Women, Wilderness & Wildflowers!

Photo blitz from Crested Butte, CO girls weekend!

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First Hike Beckwith Pass This trail is fairly steep at times.

The views of East Beckwith Mountain are amazing.

It’s a good hike! 5 miles 2 hrs 15 min 1400 feet

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Shew after that 800 calorie burn it was time for some fuel! Summer Blonde and some buffalo chicken fingers at the Brick Oven and  a stroll thru town!

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Dinner time!

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Saturday we hiked from Gothic, CO to the trail of Judd Falls 2 total miles

Elevation Gain: Minimal Trail Type:

Out-and-back Skill Level: Easy

Top Elevation: 9,860 feet

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The others of our group rode the 401!

Riding the 401! “At the top of Schofield Pass, the famed singletrack of the 401 Trail veers right starting with a tough and consistent climb for 1.3 miles through dense trees. Near the top, the grades gets easier, the trees open up, and the views behind you are stellar. The climb isn’t really all that hard – nothing technically – but your lungs will keep reminding you are at 11,000 feet above sea level. Then the payoff begins. The unsurpassed 360 degree alpine views of the Elk mountains, followed by the first of the steady downhill. After descending a few hundred feet, the trail flows fast and gently downhill with stunning views in front of you and flowers all around in mid-summer. For much of the top part of the descent you’re hugging the hillside, with a steep drop to the right, which can mess with your equilibrium. There are a few very skinny sections that are easy but have very bad fall potential. Take your time and savor it! You’ll intersect with the Bellview hiking trail and take a right. This section has several switchbacks and has begun to get a little rutted out, but it’s generally fast and flowy with great traction all the way. When conditions are good, the middle section of the 401 descent is about as fun as mountain biking gets. Once down to Rustler’s Gulch, take a breather because the climbing begins again. This point also provides an exit back to Gothic road if the weather turns for the worse. Otherwise continue your tour through the Ruster’s Gulch camping area, and follow the 401 trail into the meadow above the campsites. The trail climbs for about a mile and is technically a bit harder than earlier sections, though still fine for fit intermediate riders. You’ll pass through a drainage with lots of rockfall, and most people walk their bikes a few feet to get through it. One final descent takes you to a small trailhead on the outskirts of Gothic”

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This is crazy biker chic! Finishing the 401!

 

A bus ride to town with a red solo cup!

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A decorative bike is a must in CB!

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Sunday we hiked Rustlers Gulch 8 total miles

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Trail Type: Out-and-back

Skill Level: Easy to moderate due to length

Top Elevation: 11,400 feet

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These beetles are killing the pine trees in CO.

 

Before we left the fun little mountain town it was time for one last meal!

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Time for a little T-Shirt shopping!

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So long Crested Butte! We had a fabulous time!

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No Big Hair in the Big Easy!

NOLA 7I fully expected to endure humidity in NOLA however, I didn’t expect my root lifter and mega freeze hair spray not to work. Yep I looked like a wet dog the entire time.
Enough of that rambling here is a little recap of my experience and thoughts about traveling to New Orleans for the very first time.

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My taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was very quiet. The driver said not one word to me, really an introverted taxi driver. Upon arriving at the Sheraton on Canal street I quickly changed into my workout clothes and got a 30 min cardio session. Yep this was the one and only workout I had while in NOLA attending the AHP conference. After my workout I showered and headed to the conference reception. During the reception it was raining cats and dogs in the city adding to my suffocation from humidity.
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Our consultant was kind enough to invite me to dinner.

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The Orleans Grapevine Bar and Bistro was the choice for dinner. They picked this particular restaurant so we could enjoy the outdoor courtyard. Unfortunately it was raining off and on so we sat in doors.

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The waitress was very knowledgeable and super friendly. The menu had many options which made for a hard decision. I finally decided on the soup of the day – Chicken, artichoke and sun-dried tomato and crab cakes. Both were fabulous!

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I opted to have a nice snifter of Grand Mariner for dessert and others at the table shared a beautiful brownie, ice cream and strawberry dessert.

