Friday, May 9, 2008

Three Perfect Days in Colorado

United Airlines' Hemispheres Magazine has a special section in its publication called 3 Perfect Days.  They've highlighted everything from Sun Valley to Shanghai... I think the 3-dayer is about the perfect mini-break.  So we made plans to head for Vail in the oft season to celebrate Danny's graduation from the U (BA in Economics, minor in business if you've got any leads on the perfect job for him.) 

Day 1: Thursday, May 8:
It was an early rising day.  Up at 5:30 and rush to the airport to catch a 7 am flight.  Good thing we took the early one though; because even with an 8:30 arrival into DIA, it still took us 2 hours to pick up our car, get the GPS unit figured out and pick a car.  I had ordered a sub-compact of sorts because they never have them and ALWAYS end up upgrading you for free.  Enterprise was sooo overbooked, they sent us to national and we ended up with a gas-guzzling Toyota Forerunner SUV for 18-bones a day.  Honestly, I think we'll spend as much (if not more) on gas than the cost of the rental for our entire stay.

Danny is a HUGE baseball fan, so I bought tix to the Colorado Rockies game for the afternoon.  When I ordered the tickets, I just hit the "best available" button, and we ended up on the "Wells Fargo Club Level" ... this is the way to go people... I mean, if you're not going to be in the 1st 10 rows behind home, 1st or 3rd... drop the cash and buy into seats that are padded (yeah, ours were), where the bathrooms are NEVER crowded, AND there's a guy that walks around and takes your order for drinks and food and can do it with a credit card.... menu items include sandwiches from their "carving station," chocolate covered strawberries and a potato bar with toppings that look like Mount Everest. I ate a ton of junk food, had spilled an entire 32 oz of Sprite, stepped on some guys plate of food on the floor AND made friends with a few of the ushers and the cop that kept saying "here comes trouble" every time I walked by. 

The game was fantastic!  The Rockies killed the Cardinals AND our seats were fabulous (as I mentioned). Danny was cracking up because he had suggested we get tickets in the "Rock Pile" ... I think those seats go for 4-bux a pop.  We could've got season tickets for the price of the club level. ;)  JK, but it was totally worth it!  I could do more baseball games like that.... who says I'm not an avid sports fan.  Now if only I had a giant foam finger -- now that would be something!!!

After the game, we drove to Vail and checked into our uber-fabulous condo that my parents had hooked us up with as their Marriott time share was about to expire and apparently Vail in the off-season is the only place with availability in May (west of the Mississippi) when you're booking three weeks out.  But it's been divine!!!

Last night we at at Kelly Liken... this swanky restaurant with small pretentious food and a price tag to go with it... But, HELLO!  Bonus for being in Vail in the off season... everything was 50% off.  

We started the night with an oversized spoon (yes, literally, they delivered a SPOON) of beet soup with anise. Divine.  I ordered some type of rhubarb(sp?) mint drink that tasted like liquid nectar... we ordered a duo of Kurobuta Pork (not sure what that actually means, except we ate some "little piggy"... poor wilbur). It was described as crispy braised pork belly, avocado smash with pulled pork, a tostada and marinated cabbage slaw cilantro coulis (translation = some park of pork that looked like bacon... and a bunch of pulled pork on a tortilla chip that looked like it needed BBQ sauce, cole slaw and some guacamole on the side of the plate. Which can be eaten in a total of 6 bites and comes with a price-tag "in season" at $17.... but like I said, we paid $8.50 for it with the 50% off dealio.) 

For our main course I chose the Lavender Honey Glazed Duck Breast (tastes like chicken.. if it were to mate with a cow) with baby carrots, creamy farro (don't even know what that word means, but there was something on my plate that tasted like orzo pasta) and some blueberry conserve (yep, blueberry jam). 

