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Archive for the ‘Photo Ops’ Category

When Eric and I heard Happy (which is the new, shortened name of Happy Noodle House) was having a prix fixe dinner and cocktail “social” on New Year’s Eve, it was a foregone conclusion that we’d be celebrating there. And having recently read something about how noodles are an integral part of traditional Japanese New Year celebrations, it seemed appropriate, too.

Oh, who am I kidding? I just wanted an excuse to get dressed up (having read the part of the invitation that said “formal attire” with glee) and really pig out at Happy.

A lot of other people did, too, it seems. That morning, I noted on Twitter that the event was sold out. Oh goody! I love a big crowd!

We arrived for dinner a tad late, but luckily a table was waiting for us at our favorite spot in the bar against the wall. On top of that, we found out that our favorite server, Chris, was assigned to our table! Let the cocktails flow and the fun begin.

We started off with an amuse bouche — mine was a taste of their intoxicatingly good carrot-coconut soup (seriously, I could live on this stuff) — and the Crazy 88, which is a refreshing, cucumber-kissed sparkling wine cocktail. The drinks and amuse went down the hatch so quickly that I missed getting a picture of them.

In our first course, the famed crispy greens from their regular menu made an appearance, this time joined by satisfying hunks of seasoned tofu and surprisingly tasty cauliflower bits. Accompanying was a Kiss the Sky — a zesty gin drink with ginger and lavender liqueur.

First Course, New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

First Course

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

Kiss the Sky

My second course was a crunchy, fried egg roll served with a creamy sauce. Can’t remember what all was inside the egg roll, but I do remember I snarfed it. The drink was the El Presidente (being swilled by me, below), which was described as a rum version of the Manhattan.

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

Second Course - I couldn't hold back, so it's partly eaten here. Sorry.

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

El Presidente (the drink, not me)

The main courses were enormous (way too much considering what we’d already eaten). What I could manage to fit of the broth-y noodle bowl with mushrooms and garlic was soothingly delicious.

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

Main Course

The prix fix dessert was a tapioca and fruit tarte. Chris and I bonded as fellow tapioca haters, while Eric tried to convince us that “if we could just get past the texture….” Uh-huh. Instead I had a special off-menu concoction from the kitchen — consisting of miso, caramel and chocolate — that also got devoured before I could snap a picture.

All this, and THEN the official party cocktails started to arrive: a glass of champagne, a punch, the French Mojito and Death in the Afternoon (an absinthe drink that was a favorite of Hemingway’s and has an interesting back story that I wasn’t capable of absorbing at the time — ask Mark and he’ll tell you).

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

French Mojito

After toasting the new year with neighboring parties, polishing off a few more cocktails and taking a dozen pictures on variations of this theme:

New Year's Eve, Happy, Boulder, CO

we decided it was time to bid the wonderful Bitter Bar and Happy folks good night.

We stumbled over to the cab stand on Pearl Street and realized we wouldn’t get home until about 5am if we waited in the ridiculously long line.

I suggested we see if additional cabs were pulling up at the downtown hotels. We walked to the nearest one (let’s just call it the Mt. Mulien Motel & Mpa), and asked if they could call us a taxi. My inebriated husband may have given the slight impression that we had been guests at the hotel’s restaurant (you know, Mill’s), and before I knew it, we were being whisked home in a toasty warm shuttle van. For free. (Plus a whopping, guilt-assuaging tip.)

If the increasingly blurry photos above didn’t scare you off and you’re interested in attending a bash at Happy, I noticed they have a Valentine’s Day event coming up. My words of advice: 1) Ask for Chris. 2) Pace yourself.

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Fall does not seem especially conducive to a sense of new beginnings (springtime is a much more likely candidate). Nevertheless, every year I feel a kind of awakening with autumn’s arrival.

Maybe because for so long it was a time when you’d have to summon all your energies and head back to school. Or maybe it’s just something about the smell of the air and the super-saturated colors.

This weekend we drove up past the barely-town of Eldora to the Fourth of July Trailhead with plans to hike and take photographs. The weather didn’t get the memo.

Still, it was beautiful if a little drizzly. And golden yellows seemed to be everywhere I turned.

A Little Yellow Canoe

Yellow Canoe

Yellow-shirted Husband

Yellow-Shirted Husband

Yellow-centered daisies

Yellow-Eyed Daisies

That song “Mellow Yellow” kept running through my brain. Perhaps it was nature’s way of telling me to relax, refocus and just…take it all in.

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Every Fourth of July, I get that line from Legally Blonde stuck in my head: “You look like the Fourth of July. Makes me want a hot dog reeeaaal bad.”

I’m a vegetarian, so the Fourth doesn’t actually make me want a hot dog, but I sure could’ve gone for a tofu pup this year.

See, we decided to go to Folsom Field for the fireworks. That’s right, we ventured inside Folsom Field. It’s one of those things I think a lot of locals don’t do. It’s just kind of there every year and it seems like a hassle with all the crowds and limited parking and whatnot.

But then 15 years later, you realize you’ve never gone. The thought of what we might have been missing all these years was eating at me, so a few days ago I declared to my crowd-averse husband we were going!

The only problem was, we went for a bike ride right before the show, so we didn’t really have time for dinner. We decided to get something at the stadium. Big mistake. Unless you like to stand in line for 25 minutes for $4 cardboard pretzel. I inquired about possible veggie dogs, and they all but laughed in my face.

Nevertheless, we managed to grab some grub and then fight our way to a great seat. And you know what? I’m glad we finally went. Folsom Field has beautiful views and a grand old college stadium atmosphere that makes me feel a little nostalgic…even patriotic.

Boulder is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, so the fireworks show started with sparklers forming the words “Boulder 150.” Bursts of gold shot from behind them, and the show was under way! I was still fiddling with the tripod, so I didn’t actually get a shot of  that. But here’s what I did get:

Folsom Field

Oh, say can you see...

Folsom Field 3

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air...

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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For about four years now, I’ve wanted to photograph the hills southeast of Boulder (near the intersection of McCaslin and Hwy. 128). Particularly in springtime, when grass sprouts and covers the rolling landscape in a fine green fuzz.

It takes me back to my time in Scotland, where the hills are like this year round.

But in Boulder, the green is brief. Those poor little grasses get singed in the high-altitude sun and turn brown in no time. This spring, however, it’s been raining like mad, giving me a bigger window of opportunity to get out there and snap some pics. So Saturday morning, I drug myself out of bed at 5:00am to catch sunrise.

Spring Hills, Boulder, CO

I didn’t even realize that you could see so much of the Flatirons from this spot, so that was icing on the cake.

Spring Hills, Boulder, CO

One of the first shots of the morning when the light was paler.

Spring Hills, Boulder, CO

When the green creeps down into the valleys and crevices, that’s when I’m reminded most of Scotland or Ireland.

Spring Hills, Boulder, CO

A wild rose soaking up the sun.

I kinda hope it keeps raining a little every day and keeping things green. It’s a rare treat for Boulder in June.

Hope you enjoyed — especially since I’m using one of these as the banner shot for this brand spankin’ new blog!

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