From Takeoff to Tap Room


Hello from Colorado!

Ben and I arrived in the mile high city at cough 6:15am local time on Tuesday morning. Our 5:50am takeoff in Iowa was bah-rutal, but it was nice to have the entire day ahead of us to spend in Denver.

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We’re staying with my little brother while we’re here, who has a KILLER view of the city from his apartment. Check out the 180+ degree view of downtown and the mountains from his balcony! (Click to see it bigger!)

Unfortunately he has to work all week, but hooked us up with his car while we’re in town, so after we dropped off our bags at the apartment, we headed out to breakfast at Sam’s No. 3 in downtown Denver.


Not only was Sam’s featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but Ben ate here when he was in town last year, and couldn’t wait to get back. Between the two recommendations, I was pretty pumped to eat. :)


The inside of Sam’s is kind of funky diner-esque, really bright and colorful, and BUSY. Holy cow, the waitresses and wait staff were hauling the entire time we were there. Workin’ hard for the money, honey!

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While we (well, I – Ben already knew what he was getting!) perused the menu, we sipped on big mugs of hot and strong coffee. It was only 8am Denver time, but we had already been up for 6+ hours. Zzzz…

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Breakfast Quesadillas with Sam’s Kickin’ Green Chili – UP!


What can I say, the description of a hot quesadilla stuffed with eggs, bacon and cheese, served with a side of green chili, and smashed home fries just sounded too good to pass up. :)


The CHEESE in this baby was like, melt in your mouth smooth, and the bacon was salty and decadent.


But the chili! Sam’s green chili is the best chili I’ve ever had. It was slightly spicy, super savory, and ugh, just dynamite. So glad I got it!




Ben got a Colorado Burrito which isn’t on the menu, but my brother let him in on the dish when he and my Dad were visiting last summer, and he fell in love.


Eggs, cheese, and bison meat stuffed between tortillas, smothered in the green chili, and topped with an avocado. He hated it. ;) Get to Sam’s!


The early morning, and our full stomachs, caught up with us after breakfast, so we headed back to the apartment shortly after for a nap, but rallied later that afternoon for beer tasting at the Great Divide Tap Room.


The Great Divide Tap Room is no frills, kind of industrial-esque, but really, really cool. I liked how the focus was on the beer, you know?

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Ben and I had wanted to go during our last visit to Denver, then someone suggested it on Twitter, and we were pretty thirsty, so off we went. :)


The Tap Room has 16 beers on tap, and you could buy pretty decent sized tastes for $1. Sweet!


I started off by tasting a glass of Hades – a mild, slightly sweet Belgian-style ale, Samurai – another mild, really clean tasting, unfiltered rice beer, and Wild Raspberry Ale – a not-too-sweet fruity ale. AWESOME!


I choose the Wild Raspberry Ale to have in a regular pour, x1,000.


Tap room fun!

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My brother came and met us for a couple beers after he got off work. So good to see the boy! He’s barely two years younger, but he’ll always be my “little” bro to me. Can’t even believe he’s old enough to have a career, life, etc. – you know what I mean! :)


I’m terrible and didn’t take any pictures, but I wanted to let all of you who suggested know that later that night Ben and I went to Linger for dinner!


It was the COOLEST!


Unmatched views of downtown Denver from their rooftop patio, and the food was aweeeeesome. Get the Duck Buns if you go, mmkay?


We went with Ben’s cousin and his fiancee, and had the best time ever.


Don’t miss the light brite bar inside if you go!


Lest you think all we’re doing out here is eating and drinking beer, we’ve spent the past day and a half in the great outdoors, which I can’t wait to tell you about. Colorado is seriously one of the most beautiful places on the planet!


In the meantime though, I’m off to drink margaritas (…) with my cousin whom I haven’t seen in 15+ years, and my brother’s girlfriend whom I have yet to meet – whee!

Toodles! :D

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  1. can’t WAIT to see more pics!! i’m going to denver in a few weeks, also staying downtown. all my girlfriends from high school are getting together to meet up with one that’s a teacher in denver :D


  2. Heather F 07.12.2012

    Loved how flying over Iowa looks a green quilt and yay for good eats and good beer!!! (New follower, first time commenter if you’re wondering. :) ) Have fun and enjoy your travels!!!

  3. The fact that a lite-brite bar exists blows my mind. That is too awesome.

  4. Lindsey 07.12.2012

    Omg. That burrito. Yum.

  5. CarrieOB 07.12.2012

    Hey–I’m from Ames but now live in Boulder. Glad you are enjoying our fair state! (I love IA too, just in a different way.) You’ll run into a lot of Iowans here–we’re usually the ones who wave at you on the street and talk to you in lines. The ones who don’t? Californians. ;) Kidding of course. Enjoy your time here. So much to do, so much to eat, so little time!

  6. Erin O. 07.12.2012

    We were just there. Sam’s on 3rd is amazing. I was also a huge fan of the chili. Loved the view at Linger. We did Osteria Marco and Root Down – both excellent. Enjoy your trip.

  7. Lauren 07.12.2012

    Aw so fun! I was just talking about Colorado the other day and how it is one place I’ve never been but have always wanted to. Have a blast girl!

