Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gluten free family fun in Colorado

8/8/08 was quite the momentous day around the world. The start of the summer Olympics, a future wedding anniversary date for thousands of couples, and my grandpa’s 80th birthday. To celebrate his 80th day on the planet falling on such an auspicious date the whole family traveled from their respective states across the nation to Colorado for a weekend of family fun and celebration.

After picking up our rental car and cramming the small trunk with our luggage

we were cruising Colorado in style in our swanky convertible

We stopped roadside to snap some pictures and admire the gorgeous Flat Irons Mountain range

We also went for lunch at one of my favorite stores, Whole Foods where I stocked up on a few gluten free snacks for the weekend and got a delicious sandwich from the deli.

Roasted turkey, hummus, carrots, sprouts and greens on toasted rice bread. It was the first gluten free sandwich I have ever had with hummus and it was delish! I am not surprised though because I have had veggies with hummus many times and pita with hummus years ago and always enjoyed it, I will have to try recreating this sandwich at home sometime soon.

We spent our first night at the Marriot in Denver where we enjoyed a low key evening of wine, berries and rice crackers at the hotel bar before resting up in the super comfy and fluffy hotel beds for the remainder of our weekend adventure.

Like many of my travels this trip started out with an internet search for “gluten free Colorado”. The most notable place I found was Deby’s Bakery and Café located in Denver fairly close to where we would be spending our first night. If you were not looking for it you just might miss this gluten free gem nestled between offices in a small industrial park. Deby’s Bakery is a gluten free bakery and production facility that produces hundreds of different types of baked goods that are then distributed to local restaurants, grocery stores, and shipped off for delivery. Happily the bakery also doubles as a café where you can sit down and have a meal or order something to go. The interior of the café was small with a handful of tables and walls lined with a selection of some of the different baked goods that they have for sale. After perusing the scrumptious looking goodies on the shelves we grabbed some menus and took a seat at one of the tables. The large three fold menus had a wide selection of offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It reminded me of a menu you would find at a diner or roadside café, the kind of place that seems to have a little bit of everything on it except there was one difference. Whatever you wanted whether it was pancakes, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, burgers, enchiladas, cookies or cake they had it and they only make it one way…

Gluten free!

It was so refreshing to read a menu and not have to search it for the two or three items that are probably safe to eat or wonder if even though I am careful to order something that is naturally gluten free if it will end up making me feel ill anyhow due to cross contamination. Reading over the vast selection of menu items I felt pleasantly overwhelmed by all the scrumptious bready options. Pancakes sounded delish but then again so did the french toast but there were also scrumptious looking cinnamon rolls and english muffins, I used to love english muffins! After much deliberation I decided upon the waffles with raspberry sauce.

Golden and crunchy with little squares filled up like tiny swimming pools with sweet raspberry goo. They were delish and reminded me of toaster waffles I enjoyed as a child. My darling brother knowing my fondness for gluten free baked goods ordered a cinnamon roll for the table so we could all try it as our breakfast appetizer.

The texture was more like that of a scone than a cinnamon roll, warm and crumbly and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Dad ordered a breakfast burrito which came wrapped in a brown rice tortilla.

Dad said it was great and that he even enjoyed the gluten free tortilla. I agreed that it looked yummy but I opted not to try it given my severe distain for eggs.

After we finished up our breakfast we headed south to meet up with more family in a little town in Colorado Springs called Manitou where my grandpa’s fiancée and her family have a cute little vacation home. The adorable house is nestled back in the hills just a short walk from the town.

Everything about the house is cute, cozy and comfy. The vintage wallpaper and art decorating the walls of the interior

The petite bathtub

The perfect sized porch complete with windchimes and swing

Peacefull view from the porch

and a sweet message found nestled in a windowsill

Even at nearly 100 years old this darling house still exudes loveliness and was the perfect place for a bit of pre birthday celebration with family.

Once more family had arrived we left the cute house and headed down to equally cute town for the afternoon. On our way we stopped at one of the places that the town is known for to have a drink of fresh spring water.

It tasted sweet and slightly effervescent and I am told when mixed with lemon and sugar makes the best lemonade. The family headed off to Marilyn’s to get pizza and I went to get a cup of tea at a place I was thrilled to find called, the Matte Factor. I ordered a traditional yerba matte with rice milk and honey and also picked up a bag of lose leaf matte for home. The tea was delish, just the right combination of earthy and bitter matte cut with sweet milk and honey and was the perfect warm treat for the slightly chilly drizzly day we were having.

After our tea and lunch we headed to the towns Penny Arcade that had games dating back from the early 1900’s!

There was pinball

Vintage Fooseball

(Big) Kidde Rides

And my favorite Skeeball!

After a fun afternoon we headed back to the house to gather our things and head off to our main destination for the weekend, The Broadmoor.

They defiantly live up to their 5 star rating. Gorgeous architecture, spectacular views, lavish decor and furnishing, and aside from them losing our luggage for a few hours when we first checked in, flawless service.

Personally I would rate them 6 stars because on their room service menu and in their restaurants they offer, gluten free bread!!! For breakfast our first morning there I had fresh fruit, coffee and toast.

One rainy and thunder stormy afternoon I ordered room service and had tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

My final morning there I had fresh fruit with yogurt and of course more toast.

For my grandpas birthday dinner we went to a restaurant called the Tavern I asked our server about gluten and she said that the chef would be happy to make me anything I desired on the menu gluten free (defiantly 6 star service!). I ordered the grilled salmon, sweet glazed carrots, and baked potato.

The salmon was really fresh, flavorful and not fishy in the slightest. Grilled carrots are always a favorite of mine and these were divine, buttery and sweet and served in their own cute little pot. Baked white potato is not usually something I order but we had been doing quite a bit of celebratory toasting that evening and I was in dire need of some carbs to sop up some of the vino swishing about in my tummy.

After a day and a half of Broadmoor fun we headed back to Manitou to explore the town a bit more then meet up with the family at the house for feliz de hora.

Wine enjoyed with various cheeses, grapes, carrots, smoked salmon, rice crackers and a delicious nut and olive spread that Angela made for the occasion. It was a most delicious way to spend our last evening together in Colorado.

On our way back to the airport the next day we stopped to grab a quick bite to eat at a place I have always wanted to try.

Not having any Sonics in San Diego I have felt taunted for years by commercials boasting the deliciousness of their plethora of beverages. As soon as I realized we were in the land of Sonics I knew we would have to pay them a visit. Again I felt overwhelmed with options, sodas, flavored limeades, milkshakes, smoothies, slushies, cream slushies, and coffee drinks. Since I could not really eat much of anything there I decided on two drinks, cherry limeade and a strawberry cream slush. Both were the most delicious fruity liquid concoctions made all the better because they were hand delivered directly to our car by this gentleman.

On our way back to the airport we made one more roadside stop to take a picture at a witty roadside billboard.

All in all it was a delightful exploration of Colorado and a lovely mini family reunion.


Leah said...

What a wonderful narrative of your vacation. It looked like a great time. I wish I was there with you.
Aunt Leah

rachel marie said...

I thought of you when we were at the Broadmoor. The comfy beds reminded me of when we were in Hawaii at the Princeville. Such a fun trip! xoxo