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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    August 2004    Page 9       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Keeping a Food Diary
 Cooking With Rhubarb
 Notes From The Field
 Shop Since You've Dropped
 Here's What's New!
 I Have a Metabolism?
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Flawless Summer Skin!
 Dining at 14,000 Feet
 Makeup Tips: Part Two
 Open Letter from CarbSmart
 Not Losing Weight?
 The Sugar Alcohol Question
 Make Your Summer Spicy!




  Dining at 14,000 Feet by Christine Witt-Trzcinski

Denver I don't have very many rules of life and the ones I do have are mostly common sense. I'm kind to children and animals, I eat my leafy green vegetables and I don't spit in the wind (or anywhere else for that matter). Perhaps my biggest rule of life, however, is that I always seize the opportunity to travel. It is this rule that I have tried hardest to impress upon my usually unimpressionable fourteen year old son, Nicholas. With our trip to Denver, I believe he now sees the value in travel and exploration.

Our trip to Denver was planned well in advance. It would be two or three days of business and an equal number of days spent enjoying the area. Because he was raised in Colorado, my business partner and good friend would serve as tour guide.

Cirque du Soleil By the time we arrived at the airport in Denver, we had to hurry to check-in at our hotel and then it was on to our Friday evening plans — Cirque du Soleil and dinner. We arrived a bit late for Cirque which was set up in tremendous blue and yellow circus tents. I have been impressed each time I have been fortunate enough to attend a Cirque du Soleil show and this time was no exception. From clown acts to dancing to balancing, juggling and acrobatics, the audience was mesmerized throughout the two hour extravaganza.

Morton's Steakhouse:
Following the circus, we made our way to dinner at Morton's Steakhouse in Denver — a low carb haven! Morton's first opened in Chicago in the 1970s. Since then, they have earned their reputation of delivering large portions of USDA Prime beef. They also serve fresh seafood, chicken and lamb. I started my meal with a delicious salad with homemade ranch dressing. I had the filet mignon (medium-rare, of course) with Bearnaise sauce and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce. The food was prepared wonderfully and service was impeccable. My dining companions all had varying items from the menu, but what I noticed is that nearly everything on our table was low carb fare. In fact, unless you indulge in the bread at the beginning of the meal or potatoes with your dinner, you cannot go too far off track at Morton's. Until dessert, that is.

Two desserts were brought to our table with enough spoons and small plates so the five of us could share. Lemon souffle and Godiva cake. The Godiva cake, I've had in the distant past and knew that I should stay far away from that or risk eating too much of a bad thing and having cravings for more. Lemon souffle, though, I'd never tried, and I must admit that I do love lemon! I had one small bite and set the spoon aside. It was good, but it was also very sweet — much too rich for my new and improved taste buds.

While I will not have even a small taste of my trigger foods I do allow myself an occasional nibble of new foods that cannot be in my local area. If I do not think I will be able to stop at just one or two bites (for example, that Godiva cake), I avoid temptation altogether rather than risk going off plan completely.

Westin, Westminster:
Westin Hotel in Westminster, Colorado While in the Denver area, we stayed at the Westin Hotel in Westminster, Colorado. The hotel lobby was very impressive. Done in leather and wood, its open space design was made to look like a large modern lodge. There were many small conversation areas set up in the lobby and there was a cozy fireplace. The lobby was crowded and a bit loud at times, but comfortable enough that we spent time there nearly every evening. Our room was also very comfortable as is the case with most Westin Hotels that I've visited.

Unfortunately, I did not check the room service menu before leaving home. Upon inspection, I realized that it would be very difficult to have anything other than breakfast delivered to the room. There was no low carb section in the menu and the rather limited selection of meals from the lunch and dinner menu would have to be greatly modified to meet my needs. Luckily, I was not planning to spend much time in the room.

Sunday brunch at the hotel's restaurant, O's, was a stark comparison to the room service menu. The restaurant was well lit and uncrowded, tables were large and seats were roomy. And the food was a low carbers feast. All of the usual brunch items were there — bacon, sausage and eggs. There was also a salad bar, a tray of fine deli selections, wonderful cheeses, fresh fruit, chicken and shrimp. Omelets could be ordered from the server and were delivered hot and delicious. Eggs Benedict (a personal favorite) were available for the taking. Service was good, friendly and fast; I definitely recommend trying O's for brunch if you are ever in the area.

