Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1000 Words: Grandma Licko

Erma turned 88 yesterday and provided several tips for my upcoming trip to Slovakia. Happy Birthday, Grandma.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1000 Words: The Licko Farm

In honor of spring planting season - sunset on the Licko Farm.

What's Good: Prost (Frisco, CO)

One more plug from my time in Summit County this winter, mainly because any place that lists "Fine Beer and Sausages" as its main selling points automatically makes the short list in my book. Prost is located on Main Street in Frisco, across the street from the Butterhorn (which is also worth your time for breakfast, cookies or all things baked) and sells pretty much what it advertises - beer and sausage.

From "exotic" buffalo and jalepeno sausages to the every day "spicy Italian" the selection of meats won't disappoint, complete with about eight different types of mustard and the surprisingly tasty German cucumber and potato salads as side dishes. And then, there's the beer. Pretty sure there's not a better selection of Bavarian beers in the mountains - try the McChouffe and make friends with the Belgian gnome. Sprechen sie delicious...

Huge props to the Prost staff as well. From helpful beer suggestions to speedy service to quickly turning it to the NCAA tournament game of our choice (Go Butler!)...your server is also your cashier and your cook. They're really good at multi-tasking and seem generally happy to be there. But then, if I were schlepping beer and sausages, I'd be pretty happy too. Prost!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

1000 Words: Red Rocks

Today was pretty much my last day on my board this winter. Nothing makes that reality easier than the thought of summer concerts at Red Rocks. Viva la live music. Viva la Rocas Rojo.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's Good: The Boat Yard, Frisco, CO

I spent a lot of time in Frisco this winter (which actually deserves its own post in the coming weeks) and the town is amazingly underrated for a place to hang in the mountains. Lots of solid restaurants, and not the types that are named "The X Zone" or "The Lift" or other names aimed at our out-of-state visitors - we're talking names like The Butterhorn, Moose Jaw and The Boat Yard.

Full disclosure - I haven't actually had more than two menu items from The Boat Yard, but it still deserves applause. A nice dining room on one side and a bar that meets all of the major criteria for a recommended watering hole on the other. Good selection of booze? Check. Multiple TVs and good food options? Check. Happy hour and other specials? Yes. Bartenders who have spent a little too much time on the mountain, have mustaches and are sarcastic but not rude? Check.

Grab a table at The Boat Yard during NFL/college football season or March Madness between 4-6pm for the happy hour specials and stay for the rock shrimp pizza. That was my order the first time I visited and I haven't gotten anything else in a half dozen visits since. Fresh roma tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, ricotta, pesto and delicious shrimp - with a crispy crust that perfectly contrasts the soft cheese and pesto. Honestly, I need to order something else at some point, but going to The Boat Yard and not getting rock shrimp pizza is like going to Vail and not skiing. If you're in Summit County and want to avoid the 20-something bars and tourist pizza joints, stop by the Boat Yard. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Endorsement: A-Basin Ski Resort

Each year thousands of people avoid the frat party beaches that are Spring Break and make their way west to Summit or Eagle County for a week on the slopes. For Coloradans, that typically means long lift lines and dodging the "Texan Wide Turn" on nearly every run. The hard part is, March is one of the best months to be on the hill, but also the busiest. For those of us who are constantly debating the shortest-lift-line-best-time-to-leave-to-avoid-traffic-don't-want-to-run-over-a-kid-or-get-mauled-by-a-gaper strategy, its easy to forget about a Colorado Classic: Arapahoe Basin.

The Basin is small (105 runs, 7 lifts), but it was one of the original Rocky Mountain ski resorts (opened in the 1940's) and its history and anything-but-pretentious nature is what makes it worth the trip. People go to The Basin to ski. Period. Don't be surprised if you run into some 65-year-old dude named "Eddie" (or similar) who could ski (and drink) you and your crew under the table. And the fact that it stays open until June and has a tailgating section of the parking lot called "The Beach" makes it that much better.

My hat's off to A-Basin for skipping the outdoor fire pits, kiddie snow castles, and any places that sell furry boots - and sticking with short lift lines, crazy amazing mountain views, some steep terrain, and for taking the "resort" out of "ski resort." If you go, don't forget to bring a PBR or two to make friends with Eddie at The Beach for apres...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Good: Snooze

Living and working in downtown Denver, a lot of my mentions here about the "finer" things in life will involve local businesses in the LoDo 'hood. When a cruiser bike and the Denver B-Cycles tend to be my main form of transportation these days, I probably shouldn't expect more. The great part is, there's always something to check out in downtown D'town.

For example, my favorite standby, Snooze. If you're familiar with Denver at all, you obviously know about the breakfast joint. But for anyone who hasn't spent much time in Denver its a can't miss. From Juan's Breakfast Tacos to the under-appreciated "scramble" (I take mine with spinach, feta and bacon, please) - and obviously the pancakes - its like breakfast had an affair with your dreams and this is the love child. The staff rocks, which is a reflection of our good friends Jon and Adam who created Snooze back in 2006. Soon to have three Denver locations (and rumor has it, more on the way), check out the ballpark Snooze at Park Ave. and Larimer for their upcoming 5th anniversary (April 6). Never disappointing. Thank you, Snooze, for making my favorite meal of the day even more amazing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do Something: Coors Field

Warmer temperatures mean one thing for me: baseball season. There's absolutely nothing like getting off work during the summer; walking across the street (okay, so I have that luxury) to The Sports Column, The Tavern Downtown, LoDo's or Brother's (or even the sneaky-fun and cheap Swanky's - drink specials during the Middle of the 3rd); finding a table on a rooftop for a couple of pre-game Yellow Bellies, and then catching a Rockies game in your flip flops and short sleeves.

Sure, its easy to scalp a few tickets just about any day of the week in Denver, but this is my endorsement for looking into ticket packages: You'll end up going to more games - probably with a group of people you like, that group of people will all start to become really familiar with the team and stats in general - making for great conversation and trivia opportunities (name the 2 current MLB players have more than 100 RBIs for 10 years straight), and you'll find yourself really looking forward to the games rather than just deciding to scalp on a whim. Four friends and I went with a 20 game package this year that includes the Cubs, Cards, Braves, Sox and the fireworks games. Oh, and we get Playoff rights for the tickets. Yes, its early and I am genuinely optimistic. That's what makes April 1st so great. Go Rox!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Whatever you're thinking, think bigger."

One of the biggest reasons I love skiing and snowboarding so much is because you always have the opportunity push yourself to do something you've never done. Unlike other sports where you might be limited by the competition, the playing field or just limited physically (at 5'8" tall, basketball just wasn't in the cards for me), you can always try something new on a snowboard or skis. Maybe you've gotten good enough to ski black runs, so how about trying to master the bumps? Or maybe you can push yourself to learn how to navigate through the trees? There's always a way to think bigger when you're on the hill, and its awesome to watch people try something new and really push themselves for really no other reason than just getting better at a hobby.

"Whatever you're thinking, think bigger" came from Zappos co-founder Tony Hsieh. I'm typically not big on motivational sayings, but this one really connected with me. There will always be barriers in our way, but if we're not thinking big, if we're not dreaming a little and stretching or pushing harder, we're doing ourselves a disservice. There is always a way to get better, smarter, or work harder to accomplish what you thought was impossible. Solutions to problems are out there, maybe we're just not thinking big enough. That holds true for hobbies, work, social issues, family and pretty much anything in life.

My goal for the ski season was to be able to do a 180 on my snowboard - which is absolutely nothing compared to the 12-year-olds who are doing three times as much in their sleep. But by late January I accomplished what I set out to do, and yesterday I finally landed it consistently using my opposite foot. By no means is it even close to a "big" deal to land a switch 180, but it was bigger than what I set out to do originally. And now I'm wondering if I can land a 360 by season's end...whatever you're thinking, think bigger. Even if its something small.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Day of the Goat

Its fitting that the day I finally took the time to create my first blog I happen to be spending the weekend in Frisco, CO with friends and my dog Piper, getting ready to take some fresh turns at Vail, watching the "third" round of the NCAA basketball tournament, and planning an upcoming April vacation to eastern Europe. There have been a few drastic changes in my life over the past three years that have led me to where I am right now. In a nutshell, I appreciate life more than I ever have. My goal for this blog is to highlight the things that make life great and hopefully encourage/help others to slow down a little and enjoy the moment. Life's too short to not enjoy it as much as possible.

For Day #1 of Getting Rid of the Goat I'll keep it simple - Inspired by the drive over Vail pass and getting out to the Back Bowls: Sunshine. Find something to do outside today and take just a second to appreciate the sun hitting your skin. It feels good to forget about the Goat for a second, doesn't it?