Colorado Wine Country

 

imageI thought it was time to dedicate a post to Colorado wine country.  Especially since the 26th Annual Colorado Mountain Winfest is this weekend in Palisade, Colorado.  The Winefest is Colorado’s largest wine festival featuring unlimited sips from over 50, yes 50, Colorado wineries.  The festival is held in September, perfectly planned with the changing of the seasons.

imageGrowing up in Northern California I was well aware of wineries.  After all, when you hear Napa, the first thing that comes to mind is wine.  But, in my humble opinion, Colorado has a lot to brag about as well.  I remember the first time I discovered Colorado wine country.  We were living in Denver at the time and I had to go to the Western Slope for business.  While driving along I-70, I was passing Palisade and I did a double take.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  All of the vineyards!  It was an amazing sight.  Unfortunately, on that business trip I couldn’t partake in any vino tasting, but I made sure to tell my husband, “we must visit the Western Slope and check out the wineries!”  Well, we did!!!  We took a little mini vacation and explored the wineries.  It was an awesome experience.  Lots of very nice, hospitable folks, and of course delicious wine.  Another plus, almost every winery is dog friendly.  We were so impressed by the landscape, the wine, and of course the people, it was a great visit.

 

Mount Garfield (my favorite), the Bookcliffs, the Grand Mesa (largest flat top mountain in the world), and the Colorado River adorn the landscape, along with lavender farms, and a variety of orchards including the infamous Palisade peaches.  The Grand Valley is full of lush farmland.  A sweet combination of warm days followed by cool evenings make this valley the perfect place to grow grapes and other produce.

imageWine country in Colorado offers a wide range of wines.  If you like wine, you are covered.  White, red, rose, sweet, honey, you get the idea.  If you aren’t a wine person, no worries, there is also a brewery and distillery in Palisade as well.

imageOne item on our to do list is to cruise around the wineries on bikes.  Now is the perfect time to bike the Fruit and Wine Byway because the temperatures are starting to cool down.  Bring your own bike or rent one locally.  There are plenty of places to spend the weekend.  Including the Wine Country Inn, which can be seen off of I-70.

imageNow that we live on the Western Slope and about 15ish minutes from Colorado wine country, I want to sing its praises!  We regularly take little drives through Palisade, (that is where I took the pictures for this post) where I chase the setting sun to get dreamy pictures of that perfect light hitting the wineries.  I am always in awe of the majestic beauty out on the Western Slope.  If you haven’t made a trip out this way, I invite you to visit what I enthusiastically call home.  Raise a glass to a hidden treasure on the Western Slope, Colorado Wine Country!  Cheers!

For more information about Colorado wine country, please visit:

coloradowinefest.com

Visitgrandjunction.com

colorado.com

coloradowine.com

Visitpalisade.com

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Our New Home, the Western Slope!

It has been a while since my last post.  I have no excuses.  But I will admit, I am addicted to Instagram.  That is where I have been keeping up with lovelivingincolorado social media.  Since my last post, we moved from Denver (where we lived for 5 1/2 years), which is also known as the Front Range to Grand Junction, which is known as the Western Slope.  We have always enjoyed visiting the Western Slope.  When the opportunity popped up for us to relocate to the Western Slope we jumped on the chance to relocate.  Some may read this and think, “why would you ever leave Denver?”  I had a hard time at first, thinking about moving away from the city, but then I remembered all of the reasons I truly love the Western Slope.  Below are some reasons, if you have any you think I should add, please let me know!

  1.  Affordability.  We were finally able to buy our first house.  While we loved living in a little over 800 square feet for 5 1/2 years in Denver, having a home with over 1600 square feet, more than one bathroom, a 2 car garage, a backyard for our pup, as well as absolutely NO shared walls, well, we feel spoiled!  Did I mention no more shoveling out our cars????
  2. We are about 20 minutes from wine country.  Yes, that is correct.  Colorado wine country, also known as Palisade, Colorado is a little piece of Heaven!  Visiting the wineries via bike, a must!
  3. The Colorado National Monument is literally minutes from our house and the views never tire.
  4. Many, many trails to hike.
  5. Close proximity to skiing at Powderhorn as well access to the Grand Mesa (largest flat top mountain in the world).  No more fighting the crowds on I-70 trying to get, well anywhere to ski.  We are on the other side of Vail Pass and we don’t have to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel.
  6. We are about an hour and 45 minutes from Moab, Utah, which is home to not one but two National Parks.
  7. Telluride is about 2 1/2 hours away, Aspen 2 hours and 13 minutes, Crested Butte 3 hours, Durango 3 1/2 hours, and Glenwood Springs now only takes us 1 hour and 21 minutes.
  8. Have you heard of Palisade peaches?  Yum!
  9. Love the outdoors?  The western part of the state is for you!
  10. The landscape, Mount Garfield and the Bookcliffs are absolutely stunning!

