Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Colorado Part 2

Miss Part 1?  It’s here.

Friday morning started off nice and late again because I like to sleep in.  It’s vacation and I deserve it.  Danielle and I went out for breakfast which included splitting a cinnamon roll.  A tradition that goes back to our Wartburg days.  Waverly has a great little hole in the wall restaurant called Dell’s Diner and they make delicious breakfast dishes including gooey, sticky, yummy cinnamon roll.  MMmmmmm!

I can’t even remember the name of the restaurant where we ate breakfast but it was delicious.  Afterward we headed over to a old-fashioned Denver candy factory—the Hammonds Candy  Factory.  Since it was already after Christmas, production in the factory was pretty limited, but we did see some candy-canes getting rolled out.  Hammonds makes all their candy by hand and the process is quite intricate.  They claim that handmade candy tastes better and I can say that their candy canes are pretty darn good.  So much more airy than the regular ole peppermint candy canes.

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Check out the sweet hats we got with our tour.

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Candy canes galore.  In so many flavors.

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Check out this snow globe we saw there.

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Notice anything funny about that scene?

I didn’t know Santa was present for the birth of baby Jesus.  I thought those were two separate stories?

My purchase from the candy factory included peppermint candy cane for my dad, a chocolate filled cherry candy cane for my family, and a butterscotch candy cane consumed by me.  We also got some free taffy, but neither Danielle nor I enjoyed it. 

After our stint at the candy shoppe, Danielle and I stopped for some coffee then headed further into Denver for a little shopping at Target.  Some interesting things happened there, let me tell ya.  While Danielle, Danielle’s friend Kelly and I were browsing for birthday cards in the card section we witnessed this random guy attempting to conceal himself behind the card aisle while watching another shopper.  This shopper was a younger guy shopping with his alleged girlfriend.  The spying guy was talking on a radio to another spy.  This went on for at least 10 minutes while the girlfriend was browsing for curling irons or hair dryers or something like that.  Then the guy shopper started noticing spy guy watching him.  After that the couple started high-tailing to the check out and the two spy guys joined together in the girl’s clothing section.  It was so strange.  And we have no idea what was going on.  Bounty hunters? Suspected shoplifting?  Who knows.

Following Tar-jay we headed over to Casa Bonita where we were debating eating lunch/dinner. First we took some lovely pictures outside.

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And then some family portraits in front of the Christmas tree.

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Casa Bonita is known for the shows that go on inside after you sit down with your food, but apparently not for their food.  We walked all the way to the ordering counter and decided to turn around and get food somewhere else.  The food was kind of pricey for crappy food and my stomach was feeling a bit off (probably from all the eating out we had been doing).  So we ended up leaving in favor of better food.  We ended up eating at Garbanzo which is a Mediterranean Grill similar to the Chipotle set-up.  I chose the falafel and chicken combo plate with hummus, tablouheh, baba ghanoush, cucumber salad, pickles, and lots of other stuff.  I also got some delicious sauces including tzatziki and some garlic sauce.  And all this also came with a whole wheat pita.  It was a ton of food and it was so delicious and fresh.  I just hope Garbanzo comes to Chicago soon. 

Since it was the night of the Insight Bowl I convinced both Danielle and Kelly to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes get beat up by Oklahoma in a football game.  Of course a few beers and the pzookie we chowed down with ice cream didn’t hurt either. 

We ended the night with some more tea and movie watching.  I fell asleep on the couch I was so exhausted.

My last full day in Colorado started with another great breakfast made lovingly by Danielle. 

Danielle’s mom’s birthday is January 1 so we headed off to Walmart to buy some ingredients for birthday cupcakes.  We picked out a recipe for peanut butter cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Of course we taste-tested them when they came out of the over.  Soooo good.  The cream cheese frosting on the other hand, not so good.  Danielle says our fault was following the recipe and next time she is going to try making her own version of the cream cheese frosting.

We wasted most of the day away, but did get to head to Kohl’s before venturing up to Boulder to meet Danielle’s parents.  That’s where I bought those wonderful rings I bought myself.

No trip to Colorado would be complete without some pictures of mountains.

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We met up with Danielle’s parents and headed to Denver for dinner.  We ended up eating at the Paramount Café where I actually ate the last time I was in Denver for the Theta Tau National Convention.  They had a wonderful special for New Year’s Eve which included a salad, an entre, and a dessert.  I enjoyed a house salad, salmon with asparagus, and some strawberry cheesecake. 

All decked out in our New Year’s Eve party gear!

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The city of Denver puts on 2 fireworks shows on NYE-one at 9 p.m. and another at midnight.  We caught the 9 p.m. show because, of course, we weren’t staying downtown till midnight.

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We celebrated at the stoke of midnight with some Andre champagne.  And a cupcake. 

Sunday morning was an early morning as I had to catch my flight home!  The trip to the airport and the way through security went off without a hitch.  I enjoyed a Jamba Juice smoothie for breakfast!  I even managed to secure an upgrade to Economy Plus on the flight home.  Which came with a little extra legroom and a pillow.  Not super fancy, but better than regular old economy.  I was set to fly from Denver to O’Hare and then O’Hare to Cedar Rapids.  My transfer in Chicago was a little pressed for time since my plane had to wait on the tarmac for at least 20 minutes waiting for a gate to open.  Unlike on my flight out to Denver, both my arrival gate and departure gate were in the same concourse!  Thank goodness because otherwise I would have not made my flight!  It was a quick walk to my plane to Cedar Rapids and an easy short flight back.  My brother picked me up at the airport.  Glad to be home again!

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