Group Therapy

Some of my favorite people and I figured out that we have a far easier time getting together if it requires a bit more commitment. We tried this out in November, going up to Boulder Friday evening, going to dinner, spending the night at a hotel, getting brunch the next morning, then heading back to our homes.

It’s great. We get lots of good conversation time, delicious food, decent sleep, minimal distractions with family stuff (everyone else has kids and spouses), and yet we still have the weekend since we’re back by noon.

We enjoyed it so much that we picked a weekend for our next trip over brunch before we left.

So when I came across a good deal for the historic/swanky(ish) Hotel Boulderado for the scheduled weekend, I hopped on it. I even saved $60 on the reservation by joining AARP again (it’s like, $16 for the year and you can join at any age).

So after school yesterday Fara, Kristin, Tammy, and I all carpooled together while Bryn drove separately since she needed to leaves little earlier than the rest of us.

We checked into the hotel, which is pretty fun. It first opened in 1909 and still had a lot of the original structure:

We got dinner at Bramble and Hare, an uber-Hipster farm-to-table restaurant that was just across Pearl Street.

It was fantastic. They gave us a booth in a curtained nook, so we could easily converse; the waiter was delightful; the food was terrific; and the conversation was fun.

The best parts of the meal were the appetizer and the dessert.

We started with maple glazed doughnuts stuffed with fois gras served with apple chutney:

So unexpectedly good!

Then borscht made with golden beets and creme fraiche:

Then pork on a prosciutto polenta with apple kimchi:

The waiter described the pork with such love and so many details that I asked if he also knew the name of the pig it came from.

“No,” he said, “We only name the animals that come inside the house for some reason, like illness. The rest don’t get names.”

Then, despite feeling rather full, we still indulged in bread pudding with salted caramel and Chantilly cream.

Oh. My. Goodness. This was amazing. Easily the best dessert I’ve had in a long time. We even tried to talk the waiter into getting us bottles of the sauce on the sly after he caught Tammy licking it off her plate.

We were also highly entertained by a “children’s book for adults” we found in a display near the entrance called “The Hipster.” Tammy took one look as we passed by and picked it up announcing, “Oh, we’re bring this to the table!”

Bryn favored us with a reading:

It was hilarious.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel and spent quite a while talking and playing Dixit. We made quite the list of shows, podcasts, books, and board games we recommended to each other. I find that when I come away from a gathering with a new “to read/watch/listen to” list, it’s the mark of a good gathering.

(A highlight included watching a clip from the Great British Bake-off celebrity edition where Russell Brand shows off his biscuit creation. I can only find the link via Facebook. That part starts at 1:40:

Eventually we went to sleep around midnight, got up around 8, got breakfast at the restaurant in the lobby (which was good, but alas, did not involve salted caramel sauce), then drove back to Littleton.

I got home just before noon.

It’s perfect – I got out of town, yet didn’t even have to do anything special with the cats and still have the majority of my weekend.

We put another such weekend on the calendar over breakfast, and I’m already looking forward to it.

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