Phantom Canyon Road, Phantom Canyon Brewery, Home Cookin’, and Lots of Drinks

As you probably know, the weather in Colorado is crazy. It’s been in the 70’s for awhile and today it’s 27 degrees. Supposed to be in the low 70s again next week for a day or two, so we’ll see. Having a hard time getting my summer list done with this flakey weather! Anyhow, lots of pics behind the cut, including one that is not work safe.

The trees are changing color so we went up some elevation a couple weeks ago to Phantom Canyon Road. They’re changing down here now and are really pretty. I’ll get some shots if they’re still doing their thing when the weather gets nicer.

A mama cow on the side of the road (random!)

And her baby on the other side. Cuuuuuuute. I love baby cows.

Victor, Colorado is an old mining town that’s all decrepit and falling down, I think this building is for sale for like $40,000.

This one is also for sale but it’s like $200,000.

My old elementary school pal lives in Castle Rock now, which is about 30 minutes north of here so she came down and we went for drinks at Metropolitain the other night.

Homemade pasta fritatta. I made it up myself, too and it was tasty!

Wednesday night we went to see Lyle Lovett here in town. It was pretty warm so we walked. I had to take the jacket off when walking there and back cuz I was actually too warm!
We went to Phantom Canyon for dinner first, then to MacKenzies for drinks, then on to the show, which was really entertaining.

I was in LA last weekend and we went to a really good Italian place- Amici in The Americana At Brand in Glendale-  and I’ve been wanting to try and copy their spaghetti with red sauce, so I did last night. I think it was pretty darn close.

DM’s mom came over cuz she was in the neighborhood and wasn’t going to stay long. But we got her drunk so she hung out awhile and we LOLed at a bunch of stupid drunk person things. Then I paid for it with a splitting headache all night that I thought I was going to have to go to the ER for. I’ve been getting really horrible horrible headaches lately for all kinds of reasons: drinking, weather, flying, restaurant food. Sheesh. It’s super annoying.

Cy’s Drive In, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs

Cy’s Drive In. One of three drive ins we like to go to. They apparently have carhop service but we just ordered at the counter and sat outside.

The chocolate shake was made with a soft serve mix, not real ice cream, so there’s points off for that.

The fries were about average. Nothing special but not bad or anything.

The burger seems small in this picture for some reason but it really wasn’t. It had my nemesis, raw onions, but I was able to easily take them off. It was tasty!

This week’s picture of my plants!

We’re going to Dallas next week. We’re driving and because of some recent new health problems with the cats, and the fact that it would cost $300 for the pet sitter to come all the days we’ll be gone, we’re taking the cats with us. I know, insane. But we took them for a trial run for about an hour the other night and they were totally good. Super chill. It’s 8-12 hours in each direction. We’ll be stopping half way in Amarillo both on the way and on the way back so hopefully it will work out. We’re staying at a La Quinta because they allow pets. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I’ve been taking a ceramics class this summer. I took ceramics in college like 20 years ago and liked it even tho I wasn’t very good at it. Still not great at it, but it’s lots of fun. Also it’s only three blocks away which is nice for lazy me. I made this little bowl then we raku fired it. I always wanted to do raku in college but was never advanced enough. They’d go out to the beach in SF and build a big pit and a kiln for firing then when the stuff was done, plunged it into sea water. ANYHOW this class had a funky homemade kiln, not in the dirt but we still submerged them in water. Well, I didn’t cuz I wanted mine to be white and crackly, so I stuck it in a dirt hole after firing. LOL. You can’t use raku stuff for food and it was just a small bowl so I decided to use it as a candle holder which I think is pretty neat afterall. The last class is this week and we’ll be firing some more stuff so I can show it to you in a couple weeks when I get back from Dallas. I know you all just CAN’T WAIT.

The other day I read about a happy hour type thing that they have at the zoo on the Sky Ride and thought it would be fun. You take the Sky Ride to the top of the zoo and then there’s wine tastings and stuff like that. We didn’t make it to that event but went the next evening for the regular Sky Ride. OMG what was I thinking? It was horrible. I HATE heights! I was freaking out pretty much the whole way up (7 minutes) and had to also go down again because there was no other way down.
DM thought it was fun.

Here we are at the top. I was really happy to be off that thing.

DM bought us a $3.50 ice cream bar and a $3.50 root beer.
I saw a cute chipmonk.

The view was pretty nice, I guess. I think you can drive to nice views, tho.

 Seeeeeeeeeeeeee, it’s dangerous!

Then we came home and made dinner. This was SUPPOSED to be baked brie. I guess next time I should use an actual recipe. However, even tho it looks weird, it tasted pretty good! Not creamy like it should be tho.

Then roasted asparagus with lemon, balsamic and parmesean from My French Kitchen which has turned out to be a really good book and I highly recommend it. DM said it was the best appetizer he’s ever had. Hee hee.
Pizza (what else!) with fresh tomatoes, basil, and ricotta. This is before it cooked.
This is after it was cooked. It was yummy. I guess you don’t really need a marble pastry board, marble rolling pin, pizza peel, and pizza stone to make good pizza. You just need a $5 secondhand rolling pin and a $3 Walmart pizza pan. Hrm. Interesting.

OMG there are insane squirrels here. remember the other day I told you that one ate the head right off one of my sunflowers? Well I guess they also go into the upstairs neighbor’s house thru his bathroom window!
They go in his kitchen and steal his food!He caught one of them in the act the other day, scared it, it ran out onto the deck and dropped a granola bar that whizzed just past my head. Sheesh.

I made this Warm Goat Cheese Salad today for lunch. Also from My French Kitchen

It was really good, too!

Metropolitain (CLOSED), Mountain Shadows, Colorado Springs

Last week we went to Metropolitain (Those girls from the website weren’t there, heh). But the bartender seemed to like DM and gave him a whole mess of whiskey tastings!

Pretty sunflower along a bike ride.

Mountain Shadows Restaurant which was only OK.

The cats helped DM fix my car window.

I made some white bean dip, homemade pita chips and veggies. And caipirinhas of course.

Also heirloom tomato and fresh corn salad which was SO GOOD.

And roasted spiced nuts and olives.

DM’s mom came over and had some with us.

Making pizza. DM tossed the dough! it didn’t really work tho because there wasn’t enough of it. I had made that no knead bread and baked half of it and thought I’d use the rest for pizza dough. It didn’t toss well but it was really good.

Fresh tomato, garlic, basil, mozerella, and parmesean with olive oil.

And carmelized onion, chevre, basil and olive oil. They were both delish.

One morning I decided to make an omlette. I was too chicken to flip it so DM did. That’s chevre inside and basil and tomatoes on top. Really tasty.

DM’s mom went to Puerto Rico and brought back a few bottles of rum. LOL. Seriously.

I don’t know why I took this picture of PJ, but here it is. He drinks water out of two glasses. That’s the only way he’ll drink it. He has chronic renal failure so we pretty much let him drink however he wants to.

I made a bean and tomato soup. But apparently beans don’t cook well here at this altitude (usually I use canned) and it took like two days to cook!

It’s been sort of fall like here so yesterday morning we opened the window when we woke up and sat here and drank tea.

Of course PJ wanted to get out.

Last night I made mai tais and we watched Mad Men. I wanted to make something with some of that rum and that was also retro. I didn’t realize we would have amnesia from them.

But we did. Neither of us remembers the nachos. I made them out of some left over prime rib from The Ritz and the usual tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, green onions, cheese, and peppers. Glad I took pictures!

A horrible squirrel bit the head off one of my sunflowers and scarfed it down! WTF squirrel!

Homemade waffles.

Ok so our deck is kinda cute but there is not nearly enough sun on it to grow tomatoes. I finally faced that fact and moved them out to the junk yard (junk yard chic?!). I don’t think there’s enough time left for them to amount to much but we’ll see.

Some of the stuff on the deck is doing ok.

I love it when plants are friends. Here the morning glory has weaved it’s way over to the sweet pea trellis and then the nastursiums went over and hung on, too.

Herbs. Part of why nothing is very big is because I started it all with seeds (a few things were started with plants) and the season is just not long enough for that here. I think I can bring the herbs inside when it gets cold and maybe they’ll do ok.

All kinds of Colorado Springs Things

So despite the crazy weather (it poured down rain like mad about 2 minutes after I took this picture)

And the rain every single afternoon and evening.

We decided to go camping on DMs three-day weekend last week. We took almost the entire day on Wednesday getting ready to go. Towards the end of the planning and packing I took a break with a Lynchburg Lemonade. I used Old Grand Dad whiskey so I guess it wasn’t really a LYNCHBURG lemonade. But it was still good.

Thursday morning the weather forecast was for sun. Yay! We started out at The Donut Mill in Woodland Park. It gets great reviews and wins Best Of…all the time. Since Dunkin Donuts blows now, we’ve been looking for some new ones. These are a little far away which is good and bad. Anyhow, they were delish.

We got to the camping spot at about 2:30 and the chick at the gate said there were no more spots available. I found this hard to believe since check in time is 2:00. So we went down into the campground and sure enough there were TONS of spots. Um, yea, ok, lady. We set up real quick so DM could go fishing.

We brought two cans of mace bear repelent and a loud anti bear horn. Better safe than sorry!
We also brought bedding from home because I don’t like icky old sleeping bags and that kind of thing. I need my tent to be CLASSY, you know?

Some scenery on our way down this insanely steep and rocky trail to the resevoir.

There are tons of wildflowers (and moths and lady bugs and spiders) this year because of all the early rain we got and are still getting.

This is the state flower, the Columbine. I’ve been growing them in pots at home but they haven’t flowered yet.

I brought magazines to read while DM did some fishing.

We were down there for an hour or so and it started getting really windy. REALLY windy. So we hiked back up to the campground. This took maybe 20 minutes. By the time we got up there it had started to rain. We left the water just in time. Still, it was raining. We gathered whatever needed to be out of the wet and put it in the car. I was thinking ahead when we arrived and didn’t even unpack everything. Then we went and sat in the car and had some snacks. Soon it really started coming down, complete with lightning and thunder. But the forecast said sunny!

At some point DM checked on the tent (which he had taken hours to seal up the day before) and it was soaked. The seams he had sealed were tight but the water was just dripping in from the roof. The rain fly was not working as it should. So he gathered all our stuff and together we picked up the tent and threw it in the dumpster. Bah! Then we went home. It was really super annoying but at least it’s only about 40 minutes away. When we got home we saw this.

A baby raccoon in the eaves of the house! So cuuuuuuuuuuute! The baby raccoon will make an appearance again at the end of this post.
Anyhow our upstairs neighbor (who we hate) had his windows open so we were hoping the baby raccoon would sneak in and chew his face off in the night. It didn’t happen.

The next day it was bright and sunny again so we went back up to the area we were the day before to check out some other lakes I had seen on the map. They were all fenced off and gated. WTF? One of them just had a car gate but you could walk out there, which we did. As we got closer, there WAS a regular gate as well. Totally lame. Anyhow it was a nice walk.

Of course after a few minutes it started to rain again so we went back down the hill. We went to the sporting good store to see if we could find another tent and maybe a canopy. A canopy would have been a great thing to have because we could have sat under it, cooked, etc and wouldn’t have had to leave. I’m not sure those things are waterproof tho so we wanted to also check that out at the sporting goods store. We never did figure it out. Does anyone know? Anyhow on the way there I got a call from one of my friends who was working at a bar sort of near the store and she wanted us to stop in so we did. Since we live in Colorado I’ve been trying to get DM to drink Coors. Sheesh. So lately he has been. The retro original kind, not the new fancy ones. I had a Jack and Coke. DM also had a Maker’s Mark.

After the bar we stopped off at the liquor store and while we were there took some cool shots of some of the stuff nearby. We also found out the the next day was a big multi block multi family yard sale we wanted to go to. We did go to it, and I got a retro salt and pepper shaker set for a dollar. Woohoo. It was a really nice day and it was fun to walk around in the swanky old part of town (which is really only a couple of blocks from where we live anyway- we like to bike up there) ANYHOW, back to business.

After that we decided to come home and cook up the stuff we brought to the camping trip but didn’t get to eat. I started getting it all ready while drinking another faux Lynchburg Lemonade.

While DM set up the portable grill out on the deck.

We made flatiron steak on the grill and hobo potatoes and “roasted” corn in the oven.

Here is Cookie Puss in all his glory. All 18 pounds of him. “I’m not fat, I’m big boned”.

He really hates being picked up. So we do it all the time.

I also sauteed some onions and mushrooms to go with the steak. Overall it was very tasty- woulda been better if we were CAMPING but oh well.

Here are some other random pics from this week.
DM was feeling sick one night so I made him some homemade chicken soup.

One perk of the crazy weather is stuff like this:

Today I went to Target and it was sunny and hot. When I got out of Target 20 minutes later it was pouring down insane rain. Are you seeing a pattern here? Anyhow I was soaked from walking to the car so when I got back I made a decaf cafe au lait using my brand new stovetop milk steamer that DM gave me for my birthday. It was delish.

That’s all for now! Maybe more next week.
Oh yea, the baby raccoon.
When I got back from Target it was still raining but not as hard as it was. I heard a yelping noise like a dog makes when it’s hurt. It went on and on and on so I went outside to investigate. I didn’t see any dog anywhere so I came back in the house. The noise was still going on so I went out to the deck and looked down into the yard from the deck (about 5 feet down) and it was the baby raccoon! He was going nuts with the yowling. I didn’t know if he was cold or hurt or wet or what. He didn’t look hurt. I talked to him a little bit and he stopped making the noise and looked like he was trying to come up onto the deck. I went back in the house to see if I should do anything then went back to check on him. He was gone but out of the corner of my eye I saw something and when I looked over it was the mother raccooon leading the baby raccoon up a tree and over the fence to the parking lot of the restaurant next door. OMG it was sooooooooo cute. I guess the little guy had somehow escaped from the nest or something and gotten lost and was crying for it’s mother. I ran back inside to get the camera but they were long gone by the time I got back. I think they might live under the deck or under the house.

Ok NOW that’s really all.