but mostly it was beef and pork varieties with onions and cilantro as the popular topping.

Overall the event was a success, as we heard from random attendees that it was an easy decision to purchase GA tickets to the event and that they had in fact eaten enough tacos to make the price a bargain. Despite most lines becoming enormous once general admission was let in and vendors running out before close, we still heard happy remarks for the most part.

Aside from tacos, there were vendors sampling some tasty treats. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacos and Classic Cars = A match made in heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Plus, in addition to tasty tacos, the GA sections also offered refreshing treats and drinks from Jarritos, Neveria Jadeney, Little Man Ice Cream and Aiko Pops. There was also live music, dance performers and the Tacolandia Car Show presented by the Saints & Sinners Car Club and seating options throughout so people could relax, eat, dance, etc.

We’ll be back, and we suggest you come VIP with us!

https://www.westwordtacolandia.com/

New PALEO Cafe Will Please the Whole Family

Its no surprise the Denver food scene is becoming more and more health conscious as we are such a fit, foodie, on-trend city. As Denver expands so too do the amazing variety of dining options and new to the scene is Just BE Kitchen in the Confluence Park/LoHi neighborhood. Just BE Kitchen is pretty unique however for a few reasons.

The main standout is that everything on the menu is PALEO, which means no gluten, grains of any kind, or refined sugars! They’ve also designed the place to inspire presence and mindful eating with calm colors and quotes hung on the walls. Everything on the menu is healthy and delicious, offering salads, burgers, hashes and sweet treats like cookies, muffins and “milk” shakes! The other main difference is their hours are 7am – 3pm daily and feels more like a café with their order-up counter, coffee offerings and cozy/cute interior.

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Given those hours the menu at Just Be is a bit breakfast-centric with many egg and (coconut milk) yogurt dishes, but also offers a few salads, a cheeseburger, green chili and a … Meatzza! The Meatzza is their paleo take on a pizza with a pasture-raised, grass-fed pork sausage patty taking the place of normal dough crust. A sugar-free, house-made tomato sauce and a bacon pineapple jam are spread on the base. To top, they fry fresh kale in tallow and sprinkle nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. I hear it is every bit as indulgent as it sounds!

We went for breakfast and of course tried as much as we could. We started with the Chia coconut yogurt topped with a great grainless granola and berries that tasted light and creamy with the only sugar coming from the berries. Then we had a lovely seasonal salad called Enchanted with arugula, pickled onion, roasted beets, their granola and almond feta. This was really tasty with all the ingredients perfectly coated by the almond feta and vinaigrette.

For our main dishes we ordered their burrito and the seasonal veggie hash. Both were delightful and filling without leaving us weighed down or bloated. The burrito’s tortilla was very much like a regular flour tortilla, except better because it’s free of grains, refined sugars and dairy! It was soft and doughy but dense enough to keep the hearty fillings wrapped inside (even after a night in my fridge it stayed put together and as good as when it was served). The shredded sweet potatoes in both dishes were so flavorful and sweetened up the basic eggs in the burrito, along with the savory, juicy sausage inside. Add a side of their pork green chili and it was the tastiest healthy burrito I’ve eaten!  The veggie hash was beautiful, seemed much healthier, was full of flavorful and texture, making it an amazing meal for a vegetarian. We topped ours with a poached egg shown at top.

In addition to their menu being gluten-free, so many of their dishes are easily made vegetarian, making it a really wonderful place for friends or couples with different dietary needs to eat together. Their manager explains, “Our goal is to cater to many different food sensitivities with a very modular menu.” There’s even a yummy kids’ menu priced at only $6. For drinks you’ve got bullet coffees and lattes, espresso, fresh juice, Kombucha, and natural sodas. There’s even a “bone broth bar” with 48-hour broth that comes with a handful of toppings to choose from. This place is seriously a unique gem in the Denver dining scene and we hope you find the time to treat yourself to something satisfyingly delicious and nutritious!

Sunday Funday @ Punch Bowl Social

While Punch Bowl Social, the giant bar, game venue, diner, lounge, whatever you know it as, is nothing new, it’s food and beverage menu is always changing. If you have yet to go, you really should as it offers so much in every category: food, drinks, games, fun.  This large, two-story venue greets guests with a diner-style restaurant, then a 360 degree bar area and bowling lanes, then a back room featuring a “holiday lodge” lounge, two more bowling lanes, and a long line of bocce ball, shuffle board, foosball and corn hole. Upstairs you’ll find vintage arcade games, private karaoke rooms, pool and ping pong tables, another bar and mixed seating.  PBS is a destination where you can spend the whole day and offers food and fun for every mood.

We went for a super Sunday Funday to sample the new Brunch menu and Bloody Mary bar and play some games. Brunch is served Saturday & Sunday until 3 p.m. most of the menu is made in-house, including drinks, desserts and condiments. The brunch menu offers a variety of fresh juice creations, an amazing build your own Bloody Mary bar we were blown away by, and a host of other breakfast drinks and concoctions. PBS is continually changing their menu to reflect the seasons, the trends, and the talents of their chefs. This summer brings a renewed brunch menu that launched July 15th showcasing culinary partner and celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s Southern spirit.

