Horsetooth Rock

Love going hiking, and within 20 minutes of my house I have many great places. One of them is Horsetooth (Rock).

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This quick 5-mile hike starts at about 5,800 feet and peaks at roughly 7,200. I can never remember if the name of the peak is from history or looks, so I had to do some research. Protrails says, in addition to climbing info, that “According to Native American legend, Horsetooth Rock is the remains of the heart of an evil giant, slain and cut in two by Chief Maununmoku. European settlers believed the rock bore a greater resemblance to a horse tooth, hence the modern name.”

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When you go to hike the trail you park at a Larimer County site. A smart thing to do is invest in an annual pass. The money goes to the Parks; it doesn’t hurt. Otherwise you pay nine bucks a day. It’s worth it, even if you don’t end up visiting the entire amount of times you need it.

You start out with a bit of an incline on a winding trail. Then after 1/2 mile you’re on a wide multi-use trail. After 0.9 miles (yes, I’m a Garmin user) you can get on the foot-traffic only trail. That’s when it gets fun. You are in the trees, you get good switchbacks (nothing crazy), some stairs here and there. Occasionally, you get a lookout a the city.

After about 2 miles, you hit most difficult park. Less stable surfaces. But that is the true fun! There is one ‘staircase’. I usually avoid it because it’s not that easy. If I do use it, it’s on the way up, not down.

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After 2.4 miles you get to the base of the true summit where you get to decide exactly which line you want to take to get to the top. There are several. I’ve hiked this trail many times now and can’t figure out which place is the best at which to start. It’s literally about 50 feet. But, you sort of scramble/use upper body to get there. Then you’re there. You look one way you see Ft. Collins. Another way — Mt Evans, and various other snow-capped peaks, another and another, just miles and miles of gorgeous scenery. You could stay up there for hours.

You might also examine that you are on one side of the horse’s tooth. There is a trench. Unless you had Spiderman abilities you’re not getting over to the other side. I know you can (rock)climb to get there. I still have to figure out if/how you can get to the far side of the tooth/the third one.

Getting off the top of the peak can be a bit tricky. Not hard, just takes maneuvering. Then you return on the part you summited. There are some paths that go off, here and there.

The last time I was at Horsetooth, I saw wildlife, likely because of COVID-19. There were actually deer out there! I also saw a turkey (too far away to take a picture) and then ahh…a snake. Wasn’t a rattler (I say that like it’s a bad thing). Apparently it was a bull snake. That thing was pretty cool, big and long. Was fun to look at. I kept my distance, was glad I did not see a rattle on it.

In the end, a good trail to take if looking for a fun adventure. You can take in the city, feel like you’re miles away, and soak in much of what Larimer County has to offer.

 

 

Cacciatore, Fort Collins, CO

A great small, local Italian restaurant in Fort Collins is Cacciatore at Heller’s Kitchen, located in Jessup Farm.

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Have visited a few times and never had bad food or drink. Drink-wise, what I love is their wine on tap. My favorite is the Tiamo Barbera. Their notes on the wine are 100% organically grown, full bodied, deep berry flavors, lovely finish and slightly dry. What I like about it is that though it says full bodied it’s not overly heavy, and as mentioned it’s just slightly dry. When you get a bottle of it, they bring it out in a flip-top bottle. Great stuff.

Their menu has a good mix of selections, Italian-wise. Last time I went the two of us at the table split two dishes.

As you might have read before if you browse my posts, I love Brussels Sprouts. So when I noticed them on the menu, it was time to finally try them.

Brussels Sprouts sauteed with garlic, sundried tomatoes and pancetta.

Amazing flavors with all the ingredients coming together. Happiness was…

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We also opted for a pizza, the Fig & Prosciutto Pizza, caramelized onion, goat cheese, port reduction.

When I find a non-cow cheese pizza, I’m in love. This is also one of my favorite pizza concoctions. It’s nice and light, with flavors blending together. The crust on this is very light, too.

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Great dinner. I believe they have good Happy Hour specials, too, but not sure what they are. I see coupons come out for them in the mail every so often, so tend to actually use them. Check it out.

