Denver [GF & Paleo Friendly Travels]
This post was MEGA delayed in going live for you guys. But better late than never, right? A year ago, I finally got to visit Denver, CO. Kyle was out there for a few days for work, so I piggybacked on the end of the week so we could make a weekend out of it. It was actually my first time in Colorado, which I find kind of crazy since I tell everyone I would love to live in Colorado. It's some state that I have this image of in my mind as being everything I want. It gets cold and snow, but still has sunshine. There's tons of hiking and it seems to be one of the most paleo friendly areas. In my imagination, it's perfect.
I was a little scared I would be majorly disappointed when I finally got there. Kind of like when you have these perfect dreams of being on a beach in the sun (or some equally tantilizing location) and you wake up, realize you are in Chicago and it's so cold you have to figure out how to fit seven layers of leggings under your jeans just to stay warm. Fortunately, Denver did NOT disappoint. We spent the majority of the time in Denver but did make a quick day trip to Boulder to check out a few breweries. Colorado has a bangin' brewery scene, so this was a must. Yes, I know alcohol, beer especially, isn't paleo, but I still indulge. One of my favorite spots was a bar called Avanti in an area called LoHi. We were there on a gorgeous day and the patio up top had the coolest view of Downtown Denver.
I posted this picture while we were still on our trip and Kyle's mom pointed out to me that I look really short which made me laugh because I've never been called short before. But, ladies & gents, she's not wrong. I seriously look a good foot shorter here and I'm kind of OK with it. Although, next time, I'll probably make sure we aren't on completely different levels.
Whenever I go on vacation, no matter how long for, I do research ahead of time (aka I stalk every blogger from that area for weeks) to find some gluten free, paleo friendly restaurants to check out. Honestly, my main concern is always where I'm going to eat. I just ate breakfast and I'm already worried about lunch. Denver was no exception to this. I picked out a few places in advance I wanted to go to and we had our friends take us to a few of their favorite spots. Here are some highlights.
Patxi's Pizza is a restaurant I saw pop up on paleomg's instagram from time to time. She raved about their GF pizza so I was intrigued. When I looked at the menu, I was beyond excited that they offer PESTO sauce, because it's basically heaven. Plus, if you follow me at all, you probably know I have some weird aversion to tomatoes (blech.) I built this beaut of a pizza with chicken, pesto and spinach and then ate the entire thing.
My first disclaimer here is that this meal was not strictly paleo, but it was strictly delicious. The reasons I'm sharing it are a) because I want to eat it again and b) because it's important to be open about the fact that I'm not perfect and I'm not 100% paleo 100% of the time. These breakfast tacos are named "Sooooo.... I'll Call You" and are found on the brunch menu at LowDown Brewery. This specifically isn't paleo friendly, but they are a very gluten free and vegan friendly restaurant. They identify any of these items as such on their menu so make it easy to stick within the guidelines you live by. Not only was the food awesome here, but they have this really adorable and fun patio you can sit on. They are also puppy friendly on the patio which is basically the greatest idea ever because WHO DOESN'T WANT TO PET PUPPIES ALL THE TIME?!
We were lucky enough to see a few of our Colorado-living friends while we were visiting and one of them took us to Boulder so we could see the mountains! Boulder is only about a half hour from Denver and it is worth the trip x1000. We went to a few breweries and then our friend took us to a place called the RayBack. It's a beer garden, food truck park, live music combo and it has some beautiful mountain views. It had some a great, fun vibe. While my lovely counterparts went for the taco truck, I checked out the Ginger Pig which offered gluten free Asain street food. I got the Pulled Pork Banh Mi bowl and my life was forever changed. Pulled pork, jasmine rice, cucumber, carrot + diakon pickle, spicy mayo and cilantro. So. So. So. Good.
On our last night in Denver, we walked over to Punch Bowl Social. It had pretty good ratings and was just a few blocks from the cute little AirBnB we were staying in. They have grass-fed beef burgers and offer gluten free buns. I actually tend to prefer my burgers without a bun because I find the bread factor to be make me feel overly stuffed. But this time, I couldn't resist trying the Knockout Burger with the bun they offered because it looked so legit. It was one of the better GF buns I've tried and the burger itself (ordered without the American cheese) was really good.
I already have a list going for all my future trips out to Denver and I can't wait. My sister and her family just moved out that way, so it gives me even more excuses to make trips out there.
Have any of you ever been to Denver? Do you have any must-go spots for my next visit?