Hugh Acheson's fresh approach has earned him a great deal of recognition including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef, the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year, a six-time James Beard nomination for Best Chef Southeast (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and the James Beard award in 2012. He has been both a contestant and a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and now he’s leading the helm of Punch Bowl Social’s culinary creations.

We ordered the Hash Brown Skillet, the Mushroom Biscuits 'N' Gravy, and asked to put their OMFG gluten free fried chicken atop their malted waffle. Our chicken & waffle mash up was delicious with strawberries, crispy basil and this thick chipotle pecan maple syrup (not pictured) that made this dish really delicious. We could eat that thick jam-like syrup on anything. The chicken was close to being as crispy as a flour-fried chicken and juicy on the inside with good flavor. The dish overall was good, but the sauce enhanced it for sure, and ordering it on the side is a smart way to get the right amount with each bite.

The Hash Brown Skillet had layers of hash browns, Tasso Ham, onions, shiitake mushrooms, cheddar cheese and eggs. It was good but didn’t pack the flavor punch we were expecting, some of their special hot sauce helped put some punch in though! The Mushroom Biscuits 'N' Gravy were the standout, looking as good as they lasted. PBS makes a good biscuit in general, and then this dish adds a great gravy, beautiful eggs, perfectly cooked potatoes and a bright side of avocado. Bang for your buck and palette right here!

PBS has locations scattered across the U.S including Portland, Austin, Cleveland and Detroit with another CO location in the works for Stapleton. “at PBS we believe in a ‘dirty modern’ mash up of chandeliers, ‘Gangster’s Paradise,’ food for foodies, PBR tallboys, and craft beverages. We believe in brunch turning into a bowling party and bowling parties turning into all-you-can-sing karaoke. We believe in exploring evenings filled with shuffleboard and made-from-scratch chicken and waffles.”

Go explore Punch Bowl Social for yourself, open everyday with daily happy hour and late night food and fun.

http://www.punchbowlsocial.com/location/denver

The Best Images From Day One Of Comic Con San Diego

Our good friend and cosplay extraordinaire photographer Jason Pendleton is coming to us live all weekend from San Diego from Comic Con. One of the most respected photographers in the game  Jason will be chiming in all weekend with the best images from each day.

Slow Food Nations Recap!

         Taste Marketplace

         Taste Marketplace

Colorado’s first ever taste of the Slow Food Nations took over Larimer Square last weekend with a plethora of events, interactive workshops, tastings, educational talks, and many exhibitors, companies, and producers of foods from around the nation and globe. The Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square was the main focal point with over 100 exhibitors of good, clean, fair food, and was free and open to the public Saturday morning through Sunday evening. Various renowned chefs, leaders in the Slow Food Movement and in sustainability, curated dinners, and hands on workshops made this event truly unique and marked Denver as increasingly relevant in terms of a foodie city that values various cultures, sustainability and accessibility.

                Taste Marketplace

                Taste Marketplace

The event drew people from all over the state, as well as from different parts of the globe as their involvement with the Slow Food Movement encouraged their members to attend either as guests or as participants. The movement is focused on peoples’ access to grow and share good, clean and fair food throughout the world.

             CO-Made Block Party

             CO-Made Block Party

To kick off Slow Food Nations, they held an all-inclusive Colorado-Made Block Party on Larimer Square to celebrate Colorado farmers, ranchers, producers and chefs. Unfortunately, we were disappointed by their poor start to the festival as it was the low point of the weekend and hopefully didn’t discourage people from attending the other offerings or the Taste Marketplace that took place over the next two days. There was a line by 6p.m. and when you entered at 6:30 you were struck with the thought, “is this it?!” Yep, not even an entire street block was designated for the CO-Made Block Party and only about 4 tents, with two restaurants each made up the event. There was certainly no demonstrations or hardly even conversations between the chefs/restaurants and guests as the lines were so outrageous and the chefs were busy trying to keep up.

              CO-Made Block Party

              CO-Made Block Party

It was shocking almost and I heard nothing but complaints from the other guests, even the restaurants participating were upset because they were told to provide bites for 250 and ended up running out or having to serve even smaller bites in order to last the two hours. I feel bad for the 250 people squeezed in that little square who shelled out $70 to experience a “taste of Colorado” and only got about 10 bites if they showed up when it opened and waited in every line. For a two hour event on Larimer Square and touted as the kickoff party to the Slow Food Nations Festival, we all had much higher hopes, but instead were left squeezing through crowds, waiting in lines, and needing to buy dinner after.

Luckily the Big Bad Breakfast on Sunday was a much better experience. It featured Southern dishes from John Currence, a James Beard Award winner and Top Chef Masters contestant, along with notable chefs from select Southern cities. The ten or so booths served up a wide variety of tasty, hearty Southern cuisine.

                   Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

             CO-Made Block Party

             CO-Made Block Party

This event was also held in the same small square as Friday’s Party, and cost $70, yet there were far fewer lines and seemly less people. One big factor I can attribute to this was every place served a full size portion, not just a few bites, and the dishes themselves were hearty and took time to eat. This meant people would get a dish or two and then sit down to eat and socialize for a while. It also helped that there were plenty of Bloody Mary’s ready to take from the team at Snooze & The Real Dill, they even had servers walking around with trays-full! The event finally provided cups next to the water jugs today and had jugs of tea too, which was a life saver as it was a hot morning full of spicy food and Tabasco products!

