Is Downtown Golden, Colorado Vegan-Friendly? Easy for a Plant-Based Diet? Yes.

Yes. You can easily survive on a vegan diet in Golden, Colorado. I experienced this myself last week when my wife and I mapped out our own “plant-based” tour of Golden.

I have to say, though- it didn’t take much effort. We learned that most restaurants in Golden have at least a couple vegan menu items, or they will find a way to modify an menu item to accommodate.

Somewhat curious on several menus was the presence of the jackfruit sandwich, as seen above. By default, it was my favorite- and my go-to menu item whenever I got the chance.

Specifically, I had it on two different occasions at Buffalo Rose, which would easily become our favorite restaurant.

And while I normally don’t indulge in dessert, I was so glad I made the exception for their coconut flan; see below.

My wife was crazy about their “cauliflower buffalo wings”:

As well as their hummus plate:

If you’re in the mood for Thai food (which I always am, after spending two summers there in college), then you will surely enjoy Thai Gold Restaurant.

And you will definitely want to check out Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery, which contains several different “street style” restaurants featured inside the building.

I personally recommend Kona Bowls Superfood, as seen at far bottom.

For breakfast each morning, we enjoyed trying out each of the local coffee shops.

In other words, we did intermittent fasting in the mornings, as we would have some coffee and then immediately going on a 2 hour hike until it was time for lunch.

So we only ate two meals a day: lunch and dinner. Our breakfast was coffee, plenty of water, and the hike.

It goes hand-in-hand that with Golden being surrounded by so many state parks and hiking trails, Golden would naturally draw in people who would demographically also happen to appreciate a plant-based diet. If that’s you, then make your way over to Golden!

Dear Jack: Going to Olive Garden is a Special Treat for You and Your Sister

9 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday while Mommy and I were enjoying our final full day in Colorado, you and your sister got to go somewhere special for dinner: Olive Garden.

Shortly after you arrived, you quietly announced, “Wow, this Olive Garden is really fancy!”

I find that hilarious because I’ve never known you to be impressed by a “fancy” restaurant.

It’s funny because when I was a kid, my idea of a good time at a restaurant was any place where the meal came with a toy and where there was a playground to enjoy after I ate.

But now, for the modern kid in 2020, maybe Olive Garden is the new McDonald’s!

Love,

Daddy

Our 1st “No Kids Vacation” in a Decade: Golden, Colorado

Nearly a year ago, my wife and I performed a song I wrote called “We’re Gonna Leave in the Morning”; which was the imagining of my wife and I taking a responsibility-free road trip together.

Last week, we made that fantasy a reality when we spent 4 days out in Golden, Colorado.

We rented a modernized carriage house that was just a couple of blocks from all the coffee shops and restaurants.

It was was only about 10 blocks away from South Table Mountain Park, where we were able to spend a couple hours hiking to the top; which oversaw the Coors plant.

And it turned out that we essentially only spent a total of $9 in entertainment the entire week, as we ended up taking a different 2 hour hike each day we were there. Only one of the parks we visited had an entry fee. It wasn’t the legendary Red Rocks

It was Eldorado Canyon State Park.

That view was totally worth the nine dollars though. Right?

Growing up in northeastern Alabama, where my home was surrounded by DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon, I always imagined that Colorado would be a good fit for me.

I was right. If only I had my Jeep Wrangler with me while we where there…

We perfectly enjoyed our trip to Golden, Colorado- to the point we have decided we need to make this an annual tradition for the two of us.

The experience reminded me of the verse in Ecclesiastes (9:9), which I based my recent song from:

Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Not only was it great quality time for to the two of us at amazing location, but it helped realize why this trip was superior the 6 hour drive to the Florida coast from our home near Nashville.

Because on a beach trip, we’re mainly just sitting around.

But on a Colorado vacation, we’re constantly moving and exploring.

That’s how my brain registers “rest and relaxation”- by being out in nature and burning calories the whole time.

So if that sounds like a vacation to you as well… then maybe you are also of the demographic who is called to the state of Colorado!

Selfishly, I Admit, My Qualify of Life Has Improved Since COVID-19 Culture Began

I suppose it’s social media heresy in 2020 to admit this, but despite how weird the year has been for the entire world, my personal sense of well-being has undeniably improved since March, when the Powers That Be changed all the rules changed on how we are supposed to live our lives:

For me, it’s been more quality time with my family, an hour at the gym every morning instead of driving to work, and better efficiency at my job because I am not limited by the distractions of working in a real office… just to name the first obvious improvements that come to mind.

