Tag Archives: Travels

Denver – What We Did Day 1

If anyone of you follow along my Snapchat or Instagram, you saw that I was recently in the Mile High City for a long-ish weekend trip! I visited my friends Amber and Richard, who just moved out there and they showed me a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, there was no humidity so my hair was doing cartwheels and I was surprised at how quickly I became acclimated to the altitude. While sorting through all the photos I took, I started thinking about how I wanted to deconstruct talking about this trip. So we’ll do it in parts, and this first part is all the fun things we did in Denver — most of which were F R E E ! !

Regardless of getting to bed late on Wednesday night, we were up and at ‘em by 6 a.m. on Thursday so we could take a walk around Sloan’s Lake and get some legit breakfast. Amber had told me that the folks in Denver are “Active City Denver People” (hence the hashtag #ACDP2016 in case anyone was wondering), so this trip wasn’t about to be one where I’d sleep in. This was fine by me; I tend to be my most energetic self in the mornings. Our plan for the day was to discover the city of Denver!

Thanks to Thrillist, I found this list on 40 Free Things To Do in Denver. Some of it is really silly, but some of it was actually pretty great. We ended up walking to the light rail station near their apartment and took that into Union Station – a beautiful refurbished train station.

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I loved how they redid the space in there and while we were there, we crossed off #28 – Take a selfie in front of Union Station.

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From there we walked to the 16th Street Mall, which is a pedestrian-only street kind of like that area of Times Square. And it was even like that: a lot of chain restaurants, shops, etc. and tons of people. While you’re there, you can look at the skyscrapers and cross off #25 – Find the cash register in the sky — a building shaped like a cash register. Not a whole lot to see on the mall, but it does offer a free trolley you can ride up and down the street. We ended up taking that and went to the last stop to walk to the State Capitol building in order to cross off #4 – Stand on the 13th step of the capitol building and you’re exactly one mile above sea level.

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After taking many pictures there because it was silly and fun, we headed over to City Park where the real action was. The NFL Kickoff Event was taking place since it was the opener for the NFL season of the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Now, most people in most any city big with football are ridiculous football fans, but this was unlike any kind of fan base I’d ever seen. Granted this was a Superbowl rematch, but still. The crowd was huge! After a little weird series of incidents of how we got into the event, we were in and walked around for a while. There were all kinds of things you could do there: try on actual Broncos gear; pretend you were drafted and stand on stage with a team jersey of your choosing, and the big thing we did: stand in line to view and have a picture taken with the Vince Lombardi trophy. I’m not a Broncos fan at all, but I am a huge football fan in general, so seeing the Superbowl trophy was pretty sweet.

Walk-on for the Lions 2016!

Walk-on for the Lions 2016!

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After perusing the line of food trucks near the event and having a quick bite, and after clocking in over 20,000 steps we were exhausted and HOT (it was around 90+ degrees that day). So we took the bus back to their place and had some time to chill, walk their dogs, hydrate even more (PRO TIP: Drink a lot of water when visiting Denver since you’re in a higher altitude!) before getting ready for dinner at a legit farm-to-table restaurant where Amber made reservations. We also watched a bit of the game, which was kind of fun because they actually live about a 15-20 minute walk from Mile High Stadium!

Our night ended early though, because we had to be up early for our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stay tuned for that post coming up next.

When traveling or on vacation, do you sleep in or are you up early to start the day?

 

Not A Leaf Meets The Veggie Next Door

 

Hello friends!!

I had mentioned in the previous post how I spent St. Patty’s weekend in Chicago. While Saturday was fun drinking in the city – literally (oy lol), Sunday was fun too! I got to have a mini blogger meet up with Diana from Veggie Next Door!

I remember I had originally started reading her blog when I randomly saw that someone had been writing about Ann Arbor, the art fair here, Seva (my favorite vegetarian restaurant here in town) and Zingermans. It turned out to be Diana and I was instantly excited about her blog because she too is a vegetarian and has some great recipes to share. We already had a lot in common and I didn’t even know her that well at the time! We kept in touch over the past 9 months, commenting on each others blogs, tweeting, sharing restaurant reviews, recipes and emailing one another. Then finally we had an opportunity to hang out this past weekend!

As it turns out, this gorgeous girl lives in the same neighborhood as my sister! Talk about small world. It’s things like this that make me realize that Chicago isn’t so big – it only seems that way. When we found out we would be in the same neck of the woods, we decided to meet up for brunch and hang out for the afternoon. It was so much fun. Plus the weather was so nice that it just made for a really great Sunday.