The free Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square was also really enjoyable and offered a really great selection of booths with products from around the US. It was designed much like a farmers market, where you have all your great food and health products with the growers/makers right there to talk with you about their items. However, unlike the local farmers markets we regularly frequent, every vendor was new! There were about 20 different cheese makers from around the US, various honey and chocolate booths from around the world, healthy snack companies, lots of charcuterie, coffee, lotions, and even crickets! Turns out kids are much more willing to try a cricket than the adults.

Everything in the marketplace was available to sample and to purchase and there were lots of great eats. Slow Food Italy, Mexico, and Turtle Island were featured in international pavilions on Larimer Square itself and offered full meals to purchase and information. We were surprised how easily two and a half hours passed in the Taste Marketplace and were happy the main event was a success for Slow Food Nations Fest! I heard rumors it will be back again if you missed it!

https://slowfoodnations.org/

Review & Photos by Tiffany Candelaria

                 Big Bad Breakfast

                 Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

                   Big Bad Breakfast

Slow Food Nations Festival | Coming to CO for the First Time

Have you heard, Denver is gearing up for Slow Food Nations, a unique food festival coming to Colorado for the first time! Their movement focuses on peoples’ access to grow and share good, clean and fair food throughout the world. The weekend will combine the energy of a street food festival, the rigor of an academic conference, and the inspiration of a cultural exchange allowing guests to pick and choose their experience. Enjoy dozens of interactive workshops, delicious tastings, local tours, educational talks, and many meals and parties around town. Slow Food Nations connects farmers and families, leaders and eaters to share our stories and shape the future of food. The main festival is free and open to the public, with select-ticketed workshops, talks, dinners and tastings.

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The free festivities include an array of culinary demonstrations, guest appearances, tastings, and other entertainment. The Taste Marketplace at Larimer Square will feature international pavilions, local producers, and a variety of concessions. Slow Food Italy, Mexico, and Turtle Island will be featured in international pavilions and over 100 exhibitors of good, clean, fair food will be featured in the Taste Marketplace to tell their stories and let you sample and buy their delicious products. The exhibitor space will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15th and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16th. Also ongoing, The Food Underground, is a series of discussions, workshops, talks and panels located in the gallery rooms in the basement of Union Station. These free talks will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, focusing on topics like food justice and access, agricultural policy, the science and history of food, sustainable seafood, and more. Outside you’ll find The Denver Union Station Farmers Market on the plaza from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday featuring over 40 local Colorado producers and live music.

To kick off Slow Food Nations Friday night, they’ll be throwing an all-inclusive Colorado-Made Block Party on Larimer Square to celebrate Colorado farmers, ranchers, producers and chefs. Featuring Colorado food through demonstrations and tastings and drinks at the Colorado-Made bar showcasing the best spirits, beer and wine Colorado has to offer. Tickets are $69

Saturday, July 15, Chef Sheila Lucero from Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar will host an Oyster 101 Workshop with celebrated Baja Chef Drew Deckman as well as Chef Renee Erickson from Seattle. As part of Slow Food Nations’ educational curriculum, guests at this special event will get to learn about oysters from 3 different regions—Baja, the Pacific Northwest, and Virginia—and taste a signature dish from each chef, showcasing the unique qualities of each oyster. “We are so excited for Slow Food Nations,” Chef Lucero, “some of the country’s most talented, informed, and influential chefs and purveyors are coming to our city to share ideas and celebrate our country’s incredible culinary traditions.” Tickets $40

If you’re still craving more on Sunday, you should get tickets to Big Bad Breakfast Block Party with John Currence, James Beard Award winner and Top Chef Masters contestant. John gathers his big bad friends to cook up the ultimate southern brunch and Bloody Mary bar. Recipes from his best-selling book, Big Bad Breakfast, will be highlighted in this all-inclusive brunch party 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tickets $69

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat and how it affects the world around us. Since its beginnings, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.

There are so many amazing events, demonstrations and tastings to choose from it can be hard to coordinate them all, so the site provides some curated sample schedules to help you find the best events to match your interests: https://slowfoodnations.org/sample-schedules/

Free Taste Marketplace: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15th & 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16th.

 https://slowfoodnations.org/

 

Denver Comic Con Continues To Grow | Review and Photos

Wonder Woman cosplay was a big hit this year. Photo by Jason Pendleton

Mike Colter and Finn Jones. Photo by Jason Pendleton

Another year, another Denver Comic Con in the books. The three day festival took over the Colorado Convention Center this past weekend much to the delight of over thousands of eager fans. The con which continues to grow year after year had it's usual exhibitors, vendors, celebrity guests, and fans dressed in their finest cosplay. Highlights included the celebrity kids of the hit show Stranger Things. Millie Bobby Brown (see below) had a separate panel from her costars Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McGlaughlin. Other notable panels included Jon Heder and Micheal Rosenbaum, as well as Nathan Fillion and the cast of Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). Most of the panels were well attended during all three days. Kids had a chance to participate in many of the on-site activations (labs) ranging from Lego building to drawing, after all the con was setup from its initial beginning to promote and support Pop Culture Classroom.