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The chef came out and jumped on the piano with a little great balls of fire. What a fun, fabulous place. It’s a definite NOLA keeper!

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This is a picture of wet Bourbon street and a plate of Oyster poor boys from the conference lunch. I did not try them. Yep I am not into eating oysters let alone fried ones.

After a long day of classes AHP arranged for everyone to meet up at the famous Carousal Piano bar and lounge. The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone is a long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot.  The classic New Orleans hotel bar is the city’s only revolving bar.  For decades, it has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright circus-clad Merry-Go-Round.  The Carousel Bar overlooks famed Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter.  Guests can enjoy the view through large fan windows.  This New Orleans hotel bar has long been a favorite of both locals and tourists.

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I landed on a French 007. Vodka, pomegranate and champagne.

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My new found friends and I had one drink and decided to slop thru the rain and find some dinner.

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We walked across the street to Mr. Bs.

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“Mr. B’s Bistro, a New Orleans restaurant famous for its Creole cuisine with a focus on fresh regional products, is located in the heart of the French Quarter at the intersection of Royal Street and Iberville. This corner is a New Orleans landmark and celebrated food corner. Considered the original New Orleans gourmet bistro, Mr. B’s Bistro is owned and managed by Cindy Brennan, a member of the legendary New Orleans’ Brennan Family.”

 One of my colleagues recommended the restaurant and the BBQ shrimp which I ordered. In my mind I visioned shrimp grilled on the barbecue grill and topped with BBQ sauce. This is not the same thing in NOLA.  

Here is the menu description
MR. B’S BARBEQUED SHRIMP – A Mr. B’s signature dish! Gulf shrimp barbeque New Orleans style, served in their shells with peppery butter sauce and French bread for dipping $27
The menu states served in their shells and what they REALLY  mean is shrimp from head to tail!

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After dinner I had to try a piece if Pecan pie. I didn’t care for the crust but the filling was grand!

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Mr. B’s was ok. My thoughts for the price it was mediocre.

The next experience in NOLA would be dinner with some PA girls and a walking Ghosts & Spirits tour. When Amanda told me about the tour I thought drinks and ghosts this would be fun. On my way to the lobby of the hotel I read the brochure.

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“A Nighttime Walking Tour of the French Quarter

New Orleans has been referred to as “The most haunted city in America.” After this tour, we’ll let you be the judge!

With its colorful history and unique traditions, it is no wonder so many New Orleans homes and taverns have been investigated by paranormal investigators.

You’ll visit several haunted sites and hear about the stories featured on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel.

Hear ghostly stories about our haunted hotels and the courthouse where our state supreme court is based. We even visit a former slave exchange. Each guide has researched these “other spirits” of the Vieux Carre, so no two tours are exactly alike.
Will you see any of the ghosts that inhabit the famous Bourbon Orleans Hotel, formerly a theater, Quadroon Ballroom, orphanage and convent? Staff and guests report regular ghost sightings- maybe you will too.
Take an exciting look at the relics of voodoo ceremonies, a vampire slaying kit, and age old tools of the trade used by mystical and mysterious inhabitants of our city.
Bring your camera. You never know who will want to pose for a picture!”

Ok now I am a little spooked by the “Ghost tour”. I meet up with the girls in the lobby and we start walking to the Jackson Brewery where the tour begins.

On our walk we saw a fun wedding parading down the street singing. NOLA would be a fun place to have a wedding. It kind of reminded me of a gypsy wedding.

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We found the Jackson Brewery Bistro to eat dinner prior to our tour.

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“Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar is in the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans, known as the Vieux Carre or French Quarter. Bordered by the majestic Mississippi River and historic Decatur Street, the interior reflects the beautiful New Orleans architecture complete with ironwork balconies (mezzanines) and Victorian Industrial style furnishings.

Once one of the largest breweries in the country, the brewery is no longer active, but Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar offers a great assortment of local craft beers. Our beer sampler is a favorite!

Live entertainment and in house music reflects the beloved New Orleans and Louisiana culture during the restaurant hours and helps preserve our traditions.”

