Denver, CO

My intentions going into 2019, were to travel more and to eat more amazing food. What better way to do that than going to the ‘Mile High City’ with some friends?

We impulsively planned this trip in a month and here’s how it all went down.

I am sure you are wondering ‘why Colorado of all places?’, well if you’re posing that question then you don’t know me personally. I am in love with anything that involves seeing some mountains in the background. My family and I visited Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving and my friends were itching to go too so that’s how we settled on our Christmas Break vacation.

We had a budget of $500 each for the trip: $170 on plane tickets, $95 on hotel, $50 on Lyft rides, $40 on NHL tickets and the rest to spend on food and shopping. We packed light and loosely planned on what we’d do when we got there. 3 days and 3 nights of pure getaway joy.

Day 1:

Bless my brother’s heart for driving my friends and I to the airport at 6am in the rain. We had a 4hr non-stop flight to the capital and took the A-line train into downtown.

This was Laura’s idea, a good one for the scenic views, not so good when the train lost power haha. We had some time to kill before checking into the hotel so we decided to walk around.Denver is the capital and a big city but it is beautiful and surprisingly very clean. Kind of odd for us walking around because here in Virginia, everything is a hill but there its flat.

Our first food stop was Watercourse Foods. Amanda Sevilla told me that it was a go to and from their Instagram posts I believed her. The restaurant isn’t upscale but it very nice and comfortable.

Now, Laura and Caymen are not vegan but they were very willing to try it out with me. This is the first completely plant based restaurant I’ve been to that overwhelmed me in amazing options. We got a sampler of the cauliflower wings flavored with Mango Haberno, Buffalo and BBQ. Now the girls are wing connoisseurs and now agree that all restaurants should have this option. For our main course, Laura ordered a jack fruit BBQ sandwich that was topped with coleslaw, Caymen picked the breakfast sandwich which was basically a sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin and I got the Southern. Mine was two big bundles(?) of cauliflower deep fried southern style and seasoned accompanied by macaroni n’ cheese and a crispy chickpea kale salad. The cauliflower and salad were spot on (and I don’t even like salads), the mac n cheese was a bit on the sweet side but delicious nonetheless! I also got some peach kombucha to sip on that was very smooth. I felt very accomplished that our first stop was a hit.

Jet lagged and stuffed, we took a nap after checking into the hotel. Luckily we woke up just in time to see the dark blue and orange sunset over the mountains, sensational.

We rallied and walked down to Voodoo Donuts. It was worth all the hype! I got the Voodoo Doll donut; giant chocolate glazed donut, custom designed by hand, being stabbed with a pretzel stick and filled with strawberry jelly. After we went to 1UP, this really cool, underground looking, barcade that Caymen had looked into for us. The girls are much better than me at video games but I destroyed them in skee ball.

Day 2:

First meal of the day was at Sam’s No 1 diner. This place had been featured on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ so of course we had to go. Here they serve classic American diner food and Mexican food. No explicitly vegan options but I’m a professional at modifying vegetarian options. I settled on a 2lb. Veganized burrito...well I only ate half because my stomach is only so big!

After breakfast we went to grab some goodies before the hike and Caymen convinced me to take a wheatgrass shot. It was sweeter than I expected! We took a Lyft up to Lookout Mountain 30 minutes away for a short 1 mile hike. That elevation was no joke! We were roughly 7000 ft high hiking with backpacks and it was icy. However, the view was so beautiful we forgot how hard it was to breathe up there. We impulsively decided to also go see the Red Rocks since it was on our way back. They were cool too but seeing the endless valley of Lookout was the showstopper.

That night we got to see the Colorado Avalanches beat the New York Rangers 6-1! This was our first NHL game and it couldn’t have been better. We got tickets center line and our tickets came with 10$ vouchers to use on whatever we wanted. Naturally we got food and drinks to compliment the experience. The lights and digital media used during that game were AMAZING. Whoever is in charge of them deserves a raise.

Day 3:

On our last full day, we just went with the flow since we didn’t plan it out beforehand. Woke up pretty late so we skipped right into brunch at City O’City, the sister restaurant to Watercourse. The vibe there is more laid back and artsy. Caymen proclaimed that her buffalo wrap there was her favorite bite of the trip. Laura got her first experience with Seitan with their BBQ wings.

I was spoiled with a strong mimosa and giant To’fish Filet Sandwich; fried tofu topped with lettuce, cheese and a special sauce on a bun. For dessert we walked next door to Make, Believe bakery and the girls split a ho ho cupcake and I enjoyed a cute danish.

There are those electric scooters everywhere so we decided to take one on a ride through the city to go shopping for souvenirs and see the city park. All of our Lyft drivers were super nice but those Lyft scooters were a really cool way to get around with a little adrenaline rush. Oh and just as a warning, THEY ARE VERY FAST.

In short, I have never had a better vacation with friends until going to Denver. Honestly couldn’t have timed it better. We had perfect sunny weather in the 50s the whole time. There wasn’t a single thing any of us wanted to do that didn’t get done. And luckily no bad moments the whole time. It was affordable for us broke adults but the memories were honestly priceless (I know cheesy but I’m being honest!) Go to Denver soon y’all, you won’t regret it.