The setup at this years con was a bit confusing to many of the attendees as evident across many message boards and those in attendance. In the past years the front of the convention center (Blue Bear) lobby has always been open to those attending. It made for a great meet up spot and easy navigation to the main hall. This year due to booking another event the main area was closed off and attendees had to walk around the building in order to enter. Aside from that the convention went off without a flaw. Exhibitors and artist from all over the country setup shop in the main hall slanging everything from one of a kind art to Superman t-shirts to posters. Our good friends at Breckenridge Brewery once again had their traditional beer on hand with plenty of pint glasses this year to go around. The after party scene got things started off Friday night with Planet Cosplay at Summit Music Hall, Breck Brew had their hand in two parties both Friday (at The Paramount) and Saturday (at The Hard Rock Cafe).  Kudos to the amazing staff and hundreds of volunteers that make this event happen each year. Always one of our favorite events to cover we hope to continue to see the con grow in the future.

-Robert Castro

Photo by Robert Castro

Photo by Robert Castro

Photo by Jason Pendleton

Photo by Jason Pendleton

Photos courtesy of Jason Pendleton contributing photographer to Ultra5280 and Robert Castro Editor-in-Chief. All images are reserved do not use without permission.

Denver Comic Con Set To Invade Denver This Weekend: We have All The Info You Need

It's that time of year once again, Denver Comic Con is ready to take over The Mile High City. The 3-day, family-friendly pop culture fan extravaganza, featuring the best in pop culture entertainment is set to embark at the Colorado Convention Center June 30-July 2. DCC is a program of the Colorado nonprofit Pop Culture Classroom, whose mission is to inspire a love of learning, to increase literacy, celebrate diversity and build community through pop culture education.

The proceeds from this annual event benefit Pop Culture Classroom’s overall education endeavors.

This will be our fourth year covering this amazing event and like every year we are looking forward to some amazing panels, cosplay, speakers, celebrities and more.

Highlights for this year would have to include some members of the hit show Stranger Things. Set to appear are Millie Bobby Brown (Saturday 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM), Caleb McGalughlin (Friday 1:30 PM, Saturday 5:30 PM, Sunday 11:15 AM) and Gaten Matarazzo (Friday 1:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 PM, Sunday 11:45 PM)

If you have never been to Denver Comic Con (or any Comic Con for that matter), let us break it down for you. The main area consists of vendors shelling out everything from comic books to one of a kind hard to find toys, to anything you can plaster a superhero on. With that being said, be ready to spend some serious coin. The other part of Comic Con is Celebrity Summit, this is where you get to meet and get items signed by the guests of the con. Past guests have included everybody from the cast of The Karate Kid to Mr. Stan Lee himself. This year we look forward to meeting last minute surprise guest John Cusak.

Panels give guests an opportunity to hear casts talk about certain aspects of thier specific shows and other notable topics in thier respected industries. Check out the Events Guide Here.

Another part of Comic Con is the participation by our friends at Breckenridge Brewery and their "Official Beer" of the con. Every year they hold a contest to name the beer and put together a limited pint glass for the event. This years winning entry was "I Am Brewt", a take on the successful Guardians of The Galaxy franchise. We had a chance earlier this year to head out to the brewery to take some amazing photos of the characters in cosplay brewing the beer.

This may all seem a little overwhelming but remember you have three days to get all of this in. Pace yourself, schedule your panels accordingly, bring a camera for some amazing cosplay costumes and last but not least make sure you make it out to one of the amazing after parties and grab yourself a beer to celebrate.

Tacos, Tequila and Margaritas. Top Taco Returns To Denver!

Top Taco Festival Often Imitated Never Duplicated!

Last Thursday Denver local restaurants and vendors gathered in RiNo for a evening of tacos, tequila, music, and plenty more. We left with full, happy bellies and slightly sad livers as we tried to take advantage of everything Top Taco had to offer!

VIP attendees were able to access the event and all of it’s taco glory an hour before the GA patrons flooded in. Since we’re, ya know, a pretty big deal around here, we were lucky enough to snag a few VIP access tickets. We made sure to make as many stops as we could. A nice base layer for the many tequilas to come, if you will. Judging by the silent disco, we had an idea of who was there for the margaritas and tequila only.

Illegal Pete's with the bomb shrimp tacos!

Tacos Tequila Whiskey blessed us first with a tasty “Desert Rose Paloma.” Sweet, tangy and the large volume left us light on our feet and excited for what else was to be discovered. After we were handed a few mysterious tacos, later learning they were goat tacos. We were not fans. MOVING ON! We made our first real taco stop to see our good friends at Illegal Pete’s. On the menu was a tofu taco and a sweet sriracha shrimp taco. Throughout the day we made several returning stops to their booth for the sriracha shrimp taco. This was by far one of our favorite Top Taco tacos. It was surprisingly simplistic but so flavorful. The marinated shrimp was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and lightly topped with cabbage left no frilly distractions from the delicious meat. Illegal Pete’s used this opportunity as a test run as they may add the sriracha shrimp to their menu! Make sure to let them know how awesome it was if you got a chance to try it!

All The Tacos!

Downtown Denver’s La Loma satisfied our sweet tooth with warm churros drizzled in chocolate sauce. They were a crowd favorite as we failed to even get seconds of the treat! South Broadway’s Palenque Mezcaleria had a bomb ass ceviche. You would never think mango and shrimp would go so well together but they made it happen!

