We recently finished a nine day trip to the beautiful and quaint mountain town of Ouray in Colorado. While I spend the next couple of weeks editing hundreds upon and hundreds of images from my adventures, I wanted to at least share some of the food experiences from the area. There are surprisingly few options and little variety to pick from, but here are the nine worth highlighting (for better or worse).
Read to the end for a big teaser of the upcoming blogs!
1. Artisan Bakery & Cafe
An absolute TRIPLE win for me. Yes, we ate here three times during our short trip to Ouray, and I don't usually repeat-visit a restaurant, as I like to try new places. They had a great COVID ordering format. I loved the changing selection of pastries each day. The winner is their amazing croissant sandwich that you will not get sick of. We tried several different pastries and it was all fantastic. Possibly the best restaurant we found in Ouray!
2. Thai Chili Restaurant
This restaurant didn't make my initial radar of places to try while visiting, but after a few others on my list were busts, we gave this one a shot. NO regrets, in fact we came here twice (which, again, is unusual for me as I like to try new places when travelling). The Thai Tea is fantastic, the duck curry is fantastic, and they have great fried rice. The spring rolls and shrimp tempura are also fantastic. I really suspect everything here is bomb.
3. Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory
They don't need my review, they know they are amazing. The map of travelers from all over the world and nearly all 5 star reviews tells you everything you need to know. I went for the Raspberry Cheesecake Funnel Cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It was. Insanely. Delicious. I would go back here every time I visited, without question!
*Note this one is in Silverton, which is about 45 minutes south of Ouray. It is worth it for many reasons, both the Million Dollar scenic highway to get there and all the shopping and great views you can get in Silverton. A great day trip if you are staying in Ouray.
4. Natalia's 1912 Restaurant
I was stuck in Silverton due to a construction closing off the only road back to Ouray (that is a fun story for a future blog) and was looking for a good lunch spot with COVID - Somewhere with a nice outdoor patio. This hit the spot perfectly, with a large shaded patio and live music when I was there. Beautiful atmosphere, the best Vanilla Cream soda I have ever had, and fries that didn't even leave me wanting to dip them in ketchup, they were so good.
*This one is also located in Silverton.
5. Timberline Deli of Ouray
I stopped in for some donuts and was not disappointed in a single one of them. Usually when I get a half dozen of different types of donuts, there is a "winner" among them that stands out as better than the rest. These were ALL amazing. All but one that I got were a fantastic light and fluffy yeast donut (the last being a cake donut), most with a glaze as well that can't hurt. Fun flavors like cinnamon crunch on TOP of that just made it into perfection territory.
6. Gold Belt Bar & Grill
It was extremely hot when we attempted their patio, which was a bit rough. But the food made up for it, absolutely delicious! I tried their Prime Rib Sandwich and it was loaded with flavor. Super crispy onion rings and great with their chipotle dressing.
7. Mojo's Coffee Chai & Teas
The overall atmosphere, with local art and great staff, was amazing. I am not a coffee drinker, which I am sure is their focus. But the breakfast burrito had a bit of a "frozen burrito" vibe. The Horchata, served hot which was new for me, was a bit bland. It mostly tasted super creamy, but lacked that rice and cinnamon flavor. Still, a great experience and super awesome eco-friendly packaging (even down to the 2oz salsa container being compostable). And despite my words on the burrito, it was pretty good!
8. El Agave Azul
Great service, easy to order over the phone and on time. In a nice location about 15 minutes north of Ouray in Ridgeway. Overall with the two dishes, they were good but nothing that was necessarily making us crave coming back. The shrimp over rice was pretty good and great leftovers as well. Overall, a pretty standard Mexican restaurant experience.
9. Colorado Boy Southwest Pub
Of all the places we went to, this was the most disappointing. I will say that we did get it to-go, but we got it right away and ate it very soon after (within 5 to 10 minutes). The Birria Tacos that I was excited for were not even remotely crispy, though the flavor was good. I could tell they would have been crispy when fresh, and wondered if they were cooked first and were left to steam in a box while the rest of our order was being prepared - not the best order of operations. We have gotten plenty of crispy/fried food to-go and it can certainly be done successfully (such as from Thai Chili). Their salsa was very unusual in a bad way and the chips were insanely thin (which actually was a fun experience, but also unusual). The worst part was the Birria dip, which should be thin and nicely spiced. It was thicker, like chili, and somehow almost did taste like chili. For somewhere that has the focus of Mexican food and pizza, I expected a bit more for my choice.
Here is that teaser I mentioned! I wanted to get you excited for what BOTH of my October blogs will be about - Ouray and South Mineral Campground! Both are in Colorado and putting this teaser here is also to create some accountability on my part to get images edited in time. It WILL happen. The motivation for this entire trip was to revisit the South Mineral Campgrounds that we visited 2 years ago, as well as to dedicate much more time to the amazing town of Ouray (which we only passed through on our prior trip). The tale of how this entire trip almost became a complete fail, which involves forest fires and road closures, is something that you can anticipate hearing in my two upcoming blogs.
To get you further ready for the next two blogs, here is a 360 view of one of the waterfalls at South Mineral Campground. This is somewhere that is, quite simply, one of the most underrated locations I have ever explored. I will share more in the next two blogs, but the fact that I have never seen a single sign advertising the 4 to 5 amazing waterfalls you can find here says everything you need to know.
Ok, don't twist my arm. I'll share one more! This is taken directly on top of the above waterfall, which leads to several more waterfalls that I had never explored before.
Stay tuned for many more details!