Colorado is wonderful for many reasons.  As much as I miss Denver, it is exciting to experience another part of this wonderful state!  If you need any Western Slope recommendations, please leave a comment below.  The West Slope is the Best Slope!  Thanks for reading!

Aaron Woo featured Chef at Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management

It is spring!  That means there are new cuisines to enjoy at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.  In previous posts I have raved about the School of Hospitality Management. Before I begin this post, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management…it is a Denver must!!!!!    On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 the school will be welcoming chef Aaron Woo, Sunset Magazine’s Best Chef of the West, and Chef and Owner of Natural Selection in Portland, Oregon.  This dinner appeals to me in many ways.  First, we lived in Portland, Oregon (http://ouryearinportland.wordpress.com/)for a year and I loved it.  Next, the cuisine will be vegetarian.  If I have a choice, I prefer not to eat meat.  So I am very excited about this vegetarian cuisine.  Last, the School of Hospitality Management is phenomenal.  I sing their praises as often and as much as I can.  If I could dine at the School nightly, I would.

Aaron Woo is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy who has worked in such notable San Francisco kitchens as Absinthe Brasserie, La Folie, Stars, and as sous chef of PlumpJack Cafe under Chef Keith Luce. In Telluride, Colorado Aaron worked as Executive Chef at 9545 and Chef de Cuisine at The CosmopolitanRestaurant. Upon moving to Portland he worked with Morgan Brownlow and Jason French at ClarkLewis.

The dinner will include a wine pairing and is $70.00 per person.  Cocktails start at 6:00 pm and dinner is at 7:00 pm.  The dinner will be held at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management Joy Burns Center, 2044 East Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80210.  To RSVP for this amazing night please check out the website:  http://knoebelschool.ticketleap.com/aaron-woo-guest-chef-dinner/

Please check out my other posts about University of Denver’s School of Hospitality Management: 

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/tour-ditalia-dinner-at-du-with-gina-stipo/

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fritz-knoebel-school-of-hospitality-management-and-gina-stipo/

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/university-of-denver/

We have been very honored to attend these FANTASTIC events at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management:  Beer Pairing Dinner, the Guest Chef Dinner with Gina Stipo, and the Spring Showcase (picture featured below is from the Spring Showcase).IMG_20130326_221214Of course, I can’t close this post without giving my favorite peeps at the School a shout out!!!  Chef Raymond and all of the exquisite students you are the best….talented, professional, and extraordinary!!!!  ????????????????????????????????????

Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management and Gina Stipo

Restaurant Week in Denver starts today.  The exact dates this year for Restaurant Week are February 23rd-March 8th.  I have blogged about Restaurant Weekhttps://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/denver-restaurant-week/

This year we will be enjoying two restaurants during Restaurant Week.  We will try NoRTH and Vesta Dipping Grill.  A helpful Restaurant Week tip:  make your reservations ASAP!  This year I was guilty of dragging my feet.  I am usually on the website as soon as Restaurant Week reservations are open.  This year I was not so quick.  However, don’t let this discourage you.  If you call the restaurants directly a lot of times they can squeeze you in.

I have big news in reference to Restaurant Week.  This year we are trying something new at our favorite place to dine.  We are heading over to the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver.  Why?  Gina Stipo (Italian-American chef) from Ecco La Cucina in Tuscany, Italy will be at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.  The event is called the Tour D’Italia DinnerThe dinner will be a five course meal inspired by the diverse cuisines across Italy and will be individually paired with award winning Italian wine from Banfi Vintners.  The dinner is open to the public and all of the proceeds from this event will be invested directly back into the program and students so the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management can continue to provide a “learn by doing” education.

This delectable dinner is being held on February 28, 2013 in the Tuscan Wine Cellar at the University of Denver in the Daniels College of BusinessWe literally are counting down the days for this dinner.  We can’t wait!! ????????????????????????????????????The entire evening is organized and executed by the industry’s best up and coming professionals in the hospitality industry.  We recently had the honor of attending an out of this world exquisite dinner held in the Tuscan Wine Cellar at the University of Denver in the Daniels College of Business.  The following pictures are from that wonderful experience–the Beer Pairing Dinner????????????????????????????????????Hopefully these mouth-watering pictures will tempt you to attend the Tour D’Italia Dinner.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Shall I save you a seat?  Do you have plans on February 28th?  Sometimes words can’t describe pure joy.  Take it from me, the University of Denver, Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management is the place to be!  For information on the Tour D’Italia Dinner please refer to the following links:

http://daniels.du.edu/ai1ec_event/tour-ditalia-dinner-guest-chef-gina-stipo-from-ecco-la-cucina-in-tuscany-italy/?instance_id=

http://www.denver.org/eventS/detail?e=12390&t=%27festivals%27,%27special_events%27

Join Us!

