Plan 1: Play in the forest. Plan 2: Take a nap. Plan 3: Go out to a fancy dinner in Denver.
Plan 1 was a no brainer, and we headed into the woods with glee. Monkey took time to tickle the tree, why it needed tickling, I don't know. But tickle she did.
No discussion of Colorado is complete without the obligatory shot of alpines from below, reaching high into the beautiful, crisp mountain sky.
We were happily playing with rocks when it suddenly started to snow! Not sure you can see it here, but know that any visible white specks are frozen precipitation:
So inside we went as the mountain temps plummeted, with grand hopes of naps and sleep and rest...and yeah, that didn't happen. Somebody didn't take a nap despite our best efforts to provoke her into slumberland. We were pretty sleepy, does that count? Uh, no. Plan 2, unsuccessful.
On to plan 3. Dinner at Rioja in Denver. Of course on the drive there, we were assuming the Sweet Babygirl would nap in the car. No. Not until oh, 5 minutes outside Denver. Crappidy-crap-crap. Usually those are the makings of impending doom, but we were optimistic. Fools.
OK, we were early, which was good, so we drove around the city and got to see some of lovely downtown Denver. We saw many signs proclaiming that Denver loved the Nuggets, and we were touched by the sentiment. ;-) Folks were so nice! We love you too!
Our reservation time was drawing near, so we decided to head towards the restaurant and park. By then the Little Nugget was awake, and decidedly NOT happy about that situation, and Hubby Nugget had to pee, so we found a spot tout de suite, only to discover that it was 15 bucks an hour! HA! Dude! Don't get me wrong, I'm no rube, I know it's costly to park in the city, I'm just saying, we were hoping to find a better deal, cuz that's just how we roll. So round and round and round we went. After 10 more minutes of screaming Monkey and increasing urinary distress on behalf of the Hubby Nugget, we finally said OH DEAR GOD LET'S USE THE VALET!
So we whipped the car up to the curb, scrambled out, and the Little Nugget upon disembarking mid-meltdown, saw fit to throw a tube of Burt's Bees lip balm as she emerged from the car, barely missing said Valet. After profuse apologies, we took off around the block to walk it off, and luckily the meltdown subsided, but Hubby Nugget was quite uncomfortable, so we headed to the restaurant a little early. No problem, they had our table ready! Sweet!
OK, how to describe our dining experience...FAN-f*ing-tastic. OK, first off, Monkey was distracted by the enormous bag of usually forbidden toys, plus I gave her a snack cup full of mangos, nuts and marshies. Honestly, she was set and could have really cared less that we were there. She was in her own little world playing with all these tiny, intricate things that I brought for her. Sah-weet! This is most unusual, and quite enjoyable. So let's get on to the sweet-assed meal...
Appetizer: (from their online menu) Flight of artisan goat cheese: Camilla, Caprino lucano di Grotto, Harbourne Blue. rhubarb-strawberry jam, almond cracker, red wine gelee
Team Nugget loves us some goat cheese. So much that I want a goat (don't laugh, I know I already have The Bug, and that little bastard is as close to a goat as you can get). Blue cheese is not a fav of mine, but slather come rhubarb-strawberry jam on it, and it rocks pretty hard. But the best was the red wine gelee, kind of like a red wine gummy bear, only soft, and not bear shaped, and crusted in sugar. Dude. We paired a wine with that, but I don't remember the name. It was good too. I should have taken pics.
Entrees: For Hubby Nugget, Grilled Hawaiian blue prawns and crispy pork belly, green papaya salad, chili-vinegar gastrique, sweet ginger peanuts, peanut sauce. For Me: Seared sea scallops, lemon crème fraîche crispy risotto, mango arugula salad. Found a pic of mine online:
I can't even begin to describe how yummy this was. Hats off to chef Jennifer Jasinski! It was awesome. I paired mine with a pinot noir, and Hubby Nugget paired his with a Spanish wine. I'm really terrible with remembering wine names. Must improve that as we plan to open a winery one of these days...note to self...
Now Hubby Nugget REALLY wanted to order salad & or soup too, and it would have totally rocked super hard, but I said we have GOT to order dessert at a place like this. It was a good call because we got this:
Dessert: Warm cashew tart, chocolate and espresso custard, toasted cashews, vanilla bean ice cream, Hawaiian sea salted caramel; and Sweet goat cheese and black mission fig filled beignets with ruby port wine reduction. Pastry chef Eric Dale deserves a kiss on the mouth for the goat cheese beignets! Seriously. I can't remember the last time I had something so delicious. We had these with champagne, white and rose. The rose was SO good with the cashew tart.
Mad props for the bread too, I could have really been happy with just a plate of bread and a glass of wine, really! I mean come on, lavender biscuits?! You can bet I'll be harvesting my lavender plants this summer and trying to whip up a batch of my own! And the sourdough was superb. Jeez, my mouth is watering!
After the food orgy, the waiter complimented us on how well-behaved our daughter was. He remarked on how he and his wife never go out to nice restaurants because the kids just can't stay still that long. We tried not to snort champagne out our noses and thanked him for the compliment. He got a big tip, too, :-)
So we walked out like rockstars, Babygirl lookin all sassy with her awesome outfit and supercute black patent flipflops (a la Walmart!). All the women just about pissed themselves at how cute she looked (patting myself on the shoulder!). Walked up to the valet stand, they fetched our car and the dude commented on how he'd never had chapstick thrown at him! Now that's good stuff!
In all, day 4 was a smashing success!