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We were early enough to get Happy Hour drinks I decided to try a mojito in NOLA. The only other mojito I’ve ever had,  was at a sushi restaurant and it was a totally different kind so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was very refreshing!

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and some water too!

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Now what to order for my meal????

Since I am in NOLA I had to try the Jambalaya…I have to say it was DELICIOUS! When I was in college I worked at a restaurant that offered Jambalaya and it did not taste near as good as this.

So if you find yourself at Jax’s brewery try the Jambalaya!

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The girls and I head to find tour start and needed to purchase a beautiful rain poncho before we start walking and listening to Ghosts stories.

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The first stop of the tour is at O’Claritys Irish Pub. Whoops my bad that is what I thought the tour guide said the name of the place was but it’s really O’Flaherty’s Irish pub! We stopped for a mojito and a fun ghost story.

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Next stop was the Omni Hotel for a very intense story. I guess this hotel was once a military hospital and ghosts have been known to resurface in the hotel. The next intense story was about a couple that moved to NOLA and decided to stay during Katrina. Check out the Addie Hall and Zach Bowen story. Evidently he jumped from the roof of the Omni on to a parking garage to kill himself and his spirit tends to show up now and again.

We then headed to Little Vic’s. What I loved most about this venue is the wonderful court yard, the fun statue and hilarious bathroom sign.

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Then our tour guide took us down a dark freaky ally to find the St. Anthony Garden the statue is also known as the “Touch Down Jesus”

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And the last ghost story takes place at the Orleans Ball Room! We did not get to see the ballroom as the ghosts were setting up for a wedding the next day.

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This tour had some fun history, thank goodness it wasn’t freaky scary like I thought it was going to be.

 I promise to be back before the end of the week with more from NOLA!

Mile High Adventures!

 Mile High adventure!

 Mile High drive

Once we traveled over the continental divide and arrived in SW Denver we headed to “The Platte River Bar & Grill” for lunch and a GIANT marg. (Yes one is all you need)

Amazing Food, Great People, Good Times

“The Platte” has been a serving the Denver area for over twenty years. Located along the Platte River in Littleton Colorado, we have been a favorite stop for bikers and cyclists looking to refuel. We offer plenty of outside seating ( and heated inside seating during the winter months) making us a perfect place for those who enjoy the sunshine as much as good company. We are a family owned and operated so it’s not that same old corporate stuffy feeling. No matter what the occasion, we can accommodate any size party or occasion with over 300 outdoor seats as well as 170 indoor seats to suit your need (a great place for a birthday or business get together)! With a wide variety of food specialties and drink concoctions, you will always find something unique and different @ the Platte River Bar and Grill!

“The Platte” is a Denver staple for our family. The menu offers a variety of items and all taste like home-made! Check out their website – www.theplatte.com

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Wine to go? Yep in Colorado if you don't finish the bottle get a to bag!

Wine to go? Yep in Colorado if you don’t finish the bottle get a to-go bag!

Our family was going to take us to breakfast at South Glenn to a place named Snooze but they had an hour and half wait. We decided to find a different restaurant. We ended up dining at a place called Ivy at the Glenn. They had an amazing brunch. Bottomless Bloody Mary’s and Bottomless Mimosa’s. I have zero photos from this great place because my phone was dead. I enjoyed the Creme Brulee Oatmeal…

“Ivy at the Glenn—Streets of SouthGlenn—At The Fountain

Seasonal. Contemporary. Neighborhood. Food. Here at the Ivy, we strive to offer the freshest possible ingredients for our cuisine according to what each season has to offer.  This provides you with a dynamic menu that evolves along with the balance of nature. Ivy at the Glenn is conveniently located in the beautiful Streets at Southglenn, just south of Whole Foods, at the fountain square at Gaylord and Commons Streets. We are open Monday – Friday from 11 am – Close (when our last customer departs) and Saturday & Sunday from 9:00 am – Close. Join us for our weekend brunch, served Saturday & Sunday from 9:00 am to 2 pm.  “
 
 
 
Our last day with family was a day of Bronco football! The Chef made a fabulous fest for us!
 
