Last March, when I was alone and jobless, I began to journal what life during the ‘rona was like. Despite the restrictions, I was still able to dine out, travel, and adapt to my circumstances (as safe as possible, of course.) When the pandemic is over, I will be submitting this blog in print form to History Colorado to add to their archives.
I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to start a food blog, but here it is! I actually kicked off the @mtngirleats Instagram in 2020 and then created a real website a year later. This is where I’m eating in Colorado with a focus on Denver.
My latest project has been blogging for my first business ever: Mountain Girl Company! It has all the items you need for your first trip into the mountains. My online boutique encompasses everything I love such as community and sustainability, as well as helpful tips on what to do in Colorado.
Enjoy Postcard Foods’ New American fare for now and later.
There’s a new reason to pull off on Exit 234 on your way to the slopes this weekend. As of January, Postcard Foods is open for business in Dumont and here to cure your mountainside munchies.
Postcard Foods isn’t a restaurant or a food truck, but a food trailer that owners Jim Abraham and Bridget Bagel use to serve hot and frozen meals prepared from a commissary kitchen in Genesee Park. Based in Denver, the two originally hail from New Jersey, where they were surrounded by diverse Peruvian, Turkish, and Italian neighborhoods and cuisine.
Bridget and Jim didn’t meet in New Jersey though. They met in Black Rock Desert, Nevada (home of Burning Man) more than two years ago while making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. They were long distance for awhile so when Bridget visited Denver, she would make freezer-friendly meals for Jim so they could eat them during FaceTime dates together.
Last year, after Bridget graduated from Boston University with a degree in gastronomy, Jim left his longtime job of selling medical parts in Denver, and the couple traveled the world and began researching new flavors for Postcard Foods. They explored countries such as Morocco and Vietnam and then traveled to 18 more states throughout the US.
The two recognized a need for convenient high country fare after noticing long wait times at restaurant ski towns and Airbnbs not having user-friendly kitchens. In addition to Postcard’s ready-to-eat menu (with options such as the zesty Philadelphia Roast Pork sandwich and the super melty Verona Chicken Pesto Panini), the takeaway frozen meals have been its best-selling order so far.
The menu will change seasonally but will always have a gluten-free, vegan, and kid-friendly option. Right now you can grab a Marrakesh Chicken Tagine (made with chicken thighs, chickpeas, olives, quinoa, and seasoned with Moroccan spices and lemon zest) or a super-filling Shepard’s Pie (Bridget’s favorite as “mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food”), which can be popped in the oven and enjoyed by the entire family. Best of all, they’re aware that meal kit packaging can be pretty wasteful so all their meals are packaged in a plant compostable fiber that’s microwave- and oven-safe.
This summer, Postcard plans to be open five days a week instead of three to better serve the hungry summer crowds. In addition to the convenient gas station right next door, there is also a Pure Harvest dispensary and possible liquor store in the works, making Postcard Foods your ideal mountain pitstop. As for future plans, Bridget says, “It would be a dream to have a brick-and-mortar as a commissary kitchen to give to ski towns. We could have different trucks [to distribute meals in] in Breckenridge and other towns.”
Grab a bite to eat for now (and later) from Postcard Foods before your next mountain adventure today.
There’s no real explanation on why I’ve held off on telling you all about the beauty that is France, Switzerland, and Italy, but that writer’s block has passed, and I’m ready to tell you all about the Old Country.
I’ll start off with Reims.
When roundtrip tickets to Paris are only $400, what do you do? You book tickets to Paris, that’s what you do. After a memorable study abroad trip, l’Italia era nella mia mente, and I finally found an inexpensive ticket to get there.
I knew I had many options of how I was going to travel, but I knew my best bet would be by train. After all, there’s fast trains all over Europe. I knew the one from Paris to Florence would take a day at least, so we decided to make a trip out of it. Starting with a little break to ease our jet lag in Reims.
Pronounced RAHMs, this quaint little town’s main attraction is living in the heart of Champagne country. I know that the meaning of “Champagne” has been lost in translation as some of you consider it as any kind of fancy white bubbly. NO. Erase that debauchery out of your head at once. In French wine country, wines are known and honored by region, and Champagne is no different. Only wine grown and bottled in Champagne can be called Champagne. The perfect trifecta of the grape varietals Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, Champagne used to only be exclusive to the elite and the royal.
