Let’s face it, many people who grew up on Colorado’s Front Range tend to think of Grand Junction as that far away cowtown town that’s practically in Utah. Of course, that reputation has slowly been changing thanks in part to the growing popularity of and interest in local food.
Colorado’s western slope is a place where local food has been a way of life long before it became trendy. It doesn’t hurt that food grows relatively easily here when compared to other parts of Colorado, so sourcing locally is a little less complicated for chefs.
On our trip earlier this summer, we had the delicious pleasure of dining at two of Grand Junction’s most foodie restaurants. These two eateries, 626 on Rood and Bin 707 Foodbar, have set the bar high for farm-to-table cuisine (and for cuisine in general).
Our first dinner stop was Bin 707 Foodbar. On a 2013 trip to Grand Junction Bin 707 Foodbar was my first encounter with a restaurant that worked so hard to serve local foods and that experience blew my mind. My second local food experience was at The Living Farm in Paonia, another amazing spot for anyone seeking a local food experience.
Bin 707 Foodbar may have foodie cuisine, but it is far from pretentious. Here, it’s truly about the food and asking your waiter to suggest a wine pairing is super smart as they serve a nice selection of local wines. Of course, Ryan ordered a beer (the beer list is high end and it took him an age to decide on one).
I paired a Colterris rosé with several appetizers including an outstanding tomato salad with Blaine’s heirloom tomatoes, cucumber vin, eggplant miso flan and strawberry/barley furikake. For my entree, I chose the Maple Leaf duck breast and Ryan went with the fish.
While the duck and fish aren’t sourced locally, all the accouterments are and it’s these hyperlocal ingredients that made both dishes what I like to call “write-home-about-good.” (I call a dish “write-home-about-good” when I know I will write about it more than once).
The next evening we got to experience 626 on Rood, a modern American restaurant and wine bar that just so happens to be the favorite of our friends, Matt and Lisa, who live in Palisade. They are regulars at this downtown Grand Junction restaurant.
626 on Rood definitely has a fine dining ambiance and serves up local cuisine alongside some of the best offerings from around the world such as the dish I had for dinner — Marlin flown in from Hawaii paired with tender mushrooms from Alpenglow Mushrooms in Ridgway, Colorado — an unforgettable meal.
Wine is a big deal here. Guests can enjoy regional Colorado wines, French varieties or California gems. The selection is always changing so start by consulting your server. The wait staff at 626 on Rood are incredibly knowledgeable and love helping guests pick the perfect glass, bottle or flight. I started with a Bordeaux flight while Ryan excitedly ordered a Mezcal flight (he’s more of a beer and tequila guy).
While they won’t always have marlin, the Sticky Peach Habanero Calamari is a staple on this menu and not-to-be-missed. I’m craving it right now.
A foodie update from Grand Junction: The owners of Bin 707 Foodbar recently opened Taco Party, a 50-seat restaurant serving a menu of six kinds of tacos with local fillings. Dessert options include soft-serve ice cream in uniquely Bin 707 Foodbar flavors of roasted beet and sweet corn. Next up, they plan to open Dinner Party, a private dining space that will be used for the Western Slope Supper Club which serves pop-up dinners highlighting local foods.
Thank you to the Grand Junction VCB for hosting us on this trip. While we did receive comped meals during our travels the opinions here are 100% honest. The food at these GJ restaurants is exceptional.
I like to keep things real here on HeidiTown and so I will start this blog post by telling you a personal story about Longmont. When Ryan and I decided to move out of Denver in the early 2000s, we looked into Longmont and decided it was a big nope. There just wasn’t much going on in the town.
Fast forward to today and I think we may have made the wrong decision.
Longmont has blossomed into a beautiful and vibrant community. Downtown’s renovated sidewalks and artful alleyways make it a welcoming place. There’s always a festival or live music happening somewhere in town, and places like the Prospect neighborhood are cute little escapes with their own special vibe. There’s also a plethora of breweries, a cidery and several distilleries.
I’m not a girlie girl. I can count on one hand the number of manicures I’ve gotten over the course of my 40-year-life, however, I’m no stranger to spa life. I adore the aroma, the hot tea, the cozy robes, the steam room and sauna… did I mention the aroma?
When I told my mom that I needed a distraction during eye surgery recovery, she jumped on a plane and flew from Oregon to Colorado. During her visit, I decided to treat her to an overnight stay and spa getaway at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain. As a late birthday present for my mom, I booked treatments for us at Spa Anjali.
The Westin Riverfront property is located in Avon, just a few minutes west of Vail, at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. It’s a ski-in/ski-out property, but it’s also popular with summertime guests who enjoy all the recreational activities offered in the area and the outdoor pool area which made The Heidi Guide’s “4 Mountain Resort Pools to Help You Beat the Heat” on MountainLiving.com. Continue reading
I wish I were a picky eater, because if I were pickier I’d probably be a bit slimmer, but I like food a lot. Thankfully, Colorado’s food scene is fantastic right now. No matter where we go, we find good, often farm fresh, food to eat. It’s a fabulous time to be a foodie in Colorado.