Pineapple Express from Patron!

Feeling the need for a boozy refreshment, we made our way to the Blue Nectar tent to sample some tasty, craft tequila. It’s a hard life, really. Our favorite was the dark, musky añejo. After a few laps through the main event area, it was on to see what the VIP area had to offer! Patron promotions were in full force with a boomerang photo scene set up and two bars offering craft margaritas. The Pineapple Express marg was tart and refreshing! We got to observe the trendy, fresh-rolled ice cream making process and eat the cookies and cream treat. Ice cream at a taco festival, who would have thought? (Next year hoping for Choco Tacos)

Owl Bear serving up delicious BBQ Brisket Tacos to the VIP crowd!

The added cost of VIP was worth it as luxury trailer bathrooms were provided as well as access to a handful of BBQ taco vendors. Owl Bear provided for one of those moments you realize why you were put on this Earth, and that is to enjoy their heavily brisket taco that almost melted in our mouth. (Patiently waiting for their brick & mortar location to open)

Don't stop until we say so!

If you love modern mexican cuisine and craft cocktails, this isn’t an event to miss! We’re already anticipating next year’s Top Taco! We’ve added the compiled list of all winners from Dining Out! Be sure to check it out when making decisions about your next taco Tuesday spot in the mile high city!

http://diningout.com/denverboulder/the-winners-of-top-taco-2017/

Your Pride Weekend Guide!

It’s June, Denver. We know that means…. mutha fuckin PRIDE month! We love celebrating our local LGBTQ+ community and supporting the continued fight for equality! Wondering how to plan your play time this weekend? Here are all of the happenings to help you get organized for the happiest weekend of the year! See you out there, beautiful people!

Thursday:

Denver Pride Fest Kick Off Party @ NATIV Hotel

Tonight Tasty Denver will sponsor the Denver Pride Fest Kick Off Party! Cover? Nah fam. From 5pm-9pm NATIV is providing Happy Hour food and cocktails in the lounge and Biergarten Keg & Kitchen. After, DJ and producer Craig C. will be throwing down all night from 9pm-2am in the Stereo Lounge!

Friday:

One Colorado’s Pride Night with the Colorado Rockies @ Coors Field

SB Nation and Outsports will join One Colorado to watch the Colorado Rockies for LGBTQ Pride Night! Come out and enjoy an evening with friends, family, and exciting Rockies baseball at Coors Field! Pride Night at Coors Field also falls during the 2017 Outsports Reunion, bringing together LGBTQ athletes, coaches, trainers, administrators and others in sports for a weekend of storytelling and community-building.

$5 of every ticket will go to One Colorado! Ticket link is below! Be sure to use promo code “PRIDE”

http://one-co.co/RockiesPride2017

Saturday:

Denver Pride Fest @ Civic Center Park

Every year The Center hosts Denver Pride Fest in Civic Center Park from 11am-7pm. What’s going down? The Center Stage with live entertainment, a Latin Stage with cultural programming, 250 vendor booths with plenty of food, arts and crafts, and a Dance Stage with DJs. Be sure to check out the fierce Queens from DragOn at 1:30pm on the Center Stage as well! There’s also a VIP area provided with food and beverages for contributors and sponsors, as well as a family area, youth alley and a transgender area.

Denver Pride Ride! @ Denver Beer Co

DEFINEDenver and Denver Beer Company will co-host Denver’s Pride Ride this Saturday! There will be two 45 minute spin classes on the Denver Beer Co. patio. A $20 suggested donation benefiting the GLBT Community Center of Colorado will get you a bike and a pint of a delicious DBC brew after the sweat sesh!

SNAP! 90’s Dance Party @ Ophelia’s

Hosted by DJ A-L featuring The Soul Pros and Future Classic Music. Get your denim and flannels on from 12pm-3pm this Saturday at the always bangin Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox!

Queerbots PRIDE Show: LGBTQ Improv Comedy @ The Clocktower Cabaret

Need a laugh? The Clocktower Cabaret is hosting an improv event to celebrate Pride.  They will only be using audience suggestions for the show! Be sure to come OUT and see Denver’s award winning LGBTQ improv troupe!

Sunday:

Coors Light Pride Parade and Denver Pride Fest @ Civic Center Park (continued)

The parade kicks off at 9:30am Sunday! From Cheeseman Park we’ll gallivant down Colfax leading to Civic Center Park where all events from Saturday continue! Viva la vida!

The website is below to check out if you need to!

http://glbtcolorado.org/pridefest/

Denver Rally for Equality @ the Colorado State Capitol

Take a break at Pride Fest and head up the steps to the capitol where One Colorado, the Colorado LGBT Legislative Caucus, March On Colorado, state leaders, activists, and community groups from throughout the state will rally for LGBTQ+ equality!

CLiMAX Pride @ Club Vinyl

Top off the weekend with a dance party at Vinyl with $5 Smirnoff all night long! The Official Ascension Party with DJ Paulo and the Ascension GoGo Boys will be headlining the main room. Miami's JJ Drums will be up on the rooftop. Plus sets from Dj Tatiana, Dj Walt White, Dj Ken-E, The CLiMAX GOGO Crew and more! Doors open at 6pm. Covers from $10-20. 