Yes, I recognize COVID-19 is a serious issue that has unfortunately taken the lives of thousands of people in the world this year; like heart disease, cancer, fatal accidents, diabetes, and suicide.

But I have refused to live in fear. Yes, I always wear a mask whenever I am required to. No, I never wear a mask when I am not required to.

I am one of those people who has a hunch that Covid will quietly fade away shortly after the upcoming Presidential election; this especially became apparent to me when public protests became popular during what seemed the most otherwise unlikeliest time. (No, I am not a Republican.)

This is a concept I wrote into one of the songs I wrote this year: “We all need therapy/Everything’s so tense/No hugs allowed anymore but it’s okay to protest…”

Just a few weeks into this pandemic, I was informed that I was being placed on furlough at my job, due to the government’s warnings about social distancing. While this news was disappointing, there was no interruption of cash flow, thanks to the unemployment checks that came seamlessly rolling in during those 6 weeks.

Back in January, we had already planned a vacation to Florida for July. We still took our trip and in no way did COVID-19 interrupt any of our planned activities.

Right after we got back from our vacation, I was able to start back to work again- but this time, exclusively working from home.

I work in Recruiting, which is like the sales division of HR. My job efficiency is very easy to track, as I have a certain minimum number of hires to make each month.

Since exclusively working from home, I have been able to easily exceed my monthly quota. Yes, I have put in more hours working from home than I would have at the office, but also haven’t had to deal with arbitrary stress of driving a total of nearly 2 hours to work each day.

Now, during the same time every morning when I would be driving to work (which inevitably created stress), I instead head to the gym for an hour (which relieves stress).

I am aware of the paradox in which the government, major news outlets, and much of social media tells me to fear COVID-19 and turn my life into a sanitarium; meanwhile, I see the same group of dozens of people at the gym every morning, six days a week.

No one at my gym wears a mask; nor ever has. None of us have ever shown symptoms of Covid. The only reason any of us don’t show up for a week at a time is to go on vacation.

My gym, in theory, is a perfect Petri dish; as is my daughter’s pre-school, which has remained open this entire time.

A couple of weeks ago, it was retroactively confirmed (with a valid medical test costing $80 per person) that multiple people whom my family interacted with back in May, had Covid at the time. We hugged these people, we shared meals with this people, and we were exposed in close living quarters with them for many days. None of us were wearing masks at any point.

I would suppose it would be miraculous if all 4 members of my family didn’t contract COVID-19, knowing that.

Most likely, we “had Covid” back in late May or early June. Indeed, I am very grateful that my family has the genes and immune system that allow us to be asymptomatic.

But even if, against the odds of science, I have not yet had Covid pass through my system, I still have no motivation to fear Covid.

I would rather enjoy the rest of my life, whether I have one more month left or 39 more years left, spending quality time with the people I love most.

And this has definitely been the year of quality time with family!

While I was on furlough from my job, I was able to spend the entire day with both of my kids; seven days a week.

Even when so much of the world was closed down, we took the Jeep out on dirt roads in no name towns.

I don’t fear Covid.

I have a more legitimate fear of randomly dying in my asleep every night when I lie down in bed each night.

Keep in my mind, I am a 39 year-old man who had a pre-existing existential crisis before all this happened. Really, if anything, Covid Culture has given me an even stronger sense of purpose and appreciation of life.

But, maybe I am nothing more than the exception to the rule.

 

Dear Holly: Can You Just Stay 3 Years Old Forever?

3 years, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

Here recently, I’ve been hearing Mommy ask you, “Holly, can you just stay 3 years old forever?”

She’s got a good point.

This is definitely an enjoyable age for me as your Daddy. You’re potty trained. You can clearly communicate what you want. And you do a great job of entertaining yourself during times Mommy and I are getting household chores down.

In fact, you’ve even begun helping with some of those chores, including help me clean the toilets and the hamster’s aquarium.

What I love best is how adorable you are these days. You are basically a stuffed animal kitten that came to life and can talk now.

I’m sure 4 will be great too.

But as for right now, I’m in no rush for you to stop being 3 years old!

Love,

Daddy