Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fork & Spoon

Breakfast restaurants are extremely popular in Denver. There are a handful of good places that will have a line out the door and an extremely long wait on weekends. We somehow went to Snooze at Union Station one day without having to wait at all. It was the best breakfast food I've ever had. Snooze is a cool modern take on a kitschy diner. We tried to go again on our way back from the airport a few months later--it was at least a two hour wait so we went somewhere else, and we haven't been back since.

When we lived on Vine and Colfax, there was Pete's Kitchen. It's a small, laid back diner with basic diner food. It's a little rundown looking, but it has its own charm. I went one day on my own and got a breakfast burrito. Honestly, it was not good. I would like to go back someday to see if it was just the burrito, but there are a lot of places to go in Denver, so I think I'll keep trying new restaurants for now.

Once we moved to Capitol Hill, we had to try Jelly Cafe. It's another very popular breakfast place, but it's also only a five-minute walk from our apartment. We tried going one day before we moved, but it looked like the wait would be too long, so we decided to wait. Now that we live in the neighborhood, it's easy to just roll out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday and saunter over before the throngs of breakfast lovers from different neighborhoods drive over, find parking, and settle in for their 45-minute wait.

We went to Jelly and it was good. It's a bonus that they have a patio where we can tie Kiki to the outside of the fence. We live in a basement apartment and wish with all our might to someday have a balcony or a private yard. Going out to restaurants helps us to get out of the house and appreciate where we live. When you often lose sleep over the noise of traffic, your neighbors, and random visitors walking by, it's nice to be able to appreciate your neighborhood in other ways.

We've only been to Jelly once, but I'm sure we'll go back again soon. In the meantime, we've been to Fork & Spoon twice since we've lived here and once before we moved to the neighborhood. It's also a short walk from our apartment, and they have the best chicken and waffles. The decor isn't as polished or themed as Jelly or Snooze, but there isn't as much of a crowd and the food is very good. It definitely seems as though they are not as busy as other breakfast restaurants--at least until 11 am. This is actually a good thing in Denver--the city that can't keep up with the amount of people moving here with a demand for a nice brunch on the weekend. But I think the secret may be out about Fork & Spoon. I went while Brian was in Chicago, but there was a line and I didn't want to wait.

Fork & Spoon has a nice atmosphere. It's a nice little diner with friendly staff and a good selection of food. It's reasonably priced and definitely hits the spot if you're craving some good old American breakfast food. If you get a spot by the window, it's a nice place to do some people watching on Colfax. The coffee is excellent--I could sit and drink and chat for quite a lot longer than it would actually take to eat my breakfast.

Fork & Spoon is a short walk from downtown Denver and would be a great jumping off point for a day of wandering around town. You could also take the bus over to South Broadway or take a longer walk or get a Lyft to Rino or Santa Fe. If the population in Denver continues to increase as it has in recent years, I'm sure it won't be long until Fork & Spoon also has a line around the corner first thing on a Saturday morning. Anyone want to move to Denver and open a breakfast restaurant?

This post is a part of Monday Escapes:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Roostercat Coffee House

There are nine days until my art show at City O' City. I haven't gotten as much done as I should have at this point, but I know that I will get it all done in time. I have all of my frames, nails, and supplies for drawing. I am on my way to being finished with the embroideries. I have this week after work and all of next weekend to finish putting everything together. My goal is to have it all done by Saturday night, and that will give me all of Sunday to finish up any last pieces if I don't meet that goal--or to just relax after working hard on getting everything done.

I walked down to Roostercat Coffee House with Brian and Kiki to work on my embroideries this afternoon. I've been there twice with friends and plan to go back often. Roostercat Coffee House is only a 15 minute walk from our apartment. It's also about a 15 minute walk from downtown Denver. They have a nice seating area outside with benches, chairs, and a few tables. As shown in the picture above, they also have a lovely fire. They have another patio through the coffee shop and out the side door. The coffee shop itself is full of booths. The wood and brick walls give it a warm and cozy feel. It's the type of place where everyone is settled down working on something. You wouldn't be out of place with a laptop, textbooks, or a sketchbook. I like having a place to go where I feel I can stay a little while.

Kiki steals my heart all the time. Isn't she just adorable? She sat waiting for Brian to come back from ordering, peering out and wagging her tail at every sound. We bring her with us as often as possible. I make a mental note of every restaurant or coffee shop with a patio. It'll soon be too cold to spend time outdoors, but with the Colorado sun, we might be able to get in some outdoor time this fall and winter with the appropriate clothing and a small blanket for Kiki. She soon curled up and had a little nap on the bench next to me as I worked on my embroidery.

