Tag Archives: Denver

artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade

Denver Pizza Review: Osteria Marco

For our last dinner in Denver before heading home after a lovely vacation out West a few weeks ago, Mark and I dined al fresco on Larimer Square at Osteria Marco.

What I loved about this restaurant was the fact that although it is casual, the food reminded me a bit of my beloved Chinghale in Baltimore. Delicately plated salumi, and fresh and delicious-looking main courses. Different in that where Chinghale has interesting housemade pastas, Osteria Marco offers pizzas and paninis. No matter. It was the feel of the place that was warm and friendly and inviting.

After our appetizer of lace-y thin finochietta (fennel pork sausage) that I inhaled, I ordered the Artisan pizza with olive tapenade, goat cheese and roasted red peppers.

artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade
artisan pizza with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and olive tapenade

Um, yum. That is all I can say. I gobbled this down too and was feeling particularly pleased with my order. The chewy crust, salty olives and sweet peppers paired well with a healthy smattering of spicy crushed red pepper and a light white wine.

So if you’re in Denver, I would highly recommend checking this place out after a Rockies baseball game.

High Mountain Pies main entrance

Pizza Review: High Mountain Pies

As the name implies, this small pizza place is located in Colorado, outside of Denver, in historic Leadville. We found it on Yelp as we were passing through, as did many of our co-diners.

High Mountain Pies is situated in a cute little bright-blue house off of Leadville’s main street. They have picnic tables in a grassy field outback as well as under shaded umbrellas on the side patio (where we ate).

High Mountain Pies main entrance
High Mountain Pies main entrance

The owners were a couple of friendly hippies (obviously) who clearly created a pizza restaurant to fulfill their pizza-craving needs. (Mark and I noted how many Colorado restaurants seem to be designed to fulfill late-night cravings: for instance, on our way through town on the front end of the trip, we ate lunch at a pizzeria/taqueria, and last time we were in Denver, we ate at a pizza/biscuit restaurant. YUMMY!)

We ordered the pizza margherita, which was fine for what it was, but not really any sort of amazing pizza by general world standards. It was more of a doughy, salty, cheesy bread with sliced tomatoes. The fresh basil was a plus.

our pizza margherita
our pizza margherita

It was good, but I’d probably steer more towards a regular cheese pizza (or find a bar-b-que restaurant) next time. A+ for setting and friendly staff.

colorful buildings in Leadville

Denver Fun

At the tail end of our relaxing vacation out West in Colorado, Mark and I spent the weekend in Denver. We were in Denver last fall as well, but only for a brief moment, so we were able to do some different things this time around.

We drove in to town Friday afternoon, after stopping for a lunch of pizza and ice cream in historic Leadville – a town that looks like it’s out of the Old West.

Once making it to Denver, we changed and headed out to Union Station – a beautiful train station that has a bunch of bars and shops inside. We met some friends there, but being that it was overrun with the happy hour crowd, we made our way across the street instead to a Mexican restaurant for some pre-dinner margaritas. Then on to Range for a delicious dinner, where the thickly cut, crisp and sweet bacon appetizer was the best thing ever.

We used our Hilton points to stay at The Curtis – a downtown DoubleTree property – that has been ranked one of the best “art hotels.” Each floor has its own theme and the room and lobby art is more pop than your typical birds-and-flowers hotel pastels. Our floor was the “dance floor” and there were framed record albums lining the hallway.

It was a fun place to stay, but frankly, it was more Hilton-tries-to-be-boutique-hotel than actual independent boutique hotel. Oh well, staying on points is a win.

the curtis
The Curtis Hotel in Denver: rated a top art hotel – our room

Let’s be honest, I don’t mind dreaming underneath a giant ice cream cone!

Saturday morning, we got together with our cousins for an al fresco brunch before heading to Coors Field for a Colorado Rockies baseball game. The cool thing about Coors Field is that there is a huge open rooftop over right field with a few bars and interesting food options. You can wander around and chat with people, or take a seat in the upper deck to actually watch some of the game. For a bit more money, you can also rent out a lounge-y cabana, however you couldn’t see the game from there, so why bother?

