At the end of February I flew out to Denver to meet Freddy for a long weekend of exploring and eating amazing food. For almost the entire month of February, Freddy had been traveling to Denver every week for work, and there was a 2-week period that he was there where he wouldn’t be flying home for the weekend. My company has an office out there, so it felt like the perfect opportunity to spend a couple working days there to check out the office, meet some of my co-workers that I had only corresponded with via email, and hang out with Freddy!
Prior to leaving I obviously checked the weather and saw that it was going to snow on Saturday and Sunday. I prepared as best as a desert girl could by packing all of the sweaters I owned and the only warm North Face jacket in my closet that I bought when we lived in Texas (and haven’t worn it since). I flew out on a Wednesday night and got in just 10 minutes before midnight, when the rental car shuttles stop picking up people from the Denver airport! I drove my new pal for the next few days (a giant Jeep Wrangler that I felt super uncomfortable driving!) and arrived at the place Freddy was staying in to get a few hours of sleep before I had to get up for work. I was super tired but nothing a little coffee couldn’t fix! Freddy had been working pretty late that week, so after I left work I decided to check out the Park Meadows mall to kill some time before dinner. It had such a cozy feel with couches and fireplaces throughout, I almost felt like I was inside the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland. Later that night we had a delicious Mexican dinner at Hacienda Colorado—their tortilla soup was the best I’ve ever had, and it’s pretty hard to beat the Mexican food in Arizona!
Friday night we headed to Hickory & Ash, where we discovered that it happened to be Restaurant Week in Denver! We enjoyed an amazing prix fixe menu with 3 courses that I didn’t want to end. Not only was the food exquisite, but the ambiance and decor was gorgeous. When we try new restaurants and add new favorites to our ever-growing list, ambiance is just as important to me as the food because it sets the mood and the tone for the entire experience!
On Saturday morning I slept in while Freddy went for a run in the gym, which I was so happy about! I felt so much more rested and ready for a fun day of adventuring. We drove into downtown and ate brunch at Stowaway Kitchen, which was a lovely recommendation from one of my co-workers. Their house-made coffee was the perfect pick-me-up to pair with their unique breakfast offerings, like their scrambled egg breakfast sandwich on a brioche bun with huge slices of avo—yum! With our full bellies we headed over to the Cherry Creek neighborhood and perused around the mall for a bit. It might seem weird to go to a mall when we’re in such a cool city with lots of outdoor actives awaiting us, but it was SO cold outside and the only “winter” clothes Freddy and I had were, let’s say, not the warmest. However, I did score the most perfect pink beanie at J. Crew while we were there! I wanted to get it before our trip because it was on sale but our local store didn’t have it and it would have been way too expensive to ship it so that it arrived in time for the trip. It was the last one on the sale table so it was totally meant to be! The timing was actually perfect, because as we left the mall we drove through some neighborhoods with the most gorgeous homes, and that’s when it started snowing! We pulled over and got out of the car and were SO excited to see the snowflakes coming down. We drove back towards downtown so that Freddy could see the State Capitol building, and within those 30 minutes of driving, it felt like we were in the middle of a blizzard! Freddy was so adorable because he looked like a kid in a candy store. It was his first time in his whole life being in actual snowfall—I loved seeing how happy and joy-filled he was! We had so much fun playing on the steps of the Capitol, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
We were out there for about 30 minutes, and my fingers were legit frozen even with my gloves on! We got back in the car and grabbed some dinner at The Royal Burger, a cool hole-in-the-wall joint with melt in your mouth burgers. It just so happened that while we were sitting in our booth, Freddy looked across the street and said, “Do you see that?”. It was a CAT CAFE! While we lived in Austin we frequented our local cat cafe pretty often, because it was my happy place and the only way I could hang out with cats. We don’t have any in Arizona, so I was super stoked we found one in Denver, and obviously we went there immediately after dinner!
On Sunday morning we got up a little bit earlier to drive about 30 minutes to Boulder, CO for breakfast. I read about this little spot called the Chautauqua Dining Hall and how wonderful their breakfast was, and it was so magical driving up there seeing the snow-covered mountains standing so majestically before us. Once we arrived, there was so much history to this place than we realized! Chautauqua was established in the late 1890’s as a cultural and educational summer school and retreat for Texas educators. It’s one of 25 Historic Landmarks in Colorado and this specific Chautauqua location (others were established throughout the U.S. in the 19th century) is the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding and with its original structures intact and used for their original purposes. It was so neat sitting inside the dining hall eating breakfast, thinking about what it must have been like for all those educators eating there in the 1890’s and beyond. I convinced Freddy to let me buy a mug as a souvenir of our trip there and a reminder of the history that it represents.
After breakfast we played in the snow for a bit before I had to head back to pack and leave for the airport. Even though it was a short trip, I felt like we were able to explore a decent amount of Denver and we sure got to enjoy some amazing food! It was such a nice little spontaneous, snowy getaway and I’m thankful for the memories we made there.