Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Boulder, Colorado: Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour & Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

On Monday, October 6th, we left the gorgeous mountain scenery of Estes Park and drove the hour and a half southeast to Boulder. 

The one thing I wanted to do in the area was get to experience the Celestial Seasonings tour. It's funny because I picked it out as a destination before a big group of healthy living bloggers went on an all-expenses paid trip there just weeks before. I wanted to see how a tea factory worked and I genuinely love behind the scenes food company tours!
The tour is free and 45 minutes long. The company is located Northeast of downtown Boulder.
Craig wasn't as excited as I was to taste the teas (he's not a huge tea drinker), but I didn't let that hold me back from trying numerous flavors they had offered in the lobby. Because of the time of year we visited, they had many fall flavors to sample. 
We sat in the sun and sampled while we waited for the tour to begin.
We also enjoyed looking at the artwork up on the walls, many of which I had seen on Celestial Seasonings tea boxes over the years.
Because I suffer from digestive troubles, kombucha has always fascinated me. It's been years since I tried it, so I got a sample of theirs from behind the counter. You can ask to sample anything you want to try, which is fantastic! I liked the kombucha and I'd definitely purchase it if I see it in a store in the Milwaukee area.
Our "tickets" for the tour were our Lemon Zinger tea samples. 
Craig wasn't so happy about wearing a beard hair net for the first time in his life (not picutred here because he put it on in the factory). Tee hee. 
No pictures were allowed on the tour, but I can assure you it was fascinating, informative and totally worth it! We even saw the production line boxing up the Trader Joe's peppermint holiday tea.

After it was over, we walked into the cafe portion of the building to find a healthy and delicious sounding menu, but I knew I wanted to wait to eat at a restaurant in downtown Boulder, so we passed. The artwork inside there was cute though!
Definitely check out the tour if you go to Boulder!
I made some purchases in the tea shop too. Teas were somewhat cheaper than they are in some stores and there were some unique flavors offered that I hadn't seen before.
Next, we checked out downtown Boulder, which was cute and sort of reminded me of a cleaned up version of Berkeley, CA.
We popped in a few shops to browse around and also looked at some restaurant menus because Craig wanted to initially eat somewhere different than the restaurant I picked out for lunch.

I was excited to visit a city that is known for having vegetarian only restaurants. I had researched a few before our trip and settled on Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant based on the excellent reviews it received online.

I ordered the Reuben sandwich, which had tempeh instead of roast beef. It was delicious. The soup that came with it was a tomato feta one and it was amazing! I seriously said two or three times, "mmm, I want to recreate this at home!" I need to get on that soon and this post reminded me of that goal. 
Craig succumbed to the delicious menu and ordered an Egg Sandwich, which he ended up loving too. The ketchup that came with his fries was more natural tasting and he still raves about it to this day. I am slowly converting him.
After lunch, we walked around some more. One of my favorite shops we checked out was Bayleaf. Naturally, I love Europe so a store known for European gifts and food impressed me.
I almost died and went to chocolate heaven when I saw Chocolove (a Boulder company) for $2.00 a bar. I must have showed my joy for the product because another customer told me I wouldn't find it cheaper anywhere else. My only regret is not buying more because I could have found room in my suitcase for it. The one pictured below is my absolute favorite chocolate ever.
By mid afternoon, we decided to leave Boulder and head to Denver, before the true rush hour traffic hit. We found our hotel and settled in there for the night. 
While I am glad we checked out the Boulder area on our way to Denver, I am happy I listened to the advice of others and didn't stay in the area for two nights.

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