Tag Archives: Colorado

Top 5 Happy Hour Spots in Breck

Blue River Bistro

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

With so many options in Breckenridge, settling on a place to go for Happy Hour may just be the toughest decision of your day. Lucky for you we have tried them all and while this isn’t by any means a complete list, it is a collection of some of the best.

Blue River Bistro: Ask any Breckenridge local where to go for Happy Hour and there is no doubt that the Blue River Bistro will come up at some point during the conversation. Known for their martinis, classy ambiance and live music, the Bistro has set itself apart by offering not one, but two Happy Hours every day of the week. From 3-6 p.m. and again from 9- midnight, the Bistro offers 2-for-1 martinis and 2-for-1 selected appetizers. Whether you have a hankering for a classic dirty martini or you want to branch out and try some of their specialty martinis like the Key Lime Pie or the always-popular Espresso, there is plenty of variety to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Even if you’re not in the mood for a martini, draft beers are only $2 during Happy Hour and appetizers like the Kobe Beef Sliders, Baked Brie and Toasted Jalapeno Raviolis will keep your mouth watering. Check out the Bistro at 305 North Main St.

Mi Casa Mexican Cantina: During the winter months, Mi Casa is the ultimate Happy Hour destination given its close proximity to the base of Peak 9. From the classic margarita on the rocks to the lusciously blended mango margarita, there are plenty of ways to get your tequila fix at this well-established watering hole. I remember upon first moving to Breckenridge a friend brought me to Mi Casa and I became a fan for life after realizing they provided free chips and salsa during their 3-6 p.m. Happy Hour. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, right at 5 o’clock a pan of free nachos appears like magic and it’s usually a race to be the first one to dig in. Mi Casa is located right behind Mountain Wave near the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street.

Twist: Of all the restaurants on this list, Twist is definitely the baby, but don’t let that fool you because they handle Happy Hour like pros.

Twist Breck

Located off Ridge Street with an amazing outdoor patio, Twist is the perfect place to unwind with friends after a long day at the office. Twist focuses on local and seasonal ingredients so the Happy Hour food menu is always changing, but the pork shoulder tacos for just $2 each have been a staple since Twist opened, given locals have been known to order them by the dozen.  Twist is also home to one of my favorite cocktails in town, the Green Tea Martini. If you feel like branching out of your comfort zone try the bartender’s creative cocktail of the evening, always different, always refreshing and always just $5.

South Ridge Seafood: Sometimes you visit a bar for the deals and sometimes you visit for the character. Both can be said about South Ridge Seafood Grill because the food and drink are awesome and they have some of the friendliest bartenders around. Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. is a great time to hit up South Ridge with $1 oysters and great deals on other food items like the peel and eat shrimp and trout dip. Cheap draft beers are the main draw for the local crowd and given South Ridge is tucked away on Ridge Street the atmosphere feels a bit more relaxed even though the place has been known to get hopping as the hours creep closer to dinner. Do yourself a favor and head to South Ridge early when the crowds are minimal and you can pick the bartender’s brain for other Breck recommendations. Thanks to a quick chat with Daryll a few years back I found my favorite hiking trail of all time.

Cecilia’s : I know what you’re thinking. Cecilia’s for Happy Hour? Isn’t that the place with the pole on the dance floor? Yes and yes. While Cecilia’s has definitely made a name for itself as one the best late-night joints in town they have been doing somewhat of an image overhaul and are enticing a different kind of crowd for their Happy Hour these days by offering a bottle of wine with a fruit and cheese plate for only $20. Cecilia’s may have gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years given it’s a more of a dance club than anything else but they do have a killer martini selection and during Happy Hour they are 2-for-1. Stroll in to Cecilia’s in the late afternoon and you will be pleasantly surprised by the laid-back atmosphere and wide drink selection. Also, if you feel like a glass of scotch and a stogie this is definitely your place as Cecilia’s boasts one of the biggest humidors you will find in Summit County. Find them in La Cima Mall right next to Lucha Cantina.

Advertisements

Guided wildflower hikes in Breckenridge

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

Did you know that the seeds of the Indian Paintbrush wildflower are so small that you can plant a whole acre with only a few handfuls? Or that the white and lavender Columbine was adopted as the official state flower of Colorado on April 4, 1899 and that it’s illegal to pick them?