Danny opted for the  Braised All Natural Colorado Beef Short Rib with creamy parmesan grits, pickled onion coriander salad topped off with a roasted tomato vinaigrette.  We also ordered a side of haricot vertes ... which  apparently is pronounced "air-eee-ko-ver" and means "green beans." ;)  I think this is the food served to the masses at all parties in the Great and Spacious Building... didn't Nephi mention something about "creamy farro"? 

So after all of that rich mini-food... served in portions fit for a smurf... we had no other option but to each order dessert.  

Danny's Choice: The sticky bun sundae... comprised of warm bite sized pieces of cinnamon sticky bun stacked and drizzled with warm caramel, toasted pecans and topped off with vanilla bean ice cream. The menu didn't mention it, but Danny's dessert also came with a mass of whipped sugar... I mean literally, like a big glob of sugar that looked like a pile of white hair on top of his dessert... except it was edible. Sounds bad, but it was actually delicious.  Even better than...

Sabrena's Choice: Banana toffee pie with a flaky crust (made from cream cheese... can you say "decadent?!?!"), creamy toffee, layered with fresh banana, peanut butter whipped topping (but that piece just tasted like a giant glob of peanut butter ice cream.)  Again, super rich... I couldn't finish it... 

Oh, and I almost forgot... they're "digestif & dessert wine flights" made me chuckle with exasperation as their "best of Remy Martin Cognac" came with the price tag of $110 for 3 "testers"... the menu said "all flights include once ounce of each selection"... so since you're getting the "XO," the "Extra Perfection" and the "Louis XIII" ... that's totally worth it right?  I mean, it's under 100 ml, so you could actually carry that sucker onboard a flight and TSA wouldn't even have to confiscate it... (except that they would because you can't bring liquor on a flight if it's corked/open.)  Sheesh!  Talk about over-the-top!

Our server ended our experience with a homemade cherry lolli, a raspberry-something gelatin (read: jell-O), a chocolate truffle and a slice of peanut fudge.  Danny and I went to be crystalized, and totally stoked to eat "real food" on Friday. 

The rest of the evening was spent getting to "know" one another... in the most Biblical sense of the word (Danny says that piece is not necessary to share... but I don;t know what he's talking about), and relaxing in front of the TV... ready for our adventure on Friday. ;)

Day 2: Friday, May 9
We slept in until 10:30.  The last time we did that was over a year ago... I pulled all the curtains and closed the door and our room was like a cave.  Plus, the linens at the joint are fab-u-los!  All plush and fluffy... your whole body sinks into them and you feel like you've been enveloped in a bed made from the clouds. 

We headed to the on-site gym.. took a little jog, lifted weights and then hit the racquet-ball court... because Danny and I are hip like that.  Sad to say, it went to three games; and even though I had a chance to close the game on more than one occasion... I still lost.  But at least it's a sport that we're pretty equally yoked in.  He kills me in basketball, running, baseball and tennis.  I eat his lunch in swimming, volleyball and water polo (even when he cheats and stands on the bottom of the pool.) 

So post game -- we hit the pool (I did some laps) and tried to teach him how to float without his legs sinking ... but it was hopeless.  We spent some time in the eucalyptus steam room and then headed back up to our room for granola and to get ready.  Since we had had a lazy morning getting out of bed, by the time we got on the road for our adventure, it was 2.

We took the scenic by-way to Minturn, down to Leadville and up to Climax (hehe) and past Copper Mountain.  Minturn, Leadville and Climax are all mining towns (or were at one time.)  Leadville has 50 historic buildings and Minturn looks like Springdale crossed with gingerbread houses... it's pretty quaint.  The drive was nice... the conversation was even better... and I can't remember ever being more in love with my husband.

We got back to Vail, went to the Vail Village to walk around (though most of the shops are closed) and headed to Avon for deep dish pizza. 

Tomorrow we're headed to Beaver Creek and Glenwood Springs... I've only been to Glenwood once, but I'm totally stoked to introduce Danny to the healing waters of the springs.

Safe travels... hopefully, I'll post pics soon.