The Saturday Report – boating, hiking and lawn games

The Saturday Report is back! Now that I got my full month of new stuff under my belt, I’m back to doing normal, fun (and still new) things. I spent this past weekend up in the mountains for a friends’ birthday and discovered a few things that are definitely worth checking out!

DO Boating on Lake Dillon

Since moving to CO I have realized I’m a water person, rather than a mountain person, which was further affirmed while boating on Lake Dillon this weekend. I’ve kayaked on the reservoir before, but taking a speed boat out on the water was a whole new experience, which I loved! You don’t need a boating license, and are able to bring out snacks and drinks onto the water (PSA: Don’t drink and drive!!! Even if it’s a boat!). The rental is for two hours, so we sped, floated, sped and floated again. It’s just so spectacular to see this large body of water surrounded by some of the tallest peaks in the world.

DO Hike Lilly Pad Lake

I did a 14er last November and promptly decided that I never needed to do one again. I just didn’t find that much pleasure in hiking above tree line and killing myself for a view of yet more mountains. I’m more of a hike in the woods kind of girl. We capped off the weekend with a lovely little hike to Lilly Pad Lake. 3.3 miles total, with TWO cute lakes to rest at and view at the end, as well as a plethora of diverse foliage along the way. You cross a number of creeks with more water bound plants, and then weave in and out of groves of pines. Absolutely charming the whole way, and just enough to feel like you actually got out and did something with your morning.


Image via


Spoiler alert: you win this game by bending over and throwing a stick between your legs! You want to play now, don’t you? Even though I just made big jenga, I must say that I was a little jealous of this game my friends brought to the mountains (maybe I should have made Kubb instead!!). It’s kind of like lawn bowling, meets croquet… Good for a group and complicated enough to keep you on your toes, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a blast. The Swede’s did a good job with this one.


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Ever since living in Germany and befriending a few Swedes who showed me the value of celebrating midsommer, I’ve tried to celebrate or have a party to mark some of the longest days of the year. This year, the event was a Tiki Party! I mainly decided on this months ago because I found this super cute dress on etsy, and after thinking through all potential, I decided it was a go.

Once I was set on this theme, I got excited about the mai thai’s and kitchy tropical foods that would help set the scene. I bought some tiki torches, tons of rum and landed on tropical chicken skewers, coconut ice cream and pineapple upside-down cake for the snacks.

I have been saving this recipe for over 10 years! A friend made it around the time we graduated from college, and when I was having a hard time finding a recipe online that really struck me, I went back through the depths of my email to find the recipe she’d sent me.

The cornmeal and almond extract really set this apart for me. I LOVE almond extract and the cornmeal adds great texture and a little density that makes this not your every day cake. The fruit and caramel are sweet, but the cake batter itself isn’t over the top, so it ends up being a nice balance. Seeing as that I don’t think you can say pineapple upside-down cake without thinking of kitchy 1950’s I didn’t want to stray from tradition and went circular pan, maraschino cherries and all.

It helped set the perfect scene for the part and cake was definitely the star food served (along with the ice cream, which I’ll share at some point too!).


New In June 2017

You guys, this year New in June WORE ME OUT. In a good way. I discovered so many great things and I feel like this year, more so than the others in Denver, was truly an exploration of the area. Of course, there were the easy outs, like restaurants and coffee shops, but that is part of the deal too.

I’m excited to continue with some of the things I initially explored this June: golf, pilates, Bear Creek Lake Park; while I probably won’t be returning to Top Golf, playing drinking games, or Chatfield Reservoir. That’s all a part of the process though, and I’m better off for it.

In relation to different/new experiences, I’ve recently started asking ‘why’ more. As I explore things that others have loved and I have not, I’ve tried to determine what exactly it is that makes the same general set of actions feel totally dissimilar for two different people. This has extended from my trip to Nashville last year (I still don’t really know what all the hoopla is about) to my disaffinity for fly fishing. In light of that, this year I’m giving a little more detail than I have in years past, trying give a little more color to what is worth trying instead of just listing out the new things. [And the photo format is new too! You can now click on the pictures to see them larger.]

As in the past 5 years of doing this, I certainly gained a new appreciation for where I am, a re-realization that variety is the spice of life, and a continued desire to try new things. I hope you find some inspiration here and try taking the unexperienced path a little bit more.

For more of my every day adventures be sure to follow along on Instagram @emsbonappetit

  1.  Post Chicken & Beer – Super tasty, not too greasy, loved the sides too – I would recommend it!
  2. Kurffel, Zanzibar, and a new view of downtown – I passed the night away with some new friends, starting at a random pool hall (Zanzibar), and ending with house made up drinking games (Kurffel)
  3. Historicity Walks – My friend started a walking tour company in Denver! She and her business partner are both from Denver and super passionate about its history. The first tour they are leading is about Denver’s most influential and interesting historical women! I loved the unknown stories of these critical figures as well as taking notice of downtown in a way I hadn’t before – go!
  4. Pretzel Buns – Not too hard and a nice mix up of the traditional burger bun.
  5. Yoga at MUV Lab – Another friend just got certified as a yoga teacher and her class was great!
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – a very overwhelming, yet well done play
  7. Phoenix and Miike Snow at Red Rocks
  8. Bluegrass Thursdays at Stem Ciders
  9. Golf at Harvard Gulch – SO much fun and really laid back. Only 9 holes, par 3, BYOB, flip flops encouraged. I will definitely be pursuing golf as a hobby
  10. Bear Creek Distillery
  11. Chatfield Reservoir Swim Beach
  12. Blueprint Bar
  13. The Fab Method – I’ve been intrigued by the idea of doing reformer Pilates more, but classes can be expensive and hard to come by, so I got class pass and tried out The Fab Method by work, can’t wait to go back!
  14. Axios Denver
  15. Tiki Party – My midsommer party this year involved mai thais, tiki torches, big jenga and good company!
  16. Bear Creek Lake Park – I loved this spot! The lake is smaller than Chatfield and no boats are allowed, so the crowd is purely stand up paddle boarders and floaters – time to get an inner tube!
  17. A new walk in the hood – I walked 2 miles down 41st street one night after work. I ended up on Tennyson and saw so many new things along the way. There are really charming houses and streets in the Highlands and I loved the novelty of seeing a little creek in the city!
  18. Lookout Mountain – Drove up to the top for a picnic at sunset on the longest day of the year, it was spectacular!
  19. MLK Memorial in City Park
  20. Bar Max (and the cutest mule cup)
  21. MCA Denver for 3 Things, Any 3 Things – Coffee, Beer and Ice Cream. This was pretty random, but including one of the best pistacio ice cream’s I’ve had from Marczyk’s Fine Foods and learning way more about containerization (a.k.a. my job) than I ever thought I’d learn.
  22. Allegro Coffee Roasters
  23. Fort Collins – My mom went to school here and I had never been. There is a cute intersection of streets in the main part of the town. I just went up for an afternoon with a friend, we had lunch, shopped around and obviously had some beer!
  24. City Park Jazz – This has been on my radar for a long time, and I’m glad to have finally checked it out. There are a lot of people, but it’s low key and easy, plus who doesn’t love to have a picnic and spend some time outside listening to live music?
  25. Min’s Massage – A random place in a equally as random part of town, but for my great $25 hour-long chair massage, it was totally worth it. Also note chair massage as in laying in a puffy recliner the whole time, not sitting up like you are thinking…
  26. Denver Pho
  27. Kickboxing – I may or may not go back, I haven’t quite decided, but it was nice to be sore for a few days and sweat way more than I usually do in my ‘workouts’.
  28. Senor Bear – Good, but not as good as I wanted it to be. There’s a lot of seafood (ceviche) on the menu, so I’ll need to go back with fish eating friends.
  29. Top Golf – Very underwhelmed, I’ll be sticking with real golf courses and driving ranges from here on out.
  30. Colorado State Capitol – So cool! It’s only open on week days, but you can just go in and walk around. I didn’t time it right for a tour, but if you do go on one, you can climb up INTO the dome! Also, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, one of the women featured in #3 Historicity walking tour for her work in founding National Jewish Hospital, is the only woman to be featured in stained glass in the Capital’s dome!
  31. Redline Gallery – Very cool gallery with a great mission. I loved all the art in the current exhibits which just opened on June 30 and will be there for a while. The exhibit I liked the best had so much color, linear dimensions and pieces created specifically for the space. Check it out!

Apple Cream Torte

I’ve subscribed to magazines for years now. It all started with Bon Appetit (which started my original blog) and while I was a faithful reader for many years, I’ve now switched over to Food & Wine to mix it up. I’ve also gotten Sunset for a while and throw in 5280 (formerly a 7×7 in San Francisco), The Sunday New York Times and my book of the moment and I am at no shortage for reading material. After so many years I’ve gotten pretty good about tearing out or taking photos of material I want to remember, so I don’t have to keep the entire publication – but that just means instead of having a pile of magazines in my house, I have a pile of torn out pages.

Every now and then I go through and weed out the recipes that no longer look interesting, or that I’ll never really make, but rarely do I actually choose one to take action against. This weekend I was ruthless in tossing out these pages AND I managed to actually make one of the recipes!

I have many times written about how I love fruit cakes. The really simple kind where there is fruit, batter and maybe just a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top when it’s done. I love the simplicity and not overly sweet flavor. So obviously this cake caught my eye. I had a slew of apples that were past my prime for eating raw, and figured all things were adding up to me finally trying this torte.

It was great! Just what I like. Not too sweet, a tiny bit of savoriness coming through with the apple and some variety in texture as well. The apples sink to the bottom and the cream batter (there is no butter!) creates this custard-y layer at the bottom. The recipe also starts with whipping the eggs and sugar, which give a slightly crunchy, meringue-like crust on the top.

It was a huge hit with my friends and colleagues and would be a great brunch addition or a just because cake. Isn’t it time you made a cake just because?

Apple Cream Torte – from Sunset September 2016 Continue reading

The Saturday Report: Pretzels and Comics

BAKE Pretzel Rolls. I got it in my head this weekend that I wanted a good burger. But now that Lou’s is gone (my down the street go-to for a take away burger and fries on nights in need), I decided to go all out. I thought and thought and thought and landed on buffalo burgers, on homemade pretzel rolls, with homemade herb aioli (obvs herbs from my garden) and grilled onions. They turned out great. I’m always amazed how bread really isn’t all that hard. You need more extra time than effort for most part, and just let yeast do it’s thing. Give these a try, there’s an extra step with the baking soda wash, but still nothing crazy.


READ New York Stories. This week’s New York Times Magazine was filled with stories. Stories about New York. Stories of all different genres. Stories recent and old. Stories all illustrated as mini graphic novels! It was so interesting. I’m not the graphic novel type, but it was so cool to see to the varying types of illustrations and how each format helped set the scene for the story it was telling. It’s pretty cool. You can check out the whole thing here.


new in june

DO New Things! It’s New in June, y’all! This is the sixth year in a row that I’m doing 30 new things in June. It’s kind of fun because it started in a year where I was gone most weekends in May, which inspired me to explore my city more and uncover hidden gems, and I was gone most of this May, so I’ve circled back to the same set up this June. It’s a great re-set each year for making sure that I’m not becoming too complacent and am getting the most out of wherever I am. I’m excited about the things I’ll uncover this year! Follow along on Instagram @emsbonappetit and check out past years: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

The Saturday Report: Aspen, Fried Eggs and The Open Road

I’m back! It was another whirlwind week(end), but I am finally home and sticking around for a while. Last week was pretty uneventful, as I mostly rested up between weekend trips, but cue Memorial Day weekend where the fun continued!

VISIT Aspen. I’m so happy to have finally been to Aspen. I’ll write a post eventually, but for now a few highlights. Half the weekend was kind of bad weather, so there was a lot of eating and drinking involved, but we were able to end the weekend with a little walk in the woods and some natural wonder. Eat/Drink: The Monarch (sit at the bar) my favorite meal experience of the weekend; The White House Tavern, owned by the Hillstone group and just as good as the rest; Meat & Cheese, easy, tasty, plentiful, definitely worth it; J Bar, bar at the Jerome Hotel, nice, high end, old timey feel with great cocktails. Hike: Maroon Bells. It’s the main one to do and is worth it. There’s a relatively easy hike from one lake to the next, that offers some spectacular reflections and scenes. GO EARLY. See: Aspen Art Museum. I didn’t actually love the art here, but the building is awesome, the exhibits rotate pretty frequently and it’s free, so it’s worth a quick tour.

COOK Parmesan Fried Eggs. This is my current favorite thing to eat. I’ve made it twice now and it could not be more simple. I read about it in Martha Stewart Living and after watching a quick tutorial was ready to go. My new non-stick pan made it so easy, and serving a salad along side helps balance out the creamy saltiness of the egg and cheese. I thought I would miss toast, but I haven’t. It’s got all the textures and the flavors, you have to try it.

DRIVE  Leisurely. It’s been so long since I was able to take a road trip or travel somewhere without a real agenda. On both legs of the trip we took our time and didn’t have to be any where at a certain time. This allowed us to stop and take pictures, check out random restaurants and bars that we wouldn’t have otherwise sought out, and to really admire the views. If you haven’t done it lately, summer is the perfect time to crank up the radio, roll the windows down and treat yourself to a little wandering. Favorite stops: K’s in Buena Vista, Twin Lakes, Independence Pass over the Continental Divide, Bread Bar in Silver Plume

The Saturday Report: a view, a non-profit, and an artist

I touched down after my trip to SF and have been pretty much go go go since then. I just wrapped up another weekend away for some family stuff, but in addition to the travel, I managed to squeeze in some fun stuff this week too!

VIEW It’s no surprise that there’s a lot going on in Denver right now. From a growing food scene, to new residential and commercial structures, there is a ton of development in the works. A nice combo of this is El Five, a new restaurant in the highlands. The fifth floor location in the highlands has absolutely stunning views of the city and the mountains. It’s the newest property from the Edible Beats group (think Linger, Root Down, Ophelia’s – some of my favorites in Denver), so the scene was fun and drinks tasty. The food was ok, I went in week 2 so I have full confidence that they will soon work out the kinks, but you have to go for the VIEW. Grab a drink, sit on the patio for sunset. The buildings reflect the sundown and downtown is quite the sight at night.

SUPPORT Comal Heritage Food Incubator. I went to a Slow Food Denver micro-grant dinner at Coperta (one of my favorite new spots), which was a lively, tasty and educational affair. The dinner was a chance to hear from three local non-profits, which were eligible for different levels of micro-grants. I voted for Comal and they won the biggest prize! Their mission reminds me a lot of La Cocina in San Francisco, and I can not wait to try it. It’s already on my New in June list. From their website: Comal Kitchen is a heritage food incubator in partnership with Focus Points, a non-profit that serves families in the Globeville and Elyira-Swansea neighborhoods. Its goal is to provide skills in culinary arts and business to a cohort of women- many originating from Mexico, El Salvador, and Peru- to maintain and celebrate their traditions through entrepreneurial ventures.


Photo from Clyfford Still Museum

KNOW ABOUT Mark Bradford. I joined the Denver Art Museum’s young professional group last year after my trip to New York, and have loved the exhibit previews and curator walk throughs. I’m so disappointed that I didn’t make it to the Mark Bradford/Clyfford Still exhibit event, but I just didn’t know all I would be missing. The exhibit is STILL on my list, but I have been amazed at how timely it is, since he is representing The United States at the Venice Biennalle, which has driven some top coverage. He was featured on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Arts section, as well as the cover of the LA Time Design Magazine, which I saw this weekend. It’s just amazing to me how you can not know about something and as soon as you are aware it pops up everywhere. I can’t wait to check out the Denver exhibit. He’s also in Denver next week and speaking at the DAM.