Just to set the record straight, I am NOT a Denver bandwagoner. For the past few years, PRE Denver migration craze, I’ve been intrigued by living in Denver. I actually applied to my current company in Denver, but at the last minute changed my application back to the Chicago office. And I have been kicking myself ever since for not following my (leaky) gut.
Now that I’m entering into a new chapter in my life, I’m officially ready to flee the windy city nest and fly to a new home with my hubs-which will be Denver. So we booked a flight and did what we do best – research. Besides seeing the sites like Red Rocks, Boulder, Mile High Stadium, we were determined to scope out neighborhoods (and do some food research-let’s be honest). Since this was the last weekend before I started my elimination diet, I ate whatever I wanted and had zero regrets.
I will admit, coming from a city environment, I’m super hesitant on moving to a spread out city. I love being able to walk everywhere. I love that there are so many different forms of public transportation available to us downtown. Plus, I love the noise of this city-even the annoying frequent ambulances we hear in Streeterville. Being in a city makes me feel alive and that I’m not alone. However, I owe it to my husband and to myself to get out of my city comfort zone. Definitely not living in suburbia (my heart can’t handle that yet), but I’m open to living outside of highrises. Plus, as soon as I saw my hubs give a REAL smile, I knew Denver is our next step.
Here’s a short-long list of the reasons why we LOVE Denver:
- The air is breathable – Sure it’s not the cleanest, but it sure beats the smog and garbage stench we all wiff walking around here.
- The climate – Because Denver is a mile high above sea level, the city is MUCH closer to the sun. It might get cold and snow, but most of that will warm up from the strong rays. Plus, you might get a nice golden tan even if it’s cool out (I did).
- The prices are right – Cheaper than Chicago prices forsure! Even housing (for now)
- People are actually NICE – Most of the people there are fellow transplants and are welcoming. I even had a girl offer to put my yoga mat away at the gym, which is definitely something I haven’t experienced here in Chicago.
- The food scene rocks and the hospitality is outstanding- See below for our list of places to hit during your visit.
MMM…Coffee, A Paleo Bistro
Hidden between two buildings in the art district, this alleyway cafe offers a full menu of Paleo approved items. Ranging from breakfast foods, to snacks, and heavier lunch items, MMM is a great spot to grab some primal food in a pinch. Pro Tip: get the raw coconut cocoa bite and the sunflower seed muffin (pictured below)
Located in an old mortuary building in the trendy Lower Highlands (LoHi), Linger is a cavernous restaurant with a SUPER sick rooftop. Overlooking downtown Denver, Linger offers a culinary spread of global street food (locally and sustainably sourced) like honey siracha duck wings, Argentinian chimichuri, and even crispy Indian masala dosas. Not to mention an awesome $6 happy hour M-F from 4-6:30p.m. on the roof’s camper-trailor looking bar.
Although everything we ate was amazing, the best thing we tried was the coconut and mango Taiwanese snow ice = a.k.a. fluffy clouds sent from heaven. Dairy free and GF/vegan by request, you can top the snow with mochi, fresh fruit, and even dulce de leche sauce #dying. For as long as I’ve known my hubs, I never seen him enjoy a dessert. After trying a spoonful, he crushed half of the snow (holy fak!). Clearly, Linger is life changing.
If there’s one place that NEEDS to expand to Chicago, it’s definitely Modmarket. Think of if Lyfe Kitchen, Brightwok, and Beatrix had a baby. Allow me to list (3x this post, i know) why Mod is so amazeballs:
- Mod believes in a diet of simple and whole foods that can be traced back to actual farms-not factories.
- The food is made from scratch EVERYDAY, no really. Preservatives, nitrates, growth hormones, and pre=packaged items are on the restaurant’s “HELL NO” inventory list.
- Mod LOVES healthy fats like real butter, EVOO, whole milk cheeses, and raw nuts.
- There are plenty of options for GF, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, even AIP! They are extremely open to adjusting a menu item to fit YOUR dietary needs.
- Finally, they have Kombucha (from Happy Leaf Brewing) ON TAP..holy omg (side note: I actually threw out the bottle of Kombucha I brought in from outside after I had a sip of Happy Leaf’s)
As I’ve learned with my current AIP/Elimination Diet, restaurants are sneaky mofos and add in different ingredients that are not always the healthiest or cleanest. However, because Mod is such a health-conscious spot, the ONLY ingredients in your dish are the ingredients listed. I felt so relieved and good about digesting my meal knowing that I knew exactly what I put in my mouth. The things to get at Mod are: forsure that daily Kombucha, the flagship Flatiron salad (which has been on the menu since Mod started), and the eggplant goat toasted sammy with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. I PROMISE you will love Mod as much as I do.
As a sister restaurant to Linger, Root Down is another location in LoHi with a killer menu and great company. My research noted that RD was packed like crazy for brunch, so the hubs and I made a reservation and went on our last day of the trip. Just like Linger, RD offers a globally influenced seasonal menu with a focus on organic, natural, and locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant also has two onsite gardens that provide the seasonal veggies to its menu and its sister restaurants (Ophelia’s and Linger). Since we were planning on hiking around Red Rocks, it only made sense to order a heavier type of brunch. However, this was also our demise to hiking because we were too food coma’d to move afterwards. We shared the Fried Chicken and Goat Cheese Biscuit AND the Steak & Eggs. To not surprise, the food was BOMB. We felt good knowing that the rumors were definitely true and look forward to coming back SOON.