My brother moved to Denver this past August and ever since I’ve been dying to find an excuse to come out here to visit him. Around November my mom suggested that I head up to see him right after Christmas and spend New Year’s here. It’s funny looking back on that because at first I was hesitant and now as I’m sitting in the airport waiting on my delayed flight… I can’t imagine if the last week were to not have happened.
We drove straight from Kansas (where my mom lives) at 10pm Tuesday night and got to his apartment at 4am Wednesday. Despite only getting four hours of sleep, I knew I had to make the most of my day and get out into the Denver city life asap. I started writing this post on Friday and just having spent two days here, I was already on cloud nine off of that travel high, wanting to move out west (shocker to anyone who knows me) and wanting to come back instantly. I’m already brainstorming my next trip here in the summer.
Since my brother had to get back to work Wednesday morning and had to work every day I was here, it was such a breath of fresh air to travel somewhere for the first time in my life ALONE and do things that I wanted to do and not have to worry about whoever I’m with not wanting to go to the same places as me. Trust me, that gets stressful.
After walking almost two miles to the Whole Foods in Cherry Creek (a neighborhood of Denver) to grab kombucha and wellness shots, I took an Uber to the cutest coffee place on Broadway called Amethyst Coffee. My friend Alex recommended it to me who is a total health lover just like me so I knew it had to be freaking delicious, and of course it was. You guys… everything about this place was a freaking DREAM.
I ordered their homemade cashew milk latte which was a bit bitter so I poured it over ice and then it was magical in every way. Maybe it’s just I have this thing for iced coffee so hot always tastes worse to me? Besides their coffees, they have a specialty seasonal drink menu that seriously had me in awe and saying “oh my god” out loud. I tend to do this when I walk into aesthetically pleasing coffee shops. Tell me I’m not the only one 😉
The “Pink Drink Handsome” really had me saying wow. I was just telling one of my best friends how I absolutely can see “pink drinks” being the new trend of 2017. I’m trend spotting that now! I wanted to go back for the “Beluga Mermaid” because vanilla cashew milk with peppermint, sage tea and cinnamon? Hello wonderful. But I ran out of time. Just another thing to add to my summer to-do list!
Amethyst has the cutest seating area, plants covered the walls floor to ceiling and a small selection of breakfast options like fresh baked pastries and hello…. chia pudding! It’s a true Denver gem.
After I finished my coffee and edited a few photos from the day, my next stop was the Denver Central Market on Larimer Street aka what made me fall in love with Denver on day 1. My brother works here and I knew it would be gorgeous for photos so I took another uber over to this area of town and was speechless from the first moment I saw this view below. The light shoots in through the windows at the most beautiful angles, it’s truly a remarkable space.
It’s one of the top tourist areas with multiple vendors located along the rim of the one-story market ranging from Crema (pictured below), a coffee shop and others like Green Seed Market, offering fresh fruit juices, salads and vegetables for purchase (like a mini produce stand).
What I loved most when walking through the market and then heading down onto Larimer Street was how colorful the street is, how you can totally tell it is becoming more gentrified and the community isn’t afraid to be who they are and do their own thing. This is why I love being on this side of the country so damn much. Not only is everyone so kind and care-free but the food and art is UNBELIEVABLE. Graffiti and murals covered every (if not every other) building I passed. The whole street is a work of art.
As I mentioned above, Crema is a coffee shop that has sells out of the Denver Central Market but they also have a full space located down the street with all of the coolest artwork. I also stumbled into a cute shop called ink! Coffee which had another location in Cherry Creek (where I was basically every day to grab stuff at Whole Foods).
P.s. Crema’s main space sells kombucha and Stumptown Coffee on tap. Consider me #blessed.
After I popping in and out of shops and the market, I knew where I wanted to head for lunch. Vital Root. If you guys are unfamiliar with Denver’s food scene and/or plant-based restaurants in general, Vital Root is a MUST. It was one of those places where I look at the menu before I even get there, look at it on my way there and then stare at it at the register asking the cashier what he/she recommends. I wanted it ALL.
Their menu is targeted as “Fast (slo) Food” and that it is. It’s the kind of order-at-the-counter and then pick-your-own-seat type place and within ten minutes your food is out to you. Their menu is divided into cold-pressed juices, nut milks, “legit smoothies” (filled with things like MCT Oil, Medicinal Mushrooms and Tahini), sandwiches, tacos and main plates.
I ended up with the Coconut Dosa ($11) that looked like a crepe made with coconut/almond/ancient flour filled with sweet potato, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, sambar, mint chutney and wait for it… CHARCOAL OIL. The mint chutney came on the side and was just enough to top off the dosa without making it soggy or too heavy.
I ate the whole thing and enjoyed every second of it. Unfortunately Vital Root was across town from my brother’s apartment so I didn’t get a chance to head there again but when I’m back in the summer, you can bet I’ll be getting the Indian Carrot Pudding made with ghee, coconut milk, cardamom and cinnamon and the Vital Mule with gin and ginger juice.
And can we just talk about these cookies? If I wasn’t super filled up from the dosa I would have taken mmm… I don’t know… a dozen? Delicious!
Of course after my meal I had to get a beverage… coffee, kombucha or tea? The everlasting question of my life.
I ended up at one of my favorite spots from the trip… Allegro Coffee Roasters on Tennyson Street. Did you guys know this is one of four flagship stores that sells Allegro coffee and plot twist… it’s the same coffee from Whole Foods! Just different branding/packaging. Strange but true.
No shocker I loved the aesthetic/interior just as much as the drink selection. I’m truly never one to get a chai tea latte due to the amount of sugar they usually have in them (it’s absurd) but when Allegro’s menu said pumpkin spiced chai with HOMEMADE pumpkin puree AND they make it with The New Barn‘s Barista Almondmilk…. how could I say no?
It wasn’t too sweet at all, especially iced. I think I might have enjoyed it better hot and would have wanted it a tad more spicy but it was definitely delicious and not filled with fake syrup.
Right before I left, I grabbed my brother two shots of espresso.
Last but not least, my brother and I ended the night with TACOS. Duh.
Tacos are seriously the one thing I always have to find whenever I travel somewhere but I’m always picky on what they are because I want a moderately healthy option. It kills me when taco spots only offer fried avocado as their veggie option or fried fish. Tacos are 100x better when the meat is local and grass-fed, the fish is wild caught and the vegetables are roasted.
We ended up at Machete Denver in the Cherry Creek neighborhood thanks to an Instagram follower’s recommendation and it was DEEE-LISH. Unfortunately it was super dark so I didn’t get any photos but I will say, if you go you have to get the shrimp taco, the lamb and the chicken. They also offer halibut, tilapia, swordfish and lobster. And jicama tortillas (so cool) AND squid ink tortillas that are black!
The vibe is very casual and the drinks are strong so watch out.
Overall, it was such a perfect first day in Denver and I can’t wait to share more of the trip!