Nestled near the foot of the Front Range mountains about 30 minutes from Denver and Boulder, Hilltop Inn pampers patrons with homey confines and ample amenities. After checking in, guests are greeted in their king mini suite by a half dozen chocolate-covered strawberries, a complimentary snack bar, and breathtaking mountain views. A romantic gas fireplace keeps toes toasty, and a satellite-enabled, 27-inch flat-screen TV inspires epic, popcorn-fueled channel-surfing competitions. Guests can stop by The Wildflowers Tea Room & Restaurant and use their $10 gift card toward a late-afternoon tea, an english bread pudding, or something heartier, such as corned beef cooked in Guinness and whiskey. With a refrigerator, microwave, and kitchen sink in their room, boarders can pack it in for the night and take advantage of the WiFi connection to perform magic shows via video chat to enraptured family and friends. After all sheep are counted and the violet hue of the sun paints the eastern sky, lodgers start the day with a full-size breakfast before heading off into the mountains for a bout of exuberant yodeling.
Opened midsummer 2010 amid the mammoth movieplex at Westminster Promenade, Higgy's Ice Cream Shoppe provides a sweet way to cool down after scorching summer blockbusters. The locally produced ice creams mingle with other delectable dairy-mades, letting guests express their confectionary style by wrapping treats in fruit, candy, nuts, or fashion-magazine cutouts. Single-serve ice cream comes in 5-ounce ($3), 8-ounce ($4), and 12-ounce ($5) denominations (each mixed-in candy, fruit, or nut costs an additional $0.50), or patrons can tote home on-the-go pints ($7) and quarts ($9). Parents can perk up for marathon cartoon adaptations of The Iliad by ordering an espresso, latte, cappuccino, or other coffee product ($2.50 small, $3.25 large), and tincture it with a hint of flavoring ($.25 per addition). Besides caffeines and vanilla beans, Higgy's Ice Cream Shoppe also hawks sorbet, fro-yo, malts, smoothies, baked goods, and ice-cream cakes.
One of the original pioneers of the yogurt industry, Golden Spoon has been whirling yogurt since the early 1980s. With six small servings of frozen yogurt to redeem, sweet-teethed customers can enjoy a several of the rotating flavors, including tastes such as just chocolate, peanut butter, café latte, butterscotch, and boysenberry. At 25–29 calories an ounce, health-conscious consumers can enjoy licks without translating each tongueful into the number of jumping jacks or flying-starfish impersonations needed to offset it.
Cold Stone's ice cream inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company?s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320?420 calories each.
When Denver Westword critic Jason Sheehan visited Cracovia Restaurant and Bar, his summation of the meal ended up sounding less like a restaurant review and more like an Alice in Wonderland?style memoir dripping with passion and faux nostalgia. At one point, he recalled a desire to tackle a waiter who had walked by with a plate of cabbage rolls, so that he could "grab the golabki with [his] teeth and drink the tomato-mushroom gravy straight from the tureen." Later in the meal, he and his wife felt so connected to the food, they almost felt Polish themselves: "If our mothers had been Polish ? this would've been what we ate growing up, " Jason said, "This tastes like home cooking in the best possible way, tastes of time and care and experience and love."
Love is probably the key word here: it's not surprising that Jason and his wife were so enamored with their meal, considering Cracovia is a labor of love for husband-wife team Lester and Marie Rodzen. They named the restaurant after a Krakow hotel where they honeymooned more than a quarter-century ago, and they pour this affection for their home country into each of the from-scratch Polish dishes they create, which is part of the reason they were named ?Best German/Eastern European Restaurant Denver 2014? by Denver Westword. The aforementioned golabki?cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice?is one of the Rodzens' signature dishes, as are the homemade kielbasa and pierogi stuffed with meat, cabbage, cheese, or blueberries, all purchased at local farmers markets. In the spirit of its romantic inspiration, Cracovia is a perfect date-night restaurant?every Friday and Saturday night, live singers croon as couples make their way to the dining room's dance floor or three-legged racing area.