January 2009


NO French Fries, Dammit!!

buds-menu

 No question about it – there are NO French Fries at Bud’s Bar in Sedalia, Colorado. Actually the options are simple – do you want a hamburger ($3.25) or cheeseburger $3.50)? Single or double ($5 & $5.50)? That’s it. The burgers are served with pickles, onions and chips along with squeeze bottles of mustard and ketchup. As the menu says, “What more do you want at these prices!!”

 This basic formula has worked for Bud’s since 1948. We’ve heard of the popular bar for years and years yet have never stopped in Sedalia to try Bud’s burgers.buds-burger

On this gorgeous last day of January we went exploring and dropped in for lunch. The only seats available were stools at the bar, which felt just right for propping my elbows on the bar and biting into a hot, juicy cheeseburger. And, it was just off the grill hot, definitely not precooked.

buds-place1In addition to bar seating there are a dozen tables and booths – today filled with families, teens, Harley bikers and gray-haired geezers. Nancy was working behind the bar this afternoon. The local sitting next to Bob informed us, “She’s been my therapist for years.”

Exactly as billed, Bud’s loyal following knows they’ll get served a good burger – and NO fries.

When You Go: Bud’s Bar, 5453 Manhart Street, (just look for all the cars and cycles in town), Sedalia, 303-688-9967. Opens daily at 10am.

South Platte Park & Carson Nature Center

Shhhh! – Don’t tell all those dealing with frigid temperatures, knee-deep snow, ice storms and power outages that Denver recovered from its cold snap earlier in the week. The last couple of days have seen sunny blue skies and temps in the 60s. The Denver area experiences a “Storm of the Century” about every decade and faces snow and cold each winter but between storms we bask in beautiful clear days perfect for outdoor recreation.

snapping-turtle2   carson-nature-center-sign-2  white-pelican1   trout1

 Friday was one of those days that called for getting outside. After -2° Tuesday morning it was pure joy to walk in the park in shirt sleeves and soak up at least our 20 minutes of vitamin D. We headed to South Platte Park and the Carson Nature Center in Littleton. The park extends along the South Platte River approximately 2.5 miles north of C-470. The riparian zone of cottonwood forests and wetlands provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife – song birds to bald eagles, cicadas to coyotes.

platte-river-trail-users3The paved Mary Carter Greenway Trail was busy with bicyclists, in-line skaters and walkers. The trail is part of the South Platte River Trail that covers 28.05 miles from Chatfield Dam to 104th Avenue in Northglenn and links to a half dozen urban trails that criss cross the Metro Area. Four miles of natural surface trails lead to lakes and a wildlife viewing blind. Five lakes and the 2.5-mile stretch of the river are open to fishing. There’s limited access to two other lakes within the park that provide water storage and wildlife habitat.

water-table-21Exhibits and live animals in the Carson Nature Center provide a good orientation for budding naturalists. The water table room attracts all ages. A river channel flows through the sandy “ground,” visitors can place rocks, block houses and scrubs along the banks and watch the affects of flood waters. Some of us are old enough to remember the 1965 devastating flood along the South Platte. Rental “Explorer Packs” filled with supplies and activities are a fun way to add discovery and learning to a park visit.

The center offers a calendar of programs, some specifically for kids, some adults only and family focused activites for all ages. Naturalist guided moonrise walks, winter scavenger hunt, Native American stories are a few offered during the winter months.

When You Go: The park and nature center are free, a modest fee and registration is required for programs. South Platte Park is located north of Mineral Avenue and west of Santa Fe Drive. Park open daily from sunrise to sunset, Carson Nature Center open Tuesday – Friday 12-4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30am – 4:30pm.

 

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Cafe de France – Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center

cafe-de-france-exterior

Stopped at Cafe de France in the Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center on South Santa Fe Drive for lunch. We visited a previous location in Highlands Ranch several times before that location was closed. The same friendly greeting welcomed us. The cafe is open from 7 am – 9 pm daily. I appreciate restaurants that serve all afternoon since I frequently want a meal at 3 pm. Our waitress said you can order breakfast during the entire day; helpful to know if bacon and eggs or waffles sounds good for dinner some evening.

Bob ordered the pastrami croissant. The fresh croissant was topped with lettuce a thick stack of pastrami and topped with melted Swiss cheese. The sandwich was served with crisp potato chips and chunks of watermelon. I chose the Santa Fe Quiche – a generous slice of ham and cheese quiche topped with a green chili sauce. The pastry was rich and flaky. The sauce was a disappointment, I will select a different quiche in the future. A tossed salad and watermelon accompanied the quiche. Although neither of  us ordered one today we recommend the Croissant burgers.pastrimi-croissant

We are both ice tea drinkers but did not like the tea served at the previous location and quit ordering it. Bob’s tea today tasted fresh made and was up to our standards. A dessert case filled with cakes, pastries and cookies tempted mightily but we resisted.

The owner or manager – I don’t know which – likes to greet each customer and thank them as they leave. This is often done from the other end of the restaurant. He’s a lively person and communications with staff tends to be loud. I would find it more comfortable if he toned it down letting us continue our own conversations.

Food is fresh, service prompt, location convenient, comfortable interior – we’ll be back.

When You Go: Cafe de France, 7301 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 303-347-2424.

Schooner’s Restaurant

Favorite Jupiter Lunch

schoonersOur first day in Jupiter usually finds us at Schooner’s Restaurant for a late lunch. The casual, relaxed atmosphere proves to be a necessary respite after several hours at Mother’s assisted living facility. The patio beckons us to sit back and enjoy an icy drink while lunch is prepared.

