cameron's second birthday!

As I write this, Cameron is completely and utterly consumed driving a Hot Wheels car carrier around the living room. He recently moved on to that after using his Bruder Loader Backhoe to move around a Thomas the Train engine

He loves toys. Things with wheels, especially. But his love for toys is pretty remarkable (particularly after I'd been used to a first child who was only rarely vaguely amused by something manufactured especially for children). 

Yesterday, we celebrated Cameron. It's always nice when a birthday falls on a weekend day, so we can all be together as a family. 

We started the day with sprinkle waffles and two kids delighted with a ride-in water-spraying fire truck thanks to Grandpa. We attempted to go to the Children's Museum, but didn't realize there was a trick-or-treat event happening (side note: is it just me or do there seem to be an excessive number of opportunities to celebrate an already excessive holiday?) so we enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine at Jefferson Park instead. 

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After Cam's naptime, serious celebrations commenced. More presents (thanks, all!) and then Auntie Al and Uncle "Jay-bit" arrived for a mango lemonade cheers and pasta dinner.

Cam was so enthralled with his new toys, that even shouting "cupcakes!?" elicited no response. So finally we decided to just light the candles and sing "happy birthday." Once he saw a double-decker cupcake coming his way, he knew what was up and wasted no time blowing out the candles ("I blew out candles!"). He put away an impressive amount of cupcakes and ice cream (homemade banana chip!) before diving back into playing. 

I found myself wanting to video the entire evening, because everything that came out of Cameron's mouth made me smile. He excitedly exclaimed "Daddy's pasta!" at dinner. He yelled "boom shaka-laka" at one point; not sure why. He can express himself better and better each day, and it's fantastic to hear his thoughts. He regularly says "thank you, mommy," which totally melts my heart.

He had trouble falling asleep after all the excitement, but had a purple Hot Wheel in one hand and Thomas the Train in the other. He woke up this morning asking for his loader and car carrier. "Keep playing!" is his mantra. We love you Cameron!

meeting my newest seattle friend

I made a quick trip to Seattle last month to see my dear friend Megan and meet her 5-week old baby boy. As cheesy as it sounds, Seattle clings tight to a piece of my heart. As soon as the plane landed on the tarmac, surrounded by clouds and drizzle, tears came to my eyes. I was there less than 48 hours, but we packed a lot in. Most importantly, I spent a lot of quality time with Megan, her husband Sean, and the cute newcomer to their family.

^^after touching down at seatac, i took the light rail (for just $2.75!) downtown, and then walked up to capitol hill. i had to hit up my favorite coffee shop, victrola, before uber-ing to megan's 'hood: madison park.^^

^^baby william! so happy to meet him! what expressions he has at such a young age. no surprise, though, given how cool and animated his parents are.^^

^^baby william, his parents, our friend shannon, and i all went to anchovies & olives for a delicious dinner, and then ended the night with dessert, conversation, and baby bouncing at cupcake royale.^^

^^gorgeous saturday morning light in madison park.^^

^^beautiful new mama rocking the best baby carrier eva.^^

^^obviously, going to mighty-o donuts was a must. conveniently, they've open a new shop in ballard, which was another spot i wanted to visit. we spent saturday afternoon walking around and checking out new and old spots, happily full of donuts.^^

^^had to stop at golden gardens for a quick walk along the beach. // as the sun set, we went back to madison park and cooked salmon and vegetables for dinner. we talked parenting and baby carriers and life. we reminisced about the fun we had as twenty-somethings in fremont and capitol hill. we were too busy talking to take any pictures. it was just lovely.^^

^^a quick shot after a great breakfast at geraldine's before i headed back to the airport. thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful weekend, megan!^^

doughnuts! donuts! in los angeles!

To start, apologies for the grammatical situation in this post's title. When it comes to two acceptable spellings of a word, you're supposed to pick one and stick to it. But I have trouble doing that with the word "donuts." Because, you see, even if I pick one, then I'm going to go eat donuts at a place like Sidecar Doughnuts (or Johnny Doughnuts!) and there I've gone and contradicted myself. Just one of my many donut problems. That's not really the point, though. What I want to tell you about is: Sidecar Doughnuts in Santa Monica. We went while we were in Los Angeles in January, and it was phenomenal. So good!

Before our trip, I'd researched donut places in Los Angeles, and didn't come up with much. (It's highly likely that I was interrupted by one of our smaller family members and then didn't get a chance to resume my search.) I'd heard about a place in Koreatown, but as soon as I saw a picture of a donut with Fruit Loops on it, I was out. When our plane touched down at LAX, I didn't have a donut shop on our agenda.

But. Driving from the airport to my brother-in-law's place in Santa Monica, we happened past Sidecar Doughnuts. It looked legit. A quick internet search returned promising results. A few mornings later, we found ourselves there at 7am. (They open at 6:30. Plus one for them. Early opening time is high on my extensive list of donut-shop criteria.)

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I probably should create my own donut-rating system, but let's save that for another day. For now I'll just say these are solid donuts. Lots of options of both the cake and yeasted varieties. Their flavors bordered on what I'd deem too dessert-like, but stayed mostly in safe territory. Their "daily" options were a good bet, while the monthly specialities seemed to get a bit fancier (sweeter). The Saigon Cinnamon Crumb and the Huckleberry were my favorites.

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They have two locations in Los Angeles, so if you're ever there, check them out! Also, Stumptown Roasters coffee. Nuff said.

advent activities!

There's no denying it: the access to information provided by the internet has a definite influence on my parenting. Between blogs and Instagram, I inundate myself daily with glimpses into other families' lives. What other kids are wearing, eating, doing. You could argue that this tendency of reflection is maddening and depressing.  A futile way to spend time. But, I find it to be a comforting sense of community. A village of sorts. We're all trying to do the same general thing: create family memories as we try to raise our little ones to be our definition of "good kids." In their matching Hanna Andersson pajamas.

A few years ago, during my online perusing, I noticed some parents doing advent activities with their kids during the holiday season. It sounded (and looked!) like a fun way to add a little excitement to each day in December. I was keen to give it a go. It took me a couple of tries to get it together, but this year I managed to organize 24 index cards on the wall with Washi tape. I've had to rearrange them a bit (covertly, of course) but so far it's been a huge success. Willa's loving it, and we are too.

^^decking the halls! decorating the tree whilst eating eggnog and spinach balls. cam ate most of them.^^

^^easy and exciting advent activity: "at home facials" ^^

^^trip to the hammond's candy cane festival in an amazing "merry christmas" sweatsuit i found at goodwill: not an officially sanctioned advent activity but fantastic nonetheless.^^

^^slow morning with breakfast by the tree. three cheers for trader joe's pain au chocolat!^^

^^ice skating at skyline park and treats at the christkindl market. i had relatively high hopes for the outing, but they were still exceeded. willa LOVED ice skating. she didn't want to stop and got much better in just the hour we were there. and the market was really fun! we enjoyed mulled wine in the beer tent with festive music. we'll definitely go back again next year if not before!^^

more donut complaining

We are leaving in the morning to fly east. My sister is getting MARRIED! And we're making a vacation of it; spending time in Boston before heading out Cape Cod for the festivities. But to distract myself from our inability to pack light (that'll be another post), I'm going to write about donuts. And how Denver is still failing on that front.

Ok. Failing is a blatant overstatement. The multiple donut establishments in the area are providing totally servicable donuts. But no one is hitting it out of the ballpark. New places keep opening but they are not satisfying my intense need for a donut exactly like one from Seattle's Mighty-O (Side note: It expanded recently! In Ballard now! And Capitol Hill!).

We recently biked down to Lohi on a Saturday morning to check out Habit Doughnut Dispensary. I had high hopes. Probably much too high. Definitely much too high. But Lohi! Old brick building! Donuts! Donuts.

Let's be positive. Here's what they had going for themselves:

  • Solid yeasted donuts. The dough was the right amount of puffy and held its shape when you took a bite. And it wasn't too sweet.
  • Decent varieties. I'm a bit of a purist. I don't want fruit loops on my donut. Don't you dare give me an artificial flavor. I just want some thoughtful flavors with an appropriate amount of sugar. Habit was okay in this regard. They delivered on some, but others were a bit over the top.
  • Good hours. A donut place has to be open early. Period. End of sentence.
  • Friendly staff. Welcoming, knowledgable, efficient.

Positives are boring. I like to complain. Here are my gripes:

  • No cake donuts. Wtf? Is it an altitude thing?
  • Whiskey? Huh? They advertise alcohol to go with the donuts. I'm pretty sure that's a silly idea, but even if I were to go with it, I'd expect some high-quality bourbon. But no. They have little plastic shots by the cash register. Not enticing.
  • Free coffee. Habit is right next door to Carbon and both businesses are under the same owner. But they're not really connected. Two different outside doors. Habit offers free drip coffee when you buy donuts. I've never been to business school, but that seems like a terrible idea. If you weren't giving me free coffee, I'd go buy a $4 latte next door. I would have enjoyed the latte more than the drip coffee too, but I'm a sucker for free things. But now all I remember is bad coffee.
  • Candy store? The also sell other "necessities" like candy and laundry detergent. An interesting concept, but it's not so much corner store-y as it is gimmicky. I just don't imagine they'll sell much of that stuff. But again, I am no business expert so maybe it's me who's missing something.
  • Atmosphere. The space Habit occupies is primo. But they obviously weren't aiming to make it a comfortable café. Most of the space is devoted to baking (I assume?) with just a small counter and limited indoor seating. Even though the donuts were good, it didn't feel like a place I'd want to linger.

Can't wait to go donut hunting in Boston! And no, I will not be eating any Dunkin'. I'm surprised you'd even ask.

a happy birthday brunch for our three year old!

Willa turned three last week!

So far, I'm not sure what to make of this age. It's so hot and cold. Up and down. She's the cutest little girl EVER and then moments later she is so naughty. But I know it's all part of her development, and I'm doing my best to take deep breaths and be patient and supportive as she's learning.

She's working on being a big sister. She loves her little brother and enjoys having him around. She will say, "Hi little buddy!" when he wakes up from a nap, and if he's fussing, she'll say, "It's ok Cameron!" and then tell him something about what's going on. She has trouble sharing her toys with him. She often grabs things away from him. But she'll occasionally bring him a toy to play with, and she loves to share her food with him while they're at the table eating.

My favorite thing about Willa at this stage are our conversations. She loves to ask me questions. Lately we've been talking a lot about "workers" and what they build. She started with, "Mama, did workers build our house?" And now she asks if workers have built other things. The other day we were driving somewhere and she asked me to explain how the workers built our car. You can feel her mind working.

She remembers details and events of things we did so long ago. I am always surprised when she reminds me of them weeks or months later. She can carry on a conversation so well. It blows me away. She is getting so tall and so smart. I feel proud of the beautiful and inquisitive little girl she is growing into. She challenges and delights me each day.

Her birthday was a wonderful day! We were lucky to have family in town to celebrate and we threw a little brunch shindig with friends, donuts, cake, and an inflatable pink picture frame (Is that what we call it? No idea. But it was fun!).

^^"Mango cake!" For weeks before her birthday, Willa was telling everyone that she was going to have a mango cake. We weren't sure exactly what a mango cake was, but opted for vanilla cake with mango custard in the middle and buttercream frosting. It was delicious. Willa might have ruined her appetite with donuts, but I certainly enjoyed it. Huge thanks to the pastry chef! ;)^^

^^Cam slept for the first half of the party, but woke up and put on his party pants. He tried some snacks and was super excited to meet his Uncle Mike!^^

^^An inflatable pink frame = possibly the best $1.99 I've ever spent at Goodwill.^^

a week and a brunch with nana

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. We were delighted to be able to spend the day with her for the second year in a row, even though she lives across the country. She was here the past week and we had such a nice time spending time with her. And needless to say, we were overjoyed and so thankful for her help with the little ones. It's amazing what a difference it makes to have another person around. To celebrate her birthday and the end of a great week, we went to brunch at Block & Larder. The restaurant opened late last year and has become our go-to for going out without kids. It's a fun place to enjoy just a drink and a snack at the bar, but they have a very extensive menu focused on in-house butchery so you can certainly get a hearty meal.

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They started offering brunch more recently, and it seemed like a place nice enough to celebrate a birthday but not too too nice to take the littles. It was indeed a great place for a family brunch. The only thing that worked against us was that when we got there at 10:45 there was only one other table filled. So any noise made by a small person echoed throughout the whole place. But once we were finishing up, closer to noon, a few more groups had come in, including 2 other babies.

The brunch menu was solid and more straightforward than their dinner fare; 12 entrée options and just a few sides. And drinks of course. We went with the Oyster Rockefeller Benedict and the Breakfast Bread Pudding. We don't go out to brunch too often, but when we do we almost always opt for one savory dish and one sweet item for our "breakfast dessert."

Cam was uncharacteristically crabby when we first sat down, but once the food arrived his mood did a 180. He was delighted to eat eggs and an English muffin. My mood improved too, actually.The bread pudding was decadent and absolutely delicious. The benedict had great flavors, but I'd say they were a bit stingy on the oysters. (We had two at the table; one had 4 oysters and the other had just 3.) I had a peach bourbon bellini which was just the right amount of sweet. It could have been a touch colder...or maybe I should have finished it faster? But all in all, it was a great brunch. Good food, company, and atmosphere. All the right ingredients.

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!

little things lately

Willa will be 3 in a week. She suddenly seems so much older. 

She asks specific questions. She makes remarkable observations. She tells jokes. And talks with her hands. She can still drive me crazy...I'm not looking forward to holding her down to apply sunscreen every single day of the summer. And why does brushing her hair have to make her scream like I'm torturing her? But she can put her shoes on by herself! She can get dressed on her own too, but being naked is more her jam. Good thing warm weather has finally arrived!

^^Have you ever have these Lemon Ricotta Waffles with Poppy Seeds? They are THE BEST. Seriously. Make them. And if you have leftover ricotta to use up, I suggest this cake.^^

^^My friend Katie and her kids were in town a couple weeks ago, and we were delighted to have them over for a play and dinner. (I was also delighted that my child isn't the only one with some ups and downs in the 3ish year old behavior department.) Old friends are so wonderful. Thanks for the visit, dear!^^

^^We had friends over for dinner the other weekend and got dressed up for the occasion. I tried to take a selfie with Willa, but that was pushing my luck.^^

^^Cam was sick this week. He had a fever and was out of sorts for a few days. (Note some Tylenol on his jammies in the photo above.) But thankfully he's now back to his smiley self. And he really is smiley. It's awesome. I hope he stays this happy for months and years to come.^^

valentine's day weekend

lots of love and fun:

^^we started valentine's day off with sprinkle pancakes. i suppose they probably should have been pink or red or heart-shaped, but sprinkles seemed festive and fun! and of course delicious. it was pretty much dessert for breakfast which made willa's morning. mine too, actually.^^

^^dan and i went to brunch at argyll whisky beer. we don't typically plan much for valentine's day, but a month or so back i decided that by february we'd probably be ready for our first (non-family) babysitter, so i made a brunch reservation, and told dan the surprise plans on friday night. we were so excited to get out on our own for a couple hours, and argyll was a great spot. their menu and vibe had british flair, the servers were wearing flannel, and everything was delicious.^^

^^in the afternoon, we needed to run an errand on south pearl street, and while we were down there willa announced that she wanted pizza for "snack." sexy pizza was nearby, so even though it was only 4:30, we decided to go in for a family valentine's day dinner. willa ate more pizza than she ever has before - almost 3 pieces! she got very mad when we tried to cut them up or in half. "i want the whole piece!"^^

^^willa was thrilled to get a valentine's day balloon from her babysitter, and after that she was throwing a lot of "parties" in her play corner. here's cameron, attending one such party with her balloon around his wrist. i love it once they reach the bumbo phase and can sit up and be a part of things!^^

buchi cubano café

Given the recent change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, it seems like a fitting time to talk about Cuban sandwiches! Or, perhaps, it's a totally inappropriate time? Either way, it's happening. We went to Buchi Cubano Café recently, and I can't stop thinking about when I can go back again. Cuban coffee! Pressed sandwiches! Delicious!

My friend Alli was visiting to meet Cameron, and one night we decided to be super wild and stay up late (10pm) watching the movie Chef. I'd remembered hearing great things about the film, and was really excited to see it. Turns out, the buzz was mostly about the stellar cast and the big-name foodies behind the scenes. It was a fun watch, with especially good music, but really the only takeaway we all had was: we needed a Cuban sandwich STAT. We immediately hatched a plan to walk to Buchi the next morning.

The weather was relatively mild for December, and given that we had our dog and expensive stroller in tow, we decided to sit outside. It took a few minutes to get service because they were so packed, but the server did not forget about us. She apologetically rushed outside with waters and menus, and then promptly returned to take our order. We all, except Willa, decided to get the Cuban Mix: Cuban roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, onions and mustard. Willa went for the side of beans and rice, obvi.

They have rich Cuban coffee available with any amount of milk you desire. I had the café con leche this time, but in the past I've greatly enjoyed a cortado. Interestingly, they use powdered milk (I found this out when I tried to order a milk for W). I'm not enough of a Cuban coffee expert to know whether or not that's typical (it probably is, I'd guess?) but it's delicious.

Walking there and back made me feel justified in having devoured my entire sandwich. Those with more self-control might be satisfied to share one.

I'll be back to Buchi soon for sure, but right now I'm going to go make an espresso with eggnog to satisfy my sweet coffee cravings...

meal train generosity + breakfasts out in nw denver

Prior to Cameron's birth, a kind and thoughtful friend organized a "meal train" for us. I'd never before asked friends to cook for me, so I felt a bit uncomfortable making the request, but given the chaos that I knew would ensue after the collision of a new baby and a rambunctious toddler, I decided I'd take the help if people want to give it. And boy, have they delievered! I cannot believe the generosity of food (and by extension thoughtfulness, time, and effort) that has been showered on us by so many. I haven't cooked a thing in the past two weeks, and we have even more meals on the way. I am so appreciative of what everyone has done for us during this exciting and totally overwhelming time. I hope I can return the kindness to everyone in my own way.

So since we've been totally set on dinners and lunches (thanks to leftovers), when some stir-craziness set in, we hit the streets for breakfast. We finally got around to trying a couple of places that have been on my list for ages, and both were divine.

The Universal 2911 West 38th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80211

^^the location is a bit odd. it's right off a main arterial road. in a strip mall next to a domino's and a H&R Block. but inside, a hipster feels right at home amidst the reclaimed wood, efficient but not overly friendly servers, and on-trend menu.^^

^^we'd looked at the menu ahead of time, so we knew we wanted the custard toast and ordered it right away since it said it was a "20 minute dish." we had the sausage scramble as our more healthful option, and then ate the custard toast for dessert. both dishes were phenomenal. the scramble was super flavorful and the side of potatoes was particularly good. sometimes potatoes are an afterthought, but these were perfectly crispy and well-seasoned. and the custard. oh my goodness. it was basically bread pudding for breakfast, which was exactly what this postpartum lady needed!^^

^^breakfast was our first significant outing with cam; one week after his birth. it took a good deal of effort for me to get dressed and out the door at a reasonable time that morning, but it was totally worth it. good food is always healing, and the short-lived time that babies just sleep in their car seats is delightful!^^

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The Noshery 4994 Lowell Blvd Denver, Colorado 80221

^^the noshery opened earlier this year in the regis neighborhood. it's exactly the kind of place i wish was in walking distance from my house, but luckily it's only a short drive (or bike or run when i'm feeling better) away. the have great pastries, sweets, as well as breakfast and lunch menus featuring sandwiches etc.^^

^^baby + raspberry scone + latte. they have two sizes for coffee: small and large. small is a regular mug, and large is this mug-bowl. i had no problem drinking it all, but i'm picky about the temperature. once i'd had about 3/4 of it, the rest was cold. they were happy to put it in a to-go cup for me though!^^

^^this was just a couple days before the weather turned cold and denver got it's first snowfall. i miss those pretty leaves already!^^

recently loved recipes

My mom is a recipe organization genius. When I was growing up, she always had tidy binders of recipes she'd clipped from magazines or got from friends. More recently, she reorganized all of these, along with newer finds from the internet, into larger binders. One for each type of dish. Then there's me. I mostly use Pinterest. And don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest as much as the next gal on the internet. I find it a great way to keep heaps of content organized. But, sometimes, I get concerned about those heaps. What if Pinterest crashes? Where will all my recipes go? How will I ever cook again? I suppose I do also have a box of recipe clippings that I never remember to look in. I am actually not even sure where it is.

So. In an effort to bypass Pinterest (but not exerting anywhere near the impressive effort my mom does), here are a few of the recipes we've been enjoying in the past few months:

^^Homemade Pizza with "Lazy Pizza Dough"^^

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PICTURE-LESS DELIGHTS:

1 Can of Chiles in Adobo, 5 Dinners Both the Kale and Pasta and the White Bean Chili recipes are surprisingly delicious given the minimal effort they require!

Summer Grilled Mexican Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad Bookmark for next summer! Lots of work, but so good.

Caponata Panzanella

Shaved Brussles Sprouts and Sweet Potato Salad

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SWEETER TREATS:

Cranberry and Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread (So good, but definitely a dessert! I'm adding cream cheese frosting when I thaw another loaf from our freezer.)

Flourless Apple Pie Pancakes

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 What about you? What dishes have you been enjoying? And how do you keep your favorite recipes organized?

a donut desert in denver

When we moved to Denver, I knew I would miss so much about the city of Seattle. Not so much the rain and the grey (although I actually do really miss that sometimes!) but lots of other things. One thing I didn't anticipate missing, however, was donuts. Artisan donuts. To get even more specific, vegan donuts. Basically, Mighty-O Donuts. Before moving to Seattle, I'd always liked a sweet baked good, but I'd never really dabbled in the donut scene beyond a Dunkin' Donut or a Krispy Kreme (why so much alliteration in the donut world, btw?). But on a cool, rainy, Seattle morning, there's really nothing like a donut and a coffee to get you going. Mighty-O is where all my loyalties lie, but the city's other big purveyor, Top Pot, is pretty much just as delicious. We'd frequently stop by one or the other for donuts on our way to a hike or a walk or a ski trip.

Then we moved to Denver. A donut desert. There were great restaurants to be enjoyed, craft beers galore, and sufficiently (although not exceptionally) delicious cupcakes. But where could a girl get a donut? No where, it seemed. I asked around, and most people didn't even understand my need for a fancy round treat.

Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking (Voodoo!). There are exceptions to this complaint. Mighty-O sells their donuts in a few Whole Foods. (Not all of them though, so it took a lot of asking and hunting. Cherry Creek is your best bet.) Voodoo Doughnuts opened on Colfax earlier this year. And another place joined the donut game as well: Glazed and Confuzed. It's a bit of a haul from our 'hood, but we made the trek last weekend to see what they were serving up.

Unfortunately, despite the excitement shown in the above photo, I'm still left missing "Seattle-style" donuts. I'm hard to please, I guess. Voodoo, Glazed and Confuzed, and others certainly make delicious donuts. But here's why I'm still not satisfied:

1. High-quality ingredients vs. Wow Factor The craziest donut you'll find at Mighty-O is something like chocolate raspberry. They make delicious and unique flavors, but they're all pretty tame. French Toast is one of their standbys. This means whatever you choose for your breakfast treat will be indulgent and sweet, but not overly so. You (most likely) won't feel ill. I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but because Mighty-O uses only vegan (+ non-GMO) ingredients, their donuts are never going to be as over the top as Voodoo's. Same goes for Top Pot. Their donut case has shades of browns and beiges. Not so much a rainbow. And that's just fine with me.

2. Coffee. Maybe this is another Seattle vs. Denver thing, but both Mighty-O and Top Pot offer stellar coffee alongside their donuts. (I'm talking about a full-service espresso bar that uses locally roasted beans. Not a thermos with some random variety drip.) It seems like a no-brainer. Does anything go better with a donut than coffee?

3. Cake vs. Yeasted Which type is your favorite? I'm with cake, all the way. And that's what Mighty-O and Top Pot do well. They usually have a couple yeasted options, but not too many. Voodoo and Glazed and Confuzed on the other hand, offer up several yeasted varieties.

4. Lines. This is where only Voodoo fails. I don't even want to get started because I might not be able to stop. I have a serious problem with the omnipresence of the line outside all (most?) of their stores. Sure, there's a long wait when something new and exciting opens. But months and months later, the line is just evidence that you're not doing something right. You need a more visible menu! And perhaps you should carry a few less varieties at a time so people can order more quickly! Or staff some more people!

Ok. I have to cut myself off. From this post, that is, not from continuing to demand what I think is a better donut. It must be coming? It exists in so many cities. Come on, Denver, make me proud.

rosenberg's bagels + delicatessen

I wouldn't describe myself as a bagel lover. Donuts? Yes! But bagels? They're good, sure. Growing up I loved having a bagel that my dad had picked up at the local bagel shop. When I was in college at Middlebury, nothing compared to a bagel egger sandwich at the Middlebury Bagel Deli. So good.

But then we moved to Seattle, and bagels were a joke. So bad. No one in Seattle could make a decent bagel. Even the places that were rumored to be good were just mediocre. Sure, it too bad, but I was never bagel-obsessed enough to really mourn the loss. I just moved on with life, bagel-free.

And yet, when I heard that some smart fellow (Josh Pollack) was opening up a new bagel shop in Denver and engineering the mineral content of the water to make perfect New York style bagels, I was indeed intrigued.

We finally got to Rosenberg's last Sunday, and although the outside looked a little unpromising (we came in the back entrance off 26th and there isn't yet any signage), there was a long line at 9:30am. Things moved pretty quickly, and we got to the front of the 20-some person line in 10-15 minutes. Most people were opting to take their orders to go, so there was ample seating. The space was super cool without being overly trendy. Pollack apparently wanted to restore the art-deco history of the space, and he has definitely achieved that with just a few modern touches.

The bagels were indeed perfect. Crispy on the outside but doughy and appropriately chewy on the inside. The fish options on the menu looked fantastic (salmon galore! cod! trout! hand-cut!), but we opted for eggs. I got one of their specialties, "The Frenchie" (think French toast meets egg sandwich), while Dan tried egg, bacon, and cheddar on a poppyseed bagel. It was great to try something unique, but I ultimately prefered the basic egg sandwich. It was just done so well. Most importantly, the bacon was the perfect crispness so you could take bites. There's nothing worse than bacon that slides off a sandwich on the first bite, right?

They had a fancypants espresso machine whipping up fantastic drinks (Boxcar Roasters coffee, I think? Shoot. I can't remember for sure.), and I enjoyed an iced latte (small complaint: no liquid sweetener besides honey which isn't super cold-water soluble!). Another food trend observation: lots of people were drinking cold brew bottled coffee from the fridge case, which seems like an odd choice to me when you're in a place that has an espresso bar...I do think it's delicious and a great option when there isn't one, but...?

Anyway. In case there was any confusion, the verdict on Rosenberg's is: go now! I cannot wait to go again. Who knew how much I was missing bagels?

this weekend + last, in pictures.

life lately:

^^last weekend we went up to fort collins to see my parents, and started the visit with a lovely drive around horsetooth reservoir. it was super windy but really pretty.^^

^^beer tasting and mr. potato head playing at equinox. a box of toys at a brewery is a superb idea! it was a really fun place, and great if you're a hop-lover, but i regret that equinox beers aren't my jam. too many ales.^^

^^strolling through old town. W had her eye on the furry friends in the window of this pet store. she let herself inside and would have stolen one if i hadn't intervened.^^

^^up next: new belgium. it was CROWDED. but they offered up some great beers. much better than the ones they bottle and distribute, IMO.^^

^^this friday night, we rode our bikes to billy's inn for dinner. this is the only picture i took, but it was a lovely evening. we're so excited to have a bike seat for willa now, and she loves it. she also loves helmets, which is fantastic. i think it's mostly the buckles.^^

^^the big thing on our calendar for this weekend: ikea. we spent 4 hours there on saturday morning, stocking up on furniture to outfit our basement. that place is maddening. but so great at the same time. we took a lunch break (which was a first for us, we usually try to just power through which does not actually go well), and i have to say i greatly enjoyed the lunch we got for $8. no meatballs, but salmon, eggplant lasagna, and mac + cheese. plus free tea and a cinnamon roll. it kept us sane amidst the ikea crazy.^^

^^after a long day at ikea, dan and i went out to dinner at session kitchen in platt park.^^

^^overall, the food was great! and the portions were much more generous than you find at many restaurants these days. i would say, however, several dishes lacked flavor punch i was expecting given their concept and vibe. the best dish was definitely the perogies and asparagus, with "frank's red hot butter" (basically chicken wing sauce) and crispy potato skins. it was innovative and well-balanced. i pretty much licked the bowl clean. they also had cronuts for dessert. i've yet to have the real deal, but these were delicious!^^

^^on sunday morning, dan got up before 6 to get us voodoo doughnuts! we'd been wanting to try them for months, but didn't want to wait in the line that still is around an hour long. no wait at 6am. we aren't interested in voodoo's crazy concoctions, but their more tame doughnuts were seriously solid. i'll always be a mighty-o loyalist, but these still made my day.^^

^^this girl was a big fan too. her favorite: the sprinkle doughnut. so she can pick off each sprinkle one by one. she calls them "rice." dessert rice i suppose?^^