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A foodie roadtrip to document the ultimate Colorado cuisine

By: Carah Jones 

As a last hoorah to wrap up the extended spring break COVID-19 gifted us, me and a few of my Bainbridge pals decided to pack up and drive out to Colorado.

Mary Mercer Reynolds, Hudson Reynolds, Bailey Johnson, and myself, crammed every camping supply and hiking accessory we owned into a Jeep Grand Cherokee and set off.

Although many unexpected things happened during our time on the road, like the server at a Whataburger in Alabama gifting us a free Whataburger tote bag, or us running into an enormous elk standing five feet off of the trail we were climbing in the Rockies, it was a pleasant surprise that every single meal we ate was absolutely and unpredictably delicious.

While planning this trip, we made no prior decisions about where we were going to eat. Our only intention for the week was to go camping and see a couple of new sights. But, as the trip truly began during our first morning in Breckenridge, we realized that great meals would truly enhance the outcome of our experience.

In Breckenridge, we stayed with a few friends who were local to the area. They suggested that we go to one of Breck’s best rated breakfast restaurants called Bold, and it wasn’t until we got there did I realize that I had been there before. The menu was quite dynamic, and our table’s orders ranged from chicken and waffles, to breakfast burritos, and for dessert, french toast that was decorated with sizable fresh raspberries and whipped cream.

Another notable Breckenridge restaurant I would like to take note of is Ollie’s Pub & Grub, which infamously appears to be a steamboat docked in a small lake in the center of Breckenridge. If you ever find yourself looking for great bar food while staying in Breck, go to Ollie’s and order the mini chimichangas. You will not regret it.

After Breckenridge, we traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park, where we unloaded and set up camp for one night. After exploring the area, Hudson built a fire and us girls stocked up the camp site’s picnic table with hotdogs, buns, ketchup, mustard, relish, chips, and s’mores supplies. That meal is still one of my favorites out of the entire trip.

After leaving the grand and gorgeous Rocky Mountains, we made a pit stop in Boulder on our way to Colorado Springs. Any guesses as to what the pit stop was for?

We picked a random brunch place from Google’s recommendations. We decided on a quirky little cafe called Foolish Craig’s located on Pearl Street, which is referred to as “the heart and soul of Boulder,” by Visit Boulder. This cafe has made appearances on Foodnetwork’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” and is locally known for its crepes. Although no one in our party ordered a crepe, we were all very surprised with how delicious their perfect temperature lattes were.

Our next three nights were spent in the most magical camp site in Colorado Springs. The new site, named “Sweet Ass Meadows,” was large enough for us to set up two tents, and already had a table and four chairs. The camp site’s owners had also provided solar powered string lights to help us see at night, although the stars were almost bright enough anyways.

On our first night in Colorado Springs, we made Hudson’s meal of choice: hobo hamburgers. Basically, you put hamburger meat and potatoes, and any other ingredients you want, into a self made “bowl” of tin foil. Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, you cover it with a tin foil top and set it in the coals of a fire to cook. We added chopped green and orange peppers, onions, and carrots, and potatoes. It did take about 45 minutes for all the food to cook within our individual bowls, but once they were ready we topped our concoctions with cheese and devoured them. Once again, we ended the night with s’mores.

For our third night of making food with a campfire, we made spaghetti. This went a lot smoother than we thought it would, given we only had one pot, and one fire. We began by boiling water and cooking the noodles, and then holding them on a plate. Next, we warmed up our sauce, combined it with the noodles, and then cooked hamburger meat. We topped the final product with parmesan cheese, as anyone should do, and enjoyed our last homemade meal together. The only issue was when Mary Mercer dropped her entire fresh plate of spaghetti in the dirt. Don’t worry, I shared my overly large portion with her so she didn’t starve.

The next day, on our way to Paint Mines Park, we abruptly stopped in the small town of Woodland only moments after spontaneously looking up a location to the nearest restaurant. The restaurant was called Peakview Barbeque & Tap Room. After taking a look at the menu, and as a reward for roughing it the past couple of days, we decided to order as much food as we thought we could eat.

For a small window of time, our table was packed with fried pickle spears, loaded barbeque nachos, smoked chicken stuffed jalapeno poppers, one enormous avocado salad, and three barbeque plates complete with buttered bread and sides of corn on the cob and mac and cheese. It was top notch grubbing, and for dinner that night we ate the leftovers. This restaurant became the group favorite.

Our last stay of the trip was in Denver, and the city did not disappoint. After a day full of exploring, we made our way to the downtown area for our reservation at Ale House, which was recommended to me by a friend from school. Not only was the service amazing, the view was reason alone to visit this place. We were seated outside, where the cool Colorado air was the perfect accessory to our final meal together.

As summer comes to an end, I reflect on the time I spent stuck indoors with only my family, and also on the opportunities that presented themselves during this time of doubt. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences, preferences, and opinions with my hometown through my column with The Post-Searchlight. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing feedback on my work from the community, and I hope that any bit of information I shared benefited at least a couple of my readers.

This will be my final article for Carah’s Calories, but I still remain a foodie that loves to share. I have an Instagram account dedicated to sharing great meals and I would love for anyone to keep up with me on that platform. You can find me @CarahsCalories.

I want to thank the Post-Searchlight for this opportunity, and the community for engaging me. I hope that the rest of the year is joyful and fulfilling for all, and that everyone remembers the change of pace and forced calamity that COVID-19 brought to us. Thank you and Go Dawgs!