The Best Cities in Colorado for Food Lovers

The state of Colorado is more than just an outdoor lover’s paradise. This diverse state offers a host of exciting dining options that are just waiting to be explored. Before you set off on your Rocky Mountain adventure, be sure to consider where you want to stop for meals. Here three of the best cities in Colorado for food lovers.

Denver

As the capital of the state of Colorado, Denver boasts a vibrant art and cultural scene that perfectly complements its wide array of distinctive restaurants. Denver’s oldest restaurant is the Buckhorn Exchange, making it a must-see destination when visiting the Mile High City. This restaurant is a National Historic Landmark and Western Museum, and it’s been dishing up steaks and seafood since 1893. For a variety of choices, One Day Itinerary recommends heading to the renovated Denver Union Station, where visitors enjoy a wide selection of restaurants with communal seating. Denver Biscuit Company is a great place to fuel up on breakfast before you head up to the mountains for a day of adventure. Located in a converted gas station, Root Down is a trendy farm-to-table experience, serving up myriad sustainable dishes that cater to nearly any dietary restriction.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a mecca for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. According to Avis, there are lots of things to do near Colorado Springs, including mountain biking, hiking, and camping. All of this activity certainly works up an appetite, and Colorado Springs delivers. This city loves its microbrews, and the Phantom Canyon is the perfect place to indulge yourself with a variety of beers brewed on-premise and paired with delicious pub food. Paravicini’s Italian Bistro is an ideal place to carb-load before heading out on a long bike ride or hike. This rustic trattoria specializes in classic Italian fare served with homemade sauces.

Boulder

Located in the shadow of the Flatiron Mountains, Boulder is the quintessential college town. The heart and soul of Boulder is the popular Pearl Street Mall. This pedestrian mall is lined with many of the city’s best restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to go when hunger strikes. Oak offers locally sourced cuisine in one of the trendiest spots in Boulder. Or, try local favorite Pasta Jay’s and its many handmade pasta and sauces for a superior comfort meal. 

With so many varied options to choose from, it is easy to find something to satiate your hunger in Colorado. Don’t be afraid to travel off of the beaten path to explore all that this state has to offer.

Headed to Alabama next? Take this guide with you.

How to Create a Paleo Food Storage

Although most diet trends come and go, it is clear that the paleo diet is here to stay. Focusing on foods that are not processed, this diet delivers a nutritious dose of everything that your body needs for optimal health. Because of its reliance on whole foods, it can be challenging to keep your paleo-approved foods fresh. Here are three ways that you can solve your paleo food storage needs:

Stock Up on Non-Perishables

Although people generally think of highly processed foods as being the only non-perishable foods available, there are actually a host of healthy foods that you can keep on hand for months. Examples of paleo-friendly foods that are good to have around for your last-minute meal and snacking needs include nuts, trail mix, seeds, and dried jerky meats. Freeze-dried fruit also makes a healthy snack while delivering a nutritional punch. Having a host of non-perishable foods available that are approved for the paleo diet will help you to avoid temptation as you stick to your meal plans.

Canning

Although it may seem daunting, canning food is actually easier than you think. Once you get the hang of this process, you will love the convenience that it provides when you need a vegetable or fruit and do not have anything fresh on hand. Learning how to can will also allow you to preserve your fresh fruit and vegetables at their maximum ripeness. According to Regenerative, this is a great way to preserve food in season for later use. Building up your canning stockpile will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you always have a paleo-friendly side dish ready to serve.

Sealing for Long-Term Storage

If you are serious about your paleo food storage, freezing sealed meals in bags is the ideal way to solve your needs. According to Vacuum Sealers Unlimited, chamber vacuum sealers allow you to seal anything, including soups and liquids. With this method of food storage, you can set aside a day to make a variety of homemade soups, stews, and other liquids to store in bags. With the right equipment and technique, you can safely store this food for months. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day at work knowing that you have a paleo-approved meal waiting for you in your freezer.

Adopting a healthy diet like the paleo diet is an important part of helping yourself to have a healthful lifestyle. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to store paleo foods that you can have on hand to eat anywhere you go. Once you get the hang of storing your paleo foods, the diet will become much easier to follow. You owe it to your health to make a commitment to this nutritious way of living.

