Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Denver vaca[tion]

Happy New Year! Yes, I realize this is coming to you about 11 days late, but hey I made it by the 12th day of 2012, so that's not too bad! So, where have I been? Most of you know that Brian and I went to Colorado, Denver to be exact. We flew out on New Year’s Eve and stayed with his old Colorado roommate Phil until Wednesday of last week, at which point 17 of Brian’s our family members flew out to meet us, and make the trek up to Keystone, where we stayed until Sunday!

So, I’ll break this into a few posts, and just to keep things simple, I’ll do it in two parts. First, I’ll recap Denver, then I’ll recap Keystone. And then I may or may not backtrack to Christmas. Sorry it’s taken me this long, but with the time difference and the motivating myself to get back in the swing of things at work, and the overwhelming task of leaving the Christmas decorations up until after the vacation, it’s been a stressful few days!

So here goes.

Brian and I took a cab to the airport, hopped on a plane from Charleston to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Denver, arriving around 3pm Colorado time. At which point Phil picked us up from the airport (thank goodness), and I believe we went straight to the liquor Mecca store, Argonaut. Largest store of that nature that I’ve ever been to, I do believe. Bought some bubbly and brew, and made our way to the house to relax before the big night. By 6pm we were in the Auburn Club’s bar, Brandons Pub to see Auburn play Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl . Just a side note, we are surrounded by Auburn fans in Charleston, and it’s no different in Denver.

At halftime we made it over to Randy & Katy’s house for their NYE gathering. And although I knew a few folks, most of these folks were new to me. Took a little while to warm up, but all in all a fun time. I must say that it was a little odd to watch the ball drop in New York at 10pm, but it only meant that we were able to toast to each time zone throughout the night.

…is a blur. I think we made it out of bed by 2pm, just in time to hit up brunch at Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill, and watch the Broncos game. The rest of the day was spent on the couch, viewing our new favorite show Breaking Bad. We did happen to make it out of the house again for dinner at L'Asie Fusion Bistro with Phil and Brita, then back to the couch for more Br Ba. If you haven’t seen it you should, as it is quite intense/scary/funny/frustrating/etc. We only made it through about 5 episodes of the first season, while at Phil’s, so we’ve got to find a way to see the rest of them.

It was fun since most everyone had the day off, and again we hung out at yet another sports bar, Govnr’s Park, with a lot of the crew from NYE to watch all the games that we could handle. Brian and I also took a little trip to Boulder to meet up with an old friend of his from his ranch-hand days. We ate at a delicious restaurant downtown called The Kitchen. It’s one of those restaurants where everything is local, and the menu changes nightly, and since it’s been over a week, I can’t remember what I even ate! I can tell you that the bartender made me an exciting cocktail called the Avia[tion] (how appropriate), which is gin-based with Marashino liqueor and lemon juice. So refreshing.

Phil went to work, and Brian and I were off to explore, stopping first at Dozens, one of his favorite breakfast places, which has also become one of mine, especially since I had one of the most delicious scrambles I’ve EVER had. I ordered the Steamboat, which was scrambled eggs with bacon and cheddar cheese, fresh sour cream and chives, and I added a side of avocado. And to top it off, it came with potatoes, an English muffin, and an orange slice garnish. Delish.

From there is was a quick walk to the Denver Art Museum by Daniel Libeskind to spend what would seem like the entire afternoon!


The Clyfford Still Museum by Allied Works was under construction the last time we were here, and just opened a few months ago. So we wandered around the outside to take in some of the detailing. 

MCA Denver is the contemporary art museum that was recently completed by David Adjaye. It’s an interesting building, but the entry was quite dumbfounding, as you walked through a dark tunnel that become more confined as you approached the entry, only to be greeted by an automatic, solid metal, sliding door that gradually let you in. We tried to document it through photos and video, but I’m not sure that the full-effect comes through!

There were other interesting buildings and installations in the vicinity, and we walked down the riverfront for a bit.

Afterwards we went to REI to do a little shopping, which I’ve failed to mention before now how unseasonably warm it was when we were in Colorado. Unfortunately, the dork that I am, I had only packed turtleneck sweaters, and was so not cool in comparison to the fine folks of Denver who appropriately know how to dress. Also unfortunate was the pricing on the clothing at REI, even though I did manage to purchase a pair of much needed pants.

So after a slight breakdown, I convinced Brian that Target was what I needed, and there is where our next stop took us, for affordable, basic clothing that satisfied my needs. Check out the cool sky and view from the Target parking lot, over Sloan Lake.

Oh, and some random photos from the car...

Then our final dinner at Benny's, Brian's favorite Mexican restaurant with Phil and Dave.

Last day in Denver! We had seen a show called Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel over Christmas, and they were at a Denver restaurant called the Denver Biscuit Co., which turns out to be a guy from Florida who loves Southern cooking, and since he’s made Denver his home, he decided to “bring the biscuits” with him. So we had to go there, especially since it was mid-week and we were craving a little Southern food. Brian ordered The Ellsworth – buttermilk fried chicken with honey, stone-ground mustard, and homemade pickles, while I did what any girl from the Lowcountry would do and ordered the Shrimp & Grits – basically a biscuit that has had the center scooped out, filled with grits, covered in shrimp and sauce, and the top put back on. Oh my. We could barely walk, although I guess I should speak for myself.

But we did hit up a few stores in the neighborhood, The Tattered Cover and Brian’s favorite record store, Twist & Shout. So much fun to walk the aisles and take in all the music, concert posters, signed guitars, and biographies of musicians for what seemed like miles. In the end, we left with David Byrne’s book Bicycle Diaries, which I’m about a 3rd of the way through.

So there you have it, our stay in Denver in a nutshell. Thanks to Phil for the awesome accommodations and for letting us use his truck to get around town (and out of town). Everything was great!

Next up: Keystone!

To revisit our last trip to Denver, click here. I think I may need to get my hair cut (and lose 20 pounds)!

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