Colfax & Downing

Everything you need to know about the Mile High City

Sweet Cooie's

Sweet Cooie’s

As soon as I walked in, I loved this place. Sweet Cooie’s in Congress Park is hard not to like. After all, they’re in the sugar business and business is sweet.

Sweet Cooie's

I’m sorry, I realize how cliche that sounds but I’m so amped up on chocolate truffles right now that I can’t help myself. Imagine a 1950s-style sweet shop decorated in the newfound post-war optimism from that era. Add a scoop of Tiffany blue elegance for good measure. That’s Sweet Cooie’s.

Sweet Cooie's

Owner Paul Tamburello of Little Man Ice Cream fame (known for its long outdoor lines, even at the height of winter) dedicated this spot to his mom, affectionately nicknamed ‘Cooie.’ This shines through in every detail of the shop. It’s a new gem in Congress Park. Unlike Tramburello’s other LoHi hot spot, Little Man, you’ll only find the Gooey Cooie here – an ice cream sandwich made with a brioche bun. Glorious.

Sweet Cooie's

Sorbet and sherbet will be making their comeback at Sweet Cooie’s as well as a host of vegan offerings. Yes, please! I picked up a pint of vegan Horchata ice cream for Clare as a Valentine’s treat while I was there and it was a big hit.

Sweet Cooie's

Sweet Cooie’s is a beautiful shop that takes me back to the Mackinac Island trips I took as a kid, Up North in Michigan. In fact, it even smells the same! Now only if they offered Superman ice cream…

I’ll talk with Paul.

Visit Sweet Cooie’s at 3506 E. 12th Ave. (12th and Madison) in Congress Park. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Colorado Rapids Stands

Colorado Rapids

gate c dick's sporting goods park

I’m a soccer fan.

In fact, I probably spend too much time listening to the Men In Blazers, reading blogs, analyzing formations, and (of course) watching matches.

My poison of choice is the English Premier League. The richest sporting league on the planet. With it comes multi-million dollar transfers, managers with a shelf life shorter than bananas at King Soopers, and the most entertaining/attacking and competitive soccer in the world.

But this post isn’t about the EPL.

Dick's Sporting Goods Field Colorado Rapids

This post is about supporting your local club. For me, that’s the Colorado Rapids.

I’ve come to love the Rapids since moving to Colorado nearly a decade ago. As a fan, I’ve seen the team win the Cup in 2010 and struggle to win a game in 2014. To say the least, it’s been a rollercoaster ride but the constant throughout the journey has been the unparalleled sporting experience you get at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Are you still with me?

Rocky Mountain Cup Colorado Rapids

Ok, hear me out.

It’s Cheap

I’m going to a playoff game next week where I’ll sit 10 rows back from the middle of the pitch with C38 (the supporters group) for only $35.

That’s right. A postseason match against one of the (historically) best teams in MLS history.

The Atmosphere

Chanting. Singing. Yelling. It’s all a part of the experience.

Don’t know the songs? You’ll be able to pick it up right away so long as you know a little John Denver and have been to a sporting event in your life.

Colorado Rapids Fans during Rocky Mountain Cup

The Tailgate

Be sure to get to the match early and head to the south parking lot. There, you’ll find the BBQs smoking and craft beer flowing for the small donation of $5. All proceeds go to the C38 supporters group for future tailgate supplies.

The Talent

This league is surprisingly good.

The MLS has come a long way in 20 years. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a retirement league for European superstars, although it still happens from time to time. I’m looking at you, Galaxy and NYCFC.

On any given matchday, you’ll find the next big USA player getting ready for World Cup qualification, an exciting homegrown player gaining experience, and big time European players in the prime of their career.

Sunset over Dicks Sporting Goods Park Colorado Rapids Rocky Mountain Cup

I’m not trying to sell you on becoming a soccer fan but if you’re looking for a professional sporting experience unlike anything else in Colorado that offers you entertainment, access, and fun without breaking the bank; support local soccer and go to a Rapids match.

Hope to see you there.

COME ON, YOU RAPIDS!

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Sputnik

For all its population growth and influx of restaurants and eateries popping up on every imaginable corner, Denver just doesn’t keep pace with vegan dining options compared to other major cities. That’s not to say there aren’t a handful of great places to tuck into a vegan meal but it’s not yet the plant-based mecca that I long for it to become.

Enter Sputnik!

This little dive bar with its unassuming facade on Broadway and Ellsworth serves up cheap beer and comfort food for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. Adding to its hipster points, right next door is the very popular Hi-Dive, an indie music venue. The service is friendly with no nonsense. Every server or bartender we have ever encountered here has thoroughly mussed hair, tattoos in places that were probably painful, a T-shirt you’re not certain is ironic or not, and a quick hand with the coffee refills.

You can’t really ask for anything more.

img_1309

One of the last times we had brunch here, Drew enjoyed pork ramen off the lunch menu and I ordered a tofu scramble. Also delicious and available all day: the zucchini dog, the restaurant’s surprisingly satisfying take on a corn dog. Drew is a card-carrying steak and potatoes kind of dude and even he can’t recommend the zucchini dogs vigorously enough.

Coffee in an authentic Taz mug from the 90s? Don’t mind if I do.

Despite its humble appearance, Sputnik delivers. I don’t recommend bringing your parents here but if your much cooler, slightly older cousins from Brooklyn come to the Mile High City to visit, they will be impressed. I speak from experience.

From 3 to 7 p.m., the happy hour menu features a variety of beers and small bites ranging from $2 to $6.

To summarize: affordable, tasty food! Cold, cheap beer! Vegan friendly! Warm service! Vinyl booths! Christmas lights!

Sputnik is everywhere you might expect to find a Denver establishment on social media (except Twitter, apparently).

In other news, we’re sorry for neglecting the blog. Sometimes life happens more quickly than we can jot it down. Because you continue to read and stick by us, know that we love you more than is comfortable for you.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Denver car share

Denver Car Shares

In late November of last year, Drew was driving our beloved Juke Nismo  (Liam Nissan was his name) when a driver who was texting (PSA: DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE, KIDS) blitzed right through a red stoplight in his company’s construction truck and T-boned our car, totaling it. We’re really fortunate that Drew was okay minus some whiplash and bruises. The car, however, was declared a total loss.

Since we live close to work and pride ourselves on walking often, we decided to wait a few months before taking the plunge back into car ownership. We learned a few things along the way and wanted to share some numbers with you. If you’re considering going car-less in our city or wondering if it would work for you, I hope our experience can help you weigh the benefits.

car2go Denver
The pros: Hundreds of them available throughout the city. Park them anywhere that offers two hours of public parking. Attendants service and re-fuel them. In our time as car2go-ers, we never had to visit a gas station. You can also reserve one 30 minutes prior to needing it.
The cons: You can only take two people at a time. At $0.41 per minute, car2g0 can hardly be described as an affordable option for anything less than zipping across downtown in a frenzy and parking immediately. Get stuck in traffic for 15 minutes and you’re adding insult to injury. Additionally, every trip has a $1.11 service fee.
Our experience: In such a small vehicle, I never felt safe. There’s something unsettling about your face being mere inches from the windshield. When you see folks rallying these cars across town, you know it’s because they’re trying to maximize their spend. On a day with half an inch of snow on the ground in December, we couldn’t pry a car2go from the curb to get home from the grocery store. Physical comedy ensued as Drew gunned the accelerator pedal and the car went nowhere but the wheel spun enough to drench me in snow and muddy slush as I stood behind it, pushing. The last straw for me came when a neighbor had locked her iPhone in a car2go. Because the vehicles are unlocked via an app, she was not able to get back inside the locked vehicle to retrieve it. She found me and Drew and asked for help getting back in. We opened the vehicle, she retrieved her phone, we closed the vehicle. The next day I found out that they had charged us for more than four hours of drive time even though I had never even started the engine. When I reached out by email to request a refund and explain what happened, the reply I received came in the form of a full-page email lecture by a guy mansplaining how car2go works and that they would only return my money since it was a first-time offense and they wouldn’t give me the same courtesy a second time. Their words, not mine. No good deed goes unpunished.
What we spent in six months: $380

Enterprise Car Share
The pros: Ability to reserve days in advance.
The cons: Vehicles must be returned to the same parking space where it was rented, making a one-way trip impossible and errands stressful. You’re in charge of filling the gas tank if it’s below one quarter. More on that below. They also require at least three hours of notice when canceling your reserved time. If you cancel within less than three hours, you still pay for the first three hours of your reservation, or the cost of your reservation, whichever is less. This added up quickly if our plans changed, to say the least.
Our experience: I’m really glad we had this as an option, especially since there was a designated vehicle only two blocks from our place. It wasn’t without it’s challenges though. In the glovebox was a specific debit card for gas station purposes. It never worked. It assures you that it works at every gas station but when you swipe it anywhere (and we tried multiple times), the keypad requests your membership number and then fails. Every. Time. Any time we were low on gas, we had to submit photographed gas receipts for reimbursement. Pain in the ass. Another time, we were unable to get into the car when we had a reservation. As it turned out, the driver before us had not put the key fob back correctly. They manually opened it for us remotely when we called but we lost 40 minutes. They kindly offered to credit us a complimentary hour to make up for the inconvenience, then billed us for it. Chasing down a refund for $9 and trying to explain that it was supposed to be a free credit when there were no notes in their system was nothing short of confusing. Their customer service representatives were very kind but no one could ever answer questions we had about the app itself.
What we spent in six months: $439.01

Regular ol’ Enterprise
As Enterprise members, we were able to take advantage of a special they ran: Friday night through Monday morning for $26. We made these reservations when we knew we had to run multiple errands, for a friend’s baby’s first birthday outside of town, etcetera.
The pros: Reasonably priced! Especially compared to the car shares. We also earned enough loyalty points during our car-less months to warrant leveling up in membership – we now get 10% more points per rental and one free vehicle upgrade per year.
The cons: You can only drive 100 miles per day, or 300 for the entire reservation. So it wasn’t an option for taking a car to see my parents a few hours south, for example.
What we spent in six months: $212.58

Denver car share

Uber
The pros: They come to you! Many drivers are incredibly warm and from all over the world. Fun to hear their stories and Drew always hits them up for restaurant recommendations. Plus, if you’re an SPG member, you can sync your Uber account to your SPG account so that you’ll earn 1 point for every $1 you spend with Uber.
The cons: Expenses add up pretty quickly. Some drivers aren’t as nice as others. One in particular complained about Uber for the 30 minutes we were in his cigarette smoke infested car and then lobbied us heavily for a cash tip at the end, which was uncomfortable. Another launched into an uninvited tirade against Hillary Clinton and called Obama a “race baiter” at 3 a.m. on the way to Denver International. Sir, we have not even had our coffee yet.
What we spent in six months: $567.39 – a combination of trips around town, work travel for Drew in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and airport trips during our vacation in South Carolina.

Total Damage: $1,598.98, or $228.43 per month. For us, this was the equivalent of a monthly car payment for a new vehicle or the total cost of a reasonably financed vehicle + insurance + gas.

The Verdict: We wouldn’t do it again. It’s not lost on us that this solution would never work for people that don’t live close to town and/or have children. One late night when Boris was sick and needed urgent care, our good friend Kristin generously lent us her car at midnight. And so on. Now that we’re car owners again, I find myself more grateful than ever to have wheels. Last month, we bought a slightly used VW from our friend Travis and made a few repairs to it. The logistics of going somewhere melt away when the vehicle you own is parked nearby. It’s something we won’t be taking for granted any time soon.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

Crema Coffee House

Noah and I ran in the same circles in college at Fort Lewis in Durango and lived across from one another on Third Avenue and Florida. Back then, I knew him as the super warm guy across the street who had Ini Kamoze for a ringtone on his mobile phone and hosted paper bag wine parties in which we rated our favorites with sharpie.
The Fika Passport Espresso

He moved to Denver long before Drew and I did but I didn’t really know what he was up to until Courtney told me he owned and ran Crema, The Populist, and Finn’s Manor. I should have been able to do that mental math myself because when we waited tables together as college tots, he was always a customer favorite and hungry people constantly asked to sit in his section.

Crema latte

Now that I have that smug “I know people” brag out of the way, let me state that Crema makes the best latte in Denver County. My version features almond milk but the bean selection at this little corner of Larimer and 29th is the cat’s pajamas. Drew can’t get enough of their espresso (varieties include Novo, Intelligentsia, Boxcar, Huckleberry Roasters, and Stumptown, to name just a few) and they also sell pastries, breakfast bites, and fresh juice. On a recent visit, we used the FIKA passport, which brings my husband total glee. He loves points, deals, and loyalty. It his jam, his jelly, and his peanut butter.

Crema mural

Go to there. Okay, bye!

Crema is on the book of Faces, Twitter, and Insta.

Colfax and Downing Bye For Now

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