Small-Town Food Festivals in October You Need to Visit

Autumn is almost here, and there’s nothing better than welcoming the new season by enjoying the cool, crisp fall air while sipping some warm apple cider with your loved ones. Getting to your favorite festival is as important as choosing which one to attend. Make travel reservations ahead of time so that you can soak up every minute of seasonal fun. With a variety of exciting contests, shows, and delicious food selections to choose from, each of the following October food festivals is guaranteed to be a hit.   

Milford Pumpkin Festival

Pumpkins are at the heart of autumn, and the Milford Pumpkin Festivalwhich takes place in Milford, New Hampshire, from October 11th to 13thpromises to illuminate the night with the Town Hall pumpkin-lighting ceremony and other festive events. If you’re flying, Manchester-Boston airport is the closest to the festival just 18 miles away. 

Apple Scrapple Festival

The Apple Scrapple Festival on October 11th and 12th in Bridgeville, Delaware, is a great event for the whole family, whether you’re local or planning to travel there. For those planning to fly, the closest airport to Bridgeville is the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport that is only 33 miles away, so get your car rental reservations ready to arrive at the festival in comfort and style. If you’re going to have more than one driver, remember that adding additional drivers to a rental car costs more, with some exceptions

Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-Off

Get ready to sample a wide variety of some of the tastiest homemade chili in the country at the Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-Off in Custer, South Dakota. A rip-roaring good time is what you’ll get as seasoned cooks compete for top chili-cook honors. The chili is worth traveling the distance, with the closest airport 49 miles away at the Rapid City Regional Airport. 

Taste of Brunswick Festival

If you’re in the neighborhood or just up for an adventure, the Taste of Brunswick Festival in Alberta, Virginia, on October 12th, is an autumn delight. You’ll thoroughly enjoy your time tasting delectable stews in the annual stew-master cook-off, going on a hayride, and enjoying a variety of fun activities and events. If you’re flying in for the festival, the closest airport to Alberta is the Richmond International Airport, which is 65 miles away.

Festivals are the perfect autumn events for getting you into the cozy vibe of the season, and no matter which festival strikes your fancy, you’ll have a great time.

If you are looking for some seasonal fall food that you can enjoy at home, try this recipe for Sweet & Smoky Butternut Squash, Apple, and Carrot Soup.

Fish: The Benefits and Possible Risks

Increasing your fish intake is good for your heart and can reduce your risk of cancer. However, some fish can contain high levels of toxins. If the fish that you like to eat enjoys dining on other fish, their flesh will have a higher toxin load by the time it gets to your plate. Fatty fish and predators are the fish that have the highest risk of transferring toxins to you. These are a few tips to make sure that you’re getting the healthiest portion of fish.

Health Benefits

The primary health benefit of eating fish a few times a week, especially in place of red meat or fowl, is that it increases your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This can reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. A diet that contains regular intake of fish can also lower your risk of cancer and of developing Alzheimer’s. Fish is also an excellent source of low-fat protein and can even help you recover after a hard workout. Many women who suffer from severe cramps or PMS find that increasing their intake of healthy fish lessens their symptoms.

The Risks

While fish are known for mercury contamination, it’s important to consider the food chain when deciding what fish to eat. While fish is the most significant food source of mercury, a diet high in shark meat contains a lot more toxins than a diet high in salmon. Toxins build up in the tissues of predatory fish, which are fish who feast on other fish. Stay low on the food chain, and focus on shrimp, scallops and other mollusks, haddock, and trout.

Good Fish vs. Bad Fish

To limit your exposure to these toxins, carefully monitor what fish you consume. If you keep canned tuna in your cupboard, make sure you eat more canned light than canned albacore tuna. In fact, testing indicates that albacore tuna contains more than twice the amount of this toxin found in light canned tuna. You can safely eat two to three servings a week of salmon. While wild salmon has a slightly lower mercury count than farmed salmon, both types of harvesting show low levels of this toxin. Many diners find that wild-caught salmon simply tastes better. If you don’t like the smell of fish in your house after cooking, try using farm-raised salmon.

A diet high in fish is generally a healthy choice, but your geographic location may make it difficult for you to purchase healthy fresh fish. Flash-frozen fish is often a more cost-effective option if you live in a land-locked region. While nothing that you do to a piece of fish in the preparation stage can reduce the amount of mercury in it, you can improve the flavor and texture of frozen fish by thawing it gently in a bowl of cold water over the course of the day. This will keep the flesh tender as it thaws. Then you can prepare it as you would any fresh piece of fish.

