A Stroll Down Boulder’s Pearl Street

No one lives in the Denver metro area for long without hearing elusive rumors of the wonder’s of Boulder’s Pearl Street. While not all are able to throw themselves into the singular culture wafting on the breeze with the light jazz and random reed instruments being played for pennies, most Coloradans find themselves drawn to the eclectic strip of coffee bars, yoga shops, and shabby chic decorating stores. As an avid people-watcher with a weakness for good coffee and old bookshops, I for one am magnetically drawn to the cobblestone street in the heart of Boulder.

In the mood for good food, good conversation, and good sightseeing, David and I set out Saturday afternoon to once again explore the shops situated along Pearl Street. Although David can only tolerate my meanderings for so long, he good-naturedly agreed to escort me in and out of “quaint” shops before we ended our day at The Med for Happy Hour tapas. As we looked for parking, a few stores immediately caught my eye, and I was soon steering us through the Colorado University Buff crowds to Bliss, a vintage home goods store. Along the way I had to snap a few photos of the recently opened Snooze Cafe, a delicious Denver breakfast eatery that is branching out into the wilds of Boulder.

Sauntering down the street, it didn’t take long before I was mesmerized by the delicate window signs of the Bliss shop. And, besides prices that my budget can’t afford, it did not dissapoint.From handmade jewelry to lacy throw pillows to unique pottery pieces and candles, Bliss afforded an opportunity to revel in David’ definition of “quaint.” (He does not use that descriptor as a complimentary term.) It’s sole redeeming quality for my husband was its collection of not-so-appropriate greeting cards, which he enjoyed while I was exploring the rustic knickknacks. My eye was drawn to the gaudy chandeliers available for an outrageous price, as well as some of the wall plaques, boasting famous sayings and words from the wise. I discreetly snapped a shot of one by Teddy Roosevelt: “Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground.”

Well, with those words of advice ringing in my ears, David and I set out again before temptation got the best of me, and I spent more money than I ought on something that I really didn’t need. Poking our heads into several other stores, we spent a while enjoying the Boulder ambiance and cheap entertainment available around the park benches. It never ceases to amaze me how many grassroots bands ply their trade down the length of Pearl Street – a classical pianist even filled the air with his melodies on this particular Saturday afternoon.

David’s stomach began to urge us onward, and we cut over to Walnut Street to request a patio table at The Med Restaurant http://www.themedboulder.com/. A fabulous culmination of any Boulder shopper’s day, The Med has been one of our favorite restaurants since we moved to Colorado three years ago. The entire tapas menu is half-off before 6 p.m., and the gathering crowds prove that many appreciate the Spanish flare on traditional Mediterranean dishes.

It’s romantic ambiance doesn’t hurt, with lights strung from the rafters and flower boxes perched around tables. The Med is a perfect place to kick back and relax, while dipping olive-studded bread in fresh oil and perusing the tapas’ menu. We penciled in our order, selecting Datiles (bacon-wrapped dates), Pinchon Moruno (chicken skewer with tzatziki), Bistecca (grilled hanger steak with blue cheese), Boar Empanada, Tomate Con Miele (cherry tomato, pecans, goat cheese, mint, and honey), and a Hummus platter among several other items. Yum! Small ceramic white plates showcase just enough of each dish to whet your appetite, but not overwhelm. In the midst of the feast of color, texture, and taste, it is difficult to determine a favorite. However, I’m a sucker for the tomatoes with honey, and David – while fully appreciating the bacon-wrapped dates and grilled steak – found the boar-stuffed empanadas a winner for the evening. With the melee of conversations and smells around us, I was perfectly satisfied to sit and savor the patio’s allure. Our waiter added a bit of a nostalgic touch to the evening with his slight southern drawn and regular “sir” and “ma’am” manner of address. When all was said and done, our check remained under $30 – not bad for the quality and quantity provided by the creative Med kitchen.

Cool Colorado air greeted us, as we began our trek back to our car. Stopping occasionally to kiss in an alleyway or survey the sidewalk crowds, we were satisfied with the evening’s conclusion. Draping my scarf around my neck, I was reminded how much I love Colorado – hippies and all. Date night was a success, dinner was tantalizing, the street bands’ serenades eclectic if nothing else . . . and the drive well worth the stroll down Pearl Street.

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