Rainbow, Ft Collins, CO

I was introduced to a well-known breakfast place in Ft. Collins recently, Rainbow.

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Went  after a morning run, which meant refueling was in order.

We sat at an outside table, which was awesome. Good mix of sun and shade. A few of us were waiting for the rest of the group to arrive and as we surveyed the menu we had to order the first round, aka Bloody Mary’s, in a pitcher. When that pitcher came out, oh wow. Not too spicy and great taste. And the glasses that we got to pour them into had great adornments – olives, pickle, celery, lemon.

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It took me awhile to decide what to get after going over and over the menu. Finally chose the Avocado Smash (a staff favorite) — Freshly baked wheat toast topped with avocado, smokey chili marash & lime. Served with one egg, any style. $7.95. (With smoked salmon $10.95) — totally went with the salmon option!

When it came out I was drooling.

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So much to dig into. Cut into the bread and made sure to get the guac and salmon in the same bite – delicious. The egg was great and the fruit on the plate (unexpected) was nice and fresh – and you don’t get kiwi that often, so I was thrilled.

I see why Rainbow is well known and loved in the community. Check it out if you haven’t been or go back if you’re a regular. I was told a lady eats breakfast there everyday, and I see why.

 

La Buena Vida, Ft Collins, CO

Another Mexican place I have checked out in Fort Collins is La Buena Vida. Have driven by it a lot and heard great reviews so needed to try it first hand.

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As normal at this type of restaurant, one must order guacamole to begin, as well as some margaritas. Both were great! The guac was just chunky enough and the drinks were just perfect. Went so well with the chips & salsa we’d already received.

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For the rest of the meal, I opted for the Ensalada de Pollo – Grilled chicken, lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato, sauteed apple and pumkin seeds. Served with Lime dressing.

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The other person at the table went with Enchiladas. And at lunch you can choose how many enchiladas you’d like, so they went with one chicken enchilada, which comes served with rice and black beans, topped with red sauce.

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The salad was amazing! The apples were so unique…nothing I’d had in a salad at a Mexican restaurant before, then the pumpkin seeds, too? And the chicken could not have been more perfectly grilled. Loved the whole thing.

The enchilada was apparently quite good. Nice sauce and perfect lunch size.

Great place, will also have to check it out (again) for Happy Hour. Salud!

Idiazabal

In a previous post I mentioned The Fox & The Crow in Fort Collins. They not only have great food, but also quite the extensive cheese selection. That means they also have non-cow cheese!

Went in these to see what I could find to have as just a fun appetizer for a dinner. After some discussion, I was offered a sample of the Idiazabal, a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. It was amazing! Just semi-hard and had a unique smokiness to it. Far too good. Had to be careful not to buy too much of it. Would also be perfect paired with some Pinotage!

Had to do some quick research on it, as well. Did not know there is a cheese.com site… it confirmed my taste of smoke and gave me more info. Great stuff. Can’t wait to grab more.

 

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The Fox & The Crow, Fort Collins

Since I shop at Sprouts a lot, I see all the other stores in the Scotch Pines Shopping Center at Drake and Lemay. I had already checked out Elevation 5003 Distillery but then saw a ‘new’ place next to them. Well it turns out that it was just a restaurant/deli that moved from the other side of the shopping center so they could expand. This place is The Fox & Crow.

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Went for lunch on a nice afternoon. Walked in and grabbed a menu. Overwhelmed! So many choices. After many minutes, I finally went with the Figgy Piggy — Prosciutto di Parma and whipped chevre with mixed greens and fig spread ($9). I also opted for the salad instead of the chips for $2.

This was delicious! The sweetness of the figs paired perfectly with the slight saltiness of the prosciutto. Then the chevre was spread along the bread like mustard. Heaven.

They also have wine on tap there(!!), that rotates (we also offer 5 taps of great rotating local beer, one tap of cider AND 4 taps of premium wine). I went with the Pinot Noir, which was fairly light. Enjoyed all this while sitting outside on a sunny day. Can’t wait to return and try so more stuff on the menu, like one of their meat and cheese boards.

