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Posts Tagged ‘CO’

I figure I’ve hiked Boulder’s Mt. Sanitas trail somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 times during the 19 years I’ve lived in the Boulder area. I know there are many people who have hiked it a whole lot more than I have, whose counts are in the thousands and who regularly scale mountains 10 times as high — but I have to marvel a little bit about why I’ve kept going back over the years.

Each time it is a thigh-trembling, heart-hammering, oxygen-gulping experience. Often there is cursing.

Truth be told, the last three years have seen only two or three of those treks (something about having a kid, starting your own business, getting old…blah blah blah). So when I headed up two weeks ago — on one of those shining, 50-degree days we’ve been having this winter — it was like reuniting with an old friend.

Mountain Sanitas, Boulder, CO

Self portrait on Mt. Sanitas. Tired but happy.

I was reminded of everything I love and hate about the trail at once. I always choose the Western route up — it’s steeper, but shorter. Before long, I start to sound like a asthmatic bulldog. But just when I’m barely managing to place one pathetic, plodding step after the other, I’ll spot a welcoming little turnout, with that heartening view of Boulder sprawling out below. Or sometimes a flatter, more forgiving part of the path emerges. I catch my breath and start anew, thinking, “I might actually make it to the top today!” Only to be passed by an 80-year-old jogging up the damn thing. And the whole cycle starts again.

Mt. Sanitas, hikers, Boulder, CO

Fellow hikers often include small children, dogs and elderly folks — all of whom are usually bounding past me.

Until I get to the top. And then it’s just pure endorphins. I actually have to restrain myself from hugging all those other sweaty, smiling people perched on the rocky outcroppings, sucking down water and drinking in the views.

On the way down, my legs always feel like jello for the first five minutes, and I think, am I going to be the first person in Boulder history to have to be air-lifted off Mt. Sanitas? But then, miraculously, my legs get used to the pounding, downhill motion, and by the time I reach my car, I’m positively giddy and pretty sure I could do it all over again, right then and there.

Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO

So on this hike two weeks ago, I promised myself I’d make time to come back more often. In fact, I headed back yesterday, just before the snow storm moved in. It was much colder — and tougher — than the previous time. But in the end, I found myself sending up a little thank you to the clouds for holding off just long enough for me to make it to the top and back, one more time.

Bird on Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, CO

This robin seemed to be assessing the air as a winter storm moved in.

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So, yeah. It’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve still been out enjoying Boulder as much as ever, but a busy work schedule has kept me from telling you all about it for the past few months.

I’m also eight months pregnant, and late nights in front of the laptop just don’t happen much anymore.

I’m hoping that my approaching new-parent status will inspire me to write more about my adventures in Boulder from new perspectives. In fact, I thought I’d start right now.

During this long, hot summer, during which I’ve swelled to the size of a hippopotamus, I have discovered new, pregnant-friendly places in Boulder (I now know all the best restrooms on Pearl Street, for instance).

I wanted to tell you about one special place, in particular, that tops my list: A Mellow Mood spa. Billing itself as a “family spa,” A Mellow Mood specializes in prenatal and postnatal spa treatments by miracle worker Heather Lynn. She’s one of those people who you’re around for one minute before you’re smiling and realizing her infectiousness has transformed your mood. Not only is she just a sweet gal, but her knowledge of the pregnant body and how to position it just right for a joint-relieving, muscle-reviving massage (LOTS of squishy pillows are involved) is also unmatched. She’ll even give baby an in-utero massage, if you choose.

What makes A Mellow Mood a “family” spa? On-the-spot childcare is available for parents who need some pampering but can’t find a babysitter. There are plenty of other special touches, too, including freshly baked cookies to top off your already delicious spa treatment.

A Mellow MoodIn these last days of my pregnancy, I’m hoping to make it back to Heather Lynn for a final pampering session before, well, everything changes. I’m also hoping to make a few more blog posts, but if the little one has other plans, then I’ll see you sometime…on the other side.

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More friends are undertaking an exciting new business venture (suck it, recession). The lovely Suzanne Moore and her husband Ian, with business partner Matt Notter, have opened a new sports bar in Boulder at 28th Street and Bluff (just south of Valmont).

