Rocky Mountain Highs and Big Skies 2009 Part 8 (finale) updated 8/24
It's been almost a week since this trip has ended. Still fresh in my mind
Two weeks leaves lots of memories, lots of photos and what little detail I can remember
This won't be a wordy trip report since there is too much to say. I think the photos speak for themselves- brief descriptions are all they need
Although there was lots of fantastic Roadfood
, a few new great finds, and overall very little dissapointment, I think I can truly say that this is one of the few trips I've taken where the incredibly amazing scenic beauty may have even overshadowed the roadfood experience.
This trip will be divided into 8 parts
. Two days for each part.
... Friday July 24
Early flight via Delta Airlines
arrived at Atlanta Hartfield International Airport
Since I didn't have breakfast, I stopped at one of the local soul food restaurants that has an outpost inside the Airport. Paschal's
It looked promising, but when my meal came about 5 minutes after I ordered it, I wasn't expecting any surprises.
One word NASTY
I guess if you like hard as rock biscuits, rubbery pork chops and warm bland grits then this meal's for you.
I'm glad this didn't set the precedence for the rest of the trip- I just chalked this up to another experience of bad airport food
I arrived in Denver by mid afternoon - rented a Chevy Cobalt- Had my new GPS too!
First stop was Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
It was great to see Biker Jim
again after our visit last year
I was quite hungry after experiencing my disappointing breakfast
I first tried the Alaskan Reindeer Sausage
It was deliciously smokey and the grilled onions were just perfect
My next endeavor was the Jalapeno Elk Sausage
More spice than smoke. I added some jalapeno's for some extra "bite"
Both were great, but the reindeer dog was extra special- a highlight of the trip
Biker Jim and I agreed to meet at one of the more popular burger joints in Denver, My Brother's Bar
later that evening for dinner.
I checked into my hotel, the Sheraton Downtown- $50 per night on priceline and dodged the $26 parking fee. From my hotel I walked to My Brother's Bar
Although there is no descriptive signage, it's an unassuming bar in the theatre district with
an apparently decent following
I downed a
Twisted Pine Brown
and just started my
Twisted Pine Wheat, when Biker Jim
, his lovely wife Ms Biker Jim (Karen) and his assistant Chandler arrived..
After reviewing the menu
I ordered "the Ralphie" a buffalo Burger
Although the Jalapeno Cream Cheese was a nice added touch
The burger itself underwhelmed me. Don't get me wrong, it was a decent burger but did not reach the orgasmic gastronomical pinnacle that my future beef and buffalo burgers would meet and exceed on this trip.
After our dinner conversation which revolved around my plans for my trip in and around Denver and neighboring states as well as Harleys and Motorcycles in general, we departed and I decided to walk back to my hotel through Confluence Park
Which surrounds the neighborhood around My Brother's Ba
r just north of Lower Downtown (Lo Do)
One thing that amazes me about "Denverites"
is that they always seem to be backpacking and hiking even in their own city neighborhoods.
I returned to my hotel and marveled at the view outside my window.
I had a big day only to be followed by another long day. Saturday July 25
I headed to the downtown location of the coffee house Common Grounds
which I enjoyed so much last year. After breakfast I headed to Red Rocks
- the natural ampitheater in Morrison CO, about 20 minutes outside of Denver not too far from the "the Fort" reviewed here on Roadfood
The scenery and natural beauty was almost "other worldly"
And the ampitheater itself was a sight to behold
Although I'm in decent physical shape and thought nothing of climbing up and down the steps, I unfortunately forgot that I was over 6,000 feet above sea level and that it takes at least 3 days to get acclimated. After huffing and puffing those last few steps I felt "fat".
I then took a break by enjoying the museum and visitors center.
After building up an appetite it was time for lunch..
I headed to Golden
and when I arrived I didn't realize that there would be a welcoming committee waiting for me
Although Golden is only 20 miles outside of Denver, I was amazed at how far behind the times the folks are in the suburbs
Apparently I ended up in town just in time for Buffalo Bill Days weekend. I didn't expect this and ending up in town in time for such events ended up being a big theme on this trip.