  8. Jeri 07.12.2012

    Ok, is your brother single? If he’s not, those ladies be CRAZY! He’s hot stuff….
    I’m married…bummer
    The food pics made me starving (I ate supper 1 1/2 hours ago).

  9. jad18 07.12.2012

    Looks fun. I am amazed at how often you two get to take off work and travel.

  10. Carissa 07.12.2012

    What a fun trip! You are really making me want to fly out and spend some time with my brother in Denver (Who happens to be really good buds with your brother…all the way back to their high school days and now in Denver :) I can’t believe they are “all grown up” I still remember talking with your brother at Matt’s high school graduation party!! Ugh…I’m old! Hope the meeting of the girlfriend goes well! From what I hear, she is awesome! :)

  11. Bronnie 07.12.2012

    Oh I do love a good beer tasting and rooftop patios?! Absolutely brilliant! Colorado looks like a beautiful spot to visit! It’s on my list.

    I still don’t get how you eat all this food, and maintain your good looks! :)

    • Julie Anderson Larson 07.13.2012

      I have been wondering the same thing about maintaining her cute figure. Just not fair!

  12. Brie 07.12.2012

    Just tried to leave a comment…looks like it didn’t go through though. Sorry if my two cents does end up on here twice, but I can’t let you leave Denver without eating the best cake on earth. Go to The Market at Larimer Square and get a slice (or six) of the Spring Fling cake. I visited Denver from Boston last August and I still can’t stop thinking (ok, fantasizing…whatever) about that cake. You won’t want to go back to Iowa!

  13. You look like you’re having a great time! I’ve never been to Denver, but my best friend lived there for 2 years and LOVED it. Plus my company has an office out there – so maybe someday I’ll get to make a “business” trip :D

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  14. Kyler 07.12.2012

    Looks like such a fun trip so far!! I’ve only been to Colorado in the winter to ski but would absolutely love to check it out in the summer. PS- I love your necklace in the last photo…. where is it from?!?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.13.2012

      Thanks! I *think* Forever 21 (it’s where I get most of my jewelry – so inexpensive and cute!)

  15. Becca Lang 07.12.2012

    Try and grab a beer at Denver Beer Company, good beers and fun tap toom. Happy Cakes for a cupcake is a good option, Martha even loves them! They have a dirt cake cupcake on Saturday’s. Yes dirt cake, it’s amazing.

  16. jesser 07.12.2012

    So glad you’re enjoying my city!! You’ve already hit up some great places. Sams and Linger are two of my faves. I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your mountain travels. I’ve lived here almost all my life and I feel like I still haven’t seen all the beauty CO has to offer.

    If you’re back in Denver there’s plenty of amazing restaurants to check out. I love Osteria Marco and Euclid Hall. Tomayo is awesome too (those are all within a block or two on Larimer Square). Snooze has awesome breakfast too if you can get in.

  17. Holy burrito!!! That looks unreal! The raspberry beer sounds awesome too! Have a great time and thank you for the guest post yesterday! LOVED IT!

  18. Bek @ Crave 07.13.2012

    Early flights suck- but they are good in that you get the rest of the day to explore your new destination. Looks like your having a blast! Very jealous haha. Ps. Awesome looking bar.

  19. Amber 07.13.2012

    Sounds like you have a great relatonship with your bro and similer to mine. We also get along great and he is just barley 2 years younger so I know what you mean by ‘hard to believe he is and adult…”

    What a fun stop at a triple D diner we love trying them out and atempt to find one everywhere we travel.

  20. lisa 07.13.2012

    Used to live out there (now back in Iowa). Oh, how I dearly miss that green chili sauce. Why can’t you find that in more states?? Colorado was the mecca.
    Mmmmm… chili sauce…..

  21. Kiki 07.13.2012

    Your brother is SO handsome! Your breakfast made my mouth water. Have fun!

  22. Marcie 07.13.2012

    Great photos. enjoyed post.

  23. Maegan 07.13.2012

    Denver is definitely on my list of future of vacation destinations! And did you know that the recipe for Sam’s No. 3 green chili is on After I sat on the couch and drooled while watching the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives episode that featured it, I immediately jumped on Google to find a similar recipe and ended up finding THE recipe instead. Score! It was delicious!

  24. Emiles 07.13.2012

    ****sigh Colorado green chile/chili! Why doesn’t it exist out here? My native Coloradoan husband always is sure we stop at the Brewery Bar to get some…so give it a shot if you have time! :)

  25. Sarah O. 07.13.2012

    Denver looks like so much fun! P.S. I love your striped tank!

  26. Alison 07.13.2012

    I recently just found your website and I’m officially ADDICTED.

    A trip to Colorado is in my future and I’m excited since I’ve never been there and I can use this post as a reference for places to visit! Thanks!

    Looks like you’re having a great time!

    Also, where in the world did you get your leaf necklace. It’s absolutely lovely and I might want to copy you. :)

  27. Alison 07.13.2012

    OH- By the way,, I’m from Des Moines and it’s raining here right now, so that’s exciting! Just a little update for you on what’s going on at home!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.13.2012

      Thank goodness – our yard and garden were begging for it!

