When John and Ulla first traveled through the Palisade countryside in 1994, it was filled with peach orchards. But after they attended a seminar on grape-growing the same year, the pair found themselves more inspired by that particular fruit. They returned to Palisade to purchase a 10-acre plot, camping in a trailer amid the trees as they transformed the land into their own vineyard. Years of planting and pruning vines yielded a rich harvest including Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon—and Bookcliff Vineyards.
Today, Bookcliff has expanded into 37 acres, and Ulla and John produce a dozen varietals using sustainable practices and strictly their own Colorado grapes. The grounds include a winery and tasting room, where guests peek at the Old-World-meets-New-World-meets-brewing-world lineup of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. In addition to chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, their award-winning selection of wines includes lesser-known varietals such as Muscat and Viognier.
With more than 1,000 different types of cheese made within its borders, France is known as the cheese capital of the world. So naturally, it's the country from which The Cheese Course imports most of its inventory?75 types to be exact. These include brie de meaux, fromager d'affinois truffles, and roquefort, one of France's oldest cheeses and one that is still ripened in the same cool, damp caves of Combalou.
Of course, France isn't the only region represented at The Cheese Course. The European-style cheese shop introduces patrons to more than 150 artisanal cheeses imported from dairy farms all over the world. Most of the cheese makers use the same cheese-making methods that have been passed down through their families for generations via email. The house cheesemonger guides patrons through the cheese-selection process and teaches them how best to serve each one.
The shop also shows off its wares in various bistro sandwiches, including gourmet grilled cheese and the popular prosciutto di parma. This 14-month-aged, imported Italian meat gets its nutty flavor from the parmigiano-reggiano whey in the pig's diet.
On average, it takes one year to invent a sandwich that meets the standards of Jason's Deli—countless combinations of breads and filling won't ever leave the test kitchen. Those that do follow a strict set of rules: no artificial trans fat, no high-fructose corn syrup, and flavors that come from freshness rather than additives. The results can be bitten into at hundreds of locations across America. At each, difficult choices abound between reubens and spicy-ranchero chicken wraps, or between a turkey club and a New Orleans-inspired muffaletta, spread with a family-recipe olive mix. Even those who don't want a sandwich still have to make tough decisions when they approach the salad bar brimming with organic fixings.
Despite the difficulties of selection, Jason's Deli prioritizes convenience. Its stores have organized a list of gluten-sensitive selections as well as healthy kids' meals, which come with sides of organic carrots or apples as opposed to other restaurants' deep-fried lard balls. The company also advocates for emotional health as fervently as it does nutrition—its Leadership Institute hosts workshops for employees on topics ranging from conflict resolution to finances to ethics.
In 1995, Twisted Pine Brewing Company began as something more of a grove than a forest, with brewer Gordon King crafting just a trio of beers in equipment purchased from New Belgium. Come 1996, the company fell into the hands of current owner Bob Baile, who merged the nascent brewery with his own project, Peak to Peak Brewing Company, and began bolstering the lineup with inventive stouts, ales, and porters. Since then, Twisted Pine has maintained a high standard of quality even in the face of its expanding scale, as evidenced by the gold medals garnered at the Great American Beer Festival for its American Amber Ale and Oak Whiskey Red. They credit their love for experimentation and strong community involvement as the driving force behind crafting beers that surprise and delight their loyal customers.
Today, locals and visitors mingle in the tap room, where the beer menu offers seasonal specials such as the Ghost Face Killah, infused with the 1.1 million Scovilles of the Bhut Jolokia pepper, and rated by Bon Appétit as one of the top ten weirdest beers in America. And to pair with the beer and drawers of otherwise useless silverware, the food menu features hearty pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.
Bright canvases hang over the counter at Boulder Creek Market, behind which the crew crafts a menu of signature sandwiches. You can order traditional cuts of ham, turkey, and roast beef, but it's worth trying some of the specialty game meats, such as ostrich, buffalo, and wild boar. Fresh, locally baked bread is included whether you're having salad or a gourmet sandwich. And the dressings are all made in-house, from basil pesto to spicy chipotle mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette. Sandwiches and salads can be prepared vegan or vegetarian upon request.
With its TV, Xbox games, and free WiFi, Twirl Boulder is as appealing any neighborhood hangout as any you might see on television—and that's not taking into account the 50-plus flavors of locally sourced frozen yogurt on rotation. Here, guests can pile them high with dozens of other toppings, including several gluten and dairy-free options. The store understands its youth appeal, creating the Purple Lounge, which hosts game, karaoke, and dance nights. The lounge is also available for get-togethers via free reservation. As visitors kick back on the wraparound couch or warm themselves before the fireplace, they munch on slices of Nick-N-Willy's pizza, sliders, chicken nuggets, and sip cold drinks. Twirl also caters to its adult clientele, offering presentation-friendly meeting areas with a TV to banish boring office meetings.