Weekend Trip in Denver, Colorado – Day 1: Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Friday, October 18, 2014 – I decided to join my friend John in his weekend trip to Denver, Colorado, last minute because his friend flaked on him. I hopped onto a 5:40am flight, Friday morning, without getting any asleep at all except for during the three hour flight, then arrived at DEN airport by 10am, got a rental car and the rest of the day was just non-stop adrenaline keeping me going.

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

We first had breakfast at Vert Kitchen. I must say, I had one of the best BLT sandwiches here. Their bacon was thick, meaty, and not oily. Their salad was good too. This was the beginning of an awesome day!

Vert Kitchen: Backyard seating

Vert Kitchen: Backyard seating

Vert Kitchen: BLT Sandwich (Bacon, Bibb Lettuce, Mozzarella, Tomato) and chopped chicken salad

Vert Kitchen: BLT Sandwich (Bacon, Bibb Lettuce, Mozzarella, Tomato) and chopped chicken salad

Next, we grabbed popsicles at Aiko Pops since it was close by. Their popsicles were so refreshing. It was like eating frozen juice. I went with their pear five spice, which was bursting with all sorts of flavors, including Szechuan pepper. And why does every place in Denver have a cool backyard?

AikoPops: Pear Five Spice

AikoPops: Pear Five Spice

John and Jonas at AikoPops

John and Jonas at AikoPops

We continued south and made a short dessert break at Marigold’s Cafe and Bakery in Colorado Springs. We just got a lemon tart and an apple tart. Both were excellent – not too sweet.

Marigold's Cafe and Bakery: Lemon tart and apple tart

Marigold’s Cafe and Bakery: Lemon tart and apple tart

And then, my favorite part of the day – the Garden of the Gods. Coming from the Pacific coast, seeing these huge red rock formations was surreal.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

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Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

The Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

The Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Then, we made it in time for the beginning of happy hour at Nosh back in Colorado Springs. It was American/Asian fusion tapas. It got rave reviews, but I guess folks here have different taste buds. I thought it was just okay, maybe because I’m spoiled with a wider selection of fusion tapas back in California and during my yearly trips to Asia. Still, it was a nice and friendly experience.

Happy hour at Nosh: Potachos with braised bison, calamari tempura, crispy Korean wings, crispy Vietnamese wings, and sweet potato fries with pork green chili

Happy hour at Nosh: Potachos with braised bison, calamari tempura, crispy Korean wings, crispy Vietnamese wings, and sweet potato fries with pork green chili

We headed back towards Denver and decided to check out City Park, but it was already getting dark and everything was closed. That East High School building looked amazing though. San Francisco would never have a high school that looked like that!

East High School (Denver)

East High School (Denver)

Lastly, we went to the Source for dinner. It was a cool, industrial layout with each establishment laid out like cages. We opted for Acorn and avoided a 2 hour wait, getting seated immediately because we opted for bar seating. This was the perfect meal to end the perfect day. Everything was delicious, from salad to dessert. Make sure to get that butterscotch pudding!

Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe at the Source

Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe at the Source

Acorn: Kale and apple salad with candied almonds, parmesan, togarashi

Acorn: Kale and apple salad with candied almonds, parmesan, togarashi

Acorn: Kale and apple salad, fried pickles and ginger beer

Acorn: Kale and apple salad, fried pickles and ginger beer

Acorn: Oak grilled bone marrow with piquillo pepper vinaigrette, radish, celery leaves

Acorn: Oak grilled bone marrow with piquillo pepper vinaigrette, radish, celery leaves

Acorn: Wood fired mussels with green curry, charred pineapple, kaffir lime

Acorn: Wood fired mussels with green curry, charred pineapple, kaffir lime

Acorn: Oak grilled octopus with potato gnocchi, braised artichokes, house made chorizo, salsa verde

Acorn: Oak grilled octopus with potato gnocchi, braised artichokes, house made chorizo, salsa verde

Acorn: Butterscotch pudding with cocoa nib ice cream, graham cracker crumble, chocolate

Acorn: Butterscotch pudding with cocoa nib ice cream, graham cracker crumble, chocolate

Oct 18 2014 Category: Colorado Colorado Springs Denver Earth

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