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We at Ultra5280 will continue to add new discoveries to the list. Be sure to check back before you head out for the day! See you at Pride!

 

 

2017 Denver People’s Fair Sat 6/3 & Sun 6/4 Civic Center Park

Since its inception in 1972, the People’s Fair has been a staple of Denver arts and culture as the largest community-based festival in Colorado! People’s Fair features an eclectic mix of national and local entertainment, live music, nearly 100 artists and hundreds of local food and craft vendors. A long-running Denver tradition, the 46-year-old event will open its doors in celebration of the local community and the creative instincts that have inspired the city for nearly a half a century.

With musical performances by Guster, Night Riots, and Jeremy Garrett’s Fiddle Science - a supergroup featuring members of Leftover Salmon and The Infamous Stringdusters, and other great bands Gipsy Moon, P O P F I L T E R, Kayla Marque Band, Gasoline Lollipops, and SkyLaw. There will also be over 30 other performances including bands, artists, drag shows and creative community entertainers. Visit https://peoplesfair.com/schedule/ for the full scheduled lineup!

Aside from music, there is a strong focus on community engagement and interactive programming, so the People’s Fair will offer events like free morning yoga hosted by Kindness Yoga and Art In The Park where attendees can enjoy an Infinite Monkey Theorem beverage and art instruction as they create their own painting. There will be countless lawn games, local community dance and theater groups, local food trucks, and a chance to get to know some of the most innovative upcoming local businesses.

This year’s People’s Fair sets the stage for a massive cultural showcase event that is uniquely Denver. The Denver People’s Fair is free to the public, however VIP tickets are on sale now for $20 that includes premium stage viewing, a shaded VIP lounge, two free drinks, a VIP bar, and separate VIP entrance all weekend. Proceeds go to benefit the Capital Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN).  More info on the event can be found at www.peoplesfair.com

Brider | Fine Food, Casual Setting

Executive Chef Steven Redzikowski is known for his restaurants OAK at Fourteenth and Acorn, which regularly appear on the list of best restaurants in Denver/CO. He now leads Brider, a casual rotisserie and seasonal market concept on Platte Street that doesn’t require reservations or a special occasion to fine dine. “Our new restaurant Brider is about delivering a more casual environment, but still delivering what our guests at Acorn and Oak expect from us,” says GM Jason Isch. Brider’s passionate team delivers a level of quality and craftsmanship that is unmatched in casual dining, promising only made-from-scratch, ingredient-driven offerings prepared with the utmost care and attention. “At Brider, we'll be sourcing the same great products but simplifying them, that also makes them easy to package for take-out, which has been popular here” explains Isch

Brider offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus focusing on a selection of composed, rotisserie-centric dishes straight from Brider’s state-of-the-art Rotisol oven along with seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches. We ordered the OAK meatball sandwich and the rotisserie porchetta dinner plate with a side of sweet potato tots. The OAK meatball was delicious and very hearty making it worth the $12. The meatballs were seasoned and juicy, surrounded by melted provolone, pesto and fresh marinara. Overall it was one of the best meatball sandwiches we’ve eaten.

The rotisserie porchetta dinner was wonderful as well, very succulent with an herb-laden, crunchy crust. The dinner plates offer a selection of “styles” for your dish, which gives the diner different flavors and sides to choose from. We chose the lemon and chili wilted kale “style” which was a delicious accompaniment of greens with zest. Speaking of zest, Brider even makes their own dips and hot sauces which we tried a few of. There was a cilantro jalapeno aioli that came with our order of tots that was an elevated alternative to the normal ketchup or ranch dressing and an amazing hot sauce they compare to Chalula, but is much better. It has really prominent smoked/roasted chili flavors, a mild to moderate amount of heat and the right amount of thickness so it wasn’t as runny or vinegar laden as some popular hot sauces. We loved it and apparently so do many other patrons as Brider has decided to bottle and sell it!

The drink menu, led by Beverage Director Bryan Dayton is just as impressive, with as much attention to ingredients and craftsmanship going into their lineup of beer, cocktails, coffee and wine on tap. “It’s Brian’s thing, being a former ‘Bartender of the Year’, to come up with a selection of craft cocktails and homemade drinks, which then led to doing everything in house, from sodas to coffee syrups,” explained GM Jason Isch. “He’s also gotten the staff involved in the fun by teaching them all how to make homemade Kombucha and letting them get creative with flavors that change regularly.” The taps also change, with 6 for beer and 4 for wine, and the other 8 are cocktails, Boxcar Roasters nitro-tap coffee, and house made ginger beer and root beer. We ordered the root beer and it tasted like the old-fashioned, less-sugary version of todays typical can and their Chai Latte, which we were surprised to learn (we hadn’t caught on yet apparently), they also make themselves! The Chai was robust but the right blend of sweet and spicy, and would be a great complement to one of their homemade pastries.

We were told their Fritter was actually an award winner and a must try. We of course did try and fell in love with the flaky, sugar coated, treat that was somewhat reminiscent of a funnel cake but with more flavor.  Their lemon meringue cake and coconut cream pie was also featured that day and they were too delicious not to finish. As you walk into Brider you are presented with their beautiful array of desserts and specials for the day. It makes it really hard to pass up on the desserts and we recommend you take one to go.