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

We finally went to our first winery in Colorado.  We were on our way to Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in Canon City, Colorado when we were pleasantly sidetracked by The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  I am glad we stopped at the winery.  To be honest, I had a little too much coffee and I needed something to take the edge off of my caffeine high.  We decided to try the complimentary wines.  We also tried the reserve wines for a $1.00 per tasting.  The grounds are beautiful.  We were able to walk our dog around the property before we went inside to taste some delicious wines.   I am by no means a wine connoisseur.  I usually play it safe by drinking Pinot Noir.  I enjoyed tasting the wines at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  Honestly, I like tasting wine pretty much anywhere.  Sadly, we didn’t buy any wine.  Instead I bought some early Christmas gifts at the gift shop.

We tried the white wines and the red wines.  My husband tried the sweet wines at the end of our tasting.

If you are going to Canon City, Colorado soon I recommend a stop at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  Pack a lunch, bring your dog, and enjoy the wines as well as a picnic on their beautiful property.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is located at 3011 E. Highway 50, Canon City, Colorado 81212 (719) 276-5191.

El Camino Community Tavern

I have no excuses!  However, I am going to make some :)!  Working is a huge time suck.  Period.  With this being said (we need two incomes and I do love my new job).  I have not had a chance to devote time to my blog.  I love to blog about Colorado.  I truly wish that blogging about Colorado was my job but (I am taking a deep sigh) I have to work.  With that being said it is high time I revisit El Camino.  I have blogged about El Camino Community Tavern (https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/el-camino-community-tavern/)before but we go so often that it deserves another shout out.  We went tonight.  Usually we go on Tuesday nights because El Camino offers $1.00 Street Tacos.  But, tonight we went on a Wednesday and it was half off bottles of wine.  That is what I am talking about!  The first picture is of Ceviche ($9.95) and my bottle of Pinot (1/2 off).Once again we started eating before I decided to take a picture.  The Ceviche (fresh shrimp, tomato, red and white onion, cucumber, cilantro, avocado, habanero, and lime juice, traditional mexican fare served with tortilla chips) is actually served with diced avocado and cilantro on top but we started eating before I realized I needed to snap a quick picture for the blog.  So good!

I am addicted to the Tacos de Papas $8.95 (sauteed poblano peppers, onions, and potatoes with onion topped with cheddar jack cheese served with toamtillo salsa on the side).  These actually are served in 3’s but of course I ate one before taking the picture.  One day I will learn….I promise.

My husband ordered the Enchiladas $8.95 (three enchiladas of either cheese, chicken, carnitas or beef.  Choice of red chili, green chili, mole, or jalapeño mushroom sauce.  Served with rice and beans)My husband ordered one chicken, one beef, and one carnitas.  The sauces on his enchiladas are mole and green chile.

I love El Camino for the following reasons:

  • The service is excellent!
  • The food is fantastic!
  • The drinks are tantalizing!
  • They always make us feel valued!
  • El Camino is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods–Highlands!

Please visit El Camino soon and tell Shannon that Heather from love living in Colorado sent you!

El Camino Community Tavern
3628 W. 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
720-889-7946

Vinue Food and Wine Bar in Denver, Colorado

My friend and I recently went to Vinue Food and Wine Bar in Cherry Creek North.  I had my eye on this little gem for some time now.  I ventured into the wine bar during the Cherry Creek Arts Festival to see what it was all about.  To be honest, it was blistering hot at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and walking into the wine bar gave me an excuse to enjoy some air conditioning (please refer to this post about my thoughts on a/c–https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/beautiful-blogger-award/).  I was impressed with the lovely decor and the wine bar owners and staff were extremely kind and welcoming.  The wine bar has a very classy and grown-up feel to it without being overly pretentious.  Vinue offers Happy Hour from 4pm-7pm.  This is great news because some Happy Hours end way too soon and we can never make it in time.  I knew when my friend visited that I would have to take her to the wine bar.  We left the husbands at home and headed to Vinue.  We had a great time!  We made it in time for Happy Hour.  We started off with the $5.00 house wines.  We decided to try 3 wines each.  I had two Roses and a Pinot Noir and she had a Rose, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.  I loved the Rose and the Pinot–in our defense we haven’t seen each other in 7 years so we had to get caught up and what better way to do that than over a glass of wine or two or three! 🙂

We ordered food off of the Happy Hour menu. The Happy Hour food is awesome.  We ordered the kettle chips with warm bleu cheese mornay sauce for $4.00.  It was just as delicious as it looks. 

We ordered goat cheese trufflesEach goat cheese truffle is separately rolled in black pepper, toasted walnut, and scallions.  The goat cheese truffles are served with red onion jam and crostinis.  We ordered all three for $9.00.  So good and the presentation was fantastic!Our last appetizer was the half flat bread with tomato and basil pesto with five-cheese blend for $4.00.  I love anything with pesto and this flat bread was wonderful.

http://www.denverwinebar.net/

Vinue Food and Wine Bar is a wonderful establishment.  I can’t wait to go back.  If you are in the Cherry Creek North area I highly recommend a trip to the wine bar.  They are located at:

2817 E. 3rd Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

(720) 287-1156