Schooner’s specializes in fresh seafood and fresh vegetables although meat and poultry are well represented. The regular menu is supplemented with a chalkboard of specials and fresh fish of the day listings. We always look for the Habanero Mango BBQ Shrimp Gorgonzola Salad. A large bowl of fresh greens and salad veggies topped with skewers of grilled shrimp basted in a spicy mango sauce. I’ve happily devoured other dishes from clam chowder and crab cake sandwiches to key lime pie.

schooners-patioService is almost always friendly and attentive. During our last visit on Martin Luther King Day they were obviously slammed but the staff worked together to get everyone served and keep drinks refreshed. Our only complaint over the years has been that they don’t automatically serve a roll, crackers or bread with our favorite salad. We’ve learned to ask for a roll when we order and the request is always met.

Most customers prefer outdoor dining if weather allows. A large covered area feels like a big friendly front porch. Palms sway over the brick patio while umbrellas provide shade. The interior tends to be very dark.

Diners range from local twenty-somethings and families to vacationing seniors; the ambiance, menu and service satisfy a broad range.

We’ll be back the next time we’re in town and hope to see our favorite salad on the menu board.

When You Go: Schooner’s Restaurant, 1001 North Highway A1A, Jupiter, 561-746-7558. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

 

Return from Florida

My sister Judy and I just returned from a visit with our mother in Jupiter, Florida. As good as intentions were the blogging took a hiatus after the first couple of days.

palm-trees1Mother is 97-years-old, blind, in a wheelchair and living in an assisted living facility. Her condo, where we stay during our visits, is a 45-60 minute drive from the ALF. The most direct route, I95, tests the sanest and safest of drivers. Driving the middle lane at 10 miles over the speed limit creates speedways on either side of you as cars and semis zip by in a blur of motion and noise. Add to the mix a newly arrived senior fearful of any speed over 40 mph. We sense it’s almost a daily death defying act to approach the on ramp.

Our days are spent visiting with Mother; some days she’s alert with good long-term memory, other days she’s asking, “Who are your parents?” Each day drains one mentally and emotionally. We try to treat ourselves to one nice restaurant meal or interesting activity every day.

Our niece Janis enhanced the latest trip by flying in for the weekend. Besides visits with Grandma we took in an Ansel Adams/Georgia O’Keeffe show at the Norton Art Museum, giggled, gossiped and grazed through several excellent restaurants.

During our stay south Florida had the coldest temperatures in five years (I was in Florida for that one too) while Denver saw almost a week of 70° days. The day we left was balmy with many of our neighbors headed to the beach. Upon landing in Denver the pilot announced a cold 17°.

In the coming days I’ll share bits and bites of Palm Beach County while getting back in Colorado mode.

Plan to Walk Away

As my sister and I board our Frontier flight from Denver to Fort Lauderdale our thoughts go to two recent airline mishaps. In both the Continental flight that “veered” off the runway in Denver and the US Airways Hudson River landing all passengers and crew survived by quickly evacuating and assisting other passengers.

Ninety seconds is the standard for the successful evacuation of a fully loaded plane in an emergency situation. When you see how long it takes to load and unload a normal flight this seems an impossible task. Yet, recent occurrences show it’s possible.

Several years ago I participated in an event for travel writers at the United Airlines Training Center in Denver. Part of the day included a mock evacuation. I learned facts and procedures that have changed some of my habits when flying and hopefully prepared me to walk away from an event like we’ve seen recently.

  • Panty hose shred on the evacuation slide causing burns. Women if you ever wanted a reason to fly in comfort, this is it. Leave the panty hose at home. Seriously, slacks are better than dresses, skirts or shorts.

  • Natural fiber clothing is best.

  • Do not wear flip-flops or high heels when flying. When you get to the end of the evacuation slide it could be a run for your life – away from fire or explosion. I used to slip my shoes off as soon as I was seated, but I’ve changed that habit and keep them on until we’re well into the flight and have them back on for landing.

  • Know where the exits are located. We hear it all the time but do we really pay attention? The exit nearest you may be blocked or unusable for some reason. Have a plan B in mind. Count rows of seats ahead and behind you to exits. Know your surroundings.

  • Comply with stowing your personal items under the seat in front of you. As tempting as it may be to place something by your feet the path you block could be your path to safety.

  • Know proper “Brace” or “Crash” positions – it’s on that card in the seat pocket in front of you. If traveling with children know procedure to best protect them. Comply with flight crew instructions, they are trained professionals prepared to do their job.

  • The nearest exit may be blocked or the door won’t open for some reason. Don’t waste time – move to another exit. When we did the mock evacuation one group did not exit the “plane” in 90 seconds. Their door would not open. Mostly men, well traveled and experienced, they were absolutely sure they could do it and weren’t going to give up.

  • Emergency floor lights leading to exits may not function, depend on yourself not mechanical or electrical factors.

  • If you’re in an emergency row study the door. Where does it say to grasp? Do you push, pull, shove or turn? In what direction? Should you throw the door out the opening or turn and place it across a row of seats? Never on the floor. Be aware the door will be heavy, 35-40 pounds.

  • Before opening any exit, look through a window to check for smoke, fire or debris/obstructions.

  • Don’t stop to get personal items before evacuating – it could be your laptop or your life. This has been an issue during some incidences.

  • Once out of the plane move away quickly. Don’t block the route for others and get away from potential fire.

I don’t want to be paranoid and I’m not going to quit flying but being aware helps in being prepared. Hopefully we all enjoy many future flights without incident but just in case these dozen tips could make a difference. Safe and happy travels.

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