Monday, June 14, 2010

My Denver vacation: A Culinary Tour.

Sorry this took so long, guys!  I know some of you were waiting with bated breath for me to post all of my Denver trip food photos, so I apologize for the wait.  I guess I'm just a little ashamed that this is not a more exciting post, so I was putting off showing the photos. 

Like I said before, this was not the vacation I expected--we barely ate out at all, especially compared to our past trips.  As a result, I did actually fail to photograph some of my food before it went down my esophagus, and since I didn't figure you'd want to see it after the fact (I'm a classy blogger), those meals are missing altogether. 

If the images are too small, click on them to make them bigger.  If they're still too small, click on them again to make them enormous.   If you still can't see them, then how are you reading this?  You are most likely blind.

So, without further adieu, da-da-da-daaaaa--a culinary tour of my vacation!

Day 1

How lucky were WE that the day we left for Denver also happened to be NATIONAL DONUT DAY???  Dunkin' Donuts celebrated by offering its customers a free donut with the purchase of any beverage--an offer we took full advantage of before leaving town.  It was like kismet! 

A coconut cake donut with a cinnamon iced coffee (extra cream)

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I must admit that I also ate a $.99 sausage egg and cheese wake-up wrap, which was like a little soft breakfast taco.  I forgot to photograph it...not a good start!

The road was long, and the options were slim for lunch.  We decided to stop in Salina, KS and get some food to-go at McDonald's and eat it at a park in town.  It was actually pretty fun--very National Lampoon's Vacation of us.  You could almost hear "Holiday Rooooaaa-ooooaaa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-aod  Holiday Roooooooo-ooooooooaaaa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oad" playing in the background as I ate this artery-clogging meal:

A McDouble, one chicken nugget, a handful of the kid's french fries, and a giant iced tea

After a game of badminton and some playing on the playground equipment, we were off again!  The road was long and boring--nothing much to look at other than a new wind farm out in the middle of nowhere, which was actually pretty cool-looking, I'll admit.

Ten long hours after we set out, we finally reached our destination.  Woot!  To celebrate, we went out to dinner at BJ's, a favorite of the fam.  When we sat down, a waiter brought out this beautiful bowl of chips and spinach artichoke dip, which I dug into without modesty.  

(This probably goes without saying, but those are not my hands in the photo)

It had been 8 hours since our last meal, so I probably looked like a lion devouring a fresh zebra carcass, but I didn't care.   It wasn't until my dinner companions and I were about halfway through the appetizer that we realized (1) nobody had ordered this, and (2) it was probably delivered by mistake.  Oops.  That's what you get, waitstaff, for dropping food in front of starving people at a table of 15!  No apologies, though--that stuff was delicious!

In an effort to eat somewhat healthily, and thinking that I would have plenty of chances to eat crap, I opted for a light dinner of two small plates:

(L) Shrimp skewers on a bed of rice and vegetables (R) Tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic

Followed by a piece of a giant dessert cookie with a scoop of chocolate ice cream:

Day 2

The next morning was a breakfast of fruit from the fridge and a cup of coffee:  I should have known something was awry right there.  Usually, we would go out to eat at some egg restaurant so that we could get the day started right with some fat and cholesterol.  The fruit was definitely a sign of things to come, and impending doom for my food blog.

By the time lunch time rolled around, nobody had said a word about what the plan was, so the hubby and I took the kid for a walk and ended up at Quizno's, for which I had a coupon.  Again very conscious of the fact that you all were going to witness everything I was eating, I went with a salad:

Quizno's chopped Cobb salad with flat bread, ranch dressing on the side, iced tea to drink

That was a good salad, but by the time dinner rolled around, I was freakin' starving!  My brother in-law was gracious enough to make a nice, healthy meal for us all, and I will admit, I did have seconds.

Teriyaki chicken breast with mixed vegetables and brown rice

The remainder of the evening was spent at the Denver Chalk Art Festival, where I was spoon-fed a few bites of blue Italian Ice by an adorable little vagabond. 

Who could say "no" to this face?

We ended the night with a bag of kettle corn, which I forgot to photograph, but enjoyed a great many handfuls of.

