Colorado is Callin’: Don’t Fence Me In


Eyes like a morning star, cheeks like a rose… Tall, snowy peaks and outdoorsy men with good teeth. Okay, not exactly the lyrics of the Colorado Trail, but close. Yes, I hear the men are smokin’ (and I don’t mean Marlboro reds). Athletic, free-spirited, down-to-earth goodness. Nature at it’s best. Don’t worry, boys. The women are equally fresh-faced, fit, and full of fun. Imagine a place with clean air and enough outdoor activities, fine food, and shopping to keep you occupied for months. The people, and the place, will make you damn proud to be an American.

So ride your way to Rockies.

Jaunt picked some highlights which we thought were a good start. Remember, Colorado is broken up into the following seven regions:

Northwest: Aspen, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, Grand Junction
Noteable attractions: Skiing, of course, Dustin Hoffman’s Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, Fremont Indian rock art at Canyon Pintado, the hot springs of Glenwood Springs, rock formations and vistas of Colorado National Monument

Front Range: Boulder, Ft. Collins
Notable attractions: The summer long Colorado Music Festival, the gold and silver rushes evident in the small mountain towns, granite canyons of Poudre Canyon, the Peak-to-Peak highway with stunning sunsets, shopping Pearl Street Mall in Boulder

Denver
Once a frontier town, this young city is now home to a thriving arts scene full of restaurants, fine art, and museums.
Notable attractions: The Black American West Museum and the quaint Five Points Neighborhood

Northeast
Considered the Colorado outback, this area is full of wheat and grassland. Talk about frontier… from the early pioneers to Native Americans and soldiers, the Pony Express came through here.
Notable attractions: From April- October, there are over 150 fairs, rodeos, and tournaments where locals and guests revel in their mountain men gunfightin’ roots.

Southwest
Durango, Telluride… in this region, white rapids and grassy meadows are joined with ghost towns and the high flats of the Colorado Plateau.
Notable attractions: In Durango and Telluride, beauty meets culture. In the summertime, there’s the Jazz and Bluegrass Festivals of Telluride. For those who love a good remnant of the past, ancient Anasazi ruins speak to the mystique and centuries of American Indian culture while the skiing, rafting, and hiking can’t be beat.

South Central
Valleys, wildflowers, peaks and a town that boasts itself as the highest city in America. Leadville is literally tucked amid clouds. South Central includes Colorado Springs, a quaint hippie town that still calls almost 1/2 million among its’ residents.
Notable attractions: Rafters, kayakers and fishermen flock to Royal Gorge and the Arkansas River to try their hands and paddles at the river. High art meets mining in a place where the plains meet the Rockies.

Southeast
You’ve read about Native American gems and beautiful scenery, this area is known for it’s wide open spaces.
Notable Attractions: The Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place in the lower Arkansas Valley every November. There’s also Bent’s Old Fort and the Santa Fe Trail or Comanche National Grasslands, over 400,000 acres of sprawling land where you can bring your own horses and ride (but Jaunt recommends going City Slicker and visiting a Dude Ranch where they do it all for you – see below).

Boulder, CO

St Julien Hotel & Spa http://www.stjulien.com – this super swanky property on Walnut Street is the first hotel to be built in downtown Boulder in 100 years. Their spa, and attention to detail and service, is some of the best in the city.

The Boulderado – http://www.boulderado.com – With a view of the snow capped mountains, this property calls itself ‘The first luxury hotel.’ A member of the Historic Hotels of America, it’s Victorian design and happening Corner Bar, is a place to rest, have a mango barbeque shrimp salad, and chill. 4-6pm Happy Hour or 12-2pm weekend brunch anyone??

Restaurants:
Jill’s Restaurant – http://www.jillsdining.com – a modern bistro offering Metro American fare with Mediterranean influences by award-winning Executive Chef Jason Rogers. The menu at Jill’s is light and full of flavor, utilizing a wide variety of locally grown, organic, and free-range ingredients

The Kitchen Café – http://www.thekitchencafe.com – a laid back local spot for fresh, affordable fare

Activities:
Shopping on Pearl Street Mall – just 1 short block from St Julien Hotel & Spa, this pedestrian mall is loaded with amazing boutiques. Highlights include: Chelsea Boutique – started by a group of sorority sisters from Colorado University, this shop is loaded with unique gems and favorites from Marc Jacobs, Theory, Tory Burch, and more – http://www.chelseabella.com/ or http://www.boulderdowntown.com/guide/shopping/apparel/womens-clothing

Rocky Mountain National Park
Boulder Beer Company Brewery & Pub
Boulder Creek Path – walk, bike, or in-line skate along this local, scenic path running parallel to Boulder Creek
2 hour Love Olive Me! Treatment at the Spa at St Julien

Vail, CO
Hotels:
Sonnenalp Resort – http://www.sonnenalp.com – this sprawling resort property is nestled right in the center of Vail


Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa – http://www.vailmountainlodge.com

FYI…Vail is undergoing a “billion dollar renewal” and renovation over the course of 9-10 years or so with a new Ritz-Carlton residences opening in Vail village just steps from Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa

Restaurants:
Restaurant Kelly Liken – http://www.kellyliken.com – Innovative seasonal American cuisine, inspired by local ingredients indigenous to the Rocky Mountain region. The menu changes frequently to showcase the market-driven produce and organic ingredients available with each season.

La Bottega – a local favorite for affordable Italian fare. http://www.denver.citysearch.com/profile/1975722/?brand=smx_restaurant-nc

Activities:
From snow skiing, mountain biking, fly-fishing, hiking, river rafting and, of course, private cooking classes by celebrated local Chef Kelly Liken, activities abound.

Taste of Vail is coming in early April which is a huge draw for epicureans and surrounding areas interested in the culinary offerings of Vail.

Colorado Springs

Hotels:
The Broadmoor
http://www.broadmoor.com

Restaurants:
Summit Restaurant, American Brasserie – http://www.summitatbroadmoor.com/default.html
Penrose Room – Colorado’s ONLY AAA 5-Diamond restaurant – http://www.broadmoor.com/penrose-room.php

Activities:
For fun – try the authentic 1920’s Penny Arcade, the US’ steepest and oldest Cog Railway up Pike’s Peak
Shopping- BEST SHOES, Yardis – http://www.broadmoor.com/broadmoor-shopping.php
New Colorado Springs Fine Art Center – http://csfineartscenter.org

For all the horse lovers out there, might we recommend a good Dude Ranch?

http://www.colorado.com/listing.php?listing_id=5

For general info and good way to decide where you want to begin your trip try: http://www.colorado.com

Sing along…
Give me land lots of land and the starry skies above…

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Carry It On: The Physician


Believe it or not, sometimes the best part of traveling is staying in one place. Whether you’re parked by the sea reading a good book or waiting to board the plane, it is often the solitude of the journey and those periods ‘in between’ that teach us more about ourselves and world around us.

To that end, part of that glorious discovery is what we read along the way. I’d love to say that I remember where – and what – I was doing in the Czech Republic when I encountered a book that carried me to an ancient world and exposed me to an author that continues to excite me, but alas… it was many years ago. The most I can recall is a summer spent in Prague, gargoyles atop a Medieval castle, and the stark Polish countryside roll past as I flipped the page.

And yet, rainy days spent traveling throughout Eastern Europe are also tinted with a hint of gold for when I rested my head at the end of a long day in Krakow, the sweeping historical tales of Noah Gordon came alive to accompany me. So much so, in fact, that last week I picked up another book by Mr. Gordon and was thrilled to discover that he’s still got ‘it.’

So what’s my vote for adventurers, readers, lovers, and traveller’s worldwide?

The Physician by Noah Gordon.

If you’ve been stuck in the city for months on end and haven’t had the chance to hitch a plane to Mozambique or Montreal, here’s what you do. Pick up a copy of any of his books. In 1999, The Physician was voted by the Madrid Book Fair as one of the ten most beloved books of all time. You’ll be starting with his first book in the Robert Jeremy Cole trilogy. A fast, historically rich, yet easy read, it takes place in the 11th century so your imagination will run wild with the story of Robert Cole as he journeys from his childhood in England, througout Europe, and all the way to an Arabian medical school in Persia.

Timeless, full of intrigue and amusement, The Physician, along with my two other favorites (The Last Jew and Shaman, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize by the Society of American Historians), breathe new life into ancient times.

PS. I also hear The Physician might be coming to a theater near you. If my crystal ball tells me anything it’s… ‘Oprah’s gonna put this on her Book Club List soon’.

And won’t you be thrilled to say you knew him when?

LA: Your Restaurant Cheat Sheet


Tell me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it seem like there’s a new restaurant opening in LA about as often as Britney runs a red or Posh Spice designs a new pair of jeans?

