January was the month of flights and this was our last one - an extra special one because there were no interviews, just vacation. We picked Denver a while ago when the Southwest flights were cheap and, in the words of my dad (Thoreau?), the mountains were calling.
Oh Denver, you were refreshing and sunny and exactly the change I needed from the grey skies of Indiana. Each day had a ridiculously welcome amount of sunshine and my favorite part of the day was looking out from the city to see mountains in the background. It felt so free and uplifting in all its natural beauty. We spent a couple days out of the city to hike some nearby trails, and I've got a lot of mountain photos coming your way in the next few days. But today is about the city, in all its hip glory and incredible food. Most of our time walking around downtown was just for the sake of walking and taking it all in - we didn't make a point to do anything particularly expensive (ok, minus the Stars Wars exhibit because we're those nerds) in the city because hey, med student loans yo. But when we did spend, it was on some spot-on meals that we wouldn't be able to experience half as well in our little Midwest home. So yes, a lot of our time in the city was based on eats, treats, and checking out the fancy ass REI. Where we did not purchase anything but walking around in all its outdoorsy splendor was a treat anyways.
There are far too many photos from the trip that didn't make it onto this post, but I felt like the ones you see here are pretty representative of our time in the city. And a lot of it wouldn't have been possible without this Denver travel guide from Ashlae, so I definitely recommend checking it out before planning your own trip to Denver - it's extensive and gives you a ton of options without getting too overwhelming. I'll give some shoutouts to the places we checked out at the bottom of this post, but again, if you want a non-tourist view of the city, check out her badass guide.
Last but not least, extra love to my main man who eased my worries when the first day was freaking cold and I wasn't prepared, and for handling my stomach pain like a pro after our fancy dinner, and for generally being a silly tourist with me. You make these trips funny, lighthearted, and caffeinated.
Photos below, then recs at the very bottom!
It took us freaking forever to fit the whole name into this frame, and I would have given up if it hadn't been for Andrew's stubborn persistence. Photo came out great though, so it was worth it I suppose!
Our first day we arrived early enough to snag breakfast, and our choice was Weathervane Cafe, a cozy space within a house and excellent breakfast sammies and oats. It felt like a little Bloomington restaurant which made it a little extra special for me. And those cardamom ginger oats were incredible.
Hands down the best breakfast joint I've been to in a long while. Andrew got the southwest style biscuits and gravy, which was haca chili and I stuck with my typical order of eggs, meat, and potatoes. In the right corner you can also see a peek of our lavender blueberry pancake. Lavender blueberry, a combo I can't wait to play with back in my kitchen.
Our Uber driver the first night told us to check out Washington Park, which was beautiful in the winter and I can only imagine how perfect it would be in the summertime for picnics and morning runs.
Oh boy we had a lot of coffee on this trip. But not in a I-need-caffeine-to-stay-awake kind of way that we are used to. Each cup was delicious and savored and it's how I wish I could drink coffee every morning - slow and deliberate. Our last cup was actually this nitro cold brew and it was weirdly similar to beer. And absolutely delicious for the sixty degree weather on our last day.
This trip could also be known as the Brian trip. Our second night we met up with our friend Brian who recently moved to Denver to work for the Denver post! We caught up over Cuban food and ice cream cones. And the last day, my cousin Brian and his fiance Kirsten drove down from their home in Fort Collins for a day in the city with us - it was so nice to see them since normally we only get to see their faces over Thanksgiving. They insisted on us returning to Colorado so they can host us next time, and I'm not opposed to this idea at all. I'll definitely be back.
No trips planned for a few months, but that's okay, there's so much to celebrate in the next couple of months (Match Day?! Anniversary?! Candice turns 21?!) I'm looking forward to all the celebrations here at home, and can't wait to share them.
What we saw/ate in Denver:
- A kickass breakfast sammie and some beautifully spiced oats at Weathervane Cafe
- All the Star Wars costumes at the Denver Art Museum - a teeny bit of a splurge but it was so fascinating and now I definitely need to watch all seven again
- The OG Colorado (him) and SoCal (her) bowls from Bubu in Larimer Square. Fresh food is always gonna put a smile on my face
- Space Junkie ice cream from Milkbox Ice Creamery in Union Station! This combination is crazy - black raspberry ice cream, marshmallow swirl, and brownie chunks. I'm pretty sure I had nearly a whole brownie in my scoop - totally worth it
- Too much good food at Avanti Food and Beverage Hall - an arepa, a steak and chicken gyro, brussel sprouts, french fries, and a chopped salad, specifically. A fantastic place for people who need options
- The best breakfast I've had in a good while at Jelly Cafe, and hands down the friendliest service. Go to Jelly if you're in Denver
- A stroll in Washington Park for good views and healthy conversation
- A coffee tasting (known as a cupping, I think?) at Novo Coffee in the RiNo district. We loved this, the roaster there gave us a quick tour, had us smell some beans, and we even got to taste the coffee cherry along with three other coffees. Best part is the bag of beans you get to take home
- The only Cuban food I'll ever need at Cuba Cuba with Andrew and Brian. This was my favorite spot all vacation for dinner
- Sweet Action ice cream cones after the meal, where we discovered the fascinating origins of the cake cone
- A solid breakfast at Snooze - apparently everyone tells you to go to Snooze when you're in Denver, so we went. It was solid, not my favorite, but solid
- Beautifully plated food at Rioja in Larimer Square in the LoDo district. This was our fancy date night that I unfortunately ruined by having some major stomach issues at the end of the night. But I'm telling you, it's not their fault and the food was insanely delicious. This was Andrew's favorite meal of the trip, and I really encourage you to make a recommendation if you're in the area
- A granola and yogurt breakfast with kickass coffee and sourdough waffles (!!) at Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen - I was such a huge fan of this place and I still dream about the granola. Will probably try to recreate that breakfast back here at home for a little slice of sunshine
- A cup of smoky, intriguing coffee at Boxcar coffee - Andrew made it a point to try and get to the local roasters on this trip if we were to drink coffee, this place did not disappoint
- The most colorful bowl of veggie curry at Biju's Little Curry Shop - I need this to transplant to Indianapolis. No Indian food over here compares to what I had for lunch that day
- A sweet finish from Little Man Ice Cream - the last day was in the sixties and ice cream made sense
P.S. Days 2 and 3 we went hiking, and I have photos from those trips coming your way in a little bit (when I decide to be un-lazy and get my butt to editing them).
P.P.S. Oh yeah, one last thing I did in Denver? Donated to the ACLU and Indiana's Exodus Refugees. This nation is changing and we need to take action, even for those who "don't speak politics". Don't be silent. I mentioned this earlier, but even if you are like me and don't really know what to say/do in times of political struggle but still want to make your mark, donating is the easiest thing ever, and they go a long way, no matter how many dollars. Donate. Take action. That's all.