Our dining experience was just how GM Isch described it: laid back, top-quality, delicious and easy. We were very impressed with all of the flavors, homemade drinks and desserts, attention to detail, diverse menu options, and price point. They even have free parking and fun music! We will be back~

Open daily 8:00am - 9:00pm - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Carryout.Happy hour specials 3-6 p.m. featuring $3.50 beers, $1 off all drinks, and $2 pizza slices.  http://www.denverbrider.com/

Dazzle Jazz Re-opens in Former Baur's

The new space will feature three unique stages: The Main Stage (to be completed July 2017) will be suited for well-established acts requiring a larger seating capacity. The original Baur’s Stage will continue to be used for acts in an intimate setting while the Gallery Stage will feature music accentuated by unique works from some of Colorado’s finest visual artists. Patrons of the new location will be offered a new menu created by Dazzle’s team of culinary artists led by Chef/Owner Mario Godoy and Chefs Benjamin Erickson and Daron Edgar.

Tuesday, May 23 - Thursday, May 25th Dazzle Jazz is giving its patrons a chance to peek into their much-anticipated re-opening at the historic Baur’s Lounge on 15th and Curtis. Dazzle will embrace the community that it loves, dedicating its first productions to non-profit organizations with missions centered on music education and programming. “We have dedicated our new home to artists and the community that loves and nourishes them," says Owner Donald Rossa.

May 23, 6pm-8pm: Jam Session hosted by Paul Romaine benefiting Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. 9pm-11pm Jam Session hosted by Todd Reid, Dan Schwindt, and Jean-Luc Davis benefiting the scholarship program for the University of Colorado - Denver's Music & Entertainment Industry Studies.

May 24 Celebrating World Music benefiting the Music Appreciation Society (MAS).
6pm-7pm Purnell Steen & LeJazz Machine. 7pm-9pm Tanner Harris. 10pm-Late “Pain and Art” Wes Watkins Ensemble.

May 25 KUVO Jazz 89.3 Benefit – A Dynamic Evening Featuring Three Unique Sets of Music. 5:45pm-6:45pm Ritmo Jazz Latino. 7pm-8pm Tyler Gilmore’s Candy Shop Ensemble. 8pm-10pm Ritmo Jazz Latino again.

Tickets range from $10 - $30, the later performances being the lower price, and most include a food tasting and premier seating.

"Everyone is invited to listen, taste and feel."

The Secret Garden - Now Playing!

The classic story The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911 still finds itself being told to audiences today. Our Denver Center for the Performing Arts has adapted the novel into an all-ages theater musical at the Stage Theater downtown. The show has two Acts totaling 28 original songs by Marsha Norman, composed by Lucy Simon and directed by Brooklyn-based Jenn Thompson who has worked all over the US.

The story follows a child named Mary who is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents. She is sent to a big, solitary mansion on the Moors of England where she finds herself in a creepy, old estate left to her Uncle Archibald who lives in a state of grief and fear. Mary slowly learns the stories of the people both living there and deceased and uncovers all kinds of secrets. But when she uncovers the key to her late aunt’s long-lost garden, she becomes determined to turn things around for everyone by reviving the beauty that once flourished. Surrounded by spirits of the past, she uses the magic of hope to help the world around her grow once again.

The cast of 22, orchestra and a stage crew of about 30 people make all the magic happen on and off stage such as smooth backdrop and scene changes, lighting and fog effects, and overall flow and presentation so the story comes to life. The vocal acrobatics and the abnormal amount of contrapuntal pieces in this musical made it a full-sensory experience. The plot line was well developed and the characters, half of who were deceased spirits guiding the living, created a complexity for the adult audience. Most of the play was more adult in tone and plot in our opinion, especially as it was set in a haunted mansion and dealt frequently with death, hardship and loss on multiple levels. Alas, all is not lost and the characters and garden find renewed life.

The show runs approximately 2 hours 10 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Ticket prices vary by date and availability, and there are both matinee and evening performances on the weekends through May 28th.

https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=4652359c-77e8-4812-9917-4b5dd5f9ffcf

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

Denver Cruisers are Back!

With the snow finally behind us, it's time to look forward to rooftop cocktails, volleyball in Wash Park and Denver Cruisers! So start dusting the cobwebs off your fixed speeds because it's almost time blast obnoxious music and bike around town like we're the god damn Hell's Angels. And just to quell the recent rumors, the DCR has been and will always be a free gathering!

Denver, CO, Since its inception in 2005, the Denver Cruiser Ride has brought together thousands of people each summer in Downtown Denver to ride bikes and have fun. This costume-wearing, bike-loving institution reaffirms its mission of getting butts on bike seats with an exciting set of updates to the DCR’s 2017 schedule.


Beginning with the first ride on Wednesday, May 17, the 2017 DCR will be consolidated into a TOTAL of five (5) rides for the summer. While the every-Wednesday tradition may be coming to an end, the new monthly format ensures that these rides will be bigger and bolder than before. While the exact plans for what to expect at the bike party locations will remain secret, the organizers are confident that 2017 will be full of bikes, fun, laughter and some of the kookiest costumes you’ve ever seen.

