Andrea and Erika’s Excellent Wine Adventure

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I tossed out the idea of a road trip to my best friend and colleague, Erika.


it had to be somewhere close enough to drive to. Somewhere affordable. Somewhere fun and new. Colorado has an abundance of vacation getaways: Denver, Cherry Creek (part of Denver, but its own unique entity), Vail, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs (the Broadmoor). We finally decided on the western slope and Colorado wine country, Palisade.

I went to Trip Advisor and found the Wine Country Inn. I researched and booked a limo for our wine touring day. We really only had one day to visit wineries and I wanted to hit as many as we could without getting a DUI. Touring “as many wineries as you can” in a day is not really compatible with driving. The guy I booked the limo with was very informative and helpful.

We decided on the first weekend in August. I had LASIK the week before. Erika worked the night before. Somehow, we would make it to Palisade!

Erika is a lactation consultant, like me. We work together at the hospital. She also works there as a mom/baby nurse on the night shift.

On Friday morning, August 2nd, I went to Yoga Sculpt at Lifetime Fitness. When Kristen teaches, it is a kick-your-ass cardio/yoga with weights class. Afterwards, Zung and I had lunch at Frasca Caffé. They have the best sandwiches EVER. The bread is like crack cocaine.

I went for my LASIK follow up appointment and was pronounced better than expected, even though I was still having a fair amount of blurriness. I dropped Zung off at home and went and picked Erika up. We got gas and hit the road. She put the gas in and put Regular in. I usually put in mid-grade. Zung told me I should use Premium for the trip through the mountains. Oh well, you can’t unring the bell. Regular would have to do.

There was TRAFFIC, with a capital T, on and off, mostly ON. First in Denver, then on I-70. After we passed Idaho Springs, it broke loose and we started moving. We left at 2:30 and it should have taken us 4 hours, but it ended up taking 5.

We finally arrived at the Wine Country Inn.


It was a new property and very nice. I went in and checked us in. We found our room. We ignored the band of bikers who suggested we should party with them. Zung always says most of these guys are accountants and bankers in real life. I was not in the mood to find out. Erika thought we should avoid them and she’ll talk to anyone.

The room was nice. We didn’t know it yet, but the beds were comfy.


It had the usual things, besides beds, there was a char, table, TV.

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We unpacked and then headed out for dinner. I’d checked Trip Advisor reviews and had a restaurant in mind. I also asked the front desk check-in dude. He said the place I had in mind was his personal favorite. The hotel had  a nice restaurant, Carolyn’s. We were planning on eating there tomorrow, when we figured we’d be in no shape to drive anywhere after touring wineries all day.

Palisade itself doesn’t have a lot of restaurants, this is a seriously small town. Not even a stop light. However, Grand Junction was about 20 minutes away, and that’s a decent sized city. Not Denver big, but decent, with loads of stop lights.

We drove to Inari’s, which was on main street. It was a little place. We were seated by the window in front. We ordered a bottle of Plum Creek Palisade, which is a red blend from one of the local wineries. It was really good, or at least we liked it a lot.



Our server comes by and tells us that they only have one serving of the soup left, which is a corn chowder, and she wants to to know if we might want it. I order it. It is delicious. It was the highlight of the meal. DSCN0991


I order the Korean Bar-B-Q tacos, which are a bit dry and have a bit too much slaw on them. Good thing I have good wine to wash them down.DSCN0992

Erika is a vegan and they are able to accommodate her. She orders a salad.


They don’t have any vegan desserts but offer her some fresh peach slices. It is peach season so she says yes.


I order the lemon bar. I love lemon bars, but this is too sweet and I only eat half of it.


Our server comes by after each course is served and asks if everything is wonderful, which is kind of a leading question. When she came by after she served us dessert she must either not have noticed I had pushed away the too sweet lemon bar, or ignored it. I generally don’t complain that food is not wonderful. Not every meal will be. The soup was really good and the wine was really good, and the rest was good enough.

We return to the hotel. They have music at night, but we return just in time to miss it. We finish the bottle of wine and then go to sleep. We want to be well rested for tomorrow.



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