Boulder Over My Shoulder
When Andrew said he wanted to go to Denver, I, being the geographically-ignorant fool that I am, had Aspen in my mind.
Of course, my Aspen is the Aspen-Film-Festival version gleaned from TV shows like Extra! and Entertainment Tonight, in which B- and C-list celebrities prance around wearing oversized shades, carrying skis they don’t really plan to use, talking on cell phones, and looking for some chalet to duck into, because the paparazzi is sooooo intrusive and they just want to be left alone. They just want to be left alone!! But then they “accidentally” sit right next to the window so US Magazine can get some good shots anyway. My version of Denver (Aspen) was Los Angeles with well-manicured, pearlescent snow that never gets brown and slushy, ever.
No wonder I was disappointed by the real thing.
Boulder doesn’t have celebs hidden in plain sight but its physical appearance, at least, is closer to what I had in mind. Except there wasn’t any snow.
Andrew and I were drawn to it immediately, and were anxious to park the car and look around. Aww, all the shops on Pearl Street are adorable! Oh my goodness, they have a Lush store! But screw all that, I’m hungry…
Falafel King, which is on Pearl Street next to Lush, makes quite possibly the second-best falafel I’ve had in my life. And that’s saying a lot because falafel is practically a food group to me. The patties were crisp and flavorful, the pita was soft and fresh, and it was piled high with delectable toppings, just the way I like it.
After lunch and more goofing around…
We got a room at the Boulder University Inn, where we ended up staying for a few days.
Look, I’m gonna level with you–I’m having a lot of trouble writing about Boulder because we didn’t do much there, and were only there for a few days. Andy worked, we ate at different places, we watched TV.
Frankly, I don’t know if we really fit in. We aren’t students, we don’t like to ski or hike or rock-climb or do anything outdoorsy and we can’t use words like “sustainability” or “carbon footprint” without chuckling.
But we did like Boulder–the walkability, the abundance of vegan-friendly establishments, the beauty of the mountains, the fresh air, the fact that we could completely forego washing our car and no one would notice. We even considered finding an apartment and staying for a month or two, or longer.
And speaking of vegan-friendly establishments, here are a few we enjoyed:
We only went to Khow Thai once, and unfortunately I don’t have food pictures because I stupidly forgot to replace the memory chip in my camera after uploading photos to my hard drive. It’s easy to see why this place has earned awards around the city–the food is great, and I like how the menu offers “American Spicy” and “Thai Spicy” options. I had the Gaeng Pa (Jungle Curry) while Andy enjoyed the Peanut Stir-Fry with Tofu. And Fresh Mangoes with Sticky Rice for dessert–one of my favorites! The interior reminded me of Chipotle–brightly lit, concrete floors, aluminum–which was odd. Ah well.
VG Burger got to see my smiling face on three separate occasions.
I love this place so much! EVERYTHING IS VEGAN!!!
Naturally, I started with probably the least-healthy item on the menu: chili-cheese fries.
Many vegan restaurants shy away from fried food, but not VG Burgers! And I applaud them for that. The creamy “cheese” sauce that was drizzled over the kidney-bean chili and crisp fries was pretty authentic to me–but I’ve been a vegan for three years so what do I know? If you’ve ever had Chili Cheese Frito-Lay corn chips, VG’s fries reminded me of those.
This was probably meant to be shared as an appetizer–which is why it’s listed under “Starters” on the menu–not eaten as a meal in itself. After eating 3/4 of them, I did not feel so good…
You can’t keep my tummy down for long, though. I returned twice, and enjoyed the much healthier Tempeh and Black Bean burgers, with side salads, to go. Being next door to that place was dangerous!
On Pearl Street, there’s also Moongate Asian Bistro, which has sweeter, milder, coconut-milkier curries than any I’ve ever tried. I wasn’t able to differentiate between the green and red curries, other than a subtle color variation. Still good, though.
Coffee, dessert, and eavesdropping at The Laughing Goat, a block or so away, was also a treat. The barista there was skilled at making soy-milk foam but a little surly–which is a word I’ve never used to describe anyone before. For some reason I liked it. Slight turn-on, perhaps?
All that was just fine and dandy, until…
Snow, in Colorado? Who would have thought? Looks more like Aspen now, doesn’t it?
Once we saw flakes, I’m sure Andrew finally thought, “What the fuck are we doing here??” Grey skies deeply affect his mental state (Jekyll-and-Hyde) so he wanted to go to Colorado partly because they have a high percentage of sunny days. I wasn’t so hyped-up about the idea, but the first few days we were there, it was “jacket weather” with sparking blue skies, so I thought maybe he was on to something.
Gloomy weather came fast and hard, though, dampening our spirits and making me want to put on sweatpants and eat in bed until August.
Speaking of eating in bed, did I mention Whole Foods was right across the street from our hotel? And that they had Uncle Eddie’s Cookies, my new favorite brand? Damn. This place was built for maximum ass-expansion.
And we’d have to stay several months to qualify for a medical marijuana card. I just don’t know if having a crack at $10 “special” brownies would be worth the wait.
Last but not least, the high altitude gave us both headaches and made my Sickle Cell act up. Uh, can we leave now?
So, on Monday I cooked with a local foodie (see next post!) and my guy and I had dinner at Sun Deli, Pizza, and Liquor, where I had my first experience with Daiya cheese! Oh wow! Creamy, melty… not quite as rich as “real” cheese (from what I can remember) but it was awesome on my pizza.
(I just realized that I’m wearing the exact same clothes in the above picture that I was wearing in the picture from VG Burgers. I swear that these pictures were taken on separate days, and that I do own other clothing. Thank you for understanding.)
On Tuesday, we left for…Austin, Texas. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll have any trouble helping to “Keep Austin Weird.”
Of course, Boulder was sunny again when we left. As we hit I-70 toward Kansas–again!–I could almost pretend that the rapidly-melting snow was blindingly white everywhere, and that Heidi Montag was right around the corner.
Seeing as how Heidi just had, like, 10,000 plastic surgeries and now looks like Mary Shelley’s Franken-Barbie, I’m sure she would have wanted us to get out of Boulder (Aspen?) with our fancy camera equipment and leave her the hell alone.
As you wish, scary plastic lady. As you wish.
So, what do you think about Austin? What to do, where to go?