Dining At 14,000 Feet:
On one of our free days, our personal tour guide led Nicholas and me to Pike's Peak. Rising 14,110 feet above sea level, the summit was reached by horse and mule by earlier travelers — we decided to drive. The day was hazy and it was impossible to see the peak through the clouds. Portions of the drive were sunny and we were blessed with the most amazing views I have ever seen. It is easy to understand that "America the Beautiful" was inspired by the views from here. The weather worsened as we inched our way higher into the sky and once into the clouds, I could see barely 20 feet in front of the car — driving at 12,000 feet without guardrails was definitely a new experience.

I did not feel the effects of the altitude while in the car, but my friend warned me several times to go slowly when we got out at the summit. Even with these warnings, I was not prepared for feeling so lightheaded and dizzy. We had started out on empty stomachs and it was definitely past lunchtime when we reached the top. Hoping food would help me feel better, we decided to grab a snack at the cafe. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and french fries were all available. The self-serve area had a couple of salads and some containers of yogurt. I opted for a burger minus the bun and a bottle of water.

While eating, an announcement came that the weather had worsened and the park rangers were coming up to escort vehicles down the mountain. By the time we finished our meal, it was snowing outside! Children were playing gleefully and more than one parent was looking a bit concerned.

Before we left for the long trip down the mountain, I visited the gift shop and found the perfect pin for my collection. It reads, "Real Women Don't Need Guardrails."

Garden of Gods:
That same day, we visited Garden of the Gods which is located in Colorado Springs. I literally gasped as we drove into the park and saw the beautiful red sandstone formations. Since it is so close to Pike's Peak, I would have to say that no trip to the region is complete without stopping at Garden of the Gods. Hiking trails and picnic areas are available.

Also, Garden of the Gods Trading Post is the largest trading post in Colorado. Besides the usual tourist gifts of keychains and mugs, you will also find Native American paintings and Navajo rugs. And while it was near closing time, food is available in the large cafe. It is here that I was able to find plenty of low carb snacks to sustain me for the remainder of my stay in Colorado.

Red Robin:
As avid readers, Nicholas and I are always on the lookout for bookstores. While driving near a residential area, we spotted our favorite large bookstore. After paying for our books, we accidentally exited through the wrong doors and found ourselves staring face-to-face with Red Robin.

For those not in the know, Red Robin is a gourmet hamburger restaurant. They have scant else on their impressive menu — at least that I noticed. The burgers are huge with a variety of toppings. They have a "protein style" burger that is wrapped in lettuce, but the truth is they will wrap any of their burgers and substitute a small tossed salad for french fries. Great food, reasonable cost and low carb. Nicholas and I went there twice during our trip.

Buca di Beppo:
Buca di Beppo Italian food conjures up visions of pasta for most people. And it did for me, too, until a trip to Buca di Beppo. The smell of garlic and olive oil was heavy in the air as we entered the restaurant on a particularly stormy night. I was concerned. Pizza, pasta, garlic bread — I was going to be in big trouble! The decor was homey and comfortable and there was a chalkboard of daily specials. Just beneath the specials in brightly colored chalk was the proclamation that Buca di Beppo has 18 low carb items on their menu.

Unfortunately, the waiter could only point to a few of those dishes. Fortunately, one of those was the shrimp scampi. I was presented with a very large platter of good-sized shrimp resting gently in a sauce of butter and garlic with just a hint of lemon. Add in a side of vegetables and I had a meal that would make anyone (low carbing or not) envious.

Service was good and friendly. I'd only suggest checking out the menu online before heading to the restaurant so you know in advance which items are low carb.

Heading Home...
Even though this trip was combined with business, I have to say that our visit to Denver was the best vacation I have had in years. It was a relaxing time with friends and family in a setting that simply could not be more stunning. And when I returned home and stepped on the scale, I found that I had lost two pounds!

I'm off to my favorite destination next week — San Francisco. I found a great deal on a flight!

Until next time, travel healthy!

Christine Witt is a mother and gift store owner in upstate New York. She enjoys photography and, of course, travel.

Copyright © August 2004  Christine Witt and Low Carb Luxury


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