Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recap of Denver, CO

Hey Everyone! My brother and his family moved to Denver, CO from Phoenix, AZ earlier this year. The bf and I have never been to Denver before, and were excited to see the fam and scope out a new city. If you're ever planning a trip out there, check out some of the places we went to and ate at!

Day 1

8000 E. Belleview Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 770-1005
Yogurtini Self-Serve on Urbanspoon

My brother and his family live right outside of the city in the suburbs, so there were a lot of strip malls with yummy places to eat. Almost right off the airplane, the kids wanted to get frozen yogurt. Hey, I'm always down! At $.39/ounce, they have at least 10 self-serve flavors. Lots of fruity ones, unique 'martini' flavors and toppings like Sriracha. We ended up going twice during our trip, and I was IN LOVE! So cute and clean in there. Compared to all of the other froyo places in the area, this is my family's fav.   

8000 E. Belleview Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 779-0093
Larkburger on Urbanspoon

For lunch, we had burgers at this Colorado-based gourmet burger place. Everything is all-natural, biodegradable, and energy-efficient. We ordered a Larkburger (beef), Truffle Burger, Tuna Burger, Kids Meals, Fries and Truffle Fries. The burgers themselves are actually pretty small, but I guess that helps with portion control.  Even with their size, they pack a flavorful punch! We really enjoyed them as well as their fries. Sad we don't have them in DC.

701 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 860-2929
Bones on Urbanspoon

We drove into Denver for dinner an Asian-fusion restaurant. Cute neighborhood, and the weather was perfect for eating outside. Even though I thought it was a pretty nice place, they had crafts for the kids. 

We ordered Steamed Buns, Egg Noodles, Ramen and Soba. We all tried one another's dishes and they were good! I enjoyed the different noodles, but thought the buns were a little dry. 

REI Flagship Store

To work off our dinner we headed over to the flagship REI store to walk around. It's actually in an old  converted railroad building. It's HUGE!! They have a wall climb, multiple levels, an awesome bike testing area outside, class rooms for workshops, and every item you could ever need to be outdoors. The building is right next to a river, so we saw people fire-twirling and biking in the dark. If you are a lover of the Great Outdoors, you must stop by. 

Paris On the Platte
1553 Platte St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 455-2451
Paris on the Platte on Urbanspoon

After working off dinner at REI, we went for 'after-dinner' drinks at this cafe/bar. The vibe was hippie-chic. Dog paintings on the walls for sale, people with laptops and sketch books surrounded us. We ordered Milkshakes, Rootbeer Floats and an Egg Cream Soda. It was an interesting place to stop into since we were in the area. My Chai Milkshake was the, and I need to find a place that makes one around DC.

Day 2

The Buff Restaurant
1725 28th St
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 442-9150
The Buff Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Our destination for the day was the Rocky Mountains for hiking. We stopped by Boulder, CO to fuel up on a hearty breakfast. It is located right next to University of Colorado - Boulder, which I've heard is an awesome place to go college especially if you like being active. I ordered Sourdough French Toast, which sounded different, but I ate the entire thing! My belly was happy. 

Our family chowed down on Breakfast Burritos, Pancakes (The biggest ones I've ever seen! They were on Man Vs. Food), Eggs Benedict, Kid's Menu Bacon and Eggs. The place has delicious food and large portions. It's located next to a motel, so it's not anything fancy, but check it out if you're in Boulder. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

I have so many nature pics, but decided not to freeze your web browsers, so here is a small taste of the Rockies. The park is 415 square miles of wilderness that goes all the way up to 14,259 ft high! It would've taken hours to drive up there, so we ended up kind of driving and stopping in places we thought were nice like one of their many waterfalls. It's only 1.5 hrs NW of Denver, so go breathe some fresh air, enjoy the silence and take in the beautiful sights!

Boba and Crepes
1154 S Colorado Blvd
Glendale, CO 80246
(303) 759-2737
Boba and Crepes on Urbanspoon

It was a LONG day of hiking and driving, so on our way home we quenched our thirsts with some bubble tea. Good bubbles, sweet and flavorful tea. I got their Almond Milk Tea, which I gave my stamp of approval. The place smelled so good! The smell of crepes is similar to fresh waffle cones.