Mile High time to ride
 
Game Day Menu included:
New England Style Clam Chowder, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Seared Ahi Tuna Salad, Mussels Marinara w/ Ciabatta Crostini, Alaskan King Crab, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Bloody Mary’s!
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Mile High Chowder
 

Here are a few Colorado Travel tips for those of you interested in visiting Colorado!

Mile High on the road home

1.  Stay hydrated so you don’t get altitude sickness

 2.  Speaking of altitude one drink and you will have a buzz so yes you will be a cheap drunk.

 3.  Don’t buy beer in a grocery store or convenience store it’s 3.2 vs 6.0 so be sure to buy it in a liquor store.

 4.  Liquor stores close at midnight.

 5. Bars stop serving at 2:00 am

 6.  If you drive out of the city on I-70 and the weather isn’t bad and you can’t go the speed limit or 5-10 faster stay in the right hand lane.  

 7.  At 53 square miles, Denver International Airport is twice the size of Manhattan.

 8. The 16th street mall has shuttles. But you can pretty much walk almost everywhere downtown.

 9.  You can buy weed in Colorado but I saw only one pot shop between South Denver and North Denver. Don’t believe everything you hear on the news Colorado is NOT up in smoke!

10. Enjoy the Mile High City!

GO BRONCOS!

Part 2 of the Bay Series!

Nike

Ferry trip!

Ferry trip!

After the ferry ride from Sausalito back to Pier 1 it was time once again walk the streets of San Francisco back to the Nike store.  On our way we found a few little artists booths. Some of the girls stopped and made a few purchases of interesting photographs of the bay area. We then scurried down to the Nike store.

Fractal Art

Fractal Art

Oh my! How many people can you really fit into one Nike store? One of the girls wanted to exchange a shirt she had purchased and I was looking for an additional one.

Guess what! Amy wanted to exchange her black medium for a black small and there wasn’t a single black shirt left in the store let alone a small and this is a 7 floor Nike store. I searched and searched the racks for the shirt I wanted and found a size medium on the mannequin.  Just as we were going to undress the mannequin, a lady said they had a medium on a different rack. Yep it was the very last one! Lesson here is if you would like to purchase Nike souvenirs get to the store a couple of days before the race not the day before.

Banner on top of the Nike store.

Banner on top of the Nike store.

Back out into the streets of Union Square to find our way back to the hotel. We decided on a different route this time, wandering through China town. I am only 5’4 but feel very tall next to most of the women in China town. We passed a sushi restaurant that looked very interesting. It was a boat floating thru water with a sushi buffet. I believe the name of the restaurant was the Sushi Boat.

Lantern in China town.

Lantern in China town.

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I am not sure if getting back to our room was a good idea. We all were tired and ready to eat and wanted to be to bed early since we had to be at the start by 5:30 AM. We all managed to get a little cleaned up and found an Italian Restaurant close to our hotel.

"Mangia" = Let's Eat!

“Mangia” = Let’s Eat!

When we arrived the host said our wait would only be about 15 minutes. I think he forgot they had a bunch of reservations to come in to be seated too. We sat and sat and sat. If he would have told us when we arrived the wait was an hour we could have made a decision to stay or find another restaurant.

Lesson here is be sure to make a reservation in San Francisco. We finally got a table and it was Mangia time!

I ordered the Pappardelle Bolognese Homemade wide Fettuccine pasta in an Italian tomato beef ragout. The meat sauce was ok but the home-made noodles were to die for. By the time we got our food it was about 8:00 Pacific Time 9:00 home/Mountain Time and I really didn’t feel like eating.

I ate what I could and then ordered the Profiterole – Homemade cream puffs filled with vanilla gelato. 

Home made pasta is the best!

Home made pasta is the best!

Delicious dessert!

Delicious dessert!

After dinner we walked back to the hotel to prepare for race day!

Time till race while waiting for a table.

Time till race while waiting for a table.

Bib, wrist band, shirt, shoes. "Let's do this!"

Stay tuned for “Race Day Re-Cap”!

The city by the bay ~ San Francisco!

Girls trip to have fun in the city and run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon perfect fit for my blog. Food, Drink and Fitness!