Whether you are a wildflower enthusiast or not, it’s hard not to find beauty in the

A few local varieties

splash of color found alongside mountain streams and paths this time of year in Breckenridge. Given this window of spectacular viewing only comes around for a short time during the summer months do yourself a favor and make it a point to check out one of the guided wildflower hikes offered through the Breckenridge Resort.

Locals and visitors alike can take advantage of several guided hike options that depart from the base of Peak 8 at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on a daily basis throughout the summer season with weather permitting, of course.

Each hike includes wildflower identification, information on certain medical remedies for some varieties, a background on Breck’s local history and what you need to know to be an expert “Leave No Trace” hiker.

Maybe you have cruised down Horseshoe Bowl on a powder day but when all that snow melts it leaves the soil in perfect condition for summer wildflowers and one guided hike option included riding the Colorado Chair up the mountain for a stroll through the lush and colorful basin.

Columbine can be found everywhere this time of year

Having a hard time getting the kids to want to go on a hike? What if the end reward was zooming down Breck’s famous Alpine Slide? Ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain and once you finish exploring and discovering local flora your group will end up at the top of the Alpine Slide and you can give your legs a break riding the slide all the way to the bottom of the mountain.

The guided hikes run through Breckenridge Resort are described as moderate, running up to three hours in duration and the ones that utilize the chairlift are not recommended for children under the age of five.  Even if you are an expert hiker each guided session includes water, a granola bar, use of a daypack and hiking poles and they will even hook you up with a rain poncho if it starts to sprinkle and you forgot to bring one.

Remember to bring some sturdy hiking shoes, a good attitude and a camera because you will be channeling your inner Ansel Adams in no time once you look around and realize everywhere you turn is another unparalleled scenic view.

Reservations are recommended but not required so visit their website or call 970-453-3256 with any questions.

My new grown-up fort

I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place where hidden gems like this still exist. Discovered by accident in an area I’ve hiked through for years, this cabin is more than sacred to those who frequent and maintain it. If all goes well I will be back there for my first overnight stay later this week.

I felt my soul change the minute I walked through the door of this cabin, I can’t explain the way this place made me feel more connected to the earth than ever before.

Happiness is a couple of beers in a corner booth

I think people don’t really believe me when I share that hunting for new dive bars is a beloved past time of mine. I guess if I heard that I would assume there were some sort of alcohol issues under the surface but that couldn’t be farther from the truth and the reality is I can’t resist venturing a little bit off the path to root out hidden gems, even if it means driving four hours for a single meal.

Tucked off the highway just outside of Aspen in the valley of the Roaring Fork River is the small town of Woody Creek, an area that has been called home by an ecclectic array of musicians and celebrities from Don Henley and Nancy Pelosi with the most notable being gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

The Woody Creek Tavern is a landmark. Once a favorite watering hole for Thompson and his local buddies, the Tavern has been written up in numerous travel magazines, cited on blogs, talked about on chairlifts around Colorado and heck, even Rachel Ray has credited the bar for dishing up her favorite margarita north of the border.         

When a trusted friend suggested I check it out if I was ever in the Aspen area I took his word and decided to take a four hour drive for a late lunch and a couple of beers, impulsive but very necessary with cabin fever hitting me hard in Breckenridge.

Following the lazy curves of the highway we stumbled on Woody Creek Tavern in the middle of a spring time snow storm. Heavy, wet flakes blanketed fence posts and tree branches making the whole landscape seem eerily quiet, a lovely change of pace from Breckenridge during Spring Break.

Walking through the door my eyes darted from the bar decked out in memorabilia to the walls covered in old pictures and magazine cutouts, all illuminated by a down-right impressive collection of various Christmas lights strewn across the ceiling.

Opting for a corner booth during the lull between lunch and dinner we were some of the only people in the restaurant expect for the few waitresses swapping stories and rolling silverware in preparations for that night’s dinner rush.

Although the fare isn’t exactly cheap for being so tucked away, I remind myself that we were close to Aspen after all so I suck it up and didn’t bother worrying about shelling out $14 for the fish tacos. Twenty minutes later I was kicking myself for even thinking such a thing because the tacos were some of the best I have had, with fresh tasting ingredients and perfectly seasoned fish. 

Jake’s tamales won him over immediately and the portions were generous, which lead to subsequent food coma causing us to take up our booth for a few hours as we casually sipped on our beers and digested over conversation and laughter. It’s no surprise this place has become famous for being a dive, it doesn’t apologize for the over-the-top decor or the laid back attitude and the simplicity of kicking back at staring at old photos is enough to make you want to come back and experience it again in case you missed something the first time.