In my work as a freelance writer and Mayor of HeidiTown, I get the opportunity to dine out a lot. Here are a few standout restaurants from the last six months; some are brand new to me and others are old favorites we hadn’t visited in awhile. Continue reading
Sometimes the best part of traveling is when something unexpected occurs. Even getting stuck on Vail Pass in a snowstorm can result in a nice long soak at Glenwood Hot Springs, which is what happened to us in 2014.
It wasn’t a snowstorm that brought us unexpectedly to Minturn last month – it was Record Store Day. If you are an avid collector of vinyl, like my husband, Ryan, you know that this is an important day. It only happens once a year and vinyl nerds do not miss it.
However, having been laid out flat with the flu for the week leading up to our Vail trip, Ryan had forgotten that Record Store Day was the Saturday we’d be 150 miles away from his hometown record store.
Thankfully, while browsing the Vail Daily over a beer at Vail Brewing on a Friday afternoon, Ryan realized the Record Store Day was the following day. Where in the world could he participate in Record Store in the Vail Valley? Continue reading
One of the perks of being in my line of work is that occasionally I am invited to check out a new place. I don’t always accept these invites, but when The Wild Game in Longmont asked if I’d be willing to check them out on the house, I knew Ryan would be disappointed if I turned them down – the guy loves games.
The second The Wild Game opened recently in Longmont on Ken Pratt Boulevard. The first is located in Evergreen, Colorado.
While we enjoy entertainment centers such as this one, they are often filled with children and there’s no place for adults to escape. After munching on awesome happy hour pretzels at The Wild Game’s downstairs bar, we headed to The Loft, the 21 and older second-floor bar. We sipped beer and I crushed Ryan at shuffleboard. The Loft also features pool, darts and a patio for sunset watching. Continue reading
No matter when you plan to visit Aspen, Colorado — winter, spring, summer or fall — plan to spend some time and money on dining. You won’t regret it.
Before we visited this winter, I had no idea Aspen was such a foodie town, and I’m not kidding when I suggest that you should go there and eat all the things. Seriously, forget about the diet and don’t cry over carbs, just eat everything and be happy.
While nothing in Aspen is cheap, the bar is set high for good food in this resort town, and it’s nearly impossible to have a bad meal here.
Of course, when at Meat & Cheese, a restaurant and farm shop, you must order the Meat & Cheese board, which serves two, and follow it up with one of the restaurant’s creative entrees such as coffee chocolate rubbed short ribs or the rotisserie chicken (the best I’ve ever had). Continue reading
Ryan and I hadn’t been out in the big city since the fall, so when we read that the Colorado Symphony was playing Beethoven, we decided it was time for a Denver date night.
We used to frequent the Colorado Symphony quite often. In fact, for several years we bought concert packages to the CSO, giving us an excuse for a Denver date night every month. The Colorado Symphony has all sorts of subscription packages available, making it easy to pick and choose the number of symphonies you want to attend and which shows.
We started our Denver date night at TAG Restaurant on Larimer Street, an eight minute walk from Boettcher Concert Hall. This restaurant has been on my radar for awhile now and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
The food scene in downtown Denver has come a long way since we lived in the Mile High City in the early 2000s.
Chef Troy Guard, who opened TAG in 2009, is a big part of the city’s culinary expansion. He has opened a number of restaurants since, and there are still more in the works. Guard’s restaurants elevate food, while still making it approachable, and I think this is why he’s so well-loved by Denver foodies. Continue reading
Considering a holiday getaway this month? Fort Collins is an excellent Colorado Christmas town. Downtown sparkles with thousands of lights and from Old Town Square to Oak Street Plaza Park, the atmosphere is merry.
This past weekend, we did one-night getaway in Fort Collins to experience the city’s holiday offerings. Before exploring the festive scene we checked into the Fernweh Inn & Hostel on Mulberry, just blocks from the excitement of downtown Fort Collins.
Some people, including my husband, Ryan, have an aversion to any place with hostel in the name. The word makes him worried that he’s going to have to share a bathroom or wash dishes to earn his keep.
Fernweh is a modern-day, American hostel which offers private rooms as well as bunk rooms. Our private room, “The Loft,” was a virtual suite because the space occupied the entire upstairs of this historic, Victorian home. There was a full bathroom in the room complete with large, soaking bathtub and multiple beds, making it perfect for a family or friends. Continue reading
Jessup Farm was a working farm built at the turn of the century. In 2011, the Campana family of Bellisimo Inc. rehabilitated the property and repurposed the buildings to house modern-day businesses scattered around like a village. Today the property is home to multiple small businesses, a flock of chickens and a large garden.
According to Steven Sorensen, a Campana family member and part of Bellisimo Inc., when the family first conceived of the plan for Artisan Village, they didn’t visualize it as a destination for anyone other than those who lived in surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading