My Favorite Healthy, Gluten Free Eats and Activities in Colorado
Jon and I just returned from a trip out to Denver, CO to visit my sister, Ally! We call ourselves (all three of us) The Popson Sisters. Yep, me, my sister and my husband. It’s weird but we love it. I miss my sister all the time; it has been years and years since we’ve lived in the same place. So, while I’ve traveled to and through Denver many times for work and we spent last Christmas in Breckenridge, I loved having the opportunity this trip to just live in her shoes - see where she works, where she lives, walk her routes, eat at her spots, see all the sights.
So many of you sent in recommendations of places you thought I’d love and of course my sister had some ideas in mind as well so I thought I would share where we ate, what we did and where we wish we had more time to enjoy:
Our Favorite Gluten Free Colorado Eats
We ate here our first night and it was BOMB. Not only is it absolutely adorable inside and out but the small terrace patio made for the coziest farm to table dining experience. When we’re together we like to order most the menu and try everything. We had the beets, soufflé, carrots, meatballs, salmon and gargouillou. And for dessert we had local coffee, creme brûlée and chocolate pudding. (Everything listed with gluten free and local. It was amazing.) That said, their menu changes with what is in seasons and available at the farmers markets so I can’t guarantee any of this will be on the menu when you visit.
100% organic juices in glass jars. Can you beat it? I had the detox, Jon had the glacier water and my sister had a wellness shot. Deposit required and returned to you when you return the glass bottles!
They get the award for best toast menu and best gluten free toast. This place was all organic and very very gluten free friendly. My sister and I each had one of their thirteen different gluten free toasts - mine was called the Farmer and had sliced organic hard boiled egg, organic greens, garlic, a vinaigrette dressing and I added avocado, Ally had the Capitol with sliced organic tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle. But hear me when I tell you - this was no dinky gluten free toast this was like texas toast thick and multi grain in texture. It was the best gluten free toast I’ve ever had. My husband enjoyed their gluten free breakfast tacos! Their juices and coffees were all wonderful as well. And all organic! Denver had pretty much won our hearts over at this point.
This place was like eating at your favorite deli without any concern for gluten. On our table were buffalo chicken sandwiches, tuna melts and “the chatham” which had thanksgiving style turkey, fresh crispy coleslaw and russian dressing. SWOON! My husband also devoured one of their gluten free nutella cookies.
Milk Market at Dairy Block
I love scoping out every town’s Whole Foods. This one was a winner! Great selection of local items and pretty large hot bar / salad bar area.
A Paleo cafe located right around the corner from REI in Denver. A little gem that seemed to not be well known but that may not be an accurate description. The first thing I noticed were the beautiful hand-painted quotes of love and kindness that adorned the walls. Thats the kind of place this is. It was brunch time before our trek to Mount Evans so we split some breakfast burritos in grain free paleo wraps and a few Dram bitters sparkling waters. Definitely recommend especially if you are going to check out the amazing Denver REI and Confluence Park!
We actually ate here our last time in town and contemplated going there again our final night but were too tired to pull ourselves together. I’m including it anyway because the space, the vibe and the food are all just awesome - especially their selection of gluten free options. It is located (I believe) in an old brothel and the interior is designed around a movie screen on which you can enjoy old or recent movies while you dine. They have super cute two tops in sort of a balcony area that look fun. We had the gluten free shishito poppers with cheese curds (drool), french fries, sliders on house-made gluten free buns, and the kale and brussels cobb salad. Highly recommend for a fun atmosphere and great GF eats!
This is a coffee shop but we really liked their paleo muffins and gluten free coffee cake with you find yourself with a sweet tooth.
Right near my sister’s office, we met her here for lunch our first afternoon. Such a neat concept similar to Milk Market below featuring a rotating assortment of food-truck style vendors in a cafeteria style setting and accompanying bars on each level. We enjoyed variations of tacos al pastor at Le Dona and my husband has gelato from Gelato Boy.
Milk Market is in the Dairy Block area and is essentially a high end food court with what they refer to as different dining “concepts”. What I like about this place is you aren’t tied to any one menu. If you want a gluten free pizza with a side of charcuterie and a plate of crepes to wash down your poke bowl - you can get that here. You go to each concept and place your order and you receive a text when its ready. There is at least one full service bar and both indoor and outdoor seating. We had Bonanno Bros gluten free pizza. I can’t say it was the best gluten free pizza I ever had but the atmosphere made the whole thing worth it. This is also where the Beautycounter store is, if you ever stop by do let them know I sent you ❤️
Our Favorite Colorado Coffee
This was located right around the corner from our hotel so we went here pretty much every morning. GREAT selection of coffee, delicious nitro cold brew and good though limited selection of gluten free muffins and coffeecake. If you get the coffeecake go for the one with the cinnamon icing over the plain. During the weekdays there was pretty much always a line, so don’t go if you’re in a hurry.
Loved this little gem located inside the Milk Market, a high end food-court style bar-eatery where you can go stand to stand and order a la cart (where we ate the gluten free pizza above). I loved the vibe and with the purchase of a bag of beans (which I love bringing home from wherever I visit) they gave you a free cold brew or hot brew of your choice!
Loved this spot located inside / adjacent to Cured on Pearl St. in Boulder. We stopped in after hiking and brunching in the area. GREAT cold brew with hints of mocha and loved that you could browse the meats, cheeses and housewares in Cured while you enjoyed it.
Our Favorite Colorado Activities
Taking a drive to the top of Mount Evans means taking a drive up the highest automobile road in North America. It will take you to 14,000+ feet (that’s 4,000 feet higher than where the WiFi kicks on during a Delta flight!) with steep switch backs, mountain goat traffic jams and views galore. Do it. But bring a sweatshirt or buy one at the rest area before the gate because while it was 85 degrees at the bottom it was a cool 40ish at the top!
Super fun hike. Not too challenging but offered great views from the top and the trail head is really convenient to downtown Boulder / Pearl St. There are two bathrooms in the visitor center near the start but be prepared to wait in line. Hit up Dish Gourmet (above) when you’re done!
My sister loves to go on long walks; it’s when she usually calls me to talk. So while we were in town she took us on her usual route through downtown and Cheesman Park, over through the beautiful neighborhood streets that surround it. We loved how each neighborhood had its own vibe and at times you forgot you were even in a city. Afterwards we popped into Corner Beet (above) for breakfast!
Whether you love the band playing or not, I recommend checking out Red Rocks at least once in your life. We packed a cooler full of Whole Foods finds and ciders and went up early to tailgate amongst the red rocks. Its gorgeous up there, the sound is amazing - it just can’t be beat. They also have yoga on the rocks and other activities! We will definitely be back.