Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adventures in Denver!

This weekend we ventured into Denver to go to the Botanic Gardens, have dinner at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar, visit the State Capitol, and walk the 16th Street Mall.

Check out some of our photos!









We got to practice shooting macros at the Botanic Gardens. There were some really amazing flowers.












Oh, and there were DINOSAURS!





We saw the Official Mile High Marker at the State Capitol.





We had some great wine and food at Solera. We found this place using Restaurant.com. Since I wasn't able to use my Coke points for the cruise, I bought some Restaurant.com gift cards. So we had a free $25! Jason had Seafood Paella, and I had Broiled Scallops over White Truffle Mac and Cheese! Soooo yummy!








After dinner, we attempted to walk off all that deliciousness by walking from the State Capitol to the 16th Street Mall...all the way to the end! We didn't take any photos though, so you'll have to take my word for it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pho! (aka Vietnamese Noodle Bowls!)

We were craving noodles, yet again. We heard about this great Asian market, Pacific Ocean Marketplace, from some friends. I read up on it and all the online reviews suggested going to Pho Duy, right next door, before going to the market. I'm not sure we would have tried Pho, had my old roommate Leslie not introduced us to it. I would never have known how to eat it! If you are not familiar, Pho is like a BIG soup of rice noodles, chicken broth, veggies, and meat. Before they bring your bowl of noodles and broth, they bring a small plate with basil, lime, sprouts, and jalapeno slices. At some places, very thin slices of meat are served on the side and you place them in the hot broth to cook (kind of like you would with fondue). I ordered chicken (Pho Ga) and Jason had beef (Tai). I even ordered extra noodles, thinking they might skimp. Boy was I wrong! I barely even made a dent! Check out the pics below. I think next time we go, I'm going to try Bun. I'm not as familiar with Bun, but I know it has noodles!!!




You can probably tell by the jalapenos, Jason likes his a little spicy! :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hike to Blue Lake!

On Sunday, we took full advantage of the great weather and went on a hike! We knew it was supposed to be about 95 degrees F in Denver, so we were hoping that it would be much cooler in the mountains. We were right...when the wind was blowing anyway.

We drove north to Boulder, then west through Boulder Canyon. The views were amazing, but I didn't want to get sick trying to take pictures on the winding roads. We found out that the GPS doesn't really work in the mountains...good thing I had Jason buy that atlas before our drive across country! We took a wrong turn in Nederland, but figured it out pretty quickly. And we were back on our way to Ward.

We made it to the gate to the park and realized we didn't have enough cash. Oh my! So we scrounged the car for whatever change we could find. We still didn't have enough! So we told a little half truth, saying we didn't expect the entrance fee to be as high as it was. Which was true, but we also didn't have enough cash for what we thought the fee was. Oops! I thought I had $10, but I only had $5. Well, the nice ranger let us in with the $6.50 we were able to find in the car. I don't think we'll make that mistake again! :)


To give you an idea of the hike we went on, it was about 1/2 mile from Brainard Lake to the trail head; another 1 mile to Mitchell Lake; and another 2 miles to Blue Lake. We started at about 10,400 ft and reached 11,300 ft at Blue Lake.


We took a ton of pictures, but I'm tired and Jason is asleep on the couch...so I'm going to post just a few of the best. Enjoy!


The view from the parking lot...we knew this was goign to be a great hike!





The 1st lake we passed, Brainard Lake.



Another view of Brainard Lake.



After walking about a 1/2 mile from the parking lot, we reached the trailhead.




Jason hates taking pictures of me when I have a hat on, cause he can't see my eyes...but at least my scalp didn't burn!



The 2nd lake that we passed, Lake Mitchell.




Some Wildflowers...



Mitchell Lake behind me.




Jason wants to keep going up!




Not that far up!!




Still climbing!



Stopped to rinse my hands in the fresh mountain water.




SNOW!



More wildflowers.





We made it to Blue Lake! Amazing view!








Now it's time to head back down, home for showers, then out to Rock Bottom Brewery for some dinner. Thanks to the Parents Franz, we had a free dinner.

We started with Potstickers with an Edamame Salsa and some beers.


Jason had Grilled Wahoo with Fried Avacado



I had Grilled Mahi Tacos




YUM!



BBQ Chicken, Beer, and F-16's!

On Saturday (8.22), we were invited to a BBQ by some friends we met at a wine festival a few weeks ago. I slaved over the stove on Friday night to make my Weight Watchers Spinach Artichoke Dip (with the full fat cream cheese though, oops!) so we could just pop it in the oven just before heading to the BBQ. So Jason grabbed the beer, and we did just that.
It was a beautiful 90 degree day in the Denver metro. And when I say 90, I don't mean 90 plus 10 degrees of sticky humidity. It was hot, but it was bearable in the shade. At one point, we actually had a kiddy pool with cold water to soak our feet in. :)
The host of the BBQ had a feast! BBQ chicken, chips, dips, salads, watermelon...and everyone LOVED my spinach artichoke dip! There was also a mini-keg of Bud Light, so we didn't even end up drinking our Coors Light.
During the BBQ we were entertained by Redneck Horseshoes (or Monkey Balls as some call it). And who needs to pay to go see the Rocky Mountain Air Show when you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own back yard. The highlight was definitely the F-16 constantly flying overhead.
Check out some of the pictures below.

The view from the backyard. I want a backyard like this some day!


The boys drinking beers and playing Redneck Horseshoes. They actually bought that set at Walmart!


What is he looking at? It's a bird, it's a plane....

It's an F-16!

Everyone gathers to watch the fly-bys.

This was the most impressive thing it did! It shot straight up at a 90 degree spiral! So cool! (I know it's hard to see in the picture, but trust me, that's an F-16 going straight up!)