Day 3
The next morning was party day.  Woot!  Every year, the family holds a party at their house, where they serve up free food and beer to all who attend.  For this very reason, my day began with coffee and the kid's leftover cereal (again, not pictured).

I drank a hard iced-tea, before I remembered to photograph anything, and then I ate/drank:

Nachos with jalapenos

Australian chocolate wafer cake

The bottom of a chocolate cupcake (the kid ate the top)
A hotdog with mustard and raw veggies dipped in ranch dressing

An Amstel Light beer (but not the whole thing)

Not pictured:  A slice of supreme pizza, a wine-cooler-type thing, and...I'm sure something else...the rest is kind of foggy.  Oops.  Oh yeah, I think I had some Cheetos...

Day 4

The next morning was hiking day, a.k.a., the day the kid almost caught the plague.  I honestly have no idea what I had for breakfast that morning, but I think it was probably just coffee.  If I ate anything, it was the remainder of the kid's cereal, since he rarely ate a whole bowl.  On the way up the mountain, I shared a bag of Sun Chips with the kid and drank a lot of water.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to eat a whole bear, but we settled on the all-you-can-eat salad bar at the Baldpate Inn.  I had a ton of salad, a blueberry scone, some cornbread, some cherry pie, and probably some other stuff.  I have no idea why I didn't take pictures of it, but I wish I had now, because it cost freakin' $15 PER PERSON FOR A SOUP AND SALAD LUNCH BUFFET.  That did not include drinks (or refills on drinks, for that matter) or dessert.  The atmosphere was nice, and they had a great view, but it was definitely not worth the money.  Here is a hummingbird outside the window there, who they fed for free, presumably:

This is some fancy sugar water!

I think we had left overs for dinner that night, but I really can't remember.  It would appear that my brain just completely blanked on the food pictures that day.  Sorry 'bout that!

Day 5

The most delicious day of them all!  Coffee for breakfast, then off to tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory in Boulder!!!  WOOHOO!!!  I may have mentioned it before--I am a tea fanatic.  This was basically something that the rest of the family humored me by doing, and I dragged them along without guilt or shame. I was gettin' my tea on!  Woot!

On the way, we stopped for lunch at The Egg and I, and I ordered up the special.

 That is a BLT with two crab cakes on it, served with cottage cheese.  And it was GOOD.

After that, on to the factory!  While I did not have any food at Celestial Seasonings, I had plenty of free tea.  

 I also got a free hairnet, just for going on the tour!  Score!

We arrived home that evening to a wonderful aroma.  The Australian family who was staying with us cooked a delicious delight of a dinner.  It included:

Squash soup

Bruschetta with pesto, tomato, and feta cheese

Meat pie

Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and cream

The evening concluded with a brisk 2-mile walk, which allowed me to go to bed without feeling the after-effects of such vigorous overeating.

Day 6

Looks like we made it:  our last full day in Denver began with waffles, lovingly prepared by my dear father in-law.

Fluffy and tasty!  

Lunch was at a Polish restaurant not far from their home.  I know what you're thinking:  Polish food?  I, for one, had never had Polish food before, but I will certainly be on the lookout for it in the future, because this stuff was DELICIOUS!

Salad to start

Some sort of farmer's cheese soup that tasted a bit like saurkraut

Potato pancakes with sour cream

Not pictured:  strawberry perogies with a sweet sour cream.  Sorry--I couldn't be bothered to pull out my camera with such deliciousness in front of me.

Since it was our last day and all, I thought we should round it out with another restaurant meal for dinner.  We chose Qdoba, which was nearby, and walked to Coldstone Creamery for dessert.

Naked burrito with rice, pork, sour cream, cheese, and corn salsa

Coffee flavored ice cream with heath bar bits

And that, as they say, is that.  On the morning of Day 7, we got up early and left for home by 8 am, which led to more eating on the road, which I did not document, but included mostly junk food.  Had I known what a long and arduous process this post was going to be, I probably never would have promised it to begin with, but I guess that's what I get for drinking and blogging

From now on, I will try my best to keep your expectations low, and if any of you made it all the way to the end of this post, I commend you.  It took me THREE HOURS to put this together.  Who'd have thought that food pictures could be so boring?  Oh well.  Lesson learned! 
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