Here’s another article we think you’ll enjoy: Top 3 Seafood Restaurants in Alabama

Supper Time in Dixie: Southern Food You Have to Try in Alabama

The South is known for comfort food, and Alabama is no exception. The state has many restaurants that focus on cooking classic Southern dishes, like fried chicken, cheese grits, cornbread, and cobblers. There are also plenty of places to visit if you want an innovative take on Southern cuisine. The following information can help you enjoy the culinary offerings while visiting the state of Alabama.

Alabama Culture

Culture and food are closely linked in Alabama. Many recipes for regional classics have been passed down through the generations. Most popular Alabama dishes are made up of simple ingredients, like fresh vegetables, locally caught seafood, and homemade bread. This stems from times in Alabama’s history when funds for buying lots of ingredients were scarce. People had to become creative about making simpler food with fewer ingredients. The unique part about food in this state is the cooking process, which was brought in from the first immigrants to the area. Over the years, techniques and ingredients have changed very little, which leaves Alabama with a strong food-related heritage.

Southern Style Food

You’ll never look far for a delicious meal because Alabama is particularly  known for its Southern cuisine. Some of the revered local dishes include fried chicken, okra, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Many restaurants in Alabama serve classic Southern dishes with their own twist to give diners a unique culinary experience. Comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried seafood, and cornbread are also common in many of the state’s restaurants. You can often find different versions from each chef who prepares these well-known foods.

Restaurants to Check Out

The state of Alabama has many wonderful restaurants where you can try traditional Southern food or modern takes on these well-known dishes. If you find yourself in the Birmingham area, you may want to visit Highlands Bar and Grill or Hot and Hot Fish Club, both of which create modern dishes with a Southern flair. The Gulf Coast is full of amazing seafood restaurants, like Fisher’s in Orange Beach. No trip to Northern Alabama would be complete without a visit to Simp McGhee’s in Decatur and Cotton Row in Hunstville.

 

One of the best things about visiting Alabama is sampling some of the dishes the area is known for. Southern cuisine is often known for foods that are cooked low and slow to increase the flavor. But there are also many restaurants in Alabama that take the state’s culture into consideration while putting a modern spin on those classic dishes.

Last year I wrote about my discovery of Rodan & Field (RF) They offer a line of facial products, traditionally marketed for women, but with a growing male fan base. I use several of the products on a daily (sometimes twice daily) routine and have been overwhelmingly happy with the results.

Being someone who generally isn’t a big fan of lots of steps, I found the simple three-step RF method worked perfectly for me. More importantly, the lines don’t interfere with my facial hair and have minimal fragrance.

I recently reposted those preferred steps and products on my MentorSF Engage Blog. If you want to know more about which of the products or order them for yourselves, feel free to check out the link here. 

When checking out the Rodan & Field Products, you can click through on the “I don’t have an account” which will bring you right to the full store without you having to add any details.

3 Cities with the Best Public Transportation in the US

Whether you’re looking to explore a city’s best restaurants or get to work, you likely don’t want to spend large chunks of time-fighting traffic. Extensive public transportation can ease the burden that goes along with terrible commutes and other difficulties getting around. Here are three cities that have some of the most extensive public transportation options.

Boston, MA

Boston has a comprehensive transportation system that consists of trolleys, ferries, a heavy rail system, and a commuter rail system. There are three heavy rail lines that serve the city from each direction. The green line is a trolley that is branched and has 66 different stations. There are 133 total rail stations between all of the lines. There is also a bus rapid transit line that has its own lanes and tunnels. The “T” carries nearly 1.3 million passengers each day, and almost 800,000 of these are on the system’s rail lines.

Chicago, IL

Chicago has one of the better systems due to the ever-present “El” trains that run throughout the city that are part of the Chicago Transit Association. The El is the second-largest heavy rail subway system in the country. It currently operates 242 stations and has 11 separate rail lines, serving millions of passengers every year. In fact, over 1.6 million people each day ride the CTA to avoid commutes that can last for up to 90 minutes. For those with longer commutes into the city, the commuter rail system METRA serves over 200 stations throughout Cook County.

