Friday, July 17, 2015

Denver Post #3- good food and some goofy back stories

So one of the three or four things that were on our list of things to do while in Colorado was to eat all the good food that we could!  And in reality, the only "bad" food we ate was breakfast at the motel one morning.  The rest of it was pretty darn tasty.
Have I mentioned how much I like to fly??  ;)  hence the obligatory cloud photo

We began our journey by eating in the lovely venue called the MPS airport. Thanks to my persistent to the point of obnoxious posting on Facebook and Yelp,  I can fairly quickly review the name of every single place that we paused at in our quest to immerse ourselves, and indeed exhaust ourselves, in the greater Denver/Golden, Colorado area.  I would say we made some very good choices, but I digress, as last we heard our heroes, er uh, travelers were last seen at the airport.  We had researched, as all good travelers with a gastronomic bent do, the places to eat after security, and it turns out there were quite a few vegetarian friendly places to try.  We settled on French Meadow, as it was on the way to our gate!  Seems like a good enough reason, right?  I am pretty sure I had a grilled veggie sandwich, but you know I have virtually no recollection of it as i was so excited to get on that plane! ** new flash- I had a veggie burger I was told** French Meadow was cute and I remember enjoying the food, but it was overshadowed by the adventure that was about to begin.  I was so right to be excited.

We, of course, ate nothing on the plane, because it was crazy to do that for a 2 hour flight.  So when we got to Golden, finally, after perhaps accidentally getting on a toll road, but that might be a rumor, hehehe.... and subsequently were unable to check into motel, we decided to go to Whole Foods and get some yummy stuff there- because: Whole foods!!  MMMMMM  I had some sort of quinoa salad and falafel and it was just fine.  After that we managed to get into our respective rooms for  few moments and then we struck out to find a mountain, which we did!  After which we sought out Mary's Mountain Cookies shop we had passed on the way to Whole Foods, and bought a couple of massively oversized cookies which were just awesome.  You will find more than a few desserts involved in this trip!  Because we do know how to enjoy ourselves!

Breakfast bagel 

So after we walked home clutching our cookie bags, we met up and discussed the next day's journey and most importantly, where we wanted to eat.  We began our morning at the ultra cool little Cafe 13 in downtown Golden.  It was a nice little 10 minute drive- thank you map lady- and we passed right by the Coors factory.  That thing is BIG! Anyway, I digress, yet again, we got there quite early- in spite of the fact that I may have overslept.  Passed out and dragged my bleary self out of bed is more like it.  But to begin ones' day with an excellent cup of latte and a delightful breakfast bagel in the coolest little cafe I've seen in a while was just amazing.  And perfect.

One of several lattes/mochas consumed by yours truly

Of course one latte was not enough to hold me over, so on our way to Target for a few provisions, like water and super glue, I may have stopped at Caribou Coffee.  In fact I am sure I did!  And I make no apologies for the daily run to Caribou that I made, because its good stuff.  Any company that hands over my coffee with a chocolate covered cocoa bean on top of it is top rate in my book.

Ok, I feel the need to explain super glue.  Turns out my the Mad-English teacher's walking shoe had sprung loose on the toe of the sole.  So we needed to make a little Target run.  We also got an 18 pack of mini water bottles, which turned out to be a genius move on our part.  Anywho, Super Glue was procured to fix said shoe and we sat out in the car while he fixed it- Debi meanwhile sipped on the Caribou deliciousness. Super Glue ended up all over his hands when the crimped back end opened up while the top side was being dealt with.  His hands "may" have been so full of glue that we had to go back to the motel - a remedy found online listed running ones hands under hot water for 10 minutes.  And yes, his hands were temporarily glued to the steering wheel....  This all was for the better, actually, since I had forgotten a bunch of things at the motel seeing I had gotten myself ready in a sleepy stupor....  so! There was that. :)
I was enthralled with this place!  Ali Baba Grill

We drove on to Panorama Point at Golden Gate Canyon Park, where we did our hiking and in the process became starved, ravenous hikers right around the 12:30 pm mark.  We had scoped out nearby restaurants as we drove into town and settled on Ali Baba Grill  in Golden as our next stop and we could not have made a better choice.  This restaurant is in a little strip mall in Golden,  with an unassuming demeanor, but wow what an elaborate little place inside.  And the food!  We each had the sampler plate that contained falafel, hummus, baba ganouche, taboulleh, a salad with lemony dressing and a yummy stuffed grape leaf.  The food was so so SO amazing.  And it fulfilled our requirements for it to either be ethnic or interesting- which this fit into both categories.  I could NOT finish it all in spite of being famished and so enjoying the flavors. Definitely our favorite spot to eat during the trip.
I need to go back here and eat this again.... 

This is the part of the story that will get it's own post- the afternoon spent at the Denver Art Museum.  I maybe have indicated that we got stuck downtown in a hail storm, or maybe that was facebook, I don't know, but we spent a good deal of time at Mad Beans and Greens that afternoon.  I had more very good latte, but not a lot, since I realized that I needed to limit my caffeine post noon.  Which could account for my crappy night sleep that night, but I am blaming it on the pillows from hell.  Regardless, after the weather calmed down a little, we walked a few blocks away, thinking that we would get some little something for supper.  We found the Corner Bakery Café where we ate some pretty tasty bakery items.  I got a sort of lemon hand pie and Adam got a great big cookie!  We were sitting there for a little while enjoying ourselves, and then the rain began again.  And so we had to dash- it was a rainy night.  We attempted to get in another hike, but again rainus interruptus.


I needed Leland's selfie stick for this one!  Love the giant milk can building!!

So, the next day was Thursday and that was the only mediocre meal we had----- motel breakfast.  Sigh. Thank the heavens above for my Caribou run and latté to go!  I made plans with my friend Lori for later in the morning, so we went to Lookout Mountain for a hike that day, and then the Tabletop North Park.   Adam went back to Whole Foods when I was gone, and I ended up going to have pizza with my dear friend Lori and those lovely girls of hers.  The place was called Beau Jo's and it was a pizza and salad bar, and there was nicely 3 vegetarian pizzas among the carnivore selections.  YAY.  We decided that we needed ice cream, so a trip was made to Little Man Ice Cream near Denver. That was a fun trip with the Duba women.  Zipping on the freeway to the right place, trying to find parking and then trying to find the place again.  We had such a wonderful chat and a lot of laughs.  And the ice cream was divine!! Peanut Butter cup fudge was da bomb!!  I miss them so much, but am glad I got to hang out with them all for a few hours in Arvada.  And I got my Lori hug fix.

If you pass this place, turn around and go back

 Both of these places were pretty awesome, made fantastic by the company that I was with!  I was so full that after our trip up into the mountains and frolicking in the snow, that I was unable to have ice cream yet again at Empire Dairy King!  Adam NEEDED to stop for ice cream, so I had an Italian Soda, which was amazing.  It was mango and very creamy. YUMMO.

Vegetarian curry and naan at Sherpa house  noisy children were <----- over there.  ;)

So apparently I could not eat enough that day, and we finished off Thursaday with a little visit to the Sherpa House- an Indian Restaurant in Golden.  We again were dodging a few raindrops, but had a very nice meal there.  We have an affinity for Indian food and we did our research for this one.  We chose it because of the proximity to our hotel and from Highway 70 and for the fact that we sort of knew where it was without map lady having to tell us until the very end of the drive.  It was very good food, the only problem was the kids.....  Now, you KNOW that I like little kids.  I have had little kids, I teach little kids, I talk to them and play with them, but for some reason, I felt like I shouldn't have to be subjected to them that night.  Maybe I was getting tired by that time (yes) or maybe I was cranky (um, no, I had just been up in the snow covered mountains and had Italian soda at the most freaking cute little ice cream dive, so that wasn't it at ALL) but we unfortunately had to sit at the table next to a family of four- and the two little children were not having any of this foreign food stuff.  Oh well.  I didn't make any nasty comments and I think I accidentally caught the mother's gaze in an uncomfortable glance over towards me.  They didn't do much to encourage them to stop hopping around and whining and such, but oh well.  The food was pretty good, I had a vegetarian curry, and some really good naan, Adam I believe had the  Chana Masala and we did enjoy our meal there.  Adam happened to have on a Wisconsin map on the back of his shirt and the people across the room began discussing Wisconsin, which we found infinitely amusing.  Or at least I did, I am not positive Adam wanted them discussing his shirt.  Lol. I don't remember what exactly they said, other than talked about where they had been and I think the cold might have been mentioned.

I love meeting my virtual friends, even if just for a short time.

So every night we had a discussion about the next day, and sadly Friday was our last one.  We wanted some different and close by for our breakfast, and right around the corner from the motel was a very divey spot that delivered some awesome pancakes and french toast...  JC's Café.  It was a really great way to start off the day.  I had French Toast, something I generally don't order, because I like to have eggs in various forms when I go out to have breakfast/ brunch.  But since I had eaten eggs for a few days, I thought a change was in order.  It was really good, though I did miss my real maple syrup.  Again- good coffee and then Caribou.  Because I am an addict and should be studied.  At this point we went over to Red Rock and hiked the trails there, which was a spectacular way to end our interaction with the landscape in the Golden area.   We then moved out of our temporary housing and began heading in the general direction of the Denver airport.  We stopped in the downtown area, and walked around an outdoor pedestrian mall, maybe called the 14th Street Mall- something on that order.  Some number.  I'm sorry if I get it wrong.  Anywho, I met a virtual friend (Hi Leland!) there and we had a nice time talking and having a little liquid refreshment (if it was coffee, I am not admitting it :D ) and then had fun taking a few shots with his selfie stick.  This is something that seems so ridiculous and yet I totally want one.  Adam had been over at Barnes and Noble and we went on to our final meal at Mad Greens, as I mentioned before.

Mad Greens is an awesome little place that makes fresh salads and other things for you while you stand in line.  There was a really cool bunch of specialty salads and they were so many yummy sounding choices.  While I was in line I struck up a conversation with the salad guy and then another one chimed in and we discussed different places in Wisconsin that they have visited/vacationed/have relatives in.  It was a hoot!  What nice people and really good salad!  Seems like I can always find some nice folks to talk to and find something in common with them.  It was so so sad to have to drive to the airport and surrender our cool white car and go home.  However, it did involve a fun plane ride again!  YAY!

Cut to 10:30    and it is dark on Hwy 8, just west of the Wisconsin/Minnesota state line.  Two bleary eyed travelers know that they need to find something to eat for supper since it had been a while since Mad Greens.  And it is not easy to find a veg. friendly place on the road.  We were thinking Subway, and then a glowing beacon of red and white appeared before us...... yes, folks it was a Dairy Queen.  You may have noticed that we had some nontraditional suppers and it was awesome.  So yes, there was a brownie sundae consumed under the guise of supper when we still had 2.5 hours to drive home.  It was a long drive, but we did it!

It is kind of hard to wrap this up concisely, as this was far from a concise post.  It was so fun to use the food we ate as a vehicle to remember some of the things that might have not been included in another summary.  The food was just wonderful, I am glad that we did some research before we went, as we had an idea of some places that were available.  I just can't say that there was any part of the trip that was disappointing.  It was a nice week, chock full of joy!  

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