 

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Yum Yum(‘s, Fort Collins, CO)

I love Mediterranean food and since moving to Fort Collins I’ve had a hard time finding it. Recently, however, I was introduced to a great place that I never would have stumbled across on my own — Yum Yum’s. It’s family owned and operated, multiple award winning Mediterranean restaurant established in 1991.

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It’s so easy going and laid back in there. Casual atmosphere, also do carry-out and you truly know it’s family owned when they deliver your food to your table.

The menu is a very traditional Lebanese/Mediterranean one, which can be tough at some times because it’s hard to decide what to get. Usually when I go to these types of places I could eat just apps and salads.

I was sold right away when I found out their Baba Ghanouj had no yogurt in it — Roasted eggplant, sesame tahini, fresh garlic, lemon juice and special spices. Served with pita bread. Some places add yogurt, some don’t. Love it when it’s the latter.

I decided to go with that and some Fatouch Salad — Cucumber, parsley, green pepper, tomato and lemon juice.

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Both were absolutely perfect, and big serving sizes.

Others at the table went with Gyros and Shawarma plates. They have several beers on tap here, as well. We were talking with the owner while eating and the story is so true to a family restaurant about how it’s been taken over from a couple generations and they aim to keep in that form. The service was amazing, the food was delicious and the prices were very reasonable (especially considering the large serving sizes). If you like this type of food, give it a try!

Climb Hard Cider

Colorado has plenty of breweries, but luckily I am finding cideries, too. A local one Wilbur’s (ahhh…) told me about was Climb Hard Cider. They are just down the street in Loveland, which means I need to go check them out in person soon.

Picked up a 6-pack of their ‘Apple’ cider. I say that because they have quite a few options available, one being vanilla, which sounds quite interesting. Now, based on their website they have both a dry and semi-dry apple cider. No where on the can does it say which one this is and nobody at Wilbur’s was sure.

Based on the taste, I’m guessing it’s the semi. Regardless, it was 6.1% ABV, 100% real fruit and tasted great. Crisp, refreshing and was too easy to drink.

Check it out if you can grab it at your liquor store. If you’re in the area and want to visit the cidery, let me know.

Cheers!

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Big B’s

Awhile back when I was in Steamboat (Springs), CO, I checked out one of the local liquor stores and came across a hard cider I had never seen or heard of before — Big B’s. They are located in Hotchkiss, CO and have a variety of apple-related products.

The cider I found is the Harvest Apple from their Orchard Series. This one is “created by using a perfect blend of fresh pressed apples. This is a semi-sweet hard cider and has a bold and refreshing apple taste.”

It was great because it hit semi-sweet perfectly. Nice and crisp, giving a bit of dryness, but not too much based on its category, and also no overkill on sugar. Comes in convenient cans, too.

I’ve only found it in one place in the Ft. Collins area, so far, which is Supermarket Liquors, so glad that’s easy accessible.

Cheers!

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Horsetooth Bloody Mary’s

Love supporting local businesses. Also love Bloody Mary’s. A new mix for such concoctions I have stumbled upon since moving to CO is Horsetooth Hot Sauce‘s. They have two levels of it.

I aim towards the milder side of things, so go for their ‘Dog That Bit You’You woke up licking your wounds from a night of excess imbibement. Perhaps you need a little hair of the dog that bit you? That’s where our The Dog That Bit You Bloody Mary Mix comes in, with just enough of our Rubin’s Red hot sauce to help you forget the pain from the night before.

They have a hotter level, the ‘Wake Up Call‘ — The Wake-up Call balances delectable spices with our infamous Rubin’s XXX hot sauce to give you a fiery flavor that will get your engines revving.

The mix has great tastes and all you have to do is add that vodka! I picked some up at the local farmers market, but it’s also available in some retail locations.

They also have some other drink mixes, as well as BBQ and hot sauces. Check them out and support the local Ft. Collins guys.

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