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Notes on Kosher on vacation in Colorado

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Flew into Denver and stocked up at the East Side Kosher Deli. They have absolutely everything, including a very impressive array of beef/veal/lamb choices. We went to the back of the store where the restaurant is to order our dinner and then shopped while they prepared it for us. Excellent steak sandwich, fajitas, just okay schnitzel, large portions, very friendly and helpful service. Great tiramisu at the take-out counter. Took our load of kosher booty on to the higher altitudes (beware the altitude sickness, people, as it can be quite daunting for some). Planned to spend Shabbos in Vail where you can order meals from Chabad (rather expensive, but convenient) however, ended up needing to choose a lower altitude. Found the wonderful community of Boulder which is about 25 minutes outside Denver. Boulder is a beautiful city with views of jagged purple mountains from every street. It is something about the way they built the city smack in the middle of the mountains and the fact that there is parkland surrounding it to allow for the unobstructed views. Anyway, stayed in a nice chain hotel walking distance to Aish Kodesh. The local King Soopers supermarket has a kosher bakery. Most goods are dairy, but the Challah was not, obviously. Kosher section on the shelves and in the freezer , but I don't think we saw Empire chicken which puzzled us. We did find our normal pizza bagels which makes us quite happy. We found out that had we planned in advance, East Side deli in Denver will deliver your Shabbos food to Boulder, so that would have been really great. Oh, had the pizza in Denver one day. Don't make the mistake of asking if he has fries. I think the guy is probably really sick of New Yorkers doing that. All they have is pizza, people. It's good pizza, but that's it. Oh and they take a siesta every day from 2 to 4, of course. BTW, the pedestrian plaza in downtown Boulder is quite charming, shops, musicians, balloon-sculpting and a Ben and Jerry's with a kosher certificate (had to ask for that, wasn't posted). Enjoy your rafting, your horseback riding, your rocky mountains and don't worry about your kosher. Nice time.

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  1. FWIW, I've spoken to non-kosher coworkers and they are confused with the concept of pizza and fries. Pizza and fries is strictly a kosher thing(and apparently only east coast too).

    2 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      Interesting. I didn't even know that. But, this is what the guy said in a nutshell when we asked for fries: "No fries, no salads, no falafel...just pizza. That's it."

      1. re: cappucino

        Cappucino- I seem to remember in Israel it is virtually impossible to walk into a strictly pizza place and get fries as well; My little son was very disappointed when we went into Big Apple pizza and wanted fries only to discover they do strictly pizza! I know the Pizza Hut in Israel as well does not do fries (not sure abt here), nor do any of the local small pizza joints.
        It took a while for England to get a dedicated 'american-style' pizza parlor and you can bet fries were on the menu and were a big hit when it first opened! Until then, I am not sure I remember ever eating fries with my pizza before (since we were usually in Israel when we ate at a dedicated pizza place...)

    2. They need to put some oxygen in the air before I will willingly go back to Denver. I loved East Side Kosher, loved the shul I attended in Aurora and loved the people, but I spent an entire weekend feeling like I was having an asthma attack. (No, I don't have asthma...)

      10 Replies
      1. re: SoCal Mother

        Bummer - your post made the area sound so nice. I do have asthma and am having as horrible rime in the 5th heat wave of the season and can not imagine feeling this way in such a beautiful place :( I am so sorry it happeend to you.

        1. re: SoCal Mother

          SoCal, I felt like a train ran me over. That said, I think Boulder is an excellent place to stay for Shabbos. The asthma thing is not so clear. I know people who actually chose to go to school in Denver because the thinner air was better for their asthma. Go figure.

          1. re: cappucino

            Well truthfully since I thank G-D don't have asthma I have no idea what it feels like, but I was out of breath like I'd been running. I was there for a week and I was fine after a few days. Go to Denver PrettyPoodle, just don't plan ANYTHING for the first day and drink water constantly. That's supposed to help.

            We spent Shabbat in Aspen once in the old days when there wasn't even Empire chicken in the supermarket. We actually had to use the high altitude recipes to cook. Coffee tastes lousy there because water boils too cool. My physics lesson of the summer.

            1. re: SoCal Mother

              My husband LOVED Denver - almost took a job there and he said after a week he was ok. We joked last night that I can go with a portable oxygen machine:( It sounds lobvely -maybe one day...............

              1. re: Prettypoodle

                They do have portable machines (no joke), but there is also an oxygen pill (???) that natives told me I could get in the health food store. In the end, it was the fluid build-up in my brain (headache plus) and I saw a doctor out there and took some prescription meds. If someone knows that they are prone to the altitude sickness, they are supposed to take it in advance. Oh and so we are still on the kosher track, I will add that the East Side deli makes fresh chicken soup and noodles every day.

          2. re: SoCal Mother

            Interesting. I loved Denver, and we had a really nice shabbat there, with no altitude problems. Really lovely people. Three different families (none of whom we knew beforehand) had us for one each of the three meals of shabbat. One of the kollel rabbi/rebbetzin couples even let us stay in their house without them even being there. (They always go to the other side of town for shabbat.) However, we took the cog rail train up to Pikes Peak, and I had a splitting headache for the rest of the day. (I guess my limit is over 5280 ft, but less than 14115 ft. !!)

            For those who go to Boulder, I recommend the tour of the Celestial Seasonings plant. It was fun, and you get to taste as many of the teas as you want.

            1. re: queenscook

              The tea tour sounds like FUN!!! Maybe I can get those pills...

              So the bottom line is: you won't starve anywhere in Colorado, but you might suffocate.

            2. re: SoCal Mother

              It really depends on the person, and you can't predict your response until you're actually in a high altitude. My husband is a bigger, stronger, and generally much fitter person than I am, but he has a harder time than I do in places that are far above sea level. Neither of us had any problem in Denver (although I grant that we were there separately, before we met), but in Peru, Mr. GilaB had some shortness of breath, headaches, etc. until we adjusted to being two miles above sea level (twice as high as Denver), which took a couple of days. I was fine unless I tried to run, or take a staircase very quickly.

              1. re: GilaB

                After spending two years in Denver I can tell you that it has a beautiful Jewish community, although not the variety of Kosher places we find in the East Coast. Since the post went sideways to Mountain Sickness and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), I have to say that we have to blame Dalton (as in Dalton's Law). You see, Denver pressure is only 640 mmHg, compared to sea level which is 760 mmHg. Considering that oxygen only takes about 21% of this pressure, we are breathing only 1bout 134 mmHg of oxygen compared to 160 mmHg of oxygen at sea level. No, there is no oxygen pill, regardless of any claims of any health food store, but yes, there are a couple of medications we can use to try to prevent mountain sickness. I don't expect this post to stay here to long, so ask your physician before traveling to high altitude. BTW, one of the most famous asthma research center is in Denver "National Jewish Health", previously known as National Jewish Asthma Hospital has been named by US News and World Report as the #1 respiratory hospital in the country for 14 consecutive years. Do they have a kosher menu for their patients?

                1. re: mrotmd

                  Thanks for the explan. I can say that there will be a cantors' high brow Shabbaton held in Vail in August catered by Schick caterers and I hope that given the couples who do go spend an acclimation night in Denver before driving up to Vail. I already warned my cousin who had no clue that this might be an issue. It sure would have been nice to have Schick's food in Colorado, but I wouldn't have stayed in Vail that Shabbos if you had offered me a million bucks. BTW, I saw "National Jewish Health" and wondered what it was.