Like any resort town, there are a lot of restaurant choices in Breckenridge, Colorado. You can also find just about any type of food that you might desire, but the vast majority of them are what we’d consider to be western in style. We consider western style to be a lot of steaks, burgers, and chicken, but also a lot of gamier meats such as elk, duck, trout, and even things like rattlesnake. When people come to Colorado, they associate it with ranches and cowboys, which is absolutely correct, so that is the type of food they often want to eat.
One thing that you find about restaurants in Colorado, and especially in the resorts, is that they are quite casual even if the food is upscale. When you come to the mountains, you wear blue jeans to any restaurant that you visit, no jacket or tie required. Also, many of them have outdoor seating that allow you to enjoy the wonderful views of the mountains and they use heat lamps to ensure that the scenery can be enjoyed even in the winter months. We really enjoy eating in such a relaxed atmosphere with the views of nature all around us.
We had our fair share of traditional western food, but we also ate a few other things as well. One of our first meals was an American style meatball sandwich that certainly didn’t skimp on the meat and cheese. We ate a wonderful BBQ chicken with spicy chicken andouille and potato salad, very western. Even a pizza in Breckenridge can be a western adventure like the one that we ate with rattlesnake, elk, and Italian sausage with red peppers, onions, and jalapenos. We did enjoy a seafood dinner with fresh oysters (not Rocky Mountain oysters), scallops with capers and a roasted corn relish, and fresh mountain trout.
Needless to say, since it is Colorado there was no lack for options to quench your thirst. We went to the Breckenridge Brewery where we enjoyed a flight of beers with four different styles. Even when not going to a brewery, every restaurant carried a variety of locally brewed beers as well. A perfect way to unwind from a long day of hiking. Breckenridge certainly had plenty to offer as far as restaurant choices and everywhere we ate was truly wonderful.
Ruin Pubs are bars that have been opened up in dilapidated buildings that were partially destroyed during WWII. They are usually decorated with random furniture and decorations that have been gathered from anywhere that they can find them. The decorations are colorful, whimsical, and don’t follow any particular themes other than uniqueness. Because of their popularity, they can be quite busy, noisy, and sometimes a little rowdy. We went late afternoon to early evening and stayed away from the late night crowds.
The original Ruin Pubs opened in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest, which is now a center of wonderful restaurants and shops, as well as the pubs. Although some of the pubs serve food, the beer, wine, and mixed drinks are the real focus of the Ruin Pubs. We went to the original Ruin Pub called Szimpla Kert, often just referred to as Szimpla, which definitely lived up to the reputation. It was quirky, fun, and a little noisy, especially as more and more people came to the pub. To be fair, it isn’t the cleanest of environments, but you don’t go to a Ruin Pub expecting an elegant experience, you should expect it to be a little on the rough side.
Today there are over a dozen Ruin Pubs in Budapest and there are several companies that will take you on a guided pub crawl. Obviously, you don’t need a guide to do a Ruin Pub Crawl as you can find plenty of maps online that will show where each of the more popular pubs are. Even if you’re not into bars and drinking, visiting a Ruin Bar to see the eclectic decorations and experience the unique atmosphere is at least worth a visit. Many of the Ruin Pubs don’t open until at least 5:00 pm, so be sure to check on the hours of the pub you’re planning on visiting before heading there.
It is certainly no secret that we enjoy having both different beers as well as wine during our travels. We had heard about a brewery in Denver that was creating beers with fermented grapes and we knew that we had to give them a try. The Liberati Restaurant and Brewery has 15 different Oenobeers, or beers made with as much as 49% of the fermented ingredients coming from grapes. We sampled several of the beers that they offered and each had its own flavor profile. For some, there was no mistaking the wine component of the beer as the grape flavors were very noticeable. There were others where you wouldn’t even know that the beer was brewed with grapes if you hadn’t read the menu. And there was even one beer that tasted exactly like a port wine and, if you didn’t know better, you would never think it was a beer.
The first beer that we tried was called the Sea of Cherries and it was definitely on the fruity side. It was made with Pinot Noir grapes, but the flavor of the cherries certainly were up front. The second beer was a Franciacorta that was bubbly and the champagne-like qualities certainly came through. Next was an Imperial Kolsch and the taste was that of a traditional beer despite having been brewed with Pinot Grigio grapes. Another beer that was more on the traditional side was a Nut Brown beer that was darker beer with a nutty flavor. The final beer that we tried was the Port Oenobeer, which we have already mentioned tasted exactly like a port wine, bold and delicious.
It is certainly an interesting innovation in brewing beers. Even with the grapes, the beers can have just as diverse flavors as any other beer, including IPA’s. Although we only tasted one-third of the beers on their list, we are excited to try them again the next time that we are in Denver. The restaurant itself has a wide variety of Italian food and a wonderful atmosphere, including an outdoor patio area.