March 10, 2016

Whims: Surprises in Colorado

Super Bowl 50 was held in Santa Clara (San Francisco for those who don't live in California and only experienced it on TV) and it was the perfect time to make my escape to snowy, beautiful Colorado. Did I feel FOMO for missing out on Super Bowl activities in my hometown? Yes. Did I regret going to Colorado during Super Bowl weekend for $98 roundtrip? NOPE. Best. Decision. Ever. The mega sale I was able to grab from JetBlue allowed me to make the best spur of the moment decision ever. I was only in Colorado for three and a half days but that was enough time to make me fall completely in love with all of Colorado, and I would go back in a heartbeat. Read on to see the highlights from my trip!

Jen (childhood friend) and I arrived in Denver at 6AM and were completely exhausted from our redeye flight, but we were filled with too much excitement and adrenaline to let anything slow us down.  Our first stop after freshening up in our hotel was Crema Coffee House. Crema is located in the new, hip downtown area of Denver and is one of the cutest coffee houses I have seen. Unique wall art outside and inside, delicious breakfast and lunch options, and homemade fresh kombucha! We ordered the pork belly banh mi and moroccan meatball sandwich with a side of roasted beet salad and it was all very delicious! We loved this place so much we went back the very next morning!

Once our bellies were full and we got our caffeine fix, we headed up to the Colorado Rockies! The 1.5 hour drive from downtown Denver to Winter Park was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done. The moment you enter the mountains you are instantly transported into a magical winter wonderland. I honestly couldn't stop screaming "THIS IS SO AMAZING! HOW IS THIS REAL!?". The scenery honestly just blew me away!

We booked a snowmobile tour with Grand Adventures and it was one of the best things I have ever done! The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and all snow gear is included in the rental price! They give you a quick, and informational overview on how to safely run your snowmobile and you're good to go! I highly recommend you do this when you're in Colorado because it is just incomparable to anywhere else. Our tour took us through Arapaho National Forest and I just can't think of a better way to see everything it had to offer.

One of the best dinners we had in Denver was at To The Wind Bistro. The restaurant is super tiny, probably only seats 20 max at a time, so I definitely recommend getting there early (like 5pm early). Everything we got was absolutely delicious. I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Instead of bread, they serve you boiled peanuts on the house

Bone marrow with fig and oxtail jam

Veal sweetbreads with ricotta pancake, hash, and parmesan demi-glace
Seriously, one of the best things I have ever eaten. I dream about this dish...

Cornmeal waffle with roasted pork shoulder and coleslaw

Bistro Steak with parsnip puree, beets, and horseradish

We also ordered the Foie Gras Torchon - I have no idea where the picture is but that doesn't mean it wasn't delicious. I honestly loved every single one of these dishes. We ordered so much food that it couldn't fit on our table - zero regrets!

One of the first hikes we did was at the Garden of the Gods. This park is absolutely beautiful! To see the contrast between the bold red rocks against the clean white snow was just breathtaking. What makes the place even better is that it is completely free! Easy hikes throughout the whole park make it a great place to bring the whole family.

Don't forget to stop at the tipping rock on your way in or out of Garden of the Gods. 

After Garden of the Gods we headed 15 minutes away to Seven Falls. This park is privately owned so you do have to pay a park entrance fee but it is totally worth it. You park at the hotel parking lot and there is a shuttle to take you through the entrance of the park. You can hike to the top of the waterfall but be prepared to go up about a million stairs at a 70 degree angle, no lie. But once you make it to the top, the view is definitely worth it!

If stairs aren't for you, they do have a mountain elevator (yes, an elevator inside a freaking mountain!!) where you'll be able to view the park at a higher elevation. 

Snooze an A.M. Eatery  looks like a diner from the 50s/60s but don't let that stop you from checking this place out. The best pancakes I have ever eaten in my life came from this place.

Pictures do not do this pancake flight justice. I'm not going to lie, I was too excited to chow down to take a proper picture. Top to bottom: sweet potato (the best thing ever!!), samoa, and the donut pancake. All three pancakes were truly to die for. I dream about these pancakes (along with the sweetcakes... apparently I dream about food a lot) and it'll probably be one of the first things I get the next time I visit Denver.

Denver is truly an amazing place! The people, the food, the parks, I just can't get enough of it! Also just a friendly tip, check out their weed tours! I hear it's a great experience from the moment you set foot on the tour bus to the moment you say goodbye to your fellow tourmates. That's just what I heard, I wouldn't know from personal experience...

- Fiona


  1. Haha at the last part! That is the tiniest waffle ever. Also I would like to go an snow mobile adventure/didn't know people could do that until I saw your snaps!!! There's a snooze in San Diego too. So cute!

    Post more !!!!