Before even retrieving our luggage from baggage claim, I was texting friends for dining recommendations in Denver.

Kevin suggested that we check out Buckhorn Exchange, Denver’s longest-running steakhouse. The restaurant – which boasts a game-heavy menu – has been serving up meaty fare since 1893(!).

The old-timey atmosphere may seem overly kitschy to some, but we got a kick out of the nineteenth-century paraphernalia strewn all over the joint, from a covered wagon and taxidermied animals to a Wild West saloon and framed, yellowed photographs of cowboys.

Buckhorn Exchange is clearly a tourist spot, so our expectations weren’t high. But the meat dishes surprised us.  We dove into plates of grilled buffalo and elk steaks…

…and juicy, well-seasoned lamb chops. (We may have enjoyed a couple of baked potatoes slathered in butter, too.) 

Sadly, there was no ostrich or rattlesnake on the menu this time around (boo!), and we were too full to partake of the alligator tail and Rocky Mountain Oysters.

After a quick pitstop at Whole Foods, we drove to the mountains in the darkness, arriving at the sprawling campus of YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park after 9 p.m. It wasn’t ‘til this morning that we drew back the curtains and saw the view.

This place is kind of incredible.

After fueling up with a handful of macadamia nuts, Henry and I hopped into a car with Holly, Mel, and Dave, and headed off to CrossFit Estes Park to get our sweat on.

It was great seeing Mel and Dave again. They’re two of our favoritest people, and although we just met Holly this morning, our entire group’s already mixing like peas and carrots (or bacon and eggs, or liver and onions, or chocolate and chocolate).

At the gym, Mel revealed that she was wearing both Nom Nom Paleo and Well Fed socks. How awesome is this mash-up?

(By the way, you can read a recap of Mel’s first two days in Colorado right here).

Exercising at an altitude of 1.5 miles above sea level has its challenges, but I thoroughly enjoyed the workout that Eric (the owner of the gym) programmed for us: lots of mobility work, cleans and jerks, push-ups, and kettlebell swings.

If I’m going to exercise, I prefer doing it with friends.

Pictured below are some of our little Paleo posse: Cami (who’s organizing our all-day event tomorrow at the YMCA), Holly, Mel, me, Cathy (a CrossFit Estes Park trainer and co-host of our event), Dave, Henry, and Eric.

Post-WOD, and still smiling…

…except when posing as angry deadlift girls.

After a hearty post-workout breakfast at Mountain Home Cafe…

…we headed back to work on tomorrow’s presentation. We have about 115 people coming to Estes Park (some from out-of-state!) to see us, so I really, really, REALLY don’t want to suck.

Wish me luck!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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