New York, NY

No discussion of the most extensive public transit systems can exclude New York, which has subways, railroads, ferries, and buses. There are three different commuter railroads to get people in and out of the cities that serve commuters in all directions. The iconic New York Subway runs day and night over 36 lines, serving nearly 500 stations. The subway system carries nearly 6 million passengers on weekdays and three million passengers each day on weekends. There are almost no parts of New York City that do not have their own subway stop and those that do not are easily a bus ride away from the subway station. Many people who live in New York find it completely unnecessary to own a car and for good reason.

No one loves driving in stand-still traffic on their commute home. If you do not want to spend time-fighting daily traffic, consider living in a city that has a comprehensive public transit system. It could make your commute much more bearable.

When the logs are for eating not building in the Overstory

The OverstoryWas a busy few weeks as they tend to be at this time of the year. One of the highlights was BookClub. This month’s read was The Overstory and the intersection of nature, trees, logs, and people.

Two of the several quotes I liked from the book included;

The bends in the alders speak of long-ago disasters. Spikes of pale chinquapin flowers shake down their pollen; soon they will turn into spiny fruits. Poplars repeat the wind’s gossip. Persimmons and walnuts set out their bribes and rowans their blood-red clusters Ancients oaks wave prophecies of future weather. The several hundred kinds of hawthorn laugh at the single name they’re forced to share. Laurels insist that even death is nothing to lose sleep over.”

”No one sees trees. We see fruit, we see nuts, we see wood, we see shade. We see ornaments or pretty fall foliage. Obstacles blocking the road or wrecking the ski slope. Dark, threatening places that must be cleared. We see branches about to crush our roof. We see a cash crop. But trees—trees are invisible.”

As per the usual – I wanted to come up with some interesting to food to go with the stories. One dessert I have never tried was a Buche de Noel. Now mostly I haven’t ever attempted it is because they traditionally have hazelnuts so never ate one. But I have been somewhat nervous about attempting a “jelly roll” or “swiss roll” type cake in any of the many forms.

But as I tend to do – I jumped in by attempting two variations on a “log theme”. 

The first was a traditional carrot cake log with cream cheese frosting and meringue mushrooms. My first challenge was to figure out the frosting – I didn’t want to use chocolate frosting -but I did want some shade of brown of the “bark”. That meant going back to my color charts. 1 part red, 10 parts yellow and a few dashes of blue made the brown. I use gel food coloring in the traditional cream cheese frosting along with some vanilla and honey to keep the liquids minimal. The recipe for the carrot cake roll can be found here

Next up.. savory style!

With the savory version “log” I came across a flourless recipe that looked like it wouldn’t work, but it did. I loved all the flavors, and confident in the knowledge that I had the sweet version as a backup, I went for it.

I found a recipe online for a flourless, sweet potato and chive log with savory cream cheese, tomato and herb filling covered in cream cheese and spicey eggplant pesto frosting.  The formal recipe for this can be found here.

The version I have below is my adapted version of the one they started with.

Note: they used metric measurements so I have converted them to US measurements.

For the “dirt” I just used ground nuts and rosemary for the savory one and ground graham crackers for the sweet version.

I also whipped up some meringue mushrooms the night before. But make sure to store them in an airtight container to keep them hard.

What you will need:

  • 16 oz (450 g) of cubed sweet potatoes
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 pinch ground clove
  • 1/2 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 3 oz of white sharp white shredded cheddar (this is more than the original recipe)
  • 21 oz  (250 g) full fat cream cheese (3 bricks)  (room temperature)
  • 1 bunch fresh chives (about 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh)
  • 1 jar of tomato pesto ( but any savory spread will do – I couldn’t find the red onion marmalade, so I went with a jar of Tomato Pesto)
  • 1 jar of Eggplant Pesto – this is a strong cumin spiced version and also dark colored.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a Swiss roll pan (30cm x 24cm) with parchment paper.
  2. Cooke the cubed sweet potatoes in a plastic bag in the microwave for 7-8 minute to cook
  3. Remove from the bag and add to a food processor
  4. Separate the 4 eggs.
  5. Add the yolks to the food processor along with the shredded cheese, clove,  nutmeg,  and ginger, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Process the mix until smooth and a thick puree and pour into a large bowl
  7. Add 1/2 the chives and fold twice more.
  8. In a stand mixer (or by hand), whip the egg whites to soft peaks
  9. Fold in the egg whites to the puree and fold gently to incorporate
  10. Pour the mix into the sheet pan and smooth with an offset spatula so that its evenly distributed in the pan.
  11. Bake 10-12 minutes. You want it brown around the edges and spring back to the touch in the center
  12. Pull the pan out of the oven and cover the “cake” with another sheet of parchment and upside down sheet pan and flip it over. You want to cake to me on the parchment on the pan but without the edges, so you can slide it on the counter to roll easier.
  13. Remove the cake and paper to the counter.
  14. Roll the cake up with the paper attached ( as if it were filling) and wrap in plastic and chill for 30 – 60 min.
  15. While it chills – mix the cream cheese, black pepper to taste, pinch of salt, till smooth
  16. Remove the roll and unroll.
  17. Spread the cream cheese on it. work from the center out to the edges. ( I tend to use the stuff it in a plastic bag, cut the tip and make zig zags, them smooth them out technique so minimize breaking the cake)
  18. Then add the layer of tomato pesto and top with the diced chives
  19. Then remove one edge of the cake from the paper and slowly roll the cake up. Pull the paper away as you make each rotation.

Now – you serve this at this point. But I wanted a “log” so..

  1. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
  2. Mix the remaining two bricks of more cream cheese with the eggplant pesto, taste for salt and pepper etc.   You can then add your gel colors to get the shade of brown you want as you mix it more.
  3. Then using a small spatula, cover the log in long strokes.
  4. Serve room temp.

Another version of this cake with flour can be found here but I have to say the flourless one was so good I don’t see the need.

For those of you that missed this on the MentorSF Engage Blog; I’m a Prequel

An excerpt from my recent posts on my professional blog Engage, talking about my “prequel” experience with the Storycenter.org

Who would have guessed I was a “prequel”

Ok – so maybe not a real “prequel”. But I do have something newish to share.

In May 2019 I was able to participate in a training with the folks from Storycenter.org as part of its story collections project as part of California State Library System in California Listens – Digital Storytelling for the 21st Library

This one was held down in lovely Half Moon Bay,in it’s incredibly accessible and high tech new library. For two days, 10 of us, with the help of some incredible folks from the Storycenter.org  and the staff of the library mapped out and created our own stories to share.

To read the full story check out the post on my Engage blog here.

Which U.S. Airports Have the Shortest Security Lines?

Frequent travelers will know that while security lines are a necessary evil, it’s preferable to spend the least possible amount of time standing in them. There are even apps designed to help people avoid long security lines—but these aren’t always effective. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of three United States airports with comparatively short wait times, so you can get through security and on your way faster.

Tampa

Somewhat surprisingly, this tourist destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast typically provides travelers with short waits at security. This is largely due to the fact that the airport’s unique layout necessitates four separate security checkpoints, thereby allowing for better crowd distribution. Be forewarned, however, that in certain circumstances (such as the government shutdown in early 2019), the lines may be just as long—if not longer—than the ones at most major metropolitan airports. The same principles would likely apply to any airport, but it’s best to be aware that no one is exempt in these situations.

San Diego

Considering its proximity to top tourist destinations—not to mention its stand-alone appeal—the security line situation in San Diego is a cut above its closest competitors. If you were planning on renting a car to explore southern California anyway, flying into San Diego instead of LAX could end up saving you a lot of time and hassle. Who wouldn’t prefer to spend their time driving along the Pacific coast rather than standing in a crowded line? One caveat: This rule doesn’t apply during busy holiday periods when the airport can sometimes be short-handed.

Long Beach

Long Beach represents another, closer alternative for LA travelers. This small community airport can be found three miles northeast of downtown Long Beach and is serviced by several major airlines. There is a catch, though. The airport is located right off the 405, which is world-famous for its traffic jams. If you’re planning on flying out of Long Beach, avoid rush hour at all costs. The shorter lines won’t be worth the time you’ll spend sitting in gridlocked traffic.

If you’re traveling to one of the areas mentioned here, put these airports on your short list when making your plans, and see if you can work the trip around them. The time you’ll save standing in line will free up precious time that could be better spent doing almost anything else.

Here is a great article talking about some of the best food found in the San Francisco airport!