Reims was relatively easy to get to by French TGV (their fast train line) from Charles De Gaulle Airport as they have a train station at the airport. We exchanged trains at Marne la Vallée Chessy (aka Disneyland Paris) which then took us to Champagne-Ardenne. From Champagne-Ardenne, we took a quick regional train to Gare de Reims, only a ten minute walk from our Airbnb.
Reims was quiet at night, but by morning was bustling with pedestrians and bikers who, I kid you not, seemed to all be carrying loaves of crispy fresh baguettes. We ate at Maison et Tartine, which also doubled as a boutique decor shop, making our breakfast super homey. We made the mistake of thinking we could just go to these grand Champagne houses and pay a tasting fee like we do in the States, but no. You must make a reservation or book in advance. Honestly, I really didn’t plan our day in Reims as it was only a stopover, but we did want to drink bubbly as what else are you supposed to do in Champagne country?
We snagged an English-speaking tour at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin where we ventured down into crayère (chalk) caves that Champagne bottles are stored and rotated. As we sipped on flutes of their peachy vanilla Yellow Label Brut, our lovely tour guide told us the story about widow Lady Clicquot, a business woman who made the best of her circumstances after inheriting a dwindling vineyard in 1805. After, we checked out their Insta-worthy boutique shop and personalized airstream trailer.
Our tour guide then pointed us in the direction of this amazing growers champagne tasting room called Trésors de Champagne. In the past, Champagne houses such as Veuve Clicquot, G.H. Mumm, and Moët & Chandon would collect only the best harvests from surrounding French vineyards, but in the last fifty years, those same vineyards are making a name for themselves by developing their own concoctions of bubbly. At Trésors, you could opt for a flight, glass, or bottle from their library of only growers champagne. Needless to say, after an afternoon of Champagne, we passed out at our Airbnb (only to wake up at 10 p.m. and cure our bubbly coma with moules frites, or steamed mussels and fries, at l’Édito.)
Denver, CO — Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Here’s a list of my favorite restaurants to hit up in the Mile-High.
The French Press Cafe and Bakery — Five years ago, I stumbled upon the French Press when it was still part of a strip mall in Lakewood. I fell in love with their zucchini pistachio pancakes then and still order them often to this day. Everything else is delicious at this New Orleans inspired cafe such as the breakfast burrito with pork green chile or their own version of a Monte Cristo (please please please bring it back). Special shoutout to the candied bacon which is hands down the best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.
Sassafras American Eatery — I’m not a huge “bennie” person but Sassafras’ “Deep South” Benedict takes me straight back to Nawlins. Pulled pork, pepper jam, and jalapeño cornbread makes this the perfect protein packed breakfast. Sassafras also has a killer bar game with its mimosa flights, spiked milkshakes, and lavender-infused cocktails. *Sigh* Can I just be there already?
Prosper Oats — Sometimes I just want to start my day off with an açaí bowl, is that okay? I like stopping by the Prosper Oats in LoHi and building my own, topped with dates, granola, cacao nibs, and crystallized ginger. (If you don’t know what you want, Prosper Oats has plenty of other combos for you to choose from.) Other times, if I’m craving a smoothie, I’ll get the “Pearls for Eyes,” a blendy blend of kiwifruit, grapefruit, banana, and coconut milk.
Green Seed Market — And sometimes, all I want for breakfast is fresh-pressed juice, and one of my favorite spots just happens to be located in none other than the Denver Central Market. I’ve eaten probably everything here (don’t quote me on that), and I could still never get bored of this place. Juices range from charcoal lemonade to blends like “Detox” or “Immunity 2.0.” I don’t really drink it because of the fancy names, I mainly drink it because it’s actually really good.
Butcher Block Cafe — When I want a home cooked breakfast, I will drive into the mess that is RiNo and face the potholes to dine at the good old Butcher Block. I always order the #1 Breakfast Special, which comes with eggs, bacon, and French toast soaked in pancake batter (!!!) It’s serious comfort food, and I regret even letting you in on this. I take it back, it’s awful, don’t go. 😉
Araujos — Para desayuna, toma los $2 breakfast burritos y una horchata, para llevar.
Black Eye Coffee — You might get a haughty barista and glares from the work-from-homers when you come in to Black Eye, but I don’t care. You can trace their arrays of roasts back to the bean and they know how to make a mean cup of java. Don’t forget about its food menu though! I occasionally crave the homemade brioche topped with apples, bruleed goat cheese and honey. ‘Tis divine.
