When you work as a full-time preschool teacher, spring break is the exact time of year when a little vacay is much needed. I decided to take my spring break vacation in Denver, Colorado. My best friend from college lives there and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pay her a visit, get some hiking in, and experience the amazing food and drink I had read and heard all about(within my budget of course!).
Like Charleston, Denver is definitely not cheap, however I was still able to find ways to eat and drink all the best things and not spend all my money. These are just a few of the things I indulged in during my travels, that I would definitely suggest trying if you’re ever in Denver and want to try to eat on the cheap.
On my second day in Denver, I decided to go check out Downtown Denver. I started my day at a local coffee shop called Amante and ordered a regular coffee and an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Both the coffee and cookie cost me less than $5, which I was pretty impressed with. The coffee was delicious and the cookie was the perfect complement to the coffee. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and had the perfect oat-y consistency. My morning could not have been off to a better start. I spent the rest of the day meeting with a family friend and enjoying some of the most amazing western art in Denver’s American Museum of Western Art (only $5 admission!). It was a super exciting day.
One of my favorite meals I had in Denver was one that I would have never expected to be as good as it was. My dad works in Charleston, but has an office out in Denver, so I had the opportunity to meet some of his coworkers who work at the Denver office over lunch. We went to Seasons 52, which is a chain restaurant (normally I try to steer clear of these), but prides itself on its locally sourced produce, meat, and seafood. I ordered the “Vegetable Tasting”, which consisted of a large plate filled with wood-grilled kohlrabi steak (grilled cauliflower), vegan paella, asparagus, and broccoli topped with Parmesan cheese. It was a very plentiful portion of food and it only cost $15.95. I had lots of leftovers for lunch the next day too!
On my second-to-last night in Denver, my friend and her boyfriend and I ventured out to an Indian restaurant in Castlerock, CO called Zaika. My favorite thing about this restaurant was that all the food tasted very authentic and we truly felt like we were taken away to India for a night. I ordered the Baingan Bharta, which was Tan-door-roasted eggplant with chopped tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic. It was served with a bowl of deliciously soft jasmine rice. I normally like my dishes to have a little bit of spice, but not too much, so I asked for a heat level of 2, which was the perfect amount. My mouth wasn’t on fire, but the spice in the dish gave it some added excitement. I really enjoyed this dish, as it was perfectly creamy, the vegetables in the dish tasted fresh, and it was really good when placed over the jasmine rice. My whole meal cost me $10, and it included a medium-sized bowl of rice, which makes this a great deal. I even, once again, had leftovers for lunch the next day!
On my final night in Denver, my friend took me to a restaurant called Linger, which was located in downtown, Denver. This restaurant is a former mortuary, so it was really neat to see how they incorporated some of the leftover pieces of the mortuary into the restaurant decor. The menu was composed of a couple different sections that displayed various cuisines from around the world. There was a section composed of Bao Buns, a section for European/Eurasian dishes, an Asian section, an American and Caribbean section, an Indian section, and an African and Middle Eastern section. I really loved that they had such a wide variety of cuisines on their menu. It was hard for me not to try something from each section!
I was feeling the need for something more on the lighter side, so I ordered the Farro Salad in the European and Eurasian section and a Samosa from the Bao Bun section. The salad was composed of arugula, radishes, buckwheat, goji berries, red apples, castelvetrano, pistachios, delicata squash, white beans, and was topped with slices of pecorino cheese. The salad was arranged beautifully and it was quite flavorful and filling. The dressing on top of it had a strong tangy flavor. I think next time I would ask for the dressing on the side because at times it felt like the strong tangy flavor took away from the natural flavoring of the berries, squash, and fruit in the salad.
The Samosa was outstanding and also had a beautiful presentation. It was composed of purple potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, sambar, and apple-serrano chutney. The doughy crust of the Samosa had the perfect soft consistency and when you cut into the Samosa, all the fillings pretty much oozed out, which made it even more delectable. The apple-serrano chutney placed on top of the samosa gave it a good complimentary sweet aftertaste, with a little bit of spice. Price-wise, I wouldn’t say this restaurant is the most affordable. Many of their larger meal items are priced at $15 or more. I did spend less than $20 on my meal, and I ordered two different things, so it is possible to pick out some cheaper items on the menu. If you’re looking for a larger meal though, I would definitely suggest ordering a couple of things off the menu and splitting the cost with other people in your group.
I could not have picked a better place to go for my spring break. From all the hikes with the most amazing views to all the different types of cuisines I got to experience, it was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. If you ever find yourself in Denver, I would definitely suggest checking these restaurants out. You’ll be able to enjoy really delicious food, while not having to worry about over-spending on food during your trip!