This past August we made the long journey, seven hours, from Denver to Telluride; impressively enough we made it starting at 5:30 pm and arriving at 2 am, thanks to John’s mad driving skills. We set up camp in the dark and awoke to a beautiful area. We were camping at Alta Lakes and it was an incredible spot—though a very scary drive to the actual lakes and camp site. You drive up a road that on one side is a major cliff. You can not do this with a low clearance vehicle.
Telluride is incredible. The town is located in a box canyon that was originally founded as a mining camp. At the head of the canyon you will find Bridal Falls which I’m sure you can figure out how it got that name. You are able to drive up a road then do a really easy hike to the top of the falls. We had lunch up there.
For dinner we made a pretty luxurious camp fire dinner if I do say so myself—lunchables as an app and hot dogs and cheeseburgers for dinner!
The next day we did the most amazing hike to Hope Lake. The wild flowers were in full bloom and I must say it is one of the top five best hikes I have ever done.
We spent the afternoon in the town of Telluride and were lucky enough to stumble upon the Mushroom Festival that was happening. We drank beers and margaritas and got take out pizza from Brown Dog Pizza and went back to the camp site to watch the sunset and hammock.
This town is so charming and inviting. When you are there all your worries and daily concerns leave you and you are just present. Leaving the next morning was very, very, hard—but Henry didn’t hate the ride home.
When I go camping I always want to bring a baked good. Actually whenever I’m going anywhere I want to bring a bake good so this isn’t that different. I decided to make something for breakfast and dessert when we went camping in Telluride in August (Telluride post to follow). I wanted to bake something that I hadn’t baked before and something kind of simple but fun—a pop tart was the winner. I made peach because that was in season and cinnamon brown sugar because that is one of my favorites. The recipe was an easy one and the end results were so cute—it was like adult pop tarts!
For dessert it was a no-brainer …s’mores. Instead of individual s’mores I decided to go bigger and make one large s’mores bar. Basically you put graham cracker batter at the bottom of a square pan then layer chocolate bars and marshmallow fluff and then seal it with the batter again and bake—bonfire camping heaven.
Sunday I brought out my large-and-in-charge dutch oven to make one of my favorite soups— Italian wedding soup! This recipe is from the amazing Ina Garten and therefore obviously creates an incredible soup that is so flavorful and hearty. I would also suggest making it a few hours before serving so it has time to sit and the flavors to marry. This will be a frequent soup on my stove this winter!
Oktoberfest is in full swing right now! It is currently day 14 of Oktoberfest in Munich and there are two days left. In Colorado there have been multiple celebrations from Denver’s Oktoberfest on Larimer that was the last two weekends in September, South Pearl Street’s Oktoberfest, to ones in the mountains like Breckenridge’s Oktoberfest; which is the one I attended! It was a day filled with drinking of Hefeweizen and Märzen that spilled over into the night. With two more days till the taps run dry in Munich make sure to join in on the celebration to get yourself a stein, brat, and pretzel to close out the celebration!
Here is my most recent post for the Equator.
Almost smack-dab in the middle of Brazil is Goiânia, the 11th largest city in the country, located 15 hours northeast of Rio de Janeiro. Like many cities in Brazil, on Sunday afternoon you’ll find families gathered around one of the country’s most popular dishes, a pot of Feijoada ─ a traditional Portuguese black bean stew with smoked meats.
The rest of the post…
(Opera San Jose)
Even though I really only had one free day in Costa Rica I really wanted to go up to Monteverde. I wanted to do the canopy tour and go zip lining. Unfortunately with it being off season in September and it being about a five hour drive I wasn’t able to make it happen this trip. Excuse to go back? What I was able to fit in with the season and my time frame was a day tour just outside of San Jose. My pick up was at 5:55 am (rough I know) and we went to Doka Estate, Poás Volcano, and La Paz Waterfall and then I was dropped back off at my hotel by 5 pm. Long day but it was a great way to see a little more and not have to navigate myself.