I finished two embroideries that I had already prepared by poking holes into them with a  needle last week. I have a few more that are also already prepared with holes. That's really the hardest part. It's difficult to imagine how it will turn out once it has been embroidered, and pushing the needle through the tough print hurts my fingers. I regret not buying a thimble. My thread collection thus far brings me great satisfaction. I want to keep embroidering if only to be able to gaze upon a collection of beautiful, soothing colors. Sometimes I wonder if I make art just to make art, or if it's also that I just really love art supplies. Either way, this art will be made, and it will be ready for my show in November.

Anderson Farms Fall Festival

There are so many things I missed about living at home during my seven years in Korea. I missed our holidays and traditions. I missed Halloween decorations and carving pumpkins. I even missed going to the pumpkin patch, although I'd only been once as far as I can remember. That one trip was enough to convince me that going to the pumpkin patch needs to be a part of my yearly fall tradition. What could be better than gathering with your friends or family, spending time outdoors enjoying the beauty of the season, and celebrating the fall harvest by choosing a lovely orange squash?

Last year we went to Anderson Farms for the first time. We had only been living in the US for six months, and everything was still new and fresh. We were still feeling very romantic about our home country all the time, and marveling over all of our new American experiences. It felt like a dream and a memory at the same time. It was everything that we knew from before, but we were seeing it all anew after living abroad for so long. After being here for a year and a half, I still have those feelings, but they are much softer than last year. Everything seems a little more familiar and a little more right. This year brings something new--more of a belonging. I don't constantly think about and miss Korea. I don't daydream as often about where we're going to move next. I am feeling more at home in this state I had never even visited before last year.

Driving out of Denver is always a treat. The trees that dotted the landscape were still those gorgeous fall colors. The land spreads out far and wide, and the mountains frame it all. I will never get tired of seeing the mountains in Colorado, and it's a great reminder why we moved here in the first place. Denver itself is fairly flat, but the mountains are always waiting just a short drive away. We drove north of Denver to Anderson Farms for a little over half an hour.

The farm was busy, but not crowded. There are enough acres to accommodate everyone. Families and couples walked around enjoying the fresh fall air, photo ops, food stalls, farm animals, and activities for the little ones. They even had a woman dressed up as Cinderella standing in front of a pumpkin coach. Some people were wearing Halloween T-shirts, leggings, and dresses. There was a stage in front of picnic tables where a band was setting up to play. They had bluegrass music playing while they set up, which we enjoyed while we sat eating our fresh BBQ from the food stand.

The corn maze was big enough for us to find ourselves alone several times despite the crowds of people. As always, the Colorado sky does not disappoint. The brightness and deepness of that blue is something that I haven't seen anywhere else. I remembered to bring my sunglasses, but I chose to go without them. They were too dark and took away from the enjoying the fall sunshine and intense colors. It was a lovely walk through the rows and rows of corn with peeks of the mountains at the edge of the maze when you turned the right corner. We looked through the edge of the maze and watched the pumpkin cannon shoot two pumpkins across a field. The splatter that they made was oddly satisfying. There were also viewing platforms for a better glimpse of the vast maze and the mountains in the distance. I could have stayed up there for hours. If only they had private gazebos.

After walking through the corn maze for a bit, we found the line for the wagons to the pumpkin patch. The farm is so big that you can't walk there on your own. There were quite a few people in line, but it went quickly. They have wagons pulled by tractors that leave the pumpkin patch every 15 minutes. The ride gives you more views of the mountains and a view of the parts of the farm that you don't see while walking around. I love going past the haunted village that looks like an old-fashioned gold mining town--but with zombies. I'm tempted to go back for their scary Halloween events, but the corn maze and pumpkin patch are enough for me.

We wandered around the pumpkin patch enjoying the scenery and searching for the perfect pumpkin. Since we came later in the month, many of the pumpkins were already rotten or on their way to being rotten. There weren't many small pumpkins left. It would be an enjoyable experience even if you weren't looking for a pumpkin to carve, but we did end up finding one in the end. It's a medium-sized pumpkin with a nice stem and a good color. We could have bought a pumpkin from the store, but there's something nice about picking one where they grow. The only thing that would have made this whole experience better is if we were allowed to bring our dog, Kiki. She would've loved running through the maze and the field of pumpkins.

It was nice to go back to the same pumpkin patch for the second year in a row. It feels like we're really establishing our American traditions and becoming more at home in Colorado. I hope to someday have a little front porch of our own to decorate with jack-o-lanterns, but for now we'll settle for our shared apartment stoop. Happy Halloween!

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