My stop for lunch was The Buffalo Rose Saloon
a classic western biker bar
with great decor
and as I found out, even better food.
They even have their own souvenirs and t-shirts
Apparently they also have live music too!
I started out with a Coors product I never even heard of and don't remember the name of
The bartender described it as a 6 minute pour, which means I had to wait 6 minutes to enjoy it after it was poured...It had a full amber body and was by far the best Coors product I've ever enjoyed
A superb Buffalo Burger with excellent cripy homemade chips and a side of tasty green chili with hunks of pork roast made an excellent accompaniment to the beer.
definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
After my delicious lunch, I walked around town and noticed that
even the residents are "golden" in Golden..
After enjoying the festivities which included all types of vendors and live music
I noticed that just like Denver, Golden also has
a river that runs through it..
My first ice cream stop for the day was Golden Sweets
I decided to get a cup of the Mexican Chocolate
smooth velvety chocolate with hints of cinnamon.
can it get any better than this? yes it can..and it's not too far away..
I decided to get away from the hub bub of Golden and headed over to the Buffalo Bill Museum
The museum itself was interesting and informative
Depicting the life of Buffalo Bill who was an excellent marksman and showman..
The scenery over looking Golden and the Rockies were breathtaking
and Buffalo Bills Gravesite is also located on museum grounds
It was now time for my mid afternoon snack.
I decided to return to the former mining town of Idaho Springs.
Last year I enjoyed an amazing albeit somewhat expensive Buffalo Black Bean Chili Buffalo Burger.
This year I returned to check out Tommyknockers Brewpub
and their award winning buffalo chili
starting out with a crisp refreshing hefeweizen
Their buffalo chili did not disappoint
flavorful and zesty and not overly spicy, it was loaded with buffalo meat. The best bowl of buffalo chili I enjoyed on the entire trip.
After my snack, I walked around town and noticed this Hopscotch Ice Cream
. This wasn't here when I visited last year with Travelin Man
. I normally would have skipped right over it, but couldn't help noticing a sign from Forbes Magazine voting it the #1 ice cream shop in North America. I had to satisfy my curiosity.
When I first walked in the place was packed
I took photo after the crowd left
I perused the flavors
and was sold on Cinnamon Cookie Dough
By far some of the best Ice Cream I've ever had. I think this might just give Ted and Wally's
in Omaha and The Daily Scoop
in Bristol RI a run for its money. Hopscotch will
find their place on a top 10 list for 2009.
After making a pig of myself, I felt the need for some more exercise.
Although I haven't commented on the weather it started out nice but became very volatile in the afternoon.
I made my way to Mother Cabrini's Shrine just outside of Golden..
372 steps lead to a 22 foot statue of
and an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding area.
It started to rain just after I climbed down the steps. After a short visit to the visitors center, I returned to Golden for dinner and by that time, the sun came out again.
I took a walk around town before dinner and noticed that
even they get a credit
union! I wonder if you can trade in a couple of 6 packs?
My final stop for the day was
The Table Mountain Grill and Cantina
(photo taken earlier in the afternoon)
Attached to the Table Mountain Inn a locally owned independent hotel, the Grill and Cantina doles out some excellent southwestern style Roadfood
and they apparently have some creative drinks too!
For a couple $$ extra the meal started out with a fresh crisp salad
The meal comes with some warm, earthy and spicy jalapeno corn muffins
and I ordered the Southwest Osso Bucco for my main course
a luxurious stew with tender falling off the bone pork shanks swimming in a sea of roasted poblanos, rice, tomato and avocado.
The waitress saw me taking photos and then approached me and said the manager would like to give me a complimentary chocolate taco for dessert, I thanked her but declined and told her if I ate any more I would bust.
I would certainly return to The Table Moutain Grill and Cantina, not only a highlight of the trip, but possibly a top 10 contender for the year too.
Saturday turned out to be an amazing roadfood day.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2009/08/24 20:50:24