When the fog cleared you could see in the crater.
We stopped on the side of the road to try queso palmita which is a salty soft farm cheese and strawberries.
At the waterfall there is a facility that has rescued Costa Rican wildlife and we got to check them out! Toucan Sam is pictured below.
After getting back to my hotel I walked down the pedestrian mall, which was right behind my hotel, to the Mercado Central. This market is great and has lots of shops; from food to touristy places you can find it all.
For dinner I met a coworker in Barrio Escalante and had dinner at El Patio then headed over to the Costa Rica Beer Factory for a drink. That area is really cool and I would highly suggest it if you ever visit. Another restaurant we went to the previous night was Cafe Mundo. The food didn’t blow me out of the water but it was an old colonial house which was pretty neat.
Pura Vida—as you will hear all the time if you visit!
This past week in Denver it felt like fall. It made me excited for fall baking. So to kick off the season I made a lattice apple pie. Yes it was delicious. And yes there is an “H” on the pie. That is because it was Henry’s birthday today! The big guy is two!!!
Apple Lattice Pie
The best thing I ate in Costa Rica was chifijo (pictured below) and from what I heard this is the most classic Costa Rican dish you could try. It is composed of chicharrón, which is crispy fried pork, regular pork, beans, rice and then topped with chimichurrri (which tasted exactly like pico de gallo to me). The ingredients are how you get the name; CHI from chicharrón and FIJO from frijol or beans. I am including this fact because everyone is quick to tell you that detail because the name is actually patented by the creator Miguel Angel Araya Cordero and it was a dramatic process. He is also the owner of the restaurant chain called Cordero where you can find the original chifijo. The crunch and saltiness from the pork paired with the freshness of the pico, I mean chimichurri, was perfect! You’ll find this staple boca (bar food) at bars because it is meant to be paired with a nice cold Imperial.
That is the question that I was asked on Friday the week before Labor Day. My obvious answer was “Yes, Yes I can!” Logistics were looked over that weekend and then I booked my flight on Monday and got on the plane on Wednesday. I spent two days in San Jose and spent two days up at the Buena Vista Lodge in Guanacaste. Here we had a post season meeting with the local guides, about 35. But it wasn’t all work but also some play. We had an evening to say “thank you” to our Costa Rica staff which was thermal spas, dinner, and salsa dancing! This event was amazing. The staff here are so close and are like family. They were great to talk to about Costa Rican life as forgiving when they tried to teach me how to dance salsa or merengue.
We rode a tractor down from the lodge to the spas. First we sat in the sauna, then covered ourselves in mud and let that dry, then washed it off and relaxed in the different temperatures of spa.
On our way home after our weekend in Sonoma we made sure to book a late departure of 6 pm so we had time to hang in San Francisco. What we really ended up doing was eating our way around the city. We took a one minute pit stop to take a picture at the Golden Gate Bridge and then headed for soup dumplings.
We went to Yank Sing in the financial district and the dim sum was awesome! The vinegar and ginger served with the soup dumplings were the key to the perfect experience! We walked through the Ferry Building after to work off some of the food before heading to our next stop.
Though I love dumplings I was more excited to go to Swan Oyster Depot. We were lucky and didn’t have much of a wait, I would say about 25 minutes. This was probably because we went at 3 pm on a Tuesday. When we got sat at the long bar I was in heaven. The ambiance is the perfect casual yet elegant because you are eating amazing seafood. We had oysters, clam chowder, crab fat, Sicilian sashimi, and of course bread and butter. I think these were the best oysters I have ever had in my life. So fresh and exactly how they should taste; like the ocean. Another favorite was the Sicilian sashimi; zesty, oceany, salty with the capers, creamy from the oil, seriously heaven in your mouth. Everything about Swans was amazing. DO NOT MISS if you are in San Francisco but be prepared for a much longer line if you go on the weekends.