It was a perfect spur of the moment day, the kind that always remind me  you don’t have to travel very far to completely escape. Next time we are bringing a designated driver so we can test out the famed margaritas.

Have you had your dose of extreme today?

It’s a huge week for snow sports in Colorado, and in addition to all the X Games action happening in Aspen, the Snow Sport Industries America (SIA) trade show is off and poppin’ at the convention center in Denver.

Let’s start things off by checking out what is happening over at Buttermilk in Aspen.

Thursday marked the first day of Winter X Games 14, and in the women’s Freeskiing Slopestyle Final, Breckenridge’s own Keri Herman took home the silver medal.

With a first run full of switch 540, 360 and 540, Keri stomped her tricks out on the course, but it wasn’t enough to beat Kaya Turski who threw down a switch 720 and 900. Grete Eliassen rounded out the podium in third place, and all three ladies donned ear-to-ear smiles with X Games hardware hanging around their necks.

A fellow University of Denver alum, Keri has been holding it down in Breckenridge for years now and she never ceases to amaze me with her enthusiasm, humor, and lust for life.

The action will continue on Friday with the women’s skiing superpipe final, and men’s snowboard super pipe finals.

Make sure to look out for Breckenridge team riders Steve Fisher and JJ Thomas in superpipe finals, both finished in the top eight in the qualifier and will be looking to de-throne Shaun White from his X Games gold medal dominance.

Fisher is a two-time X Games Superpipe Champion, bringing home gold in 2004 and 2007, and Thomas, best known for his 2002 bronze medal in the winter olympics,  is looking to make to the podium with his self-proclaimed old school style.

Check out the schedule for Friday:

Time Event Location
10 am- 11 am Snowboard Snowboarder X Men’s & Womens’ Qualifying Aspen, CO
10 am- 12 pm Skiing SuperPipe Men’s & Women’s Practice Aspen, CO
10 am- 12 pm Snowboard Slopestyle Men’s Elimination Aspen, CO
12 pm- 2 pm Snowmobile Best Trick Practice Aspen, CO
12 – 1:30 pm Skiing Skier X Men’s & Women’s Qualifying Aspen, CO
12:15 pm- 2 pm Snowboard Slopestyle Women’s Practice Aspen, CO
1:30 pm- 3 pm Mono Skier X Practice Aspen, CO
2:15 pm- 4 pm Skiing Slopestyle Men’s Practice Aspen, CO
4 pm- 5 pm Snowmobile Best Trick Practice Aspen, CO
4:30 pm- 5:30 pm Skiing SuperPipe Women’s Final Aspen, CO
5:30 pm- 7:15 pm Snowboard SuperPipe Men’s Practice Aspen, CO
5:30 pm- 6 pm Skiing Big Air Elimination Aspen, CO
6 pm- 7 pm Snowmobile Best Trick Final Aspen, CO
7 pm- 7:30 pm Skiing Big Air Final Aspen, CO
7:30 pm- 9 pm Snowboard SuperPipe Men’s Final

Snowmobiling freestyle final also went down Thursday night, and I must admit that I’m still confused as to how this “sport” made it to X Games.

Yes, I admit, trying to pull a 450lb machine around to do a back flip while you are 30-feet in the air does require quite a bit of strength, but I still don’t see how this qualifies as an athletic event.

Watching the finals on Thursday, my two male roommates sat in silence with dropped jaws. I, on the other hand, just didn’t get it.

In my opinion, competing in professional sports requires a tremendous amount of skill and endurance, and in the end, the athlete emerges as the main focus.  In snowmobiling, it seems to me like the machine takes center stage. During Thursday’s snowmobiling finals, one of the athletes had to coast through the course without blasting off any jumps because his handlebars weren’t aligned.

Seriously?

Maybe I just don’t get it. I’m not about to argue with the sled heads around the county, but I can’t deny that snowmobiling ranks up there with NASCAR in my book, and I’m not about to seek it out on television again any time soon.

In other news, SIA continues tomorrow down at the Colorado Convention Center and I am going to be checking in with some of my friends in the snowboard industry to see what the vibe has been like since the convention moved from Las Vegas to Denver.

Stay tuned….

The Kindle and now the iPad, are real books doomed?

