Back from Colorado! Both James and I had to get back to work this morning, so we came home last night and tag teamed unpacking our bags while getting the apartment back in order. Finally, in our last act of holiday gluttony, we ordered Chinese takeout and ate to our hearts’ content. Those cravings are real guys!
Anyway, it was nice to get out of the city and away from the hustle and bustle for several days to celebrate the holidays with James’ family in Colorado Springs. There’s something about Colorado that make me feel as though I’m spending the holiday season in a postcard.
With views like this, it’s not hard to not be completely relaxed. The town is nestled into the base of the mountains, the sky is clear and blue, and everything has this peaceful, untouched feeling. It makes me feel like I’m in a screensaver or something. ;)
The dining and drinking establishments also passed the test. After dinner on Christmas Eve, we headed to the Golden Bee at the Broadmoor to meet up with James’ friends from high school, including Ellen and Brent we went to Las Vegas with few months ago. The Golden Bee is a pub imported from England in the late 1800s, as in the original panels and fixtures were shipped here from a bar that was in London.
You’re in for a small surprise once you’re seated. :) They throw these bee stickers onto your shirt when you least expect it. I got “stung” a few times!
Most people went for what I hear is a drink not to be missed, Pimms Cup, but I was equally excited about my Bee Sting (most of their cocktails have a bee theme going).
They made an extra Pimms Cup by mistake so they passed it along to me. Umm, yes please. ;)
By this time, I was stuffed after our baked ham dinner. As full as I was at that point, I somehow found a way to say yes to some cheese spread and crackers. At one point, our server just brought over a plate with few scoops of the spread.
If you’re not into cocktails, they also have plenty of beers on tap, serving them in these half-yard and yard long (if you dare!) beer vessels.
Here’s me taking a stab at it :)
Another highlight here is the ragtime piano player busting out old-time songs and Christmas tunes for all to sing along to.
Don’t know the lyrics? They even give you a sing along book so that you can chime right in!
The Golden Bee is a must-go for anyone in Colorado Springs! We loved their fun, laid-back atmosphere so much we went back for a second time on our trip!
Before heading home, we stopped by the Broadmoor Hotel on a self-guided tour of the hotel. The hotel is all decked out in Christmas decorations, plus, it’s so big that it deserves a tour!
First up, a life-size gingerbread house covered with all things sweet and edible. It’s got its very own moose residents too!
Next, the Hotel Bar. It’s next to the lake with an outdoor fireplace on the outside and lots of overstuffed chairs inside. We stayed in for a couple of drinks on another evening.
I also loved the restaurant we went to for dinner a couple of nights ago – Walter’s Bistro.
The menu at Walter’s is extensive, and to start, we shared Tempura Fried Asparagus with Lemon Dill Cream Sauce and Fried Calamari which came with a traditional marinara sauce as well as a sweet, spicy chili sauce. MmmMmm…
For the main course, I was in the mood for something light, so I went with Pan Seared Salmon with a zesty Lemon Cream Sauce.
James had the Slow Braised Colorado Angus Short Ribs — it was tender, flavorful, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Another night, we met up with James’ friends from high school and allllll the way back from elementary school at Bristol Brewing Company. Their award-winning beers are hand-brewed, and they even have an on-site pub serving fresh beer straight from the brewery taps. What I love most about the place? The bar is set inside an old school (literally!), Ivywild School, to be specific.
The vacant school building was converted into a community business center. The art-filled hallway is reminiscent of its past as an elementary school.
The laid-back atmosphere makes it a great place to mingle.
On Christmas morning, we opened gifts while listening to Christmas tunes, noshing on bacon and cheese quiches, and hanging out in front of the roaring fire.
I even had my my own stocking hanging from the fireplace!
James and I took turns being each other’s Santa. :)
One of the gifts I received was a Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment I had been wanting for so long! The freezer bowl had to sit in the freezer for hours for the coolant to solidify, but as soon as it was ready, we put it to test by whipping up a batch of fresh strawberry ice cream. Or tried to…
Custard was made with precision.
Strawberries were diced and ready to be added in.
We got the machine cranking, and cranking, and cranking. And it didn’t set!
It was below zero that day so we took the operation outside to the back porch to see if it would help the cream set. James kept a close eye on it, with a beer in hand of course ;)
We had no luck there either. It might be the fat-free milk we mixed in, or the custard not being cold enough. Guess we have to try it out again.
In between our drinking, snacking, and ice cream making, James’ aunt, uncle, and cousin came to visit bearing gifts! They had brought a basket of freshly made cheeses, as in fresh chevre made from their goats’ milk!
There were also goat cheese balls rolled in herbs and marinated in olive oil, as well as spicy pepper jack cheese. We brought home a huge chunk of pepper jack cheese and some goat cheese, and have been eating the goat cheese on roasted beet salad.
The two loaves of banana bread in the back were made by Kylie with a little butter and Greek yogurt. The texture is so nice and moist — I’d have to try baking quickbreads with Greek yogurt.
On one evening, we had a rib-sticking meal of turkducken. That’s a boneless turkey breast stuffed wtih boneless duck, chicken, and Cajun pork sausage. So delicious!
We haven’t had much opportunity on this trip, but there are many incredible mountain trails around here for hiking, biking, and general merry making in the great outdoors. We managed to venture out one day to get some exercise in and go for a light hike in the nearby Cheyenne Mountain.
Stratton Open Space is next to North Cheyenne Cañon Park and offers miles of trails, and then connects to even more extensive trails to the Pike National Forest.
It was an easy hike (all the trails are well marked and maintained) and you get beautiful views of the mountains. I even got to use my new hiking poles on the snow-covered trail!
On our last day in town, we had breakfast at King’s Chef Diner in Downtown Colorado Springs. We all took to Food Network Magazine’s advice and tried the Breakfast Burrito, which FN had declared the “Tastiest Breakfast in Colorado”. It’s a huge burrito filled with sausages, eggs, hash browns, and smothered in Colorado green chili. The green chili had quite a kick and seriously so good!
Oh, and we got a side of bacon to share. I could not have been more pleased :)
I know many people are ready for the holidays to be over and get back into the swing of things, but this was one cozy, relaxing vacation I did not want to end. This Christmas season went way too fast, don’t you think?! ‘Til next time!