“The only rule is there are no rules.” ~ Helen Frankenthaler
Earlier this week, a friend came to visit for a few days. We walked around Boulder, toured the Celestial Seasonings factory, and took a trip up to Emerald Lake and Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, before heading down to Denver to explore a bit. These last few weeks of summer seem to go even faster than weeks before, with afternoons accelerating into golden hour, and suddenly the brilliant Colorado sunsets that I love so much disappearing into the mountain range. I just want to linger in the hot sunshine, breathing in the smell of grass clippings and chlorine from the pool, evergreen spice and wildflowers everywhere.
This summer was filled with so. much. music. In a good way. And many beautiful and bittersweet memories, but I always tend to remember the sounds and tastes of summer more than anything: watermelon mojitos on the tongue, a glass of rosé on a rooftop bar, playing “I Go to Rio” more than any other piece during the entire orchestra festival #NROanthem, the sound of distant sprinklers on the lawn where we laid and watched the stars one night, lemon and basil gelato on Pearl Street, dirt on my tongue when I tripped attempting to trail run, and the second movement of Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto.
What were some of your favourite summer memories?
Here are a few of the things we checked out in Boulder/Denver:
~ Boulder ~
- Fior Di Latte – Pearl Street
Why I Go: for the best gelato I’ve ever had, hands down.
Suggested: Anything fruity, but especially the peach flavour in the summer
Also Try: Lemon + Basil, Banana + Nutella
- Half Fast Subs – On the Hill
Why I Go: for the daily pitcher specials, for $5 sub during Happy Hour
Suggested: BBQ tofu
Also Try: Shrimp Po Boy
- Celestial Tea Factory – on Sleepytime Drive
Why I Go: for the free tour, including the famous Mint Room
Suggested: Free tea samples!
Also Try: the Celestial Café, open for breakfast and lunch
Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Nymph Lake loop
~ Denver ~
- Avanti F+B, A Collective Eatery – Denver Highlands
Why I Go: for the rooftop bar
Suggested: Happy Hour from 3-6 pm, offering $5 well cocktails, and $6 glasses of wine.
Also Try: The awesome food stalls. I’m intrigued by the dessert empanadas – next time!
- Mercantile Food and Provision – Union Street Station
Why I Go: for the pastries and coffee, and to see the chefs at work
Suggested: Chocolate croissant and a latte
Also check out: Bloom Flowers, Acme, Pigtrain Coffee, and the award-winning Stoic & Genuine – all located in Union Street Station
- Little Man Ice Cream – Denver Highlands
Why I Go: summer tradition, for the courtyard with live music, for the ice cream served out of a giant milk canister
Suggested: Salted Oreo
Also Try: Space Junkie
- Denver Art Museum – Downtown Denver
Why I Go: for the rotating art exhibits. My current favourite is the Women in Abstract Expressionism exhibit – I love Joan Mitchell.
Suggested: There’s also a dance exhibit going on right now that’s wonderful.
Also check out: Going across the bridge to check out the old Art Museum, or across the street to the Denver Public Library. The 7th floor houses an art gallery and a gorgeous view of downtown.
- Washington Park – Downtown Denver
Why I Go: for a beautiful view of the sunset over the lake, for the free jazz concerts in the summer, for the rose garden
Suggested: Bring a picnic and stay for the music/sunset
Also Try: The Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science are located right next to the park
- Kaladi Brothers Coffee – by Denver University
Why I Go: for everything – this is by far my favourite coffee shop in the city. I love the college atmosphere, the friendly neighbourhood vibe, and the local artwork on the walls. Not to mention, the coffee is awesome here.
Suggested: Kaladi Latte, iced or hot
Also Try: The Mocha latte
Why I Go: It’s one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen, with so many large open spaces to write, dream, and read in. Plus, it’s close to Kaladi Coffee – what more could one ask for?
And a recipe for an amazing chilled avocado soup, courtesy of my wonderful host mom in Breckenridge this summer:
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less but requires additional unattended time.
Makes About 7 Cups.
Cold Avocado Soup
- 3 ripe avocados (each about 1/2 pound)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 to 3 cups ice water
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
- Tabasco to taste
- Garnish: coriander sprigs
Halve, pit and peel avocados and in a blender or food processor blend with lemon or lime juice, broth, buttermilk, 2 cups ice water, cumin, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Transfer soup to a large bowl. Thin soup with enough of remaining cup ice water to reach desired consistency and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until very cold, at least 2 hours and up to 4 (soup will discolor if kept longer, but it will still taste good. Give it a stir).
Serve soup drizzled with chili coriander cream and garnished with coriander sprigs.
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño or other fresh green chili, seeded and chopped, or to taste (wear rubber
gloves or at least avoid touching your eyes after handling!)
2 cups packed fresh coriander, washed well and spun dry
In a blender or small food processor blend together all ingredients with salt and pepper to taste, scraping down sides, until very smooth. Cream may be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered.
Makes about 2/3 cup.
~ Summer Sounds ~
“Every lovesick summer has its song.”
~ Dana Gioia, from Cruising with the Beach Boys
Hawk Fly Tiger Run – Ofelia K
Trouble – Cage the Elephant
Free – Broods
We Don’t Talk Anymore – Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez
Silhouettes – Colony House
Come Alive – Rachel Taylor
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
Closer – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey