On Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel

Although I really haven’t blogged about it much, we’re still doing our monthly date nights. Not all of them have been super exciting (a lot of times it’s just dinner … and even if it’s a new place I haven’t always wanted to write about it). However, this month we decided to really change it up and do tea at the Brown Palace Hotel.

The Brown is one of the oldest hotels in Denver (if not the oldest), built in 1892. They also do a high tea during the afternoons from 12-4. I’ve done it a few times, but the last time was over a decade ago for a friend’s birthday.

I’ve talked about it, and B wanted to do it … but it was hard for us to commit to as you typically have to make your reservation for tea months out and with his schedule, that isn’t easy. However, once he got his March schedule, we chatted about it, and they had spots open. So, we went yesterday.

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We just did the signature tea, as neither of us wanted alcohol. You get to choose your type of tea; I chose a black while B chose a green. Unfortunately, I can’t recall which flavors we got and the menu online doesn’t match yesterday’s. Both, however, were delicious.

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The treat tower.

Bottom level: scones. We had a buttermilk and a coconut and we loved both of them. The Brown imports their Devonshire cream from England and it is very tasty.

Middle level: sandwiches. Your typical cucumber sandwich (yum), a chicken salad on rye (okay), and a curry egg salad (not bad, but you definitely taste the curry).

Top level: desserts. A mini almond madeleine (tasty), some mint petit four (gross), a chocolate thing (highly disappointing), and some raspberry pastry that was surprisingly good – reminded me of a tarter Starbucks Raspberry Swirl Loaf.

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B is excited.

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You can get extra sandwiches, so we just got more of the cucumber ones.

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A close up of the raspberry dessert. It was pretty.

Tea at the Brown is definitely a fun experience, albeit a pricey one. I wouldn’t recommend it as something to do super frequently, but it is worth doing.

Within Temptation: Resist Tour

Oh hey, I don’t just go see Shinedown in concert!

(Although I’m scheduled to see them at least twice more this year and maybe a third time too … ahem.)

We last saw Within Temptation five years ago when they played the Gothic on the Hydra tour. In those five years, lead singer Sharon Den Adel did a solo project, there was talk of the band breaking up … and then talk was they were finally in studio for another album and the result was Resist. Since B loves Within … he bought tickets shortly after they went on sale.

The show was this past Monday at a new Denver venue for me – The Summit (Summit Music Hall? Just Summit Denver?) down in LoDo.

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For you locals, it’s across the street from where Beta used to be/where Falling Rock is.

Doors opened at 6 and we got parked and in line about 5, 5:15ish. We were wrapped decently around the building, but it wasn’t terrible.

The show had two opening acts, Smash Into Pieces and In Flames.

Smash Into Pieces is a metal band from Sweden and they were surprisingly awesome. I made note of the songs I liked during the concert (1, 5, and 6 … a.k.a. “Like This!”, “Let Me Be Your Superhero”, and “In Need of Medicine”) and happily … they were just as good if not better (and not quite as heavy) on iTunes. So now I own those songs.

They might not have been as well known, but they really knew how to work the crowd and they had the best merch buying plea I’ve heard in a long while. The lead singer crowd surfed … mostly successfully, as he is, in his words, “too fat to do so.” He took off his jacket a bit after that and had a lot of issues with his in ears and sound pack and my only thought was that his sound guy must have hated him.

(R.I.P. Mike.)

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The guitarist looked totally Swedish. And by that I mean he looked like a lot of Swedish hockey players.

Next up was In Flames, who have been around for a while (they were definitely older in terms of looks too – a bit of gray in the beards).

They weren’t bad, but definitely a bit heavier than I prefer. Their lead singer had the flu, but still did really well – definitely better than say, Ed from Collective Soul at that show – I admired his professionalism. As a result of the heavier aspect … yes, there was a mosh pit but thankfully it was like five people over. We did have a large asshole fan right behind me who was trying to … I don’t know … dance his way up? Or something? … and swearing at those of us in front who weren’t completely rocking out as much saying shit like we’re not real fucking fans and we should move out of the fucking way for those who are. Um, sorry buddy, you want up front? Either get to the venue a lot earlier or be nice and say “Hey, I really love these guys, do you mind if I go in front of you for just this set?” That would work a lot better than by being a douchenozzle.

Luckily I’m good with leverage and elbows so he wasn’t getting past me at all.

B ended up snagging a pick from them though and I guess one of their guitarists was originally with Megadeth so that’s really cool.

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After quite a long wait in between sets (the crowd, it was restless), we finally got Within. In our post concert discussion, we think that they were even better this show than the previous one.

In other notes:
– the drummer was not behind Plexiglas this time. Weird.
– each of us caught a guitar pick, so yay for that. B cried when he got his (I got mine at the end of the show). I think he wanted one so badly.
– Ice Queen acoustically? Not as good.

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During “Raise Your Banner,” which they opened with.

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Not sure the song, but this was at least halfway through the show as Sharon put on the arm sleeves at a baby intermission.

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Got all six band members here.

Overall, a great show, and I’m pretty sure that if they play the States again in another five or so years … we’ll go since B really loves them.

Dior at the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum has had an exhibit on Dior (as in Christian Dior, French fashion house) for the past several months and ends in 10 days. I’ve been meaning to go, particularly because I tend to hit up the fashion-centric traveling exhibits (Cartier, YSL). However, I just wasn’t finding the time.

I did want to go before it ended so I finally picked a time and went by myself this past Tuesday. I didn’t particularly feel like doing the audio tour so I kind of blazed through the exhibit, but it was still really cool. I also wandered around a bit of the regular museum afterward.

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Mirrored exhibit sign.

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There were a ton of dresses on display; I mainly just took pictures of my favorites.

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Embroidery sample. Simply amazing.

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Another embroidery sample.

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If you went into Dior’s store, you could walk out with an entire look, down to the perfume and makeup.

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Love the color.

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Framed with other dresses and a gorgeous orchid print.

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This dress was set back in a display of a ton of other dresses, but it caught my eye. So stunning.

Then, as I said, off to wander the rest of the museum … which was kind of small since half of it is under construction/restoration.

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Dinosaur! Okay, so it’s actually called “Made In China,” but still. Dino.

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Love the color and whimsy of this piece.

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I may not understand it, but it made me look. Evocative.

On Ultimate Dinosaurs at DMNS

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has an exhibit on Ultimate Dinosaurs (that is, newer dinosaurs unearthed in recent years) that’s actually ending in a few days – Monday is the final day – and we had been delaying forever on going. So, on January 4, we finally went.

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Entrance.

We all know the usual suspects – Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, our personal favorite T. rex – but this exhibit had other, lesser-known dinosaurs (as mentioned above, because they’re fairly new discoveries). Pretty cool to learn about.

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Three smaller new ones. They also had the fossils/casts of the fossils.

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Husband and dinosaur.

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Nigersaurus head. It has a funny mouth.

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Love the fin-type spines on this one.

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This leg bone is a lot taller than I.

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Our three dinosaurs got in on the diorama action.

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Gigantosaurus, a theropod relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

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SO COOL.

If you’re in Denver and like dinosaurs (and need something to do this weekend), check it out!

On the Latest DMNS Exhibits

We’ve been a little lazy in using our Denver Museum of Nature and Science membership … lazy in that we hadn’t gone in a while AND we were getting notifications that it was going to expire SOON. So, since there are two current exhibits that we hadn’t checked out … we decided to just go and do it.

The first one is Vikings: Beyond the Legend, which, clearly, talked about the Vikings. And how horns on the helmet? Not a thing (thanks, Wagner). How “viking” is more of a term like “farmer” or “explorer” rather than an actual ethnic group. In any case, cool exhibit, but both B and I agreed that it wasn’t quite as cool as the Maya exhibit.

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Entrance.

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Badass Viking jewelry.

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Closest I could get my name in runes.

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B’s name was a bit easier.

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Awesome Viking glass.

