Thursday, July 30, 2009

Almost vegan in Denver

It’s a road trip special! Today I’m finally going to tell you about my trip to Denver in late May. (I’m going to follow it up Monday with an entry about my trip to Dallas just this past weekend!) I LOVE road tripping and traveling the Midwest to go to concerts, and I do so every chance I get. The week of May 25-30 was another Nine Inch Nails odyssey for us. Tyler, Henry, Brian, and I drove up to Denver on Memorial Day, 5/25, stayed the night, and explored the city the next day, 5/26, before the show that evening. We then drove back overnight to KC to see the show at Starlight on 5/27. 5/28 was a rest day, but Tyler, Henry, and I were back on the road Friday morning 5/29, bound for Chicago. We made it to town just in time for the show on the lakefront, and left immediately afterward to drive home overnight yet again. (We didn’t get to eat in Chicago, but I’ll be there again later this month, and there will definitely be food on that trip.) What a whirlwind week! It was immense fun, with great friends and stellar shows. I can’t explain it, but being on the open road makes me feel alive in a way that little else does...and that’s a feeling I really need in my life right now.

Now on to the food! On the way from Kansas City to Denver, we ate a late lunch in tiny little Hayes, Kansas. Mexican sounded good, so we stopped at a place called Gutierrez.

I had a black bean-jalapeño tostada with guacamole, rice, and what they called "papas con ajo," or garlic potatoes. The menu made no mention of them being mashed, though. The texture of mashed potatoes makes me queasy, but to be fair to the restaurant, I tried them. They were not my thing. The rest of the meal, though, was fantastic.

We’re sopapilla junkies, so we had to get those for dessert.

Now the bad news: about ten minutes after leaving Gutierrez, I felt nauseous. We had to stop at a gas station so I could...throw up. Not fun. I was upset—the meal was so tasty, it’s not fair it had to make me sick! The boys didn’t feel so hot either, so they bought and took some Pepto. The only things that all four of us ate were the garlic potatoes and the sopapillas. I blame the potatoes, since they were gross anyway.

Sadness...but on to better things. We rolled into Denver quite late, and after driving around downtown awhile, we realized that someone named “Pete” owns about a dozen restaurants there. We selected Pete’s Greek Town Café.

I had hummus, of course. It was alright, but a little chunky for my taste. The pita was good, though.

Henry had some very yummy lemon-oregano potatoes.

We breakfasted at our hotel, and then set out for the Rockies. Tyler lived in Denver a few years ago, so he took us up to Lookout Mountain. The air was clear and dry, and the views were gorgeous.

My favorite memory of the trip occurred on Lookout Mountain. Picture it: the four of us, right next to Buffalo Bill’s grave, sitting Indian-style on the ground, eating fudge purchased at the gift shop. Pretty awesome.

After that, we visited Red Rocks. It’s an outdoor amphitheatre nestled high up in the mountains, flanked on all sides by gorgeous natural rock formations. It's consistently voted best concert venue in the country, and it really lived up to the hype. I was envious of the people running up and down and across the rows of seats—what an amazing workout that would be, especially at that altitude! The scenery was simply stunning.

We bummed around downtown for awhile before looking for a place to eat dinner. We ended up at Buenos Aires Pizzeria. Who knew that Argentina had its own style of pizza?

At the table, we were served focaccia-esque bread with a fantastic herb-packed dipping oil. To start, I ordered fries (not something I eat often, but these were dusted with herbes de Provence, parsley, and sea salt) and their other specialty item: an empanada.

Mine had a savory roasted corn and onion filling, but they had a plethora of choices.

I also ordered a slice of cheese pizza with roasted garlic. Their idea of “really light on the cheese” differed from mine, but it wasn’t too overbearing. The sauce was full of spices, and the crust was tender within, crunchy without. Apparently Argentine pizza is not dissimilar to American, but I can always appreciate a handmade pie. We stuffed ourselves silly, thoroughly enjoyed the NIN show at Fielders Green, and embarked immediately afterward on our long drive home.

Be sure to catch up on my past vacation entries!
Chicago 2008: my first ever post! I didn’t have pics for that trip, tragically, but it’s definitely worth a read!
Dallas 2008: this is a MUST-READ before Monday’s upcoming entry! I love love LOVE Dallas.
Mexican cruise, parts one, two, and three: a Royal Caribbean cruise down the western Mexican Riviera was a truly unforgettable experience.

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  1. Oh,Gutierrez,so good, but so... yeah, still the best was Buenos Aries.

  2. i adore red rocks, definitely my favorite music venue!

    ps just found your blog!! jealous of your adventures!! looks like a blast! and i love your food philosophy!

  3. Elizabeth—Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you continue to read and comment :] I have several more Europe entries to go, but after that I'll be back to mostly cooking/baking posts, with local eats & travel posts sprinkled in.

    Red Rocks really was stunning; I hope someday I can see an actual concert there!