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Per Request: Boulder

Like, duh, it's a given - anywhere we go, Scott and I will seek out the food and drink opportunities to the hilt.

Our recent adventure in Colorado did not disappoint in that regard. Whether you're coming off the hiking trail and need recharging, trying to escape the magnifying-glass sharp sunshine, or ready to quench your thirst, you won't run out of options in Boulder.

What did we like best? Here's our top 5.

1) Celestial Seasonings - a different kind of brew.
Yep, CO is known for its beer but as an Anglophile, Scott is a big tea drinker, and as for me, well, I like it to cool me down in the summer, to warm me up in the winter (or at my office, where the frigid A/C is always on full blast), and to calm me when my emotions need a little tea party break.
Luckily, the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder beckoned and we didn't resist its charms in the slightest. With three family members, we signed up for the tour - receiving packets of Sleepytime blend as our "tickets" - and whittled away the 20 minute wait in the tasting room.

CS offers so many teas to sample for free- six hot teas dispensed self-serve style on the counter, four iced teas doled out by a staffer, and many more teas (hot Chai, for example) available upon request. I appreciated that CS gives you small ceramic mugs to sample with, in lieu of paper cups. There's not much in Colorado that isn't green and sustainable to the max! I also loved all the artwork and funky tea pots on display.
The short tour was fun - best part was the mint room, where all the mint tea leaves hang out separately until they are processed. Apparently when the mint comes out from storage, you can smell it two miles away. It is a sinus-clearing, tears-inducing experience!

2) Avery Brewing Company
There are so many microbreweries in CO. We've visited New Belgium and Odells in Fort Collins, CO in past visits and though we were tempted to go north and return, Avery was a nice fit with its Boulder location. Less drive time, more drinkin' time!

Take the free tour and bring along a $1 generous taster or two to enjoy while you soak up all the info your brewmaster host dishes out. Hope that you get the same awesomely Scotsman we enjoyed as our tour guide. The tattooed Glaswegian was pretty entertaining.

3) Zolo Southwestern Grill.
Mexican is usually, well, pretty Mexican most of the time. Rice and beans and cheese... but Zolo is different.

This place isn't on the downtown Pearl Street corridor - more on the outskirts in a strip mall type of situation. Go for the Happy Hour menu. Drink a beer or a cold glass of Cava. Order the Roasted Poblano Relleno appetizer and a side of chorizo y papas. Ingredients are usually local and fresh. You will be mucho mucho happy.
An obvious pick. It's super-crowded, so go early.

We brunched there and shared a bounty of prepared foods to enjoy, including strawberry crepes, a Mediterranean egg scramble, hot coffee and scones - all local and delish! Ever have someone snag your bag of baked goods off a counter before? I had to chase down an overeager scone lover and ask for our bag back!

One smoothie maker was particularly excellent - don't we look like we were loving every sip?

Yeah, we agree - "this ain't no half-assed sub shop," as this place on The Hill near the University proclaims.

Don't get the chipotle potato salad (too sweet!) but check out their affordable pitchers of beer and their enormous sandwiches. I am not a cold sandwich fan, so I had a roasted eggplant on french bread hot pressed sandwich. It was huge and I enjoyed every bite.

When do we get to go back?!


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