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Here we are boarding a jet plane to the West coast!

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We were luck to have our own personal travel agent with us. Tina she had us make a reservation on the Super Shuttle when we arrived in SFO to save time and money. I highly recommend this for traveling when arriving to a large city that you have never been to before. When we arrived at our hotel we were all tired and ready for sleep.

Good Friday Morning San Fran! This is the view from our hotel. Beautiful!

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The concierge helped our personal travel director giving her directions to the Nike Expo and a popular breakfast restaurant.  We walked to Lefty O’Doul’s and Irish pub. It offered a variety of things. I would say it’s an average place to eat breakfast. Very convenient  for us because it was right across the street from packet pick up.

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Packet pick up was very well-organized you checked in via computer and verified all your information. The person at the registration gave you your bib and a wrist band with your corral number. Then you move to the next line where you pick up your swag bag. Now on to the expo. Once inside the tent there is a huge marquis with names of girls checking in giving some motivation. We venture around the corner and it’s picture time!

Melissa is really running the Half not the Full!

Melissa is really running the Half not the Full!

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Other things offered at the expo were Nike shoe strings, Verizon had a sign up for guessing your mile time from mile 9-10. Whole foods gave away a protein taster and chocolate macaroons. The NUN booth had tasters of their different drinks that were going to be offered on the race course. There were other booths but we didn’t’ feel the need to wait in the huge line.

Off to the Nike store we go. On the windows of the store all of the participates names are listed.  Now it’s time to decide what to purchase for souvenirs.  Many many items to choose from. Lucky we arrived on Friday because there were still smaller sizes available. I was going to buy a pair of the Nike socks made just for this race but when I tried them on they were HUGE on my small feet. So I decided on buying a nice warm up pull over.

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Whole foods offered a free shuttle to the store for a swag bag. So we hopped the shuttle and made a few food and drink purchases. Then it was time to find Nordstrom’s. The girls wanted to do some shoe shopping. This is the place to find shoes for sure.

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Yep these boots are calling my name. I just might have to order them!

Yep these boots are calling my name. I just might have to order them!

After shopping it was time for showers and get dolled up for the theater. Unfortunately in San Fran it’s almost impossible to find a taxi especially for a party of 5.  Lucky for us Roger a limo driver was on break and took us to the sushi restaurant for a donation.

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Our walk to the Orpheum Theater from the restaurant was cold and much father then the 5 blocks that we were told. Pretty scary too! We saw the Wizard of Oz a very good production. The theater was beautiful. It was freezing cold when we left the theater and once again we were challenged to find a cab. We split up in 2 different cabs for the ride home.

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We are all early birds thank goodness because a night owl would not have liked sharing a room with us. Up early and out the door down to the Pier. The farmers market was amazing. Tons and tons of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats a chef’s dream come true.

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We found a cute little place to have breakfast. The porridge made out of Farro was delicious and a must have. I need to learn how to make this. AMAZING! I also found the best donut EVER a sweet bread filled with Nutella YUMMO!

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Now it was time to work off some of the food we have been eating. We rented bikes for the day and headed from Pier 1 to Sausalito  over the Golden Gate bridge approximately 10 miles.  Not including the detour we took to visit Lombard street.

Walking up Hyde street to see the famous Lombard street.

Walking up Hyde street to see the famous Lombard street.

Lombard

Lombard

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We made it!

We made it!

Time for lunch!

Time for lunch!

What a fantastic day! Stopping in Sausalito for lunch and a bit of shopping then found the ferry for a ride back Pier 1.

Stay tuned for part 2!

If you love microbrews and relaxation Edgewater Tap & Grill is the place for you.

I thought of this quote from “thedeliciousday.com” as I entered the brewery.

“More beer brewed daily (80 varieties) than in any other city in the US + extra thin air to get you drunker – faster” (Denver, CO)

menu

Edgewater Tap and Grill is located at the end of 9th Street. Their motto is “With deep roots in the Grand Junction community and our hearts in Colorado beer, we’ve come to South Downtown to thrive at the edge of the river. The Grand Valley is our playground and Edgewater is your Pub.