      • MOM 07.13.2012

        JUST watered your garden….and then it rained:/

  28. Mary R 07.13.2012

    Girl! You really, really, really need to get us that recipe for the green chili! Iowa does NOT understand real Colorado green chili! I miss it sooooo much! (Actually had some flown in with a friend once)! Pretty please?

  29. Lauren T 07.13.2012

    Looks like you’re having an awesome trip! I looovvee CO in the summertime! So beautiful and lots of cool, trendy places to eat, hang out, etc.! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

  30. Linda 07.13.2012

    Live in Fort Collins and love it! Denver has many fine restaurants including the Vespa Dipping Grill try it for dinner. Hamburger for lunch, the Cherry Cricket, also featured on the Food Channel. The Botanical Gardens in Denver is definitely worth a visit. Your brother would be in the know as he is a Denverite now. Enjoy your stay in my state. Love your blog!

  31. Melissa 07.13.2012

    Colorado is gorgeous I agree! We went to a beer dinner in Omaha that was put on by the Great Divide. Loved their beers! Have an amazing time.

  32. Awesome photos! It looks like you’re having a great trip!

  33. Kim @ Wonderings 07.13.2012

    Looks like you are having a blast in Denver! I live in the area and have never been to Sams #3. Totally putting it on my list! Thanks for the tip. (BTW, I am also originally from IA)

  34. Emily 07.13.2012

    This looks like a fabulous start to an amazing trip! It makes me want to visit Denver myself! :) The diner looks kick butt too! Enjoy!

  35. Kaelin 07.13.2012

    Oh I am sooo jealous of your trip to CO. I absolutely fell in love with that state last year on our summer trip to Manitou Springs (Pike’s Peak). My husband had to drag me home and I have been pleading desperately to get back to the mountains. Enjoy your visit!!!

  36. I want your breakfast to be my dinner!
    Plus I love what you are wearing in the last photo! Very cute!

  37. Sarah 07.13.2012

    Go to Snooze for breakfast! There are two in Denver and they are fabulous! They have several different benedicts, crazy pancake flavors, incredibly huevos rancheros, and an epicly long list of mimosas and bloody marys. It’s incredible! Also, if you choose to order benedicts, they’ll let you split your order so you can have 2 kinds! Wonderful retro decor and a must while you’re in Colorado!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.13.2012

      We went a few visits ago and it seeeeeriously still ranks as #1 best breakfast I’ve ever had!

  38. Looks like you had so much fun! Makes me want to visit Denver! :)

  39. Go Hurricanes!

  40. Love these pictures! Denver + Boulder are some of The Husband + I’s favorite places to visit [tied second only to Seattle + PDX which are tied for 1st!] so I loved this little trip down memory lane.

    I recently saw Linger on a Cooking Channel episode of Unique Eats and can’t get it out of my mind. That lite brite bar is hysterical!

    Love your blog – been following a while now and just wanted to come out of the shadows and say hi + I’m looking forward to the rest of your trip recap!


  41. Susannah 07.13.2012

    How cute…your brother looks a lot like your mom in the photo of the two of you! :)

  42. briana 07.13.2012

    I live in Denver and it is so beautiful, the hiking is amazing! If you get a chance go up to Evergreen its only about 30 minutes from Denver its a cute town and there is a beautiful lake. Also, I have been dying to go to Linger and now I must go now that I saw that awesome baR!

  43. Holy cow can your bf eat! Men and their stomachs, they never cease to amaze me!

    Beautiful photos, and that diner food looks UNREAL.

  44. Grace 07.13.2012

    In the photo you took of the Linger sign I can actually see my condo in the background! A couple other people mentioned Osteria Marco and I would also strongly suggest stopping there. It’s freaking amazing! If Ben wants to go to another hole in the wall check out Los Carboncitos in the Highlands. They make truly authentic Mexican and the prices are dirt cheap. Try all 4 salsas and the tacos al pastor.

  45. Robin 07.16.2012

    I LOVE Colorado! I’ve been trying to come up with a scheme to move there ever since my first visit.

  46. I am off to CO in August and can’t wait!!!

  47. Lindsay A 07.18.2012

    Cherry Cricket?! I work right across the street from there and la-love how much you’re loving our fine state. If you are at the Cricket on this trip, email me! I’d come get your autograph :)

  48. Sarah 07.18.2012

    Ahhhh… jealous! I used to live in Boulder for a year after college. I miss the west. (Although, I’m in London for the month, which isn’t too shabby and will soon be moving to Japan. Crazy!)

    Anyway, love your recaps. And blog. It’s equally adorable and scrumptious.

  49. […] joint featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives that Ben and I ate at while visiting my little bro earlier this summer – and I’ve been waiting since the minute we slid out of our cozy booth at the […]

  50. Lauren 08.13.2012

    Colorado native here and I just love reading about your vacation here. I feel slightly ashamed that I’ve never even heard of Sam’s No. 3! I’ve heard great things about Linger (and you have to try the sister restaurant Root Down next time!), but I’m slightly freaked out that it used to be a mortuary…

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