We took off for Prescott Arizona only a few minutes behind our time schedule, but I forgot my ear rings, so we turned around to get them. We got up there in time to have lunch with our oldest friend at this real cute, hole in the wall, maybe 8 tables, Italian place. Roman Italian, that’s it. Unfortunately, the red sauce that my husband ordered tasted like Chef Boyardee and the meatballs were, UGH! The cook put too much panade in the meat mixture. Both our friend and I had an antipasto salad, not bad, but not as described on the menu with all kinds of goodies. It was some iceberg lettuce, cheese, salami and a couple of tomato wedges. The wait help was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I had asked for a glass of house white that didn’t come to the table until we were finished with the meal. We said our good bye and walked around the town square and just hung out for awhile. The main reason for our trip to Prescott was to visit with a dear couple that my husband has known all his life. The restaurant we were meeting at for dinner was about two blocks down the street from our hotel. We had all decided on the same place we had gone to last year, Genovese’s; it was nowhere near as good as we had on our last visit and way more expensive too. The fried calamari wasn’t cooked all the way through; the waitress kept bringing bread that no one ate!! My husband had the mussels as his appetizer, they were good, but it was just drowning in butter. I had the veal special that was WAY over cooked; Mister’s rigatoni and meatballs tasted like my sister made them and she can’t cook!! Our friends ordered chicken parm and gnocchi, they were just okay. For dessert, cannoli, three minis to an order. We only ate one and then we sent the rest of the meal home with our friends. We had breakfast in the hotel (The Hassayampa Inn) the next day which was included, very nice. I asked for eggs, sausage (or you can have ham or bacon), potatoes and English muffin (your choice of bread) with juice. Hubby opted for blueberry pancakes with sausage and juice. They also offered yogurt parfaits with fresh fruits and granola, cold cereal with fruits and pastries, oatmeal and your choice of coffee, tea or juice. This was not the run of the mill free continental breakfast, this was really tasty. The wait staff offered us their house made salsa or “Award Winning Grape Salsa” is how she described it. Everything was cooked perfectly. Neither of us cared too much for the salsas though, it may have been best served at lunch instead of breakfast. Mashed grapes so early in the morning was not appealing. We ate lunch in the hotel dining room (the Peacock Dining Room), it was so nice we thought, why not, the foods good! I ordered a cup of black bean soup and a half turkey sandwich, delicious. Uber thick soup that looked at bit odd, but once you took that first spoonful you can’t stop. I’m going to try to replicate the soup I think. My husband ate the meatloaf, very yummy as well. The meatloaf was served with what looked like a house made tomato catsup, nice mashed potatoes and broccolini. We had dinner with our friends again, but at a different place this time, LaBruzza’s Italian Ristorante, American-Italian food. Our friends had heard about this joint and had been meaning to try it, so off we went. The food was like something that you might have at friends home. The décor is a throwback to times gone by. Plastic red and white checkered tablecloths, red white and green canapies over the booths, lattice work hanging from the walls, covered with artwork and plants. On our table tonight was Lasagna, Butternut Ravioli with EVOO & garlic on it, Chicken Parm and Gnocchi. It’s all you can eat salad and bread, but best of all its BYOB! Our friends brought this bottle of $50 wine a friend had given them, very nice. I’d like to go back here again when we go back to Prescott and forget Genovese’s. Moving on …. Santa Fe Mexico We got there a little too early to check in to our hotel, so we went to have brunch at Zia. What fabulous food! This place was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We had the best, real-not-from-a-can, corned beef hash ever (green chilies on the side please) and a breakfast burrito the size of my husband’s head. The burrito consisted of hash brown potatoes, scrambled eggs, jack cheese and applewood smoked bacon (it’s extra) all wrapped in a flour tortilla, then smothered in red or green chile sauce and melted cheese; this comes with pinto beans on the side. We were so stuffed we didn’t have lunch. We picked up dinner of some fresh fruits and veggies; some salmon in Thai sweet chili sauce, all from Whole Foods Market, and then back in our hotel room to chow down. I always pack paper plates, forks, spoons, napkins, and a sharp knife with a plastic-flexible cutting board. That way if you’ve had a busy day sight-seeing and you don’t feel like sitting in a dining room, you don’t have to. We like options. Next stop, Denver. Well really a suburb of Denver, Lakewood. Super pretty, we forgot what green grass, lawns looked like!! We had some of our goods from Whole Foods Market leftover in our cooler and it was a long car ride, so we decided to stay in again. Breakfast was the hotel’s (Best Western) complimentary continental fare, it was as you would expect. We toured Golden Colorado all day and didn’t feel like sitting in a restaurant. The Whole Foods Market here has a pasta bar. You can sit down for a quick bite and then go do your grocery shopping, genius!! So we pulled up a stool and ordered Spaghetti Carbonara and Spaghetti and Meatballs. This came with a very nice mixed green salad and garlic knot, YUM-O!! The price was quite reasonable as well. Now, if they just served wine. Today we spent a good part of the day at the Railroad Museum in Golden, what fun. I had an ace up my sleeve for lunch that day, D’Deli. I had done some research on line and found their menu ahead of time, Smoked Prime Rib Eye and a Ham with Swiss cheese. They bake their own bread, what they call Italian Baguettes, white or wheat, and you can build your own with your choice from a laundry list of veggies, cheese, spreads, sauces and dressings. Or just order a creation from the black board, like the Popeye or Firecracker. Real cute, literally a whole in the wall place. Golden is a cute little town, we tried to walk around but it was a really rainy day. So we went back to the hotel and went down the street to get a pizza from Johnny’s NY Pizza, it was just ok. A little undercooked. I seem to say that my pizza is better whenever we get a pie out. Colorado Springs Colorado Got up early for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,150 feet, Whoahooo! Had a bit of a hard time breathing and a little dizzy, but we did ok. We had a late lunch at Rudy’s Country Store and Bar B Q, man, that’s good stuff. I ordered us a half pound each of “moist” brisket, turkey and a piece of prime rib. The prime rib was a disappointment, tough and stringy. Sides were coleslaw, beans and potato salad. Buttermilk pie, individual sized, with just a hint of smoke to it. Did I say that we shared this bounty? And to wash it all down, why sweat tea of course, YUM! No supper tonight, we were so full, it was back to the hotel to take a nap. Albuquerque was the last stop along the way home. We received a free night’s stay at a Hyatt Place hotel from our credit card company just before we left on this trip and were able to use it at the Hyatt Place near the airport. It was hard to find, but really nice. I got both of us dinner from their “Guest Kitchen”, so cool. You place the order from a computerized touch screen, pay with your credit card or charge it to the room, and a few minutes later, let’s eat. Not bad food. We got a bowl of chili, a burger on ciabatta bread, and a ham & swiss on a pretzel roll. The continental breakfast here was better than average, and I think that was because of the presentation, not the food itself. It was chic and hip, modern but still pleasant. All in all, we had a very enjoyable trip.