Heading into a strange holiday weekend, we’re looking for ways to gather and eat, even if on a much smaller and socially distanced scale. So here are some of the foods we’ve been craving for outdoor picnics and parties of just a few people. From crawfish boils to farmers market finds, barbecue to street tacos, we’ve got 12 to-go options to really jumpstart the season.
Denver Central Market, RiNo, denvercentralmarket.com
A new seasonal picnic box ($85) features foods from many of the hall’s vendors — find charcuterie, crackers and spreads, chips and dip, bread and cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream, kombucha and wine or beer (for an extra $20).
Cattivella, Stapleton, 303-645-3779
On Saturday, chef Elise Wiggins is preparing a family-style, take-home crawfish boil from her wood-fired Italian restaurant. $125 will buy you 10 pounds of boiled crawfish, corn, potatoes, Andouille sausage and pralines. You can also order pre-batched hurricane cocktails and sazeracs. The meal feeds four people.
Bruschetta and wine
Postino, LoHi and Broadway, postinowinecafe.com
Pair a mixed bruschetta board with your choice of four toppings (from about a dozen options for $15.75) with one of around 30 bottled wines (all for $15). For $30, you can’t beat the selection.
Ultreia, Union Station, ultreiadenver.com
A Spanish picnic basket costs $40 (or $50 with a bottle of wine) from Ultreia. You’ll get all the fixings for a tapas spread of pan con tomate, marinated olives, Marcona almonds, jamon serrano and manchego cheese, as well as a fresh salad and olive oil and sea salt chocolate chip cookies.
South Pearl Farmers Market, Old South Pearl Street, southpearlstreet.com/farmers-market
In addition to picnic staples such as produce and cheeses, you’ll find prepared foods to-go, like sandwiches and pastries, as well as local wines and more beverages to take with you. The market, which runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Sunday, is limiting the number of people who can shop at one time, so you may need to wait in line if you visit during peak hours. Shoppers must wear a mask and are asked to bag their own purchases.
Stoic & Genuine, Union Station, stoicandgenuine.com
Find Chesapeake Bay oysters for sale outside Union Station for $2.50 apiece, every day starting at noon until they sell out (which is as quick as 20 minutes on weekends). The team at Stoic & Genuine will shuck them for you, and you can sit at a nearby bench or table slurping to your heart’s desire.
Vinh Xuong Bakery, Federal Boulevard, Alameda Avenue and Zeppelin Station, facebook.com/vinhxuongbakery
Go for the combination sandwich at either location of this family-run Vietnamese bakery. It’s packed with paté, barbecue, ham and pork head cheese, plus pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño and mayonnaise ($4-$9.50).
La Calle, Alameda Avenue, lacalletaqueria.com
Choose from al pastor, asada, carnitas, suadero and more for your selection of tacos ($2.25 each), which come with various toppings from a full salsa bar and drinks like horchata and agua fresca.
International street food and beer
Spice Trade Brewing and Kitchen, Greenwood Village, spicetradebrewing.com
Thai chicken wings, green curry and Korean barbecue tacos are some of the brand new menu items from just-opened Spice Trade. Order a trio of snacks to pair with house beers (which started under the familiar Yak & Yeti Brewpub but have since rebranded).
Tinned seafood snacks
Cart-Driver, RiNo and Highland, cart-driver.com
A new selection of antipasti to-go is the way to go at this cult-favorite pizza spot. Try seafood conserva (market price), chicken liver mousse with focaccia ($10) and a chopped salad ($10), or order the mixed snack platter for $24. Add on batched cocktails (two for $16) or even a clam pizza for $19.
The Wolf’s Tailor, Sunnyside, exploretock.com/wolfstailor/
This northside restaurant is actually offering a tasting menu with seven to 10 bites or courses for $45 during the pandemic, so you can really turn heads at a picnic. But trust us: chicken liver mousse nigiri, scallop tataki, maitake mushroom salad and more elevated tastes are worth a try, even in to-go boxes.
Barbosa’s Barbeque, mobile trailer, barbosasbarbeque.com
Check the website for locations, but find pitmaster Alejandro Barbosa at Banded Oak Brewing the next two weekends selling brisket, pork shoulder and ribs and turkey breast (all by the pound), and sides like charro beans, Creole smashed potato salad and pickled onion slaw ($4-15, various sizes) for takeaway.
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