Over the years, I’ve witnessed Suzanne’s hubby Ian hone his finely tuned bartending skills at the neighborhood joint Outback Saloon, just down the street. (Suzanne and I honed our finely tuned drink-sipping skills here, too, and at places all over Boulder, oftentimes after long days working at Blue Mountain Arts, where we met.) Now Ian’s come into his own as barman extraordinaire with the opening of his 28th Street Tavern.

Ian Moore and Matt, 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Congrats, Matt and Ian.

Eric and I attended the grand opening and were blown away by the beautifully renovated space, which includes a nice loooong bar, a small stage for live music, a juke box, a billards room, dart boards and a back patio.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Photo by Eric Gray.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

How cool is this room? This where we hung out the most. Photo by Eric Gray.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Photo by Eric Gray.

The tavern is painted in warm reds and has spiffy new wood floors. We spent most of SuperBowl Sunday afternoon there, along with a huge grand opening crowd, watching the game on the big-screen TVs and sipping Ian’s yummy cocktails. I was drinking cranberry vodkas, but I hear the bloody Marys are to die for.

The Grand Opening of the 28th Street Tavern in Boulder Colorado

Well hello, lovely ladies. That's Suzanne on the right. She doesn't look a bit like she's been working 20-hour days helping to get this bar open.

28th Street Tavern has great happy hour deals on weekdays 4-7pm (oh how I LOVE a happy hour that goes until 7pm!) and all day Sunday. So now you’ve got an irrefutable reason to go check it out.

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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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After burning a bunch of calories in my ballet class yesterday, I decided to replace every last one of them (and then some) by stopping in Tee & Cakes for a little treat. It was my first time in, driven by one of their frequent Twitter promotions.

I chose this little lopsided, orphaned red velvet cupcake and promptly gave it a warm home. In my belly.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

The cake was moist, yet the tiniest bit crispy on top (which seems to be a yummy common characteristic of all red velvet cupcakes), and the frosting was a heavenly balance of buttery and sweet — not cloying like the frosting you buy at the supermarket.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

I washed it down with a delicious, piping-hot cup of local, organic apple cider.

Tee & Cakes, bakery and tee shirts, Boulder, CO

The small shop was hoppin’ with folks loading up on a dozen cupcakes at a time and cooing over the rack of clever t-shirts (hence the name Tee & Cakes). Apparently, they are so busy on Saturdays that they have a one-dozen limit per customer.

Sufficiently amped up on sugar and warmed by the cider, I headed out for a stroll on Pearl Street and stopped to join a crowd listening to an elementary school chime choir playing Christmas carols. Adorable.

Eagle Elementary Chime Choir, Boulder, CO

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I wandered into Peppercorn the other day. Pretty much, I’d just like to move into that store and live there. Since they gave me funny looks when I suggested as much, Plan B is to put everything in the store on my wish list. Starting with these fab items:

Peppercorn ramekins, Boulder, CO

Peppercorn pottery, Boulder, CO

Glasses at Pepepercorn, Boulder, CO

Glasses at Peppercorn, Boulder, CO

Glass at Peppercorn, Boulder, CO

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Love Boulder has not gotten a lot of love in the last two weeks. In fact, it’s been dealt a few blows: I’ve been wrapped up with more work to do than hours in the day. A trip to Mexico for a photo shoot took me away for a few days (great for Gwen, bad for blog). And the most devastating of all: several batches of photos were irretrievably lost.

I had planned to share with you images of the first weekend at the Hill Flea (special apologies to Kate at KStarr Homemade Goods, who was so kind in letting me take her picture!), a wildflower hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, a new shop on Pearl St. and a few other tidbits captured on camera, but the universe had other plans and the images are gone forever. 😦

But today the universe made up for it a little bit. It gave me the gift of…PIRATES!

Pirates, Boulder style (in flip flops)

Pirates, Boulder style (in flip flops)

Pirates1

Really, how often does one run into a gang of pirates in Boulder? Mid-afternoon no less. Big Red F restaurants (Jax, Centro, Zolo, etc.) was having a pirate party today, and as they loaded into Bongo Billy’s bus they let me snap a few shots of them.

So I share with you the pirates as a peace offering (a weird one, I admit). And I’m hopeful I’ll have more goodies to come in following days. My favorite season is just around the corner, so there will be plenty to love to go around! I’m sure of it!

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