Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out and About Town

We hear allot about 'Staycation' these days, so why not take one around the city? Enjoy some of the sights and sounds of our immediate area--so off we go. Must prepare first, pack that cooler with lots of cool drinks, add some reading matter to your kindle (in case of traffic congestion), dial up your i-pod to Pandora selections, fill the car with that petro and take off--oh, yes, it helps if you have an itinerary so you don't back track or get lost and a GPS is a big assistance if you are not familiar with the location.
First stop--lunch!  We are going to experience a Vietnamese restaurant:   New Saigon--proclaimed the best Vietnamese restaurant in town.  We arrive shortly after 1:30 and the place is still packed.  But, luckily, our wait is short.
What to order?  The menu is extensive and not familiar to our palates.  Next best thing is to ask the server--what would you order?  We settle on the 'make your own spring rolls'--perfect!  But, when it arrives we have no idea how to proceed so our gracious server gives us a lesson in rolling our spring roll.  Dip the dry rice paper wrapper in hot water (provided), place in the fresh veggies (bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cilantro, mint, green leaf lettuce, rice noodles, any meat) and roll.  Looked easy when she did it!  When we tried we couldn't quite get everything in the wrapper and get it rolled before it stuck to the plate.  Alas, we did manage a 'somewhat' eatable roll--delicious-all those fresh veggies and the dipping sauce was outstanding.  We also ordered pho, which is a soup loaded with goodness.  Too much food--take away bag we carried out the door.  See that cooler comes in handy when traveling.
Our next stop--liquid refreshment!  Stranahans whiskey distillery--the oldest in Colorado.
Enter through those doors and you will see the process happen--only today there was nothing going on, but at least we could hear about the process.
Fill these tanks with all that good 'mash' from grains...............
Flowing from the above tanks through various tubes into these copper kettles where heat is applied.......................
And soon you have a 90%+ proof liquor which is diluted with pure spring water and into these American oak barrels to age two years.
Drain into large whiskey bottles, pop in the cork, slap on the label (done by volunteers who get to reap in the benefits at the end of their shift) and you have a finished product that is only sold in the state.
And now to the tasting room--ahhh, our wait is over!  Our tour guide skillfully fills the tasting glasses, even pouring some liquid refreshment (water) for the under age set.  Nose the whiskey before tasting, sip, swish around in your mouth and swallow--feel the burn and taste the flavors.  These batches are limited, so better get your bottle now (so says the sales gal).  Priced @ $59 a bottle, we added one to our liquid cabinet.
Now, isn't it time for some cool refreshment?  You bet!  So, off we go, about two miles as the crow flies to Spuntino
We have come for the gourmet Popsicles!  Now, which one to choose?  So many unusual flavors to pick from--
Perfect for a hot day--Tropical sunrise (mango, papaya, pineapple), pineapple cilantro and plum pomegranate.  Yummy good! 
And our last stop of the day--Chocolate!! Roberta's chocolate is a small shop off to the side and it is packed full of goodness!
When is this festival?  Please select me as one of the judges!!
The shelves are lined with all types of chocolates.  Immediately, our eyes spotted the 'grab' bag--$2 bargain for 1/2 lb of chocolate.  Name the fudge and Roberta's has it--our stash is complete with a small bag and homeward bound we are.  Thank goodness, for chocolate and cool drinks as we trudge back to the interstate and the biggest traffic problem we have experienced in a long time.  Our adventure is complete for another day.  Yeah, these 'staycations' are pretty good things!

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