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If you are familiar with Kannah Creek Brewing Company then you will know the micro brews here. The reason to build Edgewater is to brew,bottle and distribute the microbrews while adding a small comfortable environment for a bite to eat and cold brew.

Beer

Hand Crafted Beers on Tap

Island Mesa Blonde – Light Golden in color with a light hoppy flavor and dry finish.

Highside Hefeweizen – A traditional German style unfiltered wheat beer with unique clove and citrus flavors.

Lands End Amber – Silver Medal 2012 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal 2010 World Beer Cup Specialty malts enhance this light-bodied German-style Altbier. Deep copper color, medium hop and crisp finish.

Standing Wave Pale Ale – Rich amber color and complex malty flavor make this award winner memorable. Brewed in traditional English style, its crisp hop balance.

Broken Oar India Pale Ale – Modeled after the traditional British IPA. Light mahogany in color with a subtle malt flavor and strong hop finish.

Pigasus Porter – Dark brown in color with a subtle chocolate flavor and a roasty finish. Add a shot of 3 olives espresso vodka or vanilla vodka for a stronger beer.

Black’s Bridge Stout – This hearty beer has coffee and chocolate flavors followed by a roasty finish.

Seasonal Beer – Ask the server

Ace Hard Cider – This is a light bodied cider, moderately sweet and crisp with a taste of apple cider.

Friends

Edgewater officially opens on Thursday May 9, 2013 11:00 AM. The patio will be a great gathering place when the weather is nice. We were fortunate to attend the pre-opening practice night for the staff.

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Now on to the menu:

There are a handful of appetizers offered. The Edgewater staff votes that the fried green beans are the best pick from the app menu. I think the buffalo drummies and the fried cheese curds sound interesting. We did not try any of the appetizers.

The main menu consists of Salads, Burgers, Bratwurst, and Big City Red Hot Dogs finishing with a create your own called “Take it to the Edge”

We shared the “The Rado” burger, BBQ Bacon Burger and Philly Bratz” My personal favorite was the Rado Burger – Bacon, Avocado, tomato, green chilies, chipotle ranch and provolone cheese. Each entrée comes with a side. The side choices are hand cut French fries, tempura beer battered onion rings, BBQ baked beans, Apple curry slaw.

The hand cut fries are small and seasoned nicely, the onion rings are HUGE and the baked beans are bland. The ketchup is chipotle seasoned very delicious and the bbq sauce has a bit of stout in it very good as well.

The atmosphere is very relaxed you won’t find your favorite game on TV in this pub. It’s a place where friends can come together and enjoy a cold beer and great meal.

I loved the added touch in the rest room. Fresh flowers and hand lotion!

Flowers

Lotion

So head on down to  Edgewater Tap & Grill ask for my friend Suzanne and she will take excellent care of you!

Mango Cafe’ Isla Mujeres, Mexico

A MUST visit while you are in Isla Mujeres.

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Mango Cafe’ located Payo Obispo #725. Colonia Meteorológico across from the Guadalupe Church, 77400 Isla Mujeres.

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The restaurant is a small little place only about 8 tables. They did have enough room to accommodate our table of 6. The servers are very friendly and are very appreciative of their guests.

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The menu is fabulous and it was a very hard decision to be made.

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I had the Nuestro Mudialmente Famoso Pan Frances Al Coco $85 pesos. It’s the French toast with almonds and coconut. DELICIOUS!

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The Chef and my Mini me shared the Chile Poblano Relleno $95 pesos.

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This is a stuffed poblano pepper with eggs, cheese bacon and everything but the kitchen sink. It’s double dipped and fried. Truly an amazing meal. So good that our family members went back for a third time for breakfast.

The restrooms are by far the cleanest in Isla.

Polo Mango

Polo takes pride in his restrooms and his restaurant. A very friendly guy and his English is very good. I asked him where he learned English. He lived in the US for seven years before moving to Isla to open the Mango Café.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mango-Caf%C3%A9-Isla/268557289860115

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150810-d1237536-Reviews-Mango_Cafe-Isla_Mujeres_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

http://mangocafeislamujeres.com/

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