I often joke with my iPhone addicted friends that we live in a world with too many apps.

“Too many apps!” I scream at them, as they consult the palm sized device for everything and anything. Since the phone’s debut in 2007, there have been 140,000 apps designed to educate and entertain, and when I learned of a virtual Zipppo lighter app, so you can hold your phone up at concerts during rocker ballads, I nearly lost it.

Yesterday, Apple unveiled their latest techo gadget the iPad, which is basically an oversized iPhone that will allow people to carry all their movies, music, magazines, newspapers, books and the Web itself in a briefcase.

Even though the iPad won’t hit shelves for another few months it is already being touted as the best new e-reader.

With a 9.7 inch screen, the iPad is basically the size of a book, but at .5 inches thick, it’s one of the skinniest bookstore around. Oh wait, the Kindle by Amazon is only .36 inches thick, but it doesn’t have a color screen, and we all know how important color is when it comes to reading.

Amazon kicked off the e-reader phenomenon when they released the Kindle in 2007, and bookstore everywhere held their breath as more and more people realized it was easier to have a $9.99 novel you could tuck in your purse, as opposed to a $25 hardcover that barely fits in a gym bag.

With two heavy hitters looking to dominate the e-reader business, consumers can expect that Apple and Amazon will be trying to undercut each other on price, and it’s rumored that Amazon will get on the bandwagon and start designing their own apps as well.

“It’s the wave of the future,” everyone keeps saying. “It’s what our kids will use as books.”

Okay, I get that this is all forward momentum. Anyone remember cassette tapes? Yea, don’t see many of those around anymore.

Although this new technology may be exciting for the consumer, I would be scared as hell as an author. Now that things have gone digital, it’s only a matter of time before people find a way to get the goods for free. Just look at the music industry, remember how mad Metallica got when Napster came out?

According to the Association of American Publishers, there were 9 million illegal downloads of copyright-protected books in the closing months of 2009, and one can only expect that number to increase.

But, can you really curl up with a computer screen on a snowy day with a cup of tea? Or dog-ear the pages of your Kindle? Am I the only one who loves the smell of bookstores?

If this is the wave of the future, I am going to start stockpiling all my favorite books now. Who knows what reading will be like 30 years from now….

“Grandma, what are those things on your shelves?”

“Those are called books, honey.” 

“So, they don’t play movies?

Makes me think.

I’m having an affair…. with my Crockpot

Growing up, I had never even heard of a Crockpot.

Sure, my mother made stews and chowders that sat on the stove all day long, filling the house with the sweet smell of garlic, tomatoes and wine. But, I don’t think I ever saw a Crockpot on the counter,  in the cupboard, or even in the attic.

Because I was unfamiliar with the beloved cooking gadget, I have to admit I discredited it for a while.

“Pshh, Crockpots are for cheaters,” I would think to myself. “All you do is place something in there and walk away. I wouldn’t call that cooking.”

Looking back, I should have slapped myself for that comment. Today, my Crockpot rocks my world. Slightly pathetic, I know.

When I moved in with my boyfriend, I inherited his never-used, 3.5 quart slow cooker that had been collecting dust for years. It was cumbersome and awkward, and I questioned why we were even moving it to just sit in another kitchen in the first place.

Needless to say, one night we were out of ideas and decided to throw a pork roast in there. We smothered the meat in a paste made of olive oil, salt, garlic salt, and pepper (Jake’s grandmother’s recipe) and threw the massive hunk of flesh into the cooker with little idea as to what we would be working with come dinner time.

I went to work, satisfied with the idea that dinner would be all taken care of when I got home. I found that my mind was surprisingly at ease throughout the day, like I had little kitchen elves slaving away at home.

After over 20 hours in the pot, the roast was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I’m talking some of the best pork I have ever eaten in my life. No joke, all I had to buy was the roast, everything else was in the cupboard.

That night with the pork roast changed our lives forever, and now our Crockpot is the king of the kitchen, the overseer of the countertop, the master of all cooking gadgets.

Since that fateful day the Crockpot has been a one-dish miracle for chicken, beef, and vegetable sides, and I am now thinking about dabbling in desert, just for kicks.

Someday, when I finally save enough money to buy another camera, I will share some of these culinary adventures on here. For now, take my advice and show your Crockpot some love,  in addition to saving on time, most of the main dish recipes only call for a few ingredients, so your bank account will thank you too.