Coors Field for Rockies baseball stadium
Coors Field for Rockies baseball

It was super stinking hot, but I was glad we went and saw some of the game and the stadium. I’m thinking it must have been built in the same era as Camden Yards because it has the same spacious and open, brick and brightly-painted steel feel. Fun fact: there’s a row of seats in the upper deck painted a different color to mark where you hit a “mile high” above sea level. Also fun: drinking a Coors Light at Coors Field, duh.

We wandered around town back towards the hotel and had an early dinner of pizza (of course) at a cute restaurant called Osteria Marco on Larimer Square. Interestingly enough, we had the same waitress as the prior evening at Range – weird!

We were so exhausted that we called it an early night and hit the airport early the next morning. It was such a great trip, I was sad to come home!

Maroon Bells

Aspen Hiking

Mark and I just got back from an awesomely relaxing week in Colorado: Aspen, Snowmass and Denver. We were lucky enough to be the recipients of an extremely generous offer to stay at The Timbers in Snowmass – a club with a friendly and welcoming staff.

driving to Snowmass
driving to Snowmass

We hit the timing perfectly between seasons: restaurants and shops were reopen after the April/May offseason, but everything was pretty quiet prior to next week’s Food & Wine Classic which is the unofficial kick-off to summer that brings thousands of visitors to the villages.

at the top of Aspen Mountain (we took the gondola up)
at the top of Aspen Mountain (we took the gondola up) – it was the last day of skiing at the top!

Our apartment set up was perfect and 180 degrees opposite from our NYC apartment, in that it was HUGE! Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, an enormous kitchen with every appliance and amenity you could ever want, a fireplace, large deck and a grill. It was fabulous to lounge about reading books and snacking on chips and salsa that the staff had pre-bought for us, along with other breakfast and lunch groceries.

the huge apartment!
the huge apartment!

Each day while we were staying in Snowmass, we took a morning hike on Snowmass or Aspen trails (we were staying on East Coast time as much as possible so waking up bright and early), spent the afternoon by the pool (which we usually had all to ourselves) and then cleaned up and went out for a yummy dinner.

lounging by the pool
lounging by the pool

One day we also took a day-trip to the town of Basalt for lunch, gallery-hopping and to march around the self-guided tour of the historic sites.

Hike #1: Maroon Bells & Crater Lake – One of the most photographed spots in Colorado, Maroon Bells mountains were picture-perfectly reflected in the lake below. We only went the one morning, but I would’ve loved to go back at different times of the day to see the varying colors and light. There were very few people around, and Mark spotted two moose before we hiked another mile or two past to Crater Lake, a peacefully quiet spot for a snack.

Maroon Bells - look at that reflection!!
Maroon Bells – look at that reflection!!

 

crystal clear reflection at Maroon Bells
crystal clear reflection at Maroon Bells

Hike #2: Smuggler’s Mountain – Definitely the hottest trek we took, which was also one of the steepest up an unpaved road to a cool look-out over Aspen.

the trail names are like Candyland! We unfortunately didn't make it to the Lollipop or Tootsie Roll trails
the trail names are like Candyland! We unfortunately didn’t make it to the Lollipop or Tootsie Roll trails

Hike #3: Rim Trail South – In Snowmass there is a fairly quick hike to a look-out called Yin Yang (due to the marble yin yang symbol embedded in the marble slab at the top of the mountain). We then trekked further on, coming to Sinclair Road, where the lovely staff came to pick us up. As the name implies, the trail following the ridge of the mountains, with great views down both sides. Some sections were slightly vertigo-inspiringly-cliffy.

View from the Rim Trail
View from the Rim Trail

Hike #4: Hunter’s Creek Trail – This was one of my favorite hikes that took us through the woods along the “creek” which was really more like a raging river. We took it almost until the point that it met up with Smuggler’s Mountain, but once the incline started getting really steep, I turned us around to head back.

Hunter's Creek
Hunter’s Creek

Hike #5: Grottos – In Independence Pass (a scary cliff-hanging road out of Aspen that’s only open in the summer), there are ice caves and “cascades” (again, an understatement since this was also quite the river/waterfall sequence) that you can climb around and over, with great spots for relaxing and lunching.

Next up: The dining scene and Denver