Day 3

Biker Jim's Restaurant
2148 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(720) 746-9355
Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs - The Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Typically when I'm on vacation I do a ton of research on where I want to eat. This trip I decided to go with the flow since it was to visit family, and figured they knew where to eat. However, this was the only place I insisted we try! They specialize in hot dogs made of game animals! We originally tried finding their cart using the address on Yelp, but they aren't always there as we learned the hard way. So my suggestion is to just go to the actual restaurant. We shared some Deep Fried Mac and Cheese, and Charred Tahini Cauliflower.

Can't go wrong with Alaskan Reindeer, Duck Cilantro, Rattle Snake/Pheasant. cool and yummy! The reindeer was a hit for us, while the duck and rattle snake were more mild in flavor. You can also get different toppings on them including cactus, wasabi aoili and cream cheese. I recommend coming here! When else can you say you've eaten Elk or Wild Boar?

Ferril Lake at City Park

More after-food exercise! Rented a 4-person bike cart and paddle boat. Surprisingly, both of those items were a lot of work to get around. The park has museums, a lake, trails, playgrounds, etc. Unlike Central Park in NYC where a bazillion people are all up in your space, there is a sense of peace and relaxation even though you are in the middle of the city.

Pho Saigon
9555 E Arapahoe Rd
Englewood, CO 80112
(720) 873-8899
Pho Saigon on Urbanspoon

After monkeying around, we fed our new appetites with some noodle soup. You probably cannot tell, but the bf's bowl was ginormous, and I didn't think he could finish it...but he did! The pho was satisfying, and the place was pretty packed. Out of all the pho restaurants in the area (I didn't even know Vietnamese people lived in Colorado), my family recommends this place.

Cherry Creek State Park

This was my first time swimming in a lake, and at first I thought it was going to be one of those algae, mosquito-covered lakes you see at camp. Thankfully I was wrong! It is HUGE, and surprisingly clean. They brought in sand, so it's a nice place to hang out and catch some rays. There is a picnic area with grills, a playground and lots of trails for biking. I was surprised to feel how hot Denver can feel. Since the elevation is higher, you're technically closer to the sun, so the rays are strong. 

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill 
630 S Colorado Blvd
Glendale, CO 80246
 (303) 757-5900
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Starving once again! My family loves to eat. Similar to Chipotle, but with a Mediterranean twist. We all ordered pitas with either chicken, shwarma or falafel. They have so many toppings that you can add to your dish. The falafel was drier than I prefer. You get a ton of food and it's a healthy option for lunch or dinner. It's funny that they offered burritos, which the bf ordered and adored.

Dry Dock Brewing Co
15120 East Hampden Avenue
Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 400-5606
Dry Dock Brewery on Urbanspoon

The bf and I took my bro's car to a local brewery for a mini-date. They do not serve food, however they have free popcorn in a machine. It's literally a tasting room with some TVs and view of the brewery. I got a pint of their Apricot Blond and the bf got the sampler! I loved my beer because it was light and fruity as the name suggest. The bf's favorite was their Vanilla Stout since he likes dark beers. You can buy bottles and sodas to-go.

Big Bill's NY Pizza
8243 South Holly Street
Centennial, CO 80122
(303) 741-9245
Big Bill's New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

Last dinner of the trip was spent at their favorite pizza joint. Pizza, bread sticks, wings and ice cream! The place was packed. The ice cream was a local brand and their Key Lime Pie flavor was a big hit with us. I wouldn't characterize the pizza as being close to authentic NY Pizza, but it's ok in its own way.

Day 5

Illegal Pete's
5312 DTC Blvd. #400
Denver, CO 80237
(303) 771-2277
Illegal Pete's on Urbanspoon

Last meal before we left was a Chipotle-inspired place. The bf and I got burritos that we'd order at Chipotle. He always gets chicken, and thought Illegal Pete's meat was seasoned better. I always get vegetarian, and I didn't think it was as good, but not bad. My sis-in-law and niece shared fish tacos that they thought were tasty, but too messy.

Dazbog Coffee
Denver International Airport

There are a lot of locations around the city, but we didn't get a chance to try it other than right before our flight. We ordered blended coffee drinks, which was surprisingly delish! I ordered a White Chocolate drink and the bf tried their Vanilla

Thanks for reading guys! Hope this was helpful, and I will bid you adieu with a picture of my niece and nephew's Pillow Pet collection =)