Whether it’s Mike Ovitz’s West Hollywood hot spot, Kumo, or Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, LA is full of new flavors of the month. Finding out what’s hot is as easy as visting Citysearch or reading my favorite bread & butter, LA Confidential Magazine. Discovering what’s been right under your nose all along, well… that’s like dating your best guy friend. So many factors to consider in this tawdry game of love and fine food, nay?

In our quest for what’s brewing beneath the surface, we queried Monique-Marie DeJong, editorial coordinator for Peter Greenberg, travel editor of NBC’s Today show, who took to the streets to inform our readers on the solid local spots you may, or may not be, aware of. Some are new; others are merely in need of some re-discovery, so be a chowhound and get munching.

Fraîche
Exposed, worn-stoned walls and a Tuscan villa appearance create a causal, yet elegant, atmosphere at Fraîche. The Mediterranean cuisine—specifically French and Italian—offers roasted corn soup, braised rabbit tortelli with sage brown butter and artichokes, bouillabaisse, and oysters on the half shell. The wine list has over 300 selections, and esteemed Sommelier Thierry Perez assists guests with creating the utmost food and wine combination. After dinner, visit the often-busy bar and try one of their specialty cocktails. Might I recommend the Leblon Infused Sugar Cane Mojito?

9411 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: (310) 839-6800

Piccolo Paradiso
Strikingly modern yet surprisingly warm, The Drago family’s famed Piccolo Paradiso puts you at ease with its hospitable staff and traditional Italian dishes. The upbeat atmosphere is a great option for a causal business lunch or dinner. Don’t be surprised to find the chef-owner Giacomino Drago conversing with his guests. On his menu, he even includes a tribute to Mamma Drago: carnaroli rice with porcini mushroom.

150 S. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 271- 0030

Sushi Wa
No, it certainly won’t make you cry (unless you’re really, really happy), but you will wonder why the hell you’ve never been here. The simple décor at Wa avoids the trendy nightlife that is West Hollywood. Instead, emphasis is placed on authentic Japanese sushi like salmon sashimi, lemon, and sea salt, sea bass with eggplant and the most interesting Japanese kelp this side of WeHo. Distinct flavors, super-fresh fish and dizzying choices of traditional, fusion, or contemporary dishes will entice you to select more than you can finish. Be forewarned… reservations, if only made a few hours ahead, are a must. This place packs up.

1106 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: (310) 854-7285

Hidden Restaurant
It will… surprise you. The phantasmagoria of international cuisines draws from Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Japanese flavors—a perfect remedy for those who, like me, need variety. Limitless choices won’t disappoint under shaded palm leaves and seductive light. Dishes include the likes of thin-crusted pizza, beef pho, and smoked prosciutto. Care for a pomegranate mojito, wine, or sake? Answer D. All of the Above.

3110 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 399-4800

Via Veneto
A great friend from Italy once took me here. I considered dating him based on that alone. So, if you don’t end up dating the man (or woman) who takes you here too, you may as well promise life long friendship. I sure as hell did. With rich, wooden floors complemented by romantic, amber candlelight, Via Veneto’s menu (and straight off the sexyboat staff) offers a variety of authentic Roman and Tuscan specials in an intimate old-world, Italianate-hip ambiance. Dishes resound with fragrant flavors brought out of the finest meats, while regional notes from Central Italy and the Islands bring guests classic creamy risottos and daily selections of fresh fish. When half the diners hail from Milano or Roma, you know you’re in for authentic.

3009 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 399-1843


Le Petit Greek
One of the best low-key lunch or dinner spots in Larchmont Village, Le Petit Greek has a generous selection of Greek wines from both the mainland and islands. If you enjoy sunny lunches, try the sidewalk seating. Inside, the white and green tablecloths and black and white photographs of Greece create a pleasant dining experience. Traditional Greek dishes include hummus, stuffed grape leaves, flamed cheese with ouzo, rack of lamb, and layered eggplant with zucchini, potatoes, and ground beef.

127 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Hancock Park, CA 90004
Phone: (323) 464-5160


Blair’s
If you like good ol’ American staples but appreciate finer, creative dishes, Blair’s is the place for you. First and foremost, you’ll feel like you’ve flown to Seattle… or a warm boite in the village. Lightly peppered with paintings, Blair’s envelops you with terra cotta walls, and its minimal décor leaves you feeling invited but not overwhelmed with interior stimuli. The rich, but tempting truffled mac ‘n cheese will leave you full, but without regret. If you like gnocchi, you’ll love the sweet potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms, wilted watercress and yam coulis.

2903 Rowena Ave.
Silver Lake, CA 90039
(323) 660-1882

– Monique-Marie DeJong