A Date In The City – (RiNo) Denver, CO

June 9, 2016

It had been almost two months since we had a true date night. Sure, we have gone out to eat, or visited places that could be considered “date-worthy”, but we were craving the real deal. The small towns that we had visited prior just didn’t have the complete package for us. We wanted to dress up a bit and head out in to downtown Denver to experience a city that has so much to offer.

After a morning bike ride around our home base, Chatfield State Park, we showered and dressed for a night on the town. We had met a young couple from Denver who had given us some suggestions of centralized areas where we could park, and then walk to various destinations. We chose to head to the RiNo district (River North) for diverse choices to entertain us all night.

1st stop after parking is the iconic Great Divide Brewing Co. We have been to many micro-breweries on this trip, but very few of them were pioneers in the craft beer scene. Great Divide was started in 1993 while most of America was drinking flavorless lagers. This brewery has a lot to offer in terms of style of beer, and they have a free tour of their facility. After a pint, we went on the tour and were able to see the entire brewing and bottling process. If you’re in Denver, do it.

The Great Divide

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great-divide-brewery

Next stop was Epic Brewing. If you stand in downtown Denver and throw a rock, chances are it will hit a brewery. This city is extremely beer friendly, and the overall quality is top notch. We had many recommendations on breweries to visit, and we missed many of them. However, we enjoyed all of the places that we did go to.

Epic Brewery is one of many breweries in Denver that sprung up in the 2000’s by owners attracted to the Denver beer scene. Like many others, it was built with a foundation of small-batch, artisanal beers. I sampled a few beers here, and again found them to be of great quality. I’m beginning to like this city!

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It was one of Kym’s favorites because of the space, outdoor patio and soda selection!

Most of the breweries that we have visited do not have licensing to serve food, or choose not to. So, outside of almost all of them are food carts or trucks. This creates a symbiotic relationship between two small businesses; one sells beer, and the other feeds beer drinkers. Outside of Epic Brewery at the time is a cart called “I gotz bratz”.  Their menu, as suggested, consisted mostly of home-made brats with local Colorado meats. We had dinner plans, but still enjoyed a (large) basket of fries.

With the beer drinking complete, it was time to switch courses. A few days before, we had found that Colorado’s cannabis scene is not limited to only smoking marijuana. There are many ways to indulge, and it isn’t always about getting “high”. The great thing about legalization is that it gives businesses a chance to use the product in different ways. Enter: LoDo Cannabis Massage. This full-service spa is located just down the block from Epic Brewing. Kym had found them on Yelp, and we were both in need of a massage. The local twist is that you can receive a massage using cannabis lotion and oils. We were curious, and “when in Rome”.

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This experience starts much like a normal full-body massage at any other spa. The welcome area checks you in, you fill out paperwork, and are offered a glass off water. On your paperwork, you indicate any areas of pain, medical conditions, and other pertinent info. There is also the option to select the ApotheCanna massage using cannabis products. Upon entering your private room, the therapist goes over your paperwork and confirms. From there, the massage is the same as any other; lay on your stomach, calm music, and instant gratification from skilled hands. It wasn’t until it was over, and I started moving again, that I realized the difference that that cannabis oil made. My muscles felt as I expected, but my skin felt different, almost lighter. For hours after the massage I felt pliable. Moving was effortless. I wasn’t high, but my body had experienced more than just a traditional Swedish massage. It was healing, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. No matter your stance on legalizing marijuana, do not doubt that there are medicinal qualities that should not be overlooked. Pot-tourism in Colorado is relatively new since legalization, but this experience is much more than I expected. I recommend it to everyone. Now off to dinner!

Denver is the first big city that we have been to since leaving Los Angeles. Although we have had many dinners at local restaurants while on the road, none have compared to our meal at Acorn. This was a splurge for us, and our budget, yet worth every penny. Located in the very hip Source building, Acorn serves eclectic American cuisine.

The building itself is host to other restaurants and shops, located in the RiNo district. It is an old refinery, that has been transformed in to a marketplace that includes cheese, charcuterie, and spice shops. Think Ferry Building in San Francisco, but with Denver flair.

Kym had found Acorn online, and was drooling over the menu days in advance. I chose to be surprised. After our massage, we wandered in and found seats at the bar. The restaurant was busy, and has a very cool indoor-outdoor dining area. We prefer the bar, as it gives us a chance to watch the whole operation, and chat with the bartender.

Kym immediately found the non-alcoholic drink menu, and proceeded to order three of the same drink throughout our meal. When you can’t drink alcohol, a good mocktail is more than appreciated. I had a few different selections of hand-crafted cocktails, each one better than the next.

The food was exceptional. We coursed it out one dish at a time in order to prolong the experience. On the road, we cook a lot, and spend time out in the wilderness with no one else around. Here, we got to feel part of society again surrounded by discourse, laughter, food and drink. Between that, the cannabis massage, and the craft beers earlier, we were thoroughly enjoying our date night. What a treat of a day for us nomads.

Below are a few items from our meal.

DSC01106Front entrance to the Source building.

DSC01107Kym’s non-alcoholic mocktail. (Southeast Visions – blackberries, coconut h20, grenadine, lemon, aromatic bitters)

DSC01115One of a few drinks of mine. Notice the single round ice cube.

DSC01118Beef Tartare. Insane.

DSC01120Rabbit loin pasta.

DSC01124Wagyu short ribs with yuzu.

DSC01128Meatballs with polenta and burrata.

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