leave your inhibitions at the door
We were scheduled to fly back home around dinner time on a Sunday. When we booked the flights, I thought that we could get in some skiing that morning, but realized it’s not like a beach vacation. With beach vacations, you usually only have to worry about shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, and whatever tacky souvenirs you picked up along the way. All of these can fit in a carry-on bag if you play your cards right. With skiing, you have coats, snowpants, long underwear, gloves, helmets, scarves, regular clothes – plus whatever tacky souvenirs you picked up along the way. You need multiple bags. Multiple BIG bags.
With three kids and all those bags you have to actually follow the usual guidelines and plan on getting to the airport a couple hours in advance. When I’m by myself 45 minutes early is PLENTY. We knew there was going to be some snow coming so we had to leave insanely early – senior-citizen-get-to-the-airport-seven-hours early. But it’s a good thing we did – a storm came and highway conditions got nasty. Instead of the usual 90 minutes, it took us about three hours to get to the airport. Nasty stuff.
But it was about two hours into the drive when we got the news – our flight home was canceled. The next flight we could get on was that Tuesday – two days after we were supposed to leave. The Sicilian’s family was on the same flight, but they had only been on the road for about 30 minutes. They turned back and stayed at the resort. I had spent a good two hours crawling on that highway and was in no mood to go back. Boom Boom REALLY wanted to get home, so she suggested we drive all the way to Ann Arbor. Umm – I didn’t want to turn around and drive back two hours on that snowy highway, so 23 hours home was not an option. And that’s in good weather. The reason our flight got canceled was because of a blizzard, so we could’ve been driving for like 56 days. So we decided to just wait it out in downtown Denver. But I could think of worse places to be trapped.
Like Des Moines.
Boom Boom had to work, so I had to get The Pieholes out of the hotel. They weren’t up for any museums or movies, so we just spent a bunch of time just exploring. We checked out Rocket Fizz, a place that sells all kinds of hard-to-find and retro candy and pop. It was like taking a foodie to Sur la Table or a redneck to Cabela’s. They were in heaven.
Not sure why, but there was a TV crew there interviewing the owners. If you’re in Colorado and saw the news report, I was the guy photobombing the interview by picking my nose. I was a good 2 knuckles deep on that one.
We were staying near Cherry Creek, which had a pretty upscale shopping area. That first night, we ate at a restaurant called Little Ollie’s that got rave reviews on Yelp! They describe themselves as Chinese, but we saw Pad Thai and sushi also on the menu. It had some cool décor and some other elements that gave the place a modern overall atmosphere, but the food was straight-up traditional. I got the sense that it started off as your usual mom-and-pop, but they increased the classiness to keep up with the surrounding area. Nothing really innovative on the menu, but everything was rock solid good. Definitely check it out when you’re there.
Best Denver Chinese restaurant
On the second night in Denver, we checked out Marg’s World Taco Bistro. I know that Denver has its share of good Mexican food, but we weren’t in any mood to try to explore and find it. So we opted to go the opposite route and go with a modern taqueria. There were some interesting things on the menu at Marg’s, but I was a little disappointed with the outcomes. The first disappointment was the guacamole, which was just bland.
And you’ll notice there are some multi-colored tortilla chips there. I think they took them straight out of a bag. Their menu says they use handmade corn tortillas for their tacos. Couldn’t they just make the chips out of those? But say the chips were house-made…. why the heck would you even bother making them multi-colored?
As for the tacos, instead of updating straight-up Mexican tacos with new ingredients, they went the eclectic/fusion route by offering tacos named bahn mi, caprese, philly steak, chicken vindaloo, etc. I’m cool with all that as long as they did a good job – but they didn’t.
Nothing really jumped out at us as particularly flavorful. Spicy items were only moderately so and there wasn’t any bright, fresh flavors either. Just meh. It’s still better than Chi-Chi’s, though.
What would you have done – gone back to the resort or to Denver? If you’re from Denver, have you been to either place? Is Des Moines as bad as I remember it to be?