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LEGO Vikings!

If you’re interested, Vikings: Beyond the Legend goes through August 13.

If you go, you’ll also be able to see Nature’s Amazing Machines, which is on display through the end of the year. I didn’t take too many photos, but it was a cool exhibit on the way animals are awesome, basically – how the dome shape is around so much in nature and how well it protects various species, how amazingly the cheetah is designed, why giraffe hearts are so cool … you get the picture. Probably better for kids, but still fun for adults.

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Exhibit entrance.

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Electronic majestic flap flap (sorry, funny term I found online for rays) that was able to trick real rays.

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Because when one sees a cast of part of SUE, one takes a photo. ESPECIALLY if one has a thing for dinosaurs (ahem).

On Star Wars and the Power of Costume

So there has been an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum for a few months now titled, “Star Wars and the Power of Costume.” The exhibit is a traveling one that shows the whole journey of dressing the Star Wars universe. The exhibit has everything from storyboards to final costumes, and has different in-depth stories about the various pieces.

Like how the Jedi are purposefully made to look biblical because they are “good.”

Like how Han Solo’s outfit is more reminiscent of an old west gunslinger as opposed to how we’d think some space dude is supposed to look.

Like how ridiculous of a process it was to put on the Darth Vader costume.

And so on. The exhibition closes here in Denver April 9 and I really wanted to make it to the DAM before it closed, so we picked a day last week and went. The following are a smattering of pictures from the event.

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Explanation.

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Luke Skywalker’s outfit on the left and I believe Anakin on the right. While most Jedi are in white and brown, Luke’s outfit is black at this point (I believe this one was from “Return of the Jedi”) due to the nature of the dark side creeping in.

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I totally remember using these iMacs in high school …

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Princess Leia’s dress.

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The iconic bikini as well as the disguise Leia uses to free Han Solo from Jabba.

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Chewy and Solo.

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Rebel fighters. Joked to B that if he were in Star Wars, this is what he would wear.

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… B’s response was that TIE fighters were cooler so he’d be in these flight outfits instead.

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Droids.

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Darth Vader, I believe from the Hayden Christiansen days.

Cool exhibit. I think there’s a more permanent version of the exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., but after it leaves Denver, it’s also heading to the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Oh., and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On Casa Bonita

If you grew up in Denver – or watched “South Park” in the early 2000s, you’ve probably heard of Casa Bonita.

If you haven’t, you should probably try and find that episode (it’s from 2003) and watch the last seven minutes or so. Everything Trey Parker and Matt Stone put in there? Completely accurate, down to the sketchy strip mall the restaurant lives in.

In any case, Casa Bonita is affectionately known as Mexican Disneyland. We used to go when I was a kid relatively frequently (frequently being whenever we had out of town guests) and I remember hating it. Of course, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Mexican food and Casa Bonita’s is not … good. However, when Brandon and I got married, we decided (okay, I did, because I’m cruel) to take a lot of our out-of-town guests and friends – most of whom didn’t know each other – and take them to Casa Bonita without their knowledge.

I figured, at the very least, we’re old enough to drink now and if it was that bad, booze could save the night. It ended up being the perfect ice breaker, and a great story for everyone to tell their friends from home. Back in 2011, the restaurant was also still embracing their connection to “South Park.”

We hadn’t been back since … until earlier in August. My brother and sister-in-law decided to go there for my niece’s second birthday. I documented the experience to share …

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This pink tower is in a ghetto strip mall on west Colfax.

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The entertainment requires you to purchase their food …

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Birthday family (and a glimpse of the food).

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Gorilla show.

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Black Bart (or, in this case, Bertha) show.

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Flaming juggler cliff diver show.

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Sopapilla. Really the only reason to come – they are as good as advertised.

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Old-time photo.

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Forget which show this was from …

Not pictured: Black Bart’s cave, puppet show, mariachis (didn’t see them that night …), falling apart arcade.

If you find yourself in Denver and want a truly “Denver” experience (that’s not the damn mountains) … go. It’s totally worth it.