Over New Year’s, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel back to Colorado, where I lived before Waco. Despite having a poor Mexican food selection, Colorado is a great place for foodies, and one of my favourite things to do is to circle back to my old eateries that I used to frequent there.
This visit, I was re-awakened through two new restaurants to one of the meals Colorado does best — brunch.
I don’t eat out much for breakfast in my everyday routine, but these two meals hit the spot and inspired my inner breakfast chef for 2013.
On New Year’s Day, my in-laws drove us up in the mountains about 20 minutes to a small, picturesque mountain town named Green Mountain Falls. Threatened by the Waldo Canyon Fire this summer, Green Mountain Falls is centred around a gazebo and a small lake. The lake freezes over in the winter, and on the day we visited, families were enjoying a New Year’s game of broomball on the ice (for those in Texas, broomball is people playing hockey on the ice with sneakers instead of skates and brooms instead of hockey sticks).
The walk to the restaurant was freezing, probably about 10 degrees with wind chill. Just beyond the gazebo lay our destination — The Pantry, a local brunch eatery that serves the thickest-sliced cinnamon bread that you’ve ever seen. The Pantry has a small-town mountain diner feel, and supposedly opens for family-style outdoor dinners in the summer with live music by the lake. We each tried something different for brunch, and were not disappointed.
During a girl’s day out in Denver, I ventured with some college friends on brunch adventure. Using Yelp, we located what appeared to be an alright brunch place named Snooze — but, you never can tell until you get there. The walk from downtown to the Coors Field area took around thirty minutes on the cool, crisp Denver morning. At 10:30am, the line was out the door. Once we were finally seated, the magic started happening.
First of all, the place’s motto was “Peace, Love, and Pancakes!” and it’s all about sustainability. Second, all of the waiters and waitresses were twenty-something Denver hipsters, who make you wish you were cooler. Third, the café’s logo, a small star, appeared in bewildering consistency on the plates, the bottom of the mugs, the seats — even in the backgrounds of the artwork. And then there was the food.
Snooze has an entire menu section dedicated to “The Art of Hollandaise,” a soft spot for my friends and me. We decided to each get a different kind of Eggs Benedict, and to share three different kinds of pancakes. Let me walk you through our pancake selection: sweet potato pancakes with homemade carmel, pecans, and ginger butter; pineapple upside down pancakes with vanilla crème anglaise; and an off-menu cinnamon raisin pancake, as delectable as it was light. Let those flavours soak into your imagination.
My Eggs Benedict won’t be easily forgotten. Mine included whole wheat english muffins, smoked salmon, fresh dill, and poached eggs topped with cream cheese hollandaise and capers. I loved the flavours so much that I even tried to recreate them a little last weekend, by adding dill and cream cheese in my Saturday omelette (which I highly recommend).
So, what lessons can I offer from my winter brunch excursions in Colorado?
- It’s ok to splurge on brunch once in a while, especially between friends.
- Cream cheese is now my favourite secret ingredient
- Take a hipster waiter’s off-menu recommendations. JUST TAKE THEM.
- Sometimes, it’s worth a long walk in the cold for the right brunch.
- Peace, Love, and Pancakes