The last day of the conference (Wednesday), my co-worker and I met up for breakfast at Sam’s No. 3. The menu was gigantic but I was able to settle on a short stack of pancakes with fresh strawberries and bananas pretty easily. They were really good!
Brian drove out to Denver from Kansas City to meet me for an extended weekend. We kicked off our mini-vacation with dinner at Rioja on Larimer Street. The lighting was a little hard, but nonetheless, clockwise from upper left: the ceviche special; fines herbes gnocchi butter poached lobster, saffron-fennel compote, asparagus, lobster nage; fresh sugared mint leaves; variations of chocolate dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate mousse, gianduja mousse, hand painted white chocolate, chocolate miroir, candied hazelnuts; knife and fork salad bibb lettuce, pea shoots, fava beans, shoestring potatoes, caciocavallo affumicato cheese, yuzu vinaigrette; lemon quencher house-made limoncello, gin, ginger ale, cava. We left stuffed and happy and headed to Brian’s grandparent’s house in Broomfield, CO.
Thursday we laid low and went for walks and took naps – the perfect way to start a vacation! On Friday, Brian and I headed to Boulder, CO to explore the Pearl Street Mall – an outdoor shopping area. Brian got a massage to recover from the long drive and we wandered around the shops and watched some of the many street performers, you can check out my Instagram to watch what happened with the pole in the bottom right corner.

For lunch, we went to West Flanders Brewing Company. I had a delicious ginger cider by C Squared Brewery – I didn’t make the ginger connection until after I saw the bottle, too funny. We shared the pretzel bites which came with stone ground mustard and homemade beer cheese. I had the Ferment plate of the day which was a collection of pickled fruits and veggies including coffee’d beets, bourbon jalapenos, champagne-mint cantaloupe and bread + butter pickles. It was good but eventually was way too much vinegar for one sitting.

We headed back from Boulder just in time for another great meal – this one with Brian’s grandparents at 24 Carrot Bistro in downtown Erie, CO. The downtown was having a block party so we parked and walked in through the locals setting up for their festival. We enjoyed a drink – mine a Bull’s Blood (pisco, organic beet juice, cabernet, cointreau, peppercorn syrup, orange oil), middle right photo. I started with the calamari, which was delicious, and then moved onto the seared ahi (sweet potato & poblano hash, grilled asparagus, lime beurre blanc, cilantro) for my main. Brian and I shared the “liberty cup” (berries, fresh whipped cream, cookie cup, vanilla custard) for dessert.

Tomorrow we’re off to Estes Park for some hiking and mountain photos – so you can see that I do more than just eat my way around the world. Thanks for stopping in and have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

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