Riders can still gather at the Ginn Mill, a long-time start location, located at 2041 Larimer Street; as well as several satellite locations that will host their own rides, including: Monkey Barrel, Little Machine Beer, Be On Key and Illegal Pete’s (S. Broadway location). Riders can mix and mingle at any these locations from 6-8p. NEW THIS YEAR: the rides leave by 8:15pm, and the Bike Party/Circle of Death goes to 11p.

"[Brad] Evans (DCR's organizer) has long aspired to more than simply facilitating fun on two wheels... he wants to make progress on issues that are important to him"                                Westword, May 3rd 2017   

CITY SPARK:  DCR organizers, Brad Evans and Nick Armogida, have been hard at work creating a monthly happy hour series called City Spark. These meet-ups are designed to connect local thought-leaders and regular citizens alike; with a goal of engaging people beyond the stereotypical social media format - and creating face-to-face encounters that will spur fresh conversations and spark new ideas.

“With the current climate in both local and national politics, we felt we had an obligation to give more back to the community than simply focusing on fun and bikes,” says DCR Founder, Brad K. Evans. “Coupled with the launch of City Spark, we’ll also be launching a grittier than most, bicycle non-profit called Bike City this summer.”
READ BRAD EVAN'S OPEN LETTER TO DCR RIDERS AND FANS

With the Cruiser Ride format changes, alongside the launch of City Spark, the DCR remains dedicated to bringing people together on bicycles in a fun, festival-style environment.

2017 DENVER CRUISER RIDE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 17: THEME: Green
Wednesday, June 21: THEME: Cardboard, Bubble Wrap & Duct Tape
Wednesday, July 19: THEME: TBD
Wednesday, August 9: THEME: Dress Night
Wednesday, Sept. 20: THEME: Ski Bums & Snow Bunnies
 
 
2017 DENVER CITY SPARK SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 24: Reality of 2017 being the “Year of Mobility”
Wednesday, June 14: Core issues of Denver's Homelessness and
Affordable Housing crisis
Wednesday, July 26: Is Denver more about Sprawl than Urban Design?

***More City Spark events coming soon!

Party Weekend Roundup | Cinco de Mayo & KY Derby

CENTRO MEXICAN KITCHEN | Cinco de Mayo

What - Cinco de Mayo Pig Roast: Slow-roasted in the caja china, the pork will be doled out in tacos and served alongside borracho beans and fresh grilled street corn. There will also be $5 Suerte Coins and other drink specials!

Where - 950 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO                         When - Friday, May 5, 11 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

LOLA COASTAL MEXICAN | Picnic of the Pig

What - Annual Celebration of All Things Swine on Cinco de Mayo! Lola’s own Jamey Fader and Sharif Villa Cruz will collaborate with five of Denver’s most talented chefs on an a la carte menu that celebrates all things swine. Gross-A$$ Man Band will perform live from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. and Sixty Minute Men will perform live from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Where - 1575 Boulder Street, Denver, CO             When - Friday, May 5th, doors open at 2:00 p.m.

Illegal Pete’s | Cinco de Mayo

What - All day for happy hour pricing on margaritas and pacificos. May special offering “P.S. I Love You”, a Pacifico and a shot of Sauza Tequila for $5.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                                                    Where – All locations

ViewHouse Ballpark | Cinco de Mayo

What - All Day Food & Drink Specials and Features with DJ & dancing all night.

When - Friday, May 5th, open - 2am.                             Where – Downtown Ballpark location.

The Lobby | Annual Derby Party

What – Free entry, lawn games in the Courtyard, killer food and drink specials and lots of chances to win cool stuff!

When – Saturday May 6th, 9am – 5pm.                                        Where - 2191 Arapahoe St.

ViewHouse Eatery | Kentucky Derby Party

What - It’s that time of the year to bust out those BIG hats, summer dresses & seersucker suits. Moses Jones Band will kick things off in the courtyard at 1:00pm. Live Derby Broadcast on the 200” outdoor LED TV & dozens of flat screens at 4:00pm with drink specials and contests all afternoon.

Where - 2015 Market St. Denver CO 80205                            When – Saturday 6th, 1pm – 2am.

The Real Dill | 5th Anniversary Party

What – Cocktail, cider & beer bars, food trucks, live music from The Raritans and 105% of proceeds will benefit The GrowHaus, a nonprofit indoor farm, marketplace, and educational center in Denver.

Where - The Real Dill 33 S Fox St Denver, CO 80223              When – Friday 5th from 5-10pm

The Big Wonderful | Kick-Off Weekend

What - Kicking off over Derby Weekend on May 5-7th, The Big Wonderful has a new location in Globeville and lots of exciting features for the summer. The Big Wonderful 2017 Derby Weekend has a slew of live bluegrass, including headliners Jeff Austin (Formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band) & Friends, The Drew Emmitt Band,  Andy Thorn & Friends, Rob Drabkin, and DeadPhish Orchestra. Saturday 6th, from 3-6pm is BEERFEST featuring over 20 craft breweries and distilleries pouring a handful of their finest flavors into commemorative BEERFEST sampling glasses. Each participating brewery and distillery will offer unlimited tastings of select brews, ciders and spirits, while Pickin' on Beatles (DeadPhish Orchestra) provides the live soundtrack.