My sister and I met Diana at Cafe Selmaríe, which is in Lincoln Square. It’s a little French-type bistro and I’ve been wanting to eat there since my sister and brother-in-law bought their house in the area. The problem is on Sundays there’s almost always a wait since a lot of peeps dig the whole brunch scene. Luckily this time, the wait was only about 30 minutes so it worked out great because we were able to be total chatterboxes while waiting to be seated.

Gorgeous Diana!

Cafe Selmaríe had some great options for brunch, a lot of which were vegetarian – a plus! Diana had mentioned they have a really good vegetarian chili, but sadly they weren’t serving it on this particular Sunday. Next time! They had a lot of other yummy things for us to choose, though.

The first thing we needed was something to drink. It was already getting to 80-degree weather that afternoon and three of us were parched. So we started with an Iced green tea.

It was the perfect thing on such a hot day. Oh yeah, did I mention it was March 18th? I don’t think it’s normally that hot in the city in March! As far as good goes, we all got some tasty treats. My sister got their breakfast croissant: scrambled eggs and gruyere on a croissant (she got it without ham), mixed greens salad and diced potatoes – looked so delicious! Diana ordered the wild mushroom omelet with the mixed greens salad – also looked uber delicious. I saw one thing on the menu and knew instantly I had to get it.

No…it wasn’t the corned beef hash (nast).

Egg florentine had my name all over it. I find it weird that I hate getting my eggs over easy or over medium, but poached? Love ‘em. I know it doesn’t make sense, but what did make sense is that this dish was delicious and totally hit the spot.

Diana was also the biggest sweetheart and surprised me with a little gift from her Asian adventures this past fall. She gave this little bag (that had two little bags in it!) and it was made from recycled materials.

I already plan on using them as lens bags for my camera. Thanks Diana! <3

After brunch, we walked to the Chicago Public Library branch in the area, which excited my sister since she needed to renew her card. While she was in line for that, Diana took me up to the cooking/cookbook section (WE ARE NERDS) and showed me all these great cookbooks she’s checked out before. One stood out that I plan on ordering - Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I looked through the book a the library and there were so many yummy looking recipes in there, some of which Diana had made before and recommended. She had a great idea though: let’s try our luck and see if a used book store might have the book. So that was our next stop.

Unfortunately my sister needed to head back to her place, so Diana and I continued our Lincoln Square adventure! I took her to the Ravenswood Used Books store right on N. Lincoln.


I had been there before with my sister and she reminded us about checking it out. And since Diana hadn’t been there before, it was a great idea to check it out that day. It’s a quirky little store. Literally…little!

This place is floor-to-ceiling with books. It’s so tiny and you have to maneuver your way around all the little aisles, but it’s full of so many different kinds of books – some are even super old.

Love love LOVED this sign. There were a lot of them every where in the store!

We scoped out the cookbook section (duh)…after taking a while to find it (we kept passing it lol). We ended up buying one book each. I bought 15-Minute Vegetarian Gourmet by Paulette Mitchell. There area  lot of great recipes in there I can’t wait to try and at $6, you can’t beat it! I didn’t find Vegan Brunch, but Amazon is a beautiful thing ;)

Diana resisting the urge to buy 5+ cookbooks!

Once we had bought our books and had our fill of the bookstore, we walked down to the Delicatessen Meyer/Gene’s Deli on N. Lincoln. It’s a German market, which I thought was just a butcher place since they hang meats and stuff in the front window (No joke. It’s gross!), but I was surprised to see that it was a full market with produce, world items, tea, all kinds of wine and more!

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I'm such a sucker for neon signs!

After that we walked across the street to this cute little toy store, then we walked next door to the Chopping Block. This store is really great but really expensive. The entire store is basically a store for Le Creuset (drool but spendy!) and little kitchen knick knacks. But they’re best known for offering cooking classes and knife/cutting technique classes.

Once we were done buying some kitchen goodies we had to part ways, but I am so so glad I got to finally meet her! It was such a fun day and we realized we have so much in common and our significant others have a ton in common too. I can’t wait to hang out with her again maybe later on this summer when I’m back in the city or if she comes back to A2 :)

I look crazed :P

Do you like exploring your neighborhood for new stores?
What’s the best one you’ve found?