June 12, 2019
Syrup — I’ll admit, I’ve never been to City Park West before but I’ll go for Syrup. An expanding Denver breakfast chain, Syrup is a delicious spot perfect for brunching. I fell in love with their coconut French toast, covered in crunchy coconut flakes and coconut syrup, which tastes every bit as good as it sounds. I paired it with a tall pint of house nitro cold brew, because who doesn’t like the caffeine and sugar jitters?
Crema — How on earth did I forget to add Crema to this list. Located in the heart of RiNo, Crema is another one of those breakfast spots I’d risk my life going into the neighborhood for. They serve the freshest juice, coffee, and delicious quiche that everyone should start their day off with, at least just once. P.S. If there isn’t any room to sit up front, sneak off to the back patio to get away from the hectic morning crowds OR alternatively, head to its Denver Central Market bodega.
Here’s what youmight guess about the Boulder food scene after a casual stroll downtown: it’s alive and thriving. You might need to trust us on this one (and perhaps erase years of societal conditioning), but the scene is also quite welcoming to the solo eater. We’ve scouted five of the best spots to visit if you’re wanting to immerse yourself in an authentic Boulder dining experience or grabbing a quick bite to eat alone. So read up and take yourself out on a date; you deserve it.
For people-watching: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill Locals, college students, visitors… they’ve all gravitated to the whimsical neighborhood bar and grill that is the Dark Horse since 1975. Its unassuming exterior obscures a playful inside maze full of knick-knacks such as mechanical gears, boots glued to the ceiling and peanut dispensers. After 3 p.m. it’s self service, so mosey your way up to the food counter to order a juicy burger, then find a seat at the bar for a local brew while you wait for your name to be called. With tons of seating space, great happy hour specials and a weekly trivia night, this bar is a great pit stop for the solo traveler. 2922 Baseline Road, 303-442-8162, darkhorsebar.com
For your weekly cleanse: Zeal Everything about Zeal is Zen. Not only are you treating your body to flavorful and nourishing superfoods, you get to do it al fresco by the babbling Boulder Creek. Follow the never-ending signs through the tiled garden path to a quaint and intimate patio setting, complete with cavernous umbrellas and twinkling lights. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a refreshing acai bowl, wholesome mighty bowl (packed with quinoa, chickpeas, sauteed greens, sweet beets, carrots, cucumber and lentils), or filling grass-fed meatballs and zoodles in an addicting tikka masala sauce. 1201 Arapahoe Ave., 720-252-3398, zealfood.com
For a sweet breakfast fix: Foolish Craig’s Cafe
Forget pancakes and Belgian waffles to start your day: Foolish Craig’s has just the right idea with its sweet crepes (which are so good, it made that TV host with the wild hair stop by. Cough, Guy Fieri, cough.). Order “the whole thing” crepe, a sweet and spongy crepe filled with hot, oozy Nutella and topped with caramelized bananas, walnuts, cinnamon and whipped cream. Wash it down with an iced Americano (spiked version also available upon request). 1611 Pearl St., 303-247-9383, foolishcraigs.com
When you’re craving sushi: Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar Asian fusion, when done well, is exciting cuisine. Such is the case at Hapa. Known for its delicious blend of Japanese and Hawaiian nosh, this sushi favorite has those tropical and savory flavors down. Grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch the masters craft your roll, or sprawl out on its sunny patio, where you can watch the passersby stroll through Pearl Street Mall. We go for the lunch special, which comes with a sushi roll and tuna poke salad in a fried rangoon shell. You also can’t go wrong with the Hawaiian pork sliders or Red Bird chicken katsu bowl with Japanese steak sauce. 1117 Pearl St.,303-473-4730, hapasushi.com
Where it feels like home: The Kitchen What draws us back to The Kitchen again and again may have something to do with its always amicable staff, its perfect juxtaposition between industrial and classic design in an airy layout and, of course, its fresh takes on American cuisine. Go at midday for the seasonal lunch menu, like the Munson Farms grilled corn on the cob, topped with Aleppo chili, charred green onion mayo and popped sorghum (a type of cereal grain). Then treat yourself to a butterscotch pot de crème. 1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973, thekitchenbistros.com