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The Odd and Random BEST of 2015 List!

We posted a list at the end of the year in 2014 with some of our favorite foods, experiences, stories, etc. from the year. Here’s our new, curated list for 2015. It is odd and random, but it is our “best of’s” for sure!

BEST METAPHORS of 2015:

(from Betony)

Are found in this tremendous book!
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Sometimes I miss the most obvious metaphorical scenes in books and movies. Tim will mention something about how a director was brilliantly foreshadowing or developing a character and I just go “huh?.”  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer was so rich with metaphors and intertwining stories that even I was able to catch the beauty of the connecting threads. The poetic writing in this book is just stunning.

Here is the quick Good Reads description of the book:

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

BEST BREWERY of 2015:

(from Tim)

What an audacious claim! How can I choose just one? Runner up would have to be WeldWerks. Betony and I have loved heading over to that local brewery in Greeley and their beers have been fantastic.

But number one goes to NEW GLARUS, found in Wisconsin. And the great, heart-breaking problem is… they don’t sell outside of Wisconsin!

Anything that comes out of New Glarus Brewing company is pretty amazing. Their flagship is called “Spotted Cow”. It is creamy and rich and tastes like I’ve dreamed of what the best wheat beer in the world should taste like, then I get to drink my dreams.

If it is testament to how good they are, Betony recently had a friend smuggle 2 six packs out of Wisconsin in their suitcase all the way back to Colorado. All for my Christmas present! It’s so good we ask our friends to break the law so we might partake.

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BEST FOODS WE FOUND ONLINE of 2015:

(from Betony)

This is absolutely perfect German mustard – Lowensenf -(we love both the sweet and the spicy. Don’t discriminate).
I ordered it for our Oktoberfest themed cooking club and we can’t get enough of it. I don’t even like mustard usually.
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These little perfect buttery crackers – Effies Oatcakes – I told Tim I thought they were what Elven Lembas bread probably tasted like.
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BEST LOCAL-PRIDE MOMENTS of 2015 (STATE and CITY)!

(from Betony)

Tim had the chance to open for Nathaniel Rateliff a couple of years ago at the MOXI theater. We became kind of smitten with him. The rawness in his performance and songwriting pulls at your gut. He reminds me of a bluesy, rougher Johnny Cash.

Then this local hero out of Denver formed a new band and had a BIG break. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats were asks to perform on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. They crushed it and Tim commented on how good this will be for Colorado and its music scene! Way to go Colorado!

The performance can be seen here. They get a standing ovation!

That was best local pride moment for the STATE of Colorado.

For best local pride moment for our CITY we have the breaking of a Guinness world record!

Greeley isn’t always known for being the coolest, most happening town. A lot of the press Greeley gets is negative – “smelly”, “oil-driven”, etc. But, the people of Greeley are pretty wonderful, so when the community can come together and do something like this – it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. Real proud of you Greeley. Way to be unexpectedly awesome.
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BEST NEW LIQUOR Cabinet Addition of 2015:

(from Betony)

I went searching for this liqueur so that I could make a fun recipe I came across. I was at our favorite liquer store in town and the lady helped me search for it for quite some time. (Apparently most Greeley-ites don’t use it). When we finally got it, I kind of balked at the price ($50) but felt a bit obligated to buy it after she had spent so long helping me locate it. I am so glad I did! First off, the story of how it is made is pretty incredible –

Chartreuse  is a French liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737 according to the instructions set out in a manuscript given to them by François Annibal d’Estrées in 1605. It is composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers. The liqueur is named after the Monks’ Grande Chartreuse monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains in the general region of Grenoble in France.
(wikipedia)

And, it tastes like its origins – very complex with floral and herbal flavors.
Our current favorite use of it is in The Last Word – a great classic cocktail.

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BEST NEW RECIPE of 2015

(from Tim)

Goes to a pie! a pie that will be made from here on out for my birthdays, Christmas’s, Thanksgivings, bar mitz fas, and whatever special occasion I can convince Betony to make it. (It’s being made tonight for New Year’s Eve. Of course.) It’s called Banoffee Pie.

(She posted the recipe here a few months ago) – She happened upon this one kind of by mistake and when she didn’t have the kind of cookie the original recipe called for in the crust, she improvised using Biscoff cookies (you know, those European airplane cookies?). Everything about it is pretty perfect if I do say so myself.

BEST INSPIRING MAGAZINE of 2015

(from Betony)

Truly I could not give this Canadian magazine, UPPERCASE, a more glowing review. It is immaculately designed, thoughtfully curated, and fascinating to explore. I read each issue cover to cover. Janine Vangool (the editer and mastermind behind it) is pretty incredible at what she does. Her tagline “for the Creative and Curious” is perfect as each issue digs into a theme in all sorts of interesting ways. The second to last issue was called “Perfection” and was a beautifully done exploration of stamps, lace, and other “perforated” artworks. If creativity is “the art of making connections”, UPPERCASE is a great example of that. The connections she makes and the circular way she ties all the pieces together is wonderful.

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BEST OUTDOOR GEAR Addition of 2015

(from Tim)

This was the summer of the bicycle for us. Lucy learned how to ride with out training wheels and I said goodbye to my 1994 electric blue Trek 820 (as I got a new bike)!

We picked up this WeeRide attachment from Craigslist so Harriet could ride with us (exhibiting great bravery for a 4 year old). And we are so pumped about it. With Lucy finally being able to ride her own bike, the addition of a baby bike seat to Betony’s cruiser, and this brilliant contraption that attaches to the back of my sweet new ride, we can FINALLY ride bikes as a family. We have declared 2016 the “Year of the Bicycle” for the Coons family and love how solidly made this little tandem attachment is.

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BEST AMUSEMENT RIDE of 2015

(from Tim)

We had a whole post about this from the spring but we went on our first family vacation this year. We went to Glenwood Springs by train, stayed at a great family friendly hotel and went up to Glenwood Canyon Adventure Park on the last day. I’ve done alpine slides before, but I’ve never really experienced an ALPINE ROLLER COASTER like what they had there. It was incredible.

You strap into this little car that’s a bit like a go-cart (and your kid is allowed to seat in front of you) then head down the rail at a great speed. Since you’re surrounded by mountain pines on all sides it feels like you could be in the speeder-bike scene from Return of the Jedi. When you’re done a snag-line takes you back up the mountain and you have a great view to enjoy of the forrest. It was better than any roller coaster, ferris wheel, or loopty-loop I’ve ever ridden!

 

BEST EMOTIONALLY WRECKING ALBUM of 2015

(from Tim)

The Collection is a band out of North Carolina and they created an incredible album here. The songs are rich in arrangement, powerful in melody, and lyrically striking (the spiritual honesty gives me chills at least once listening through the album every time).

Ars Moriendi | the Collection
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BEST NEW RESTAURANTS of 2015

(from Betony)

This award goes to a new Greeley restaurant and a new find in Glenwood Springs.

Hands down our new favorite MEAL in greeley is Right Coast Pizza‘s “Sunny Side” pizza – delightful thin crust, with house charred peppers, red sauce, bacon and a fried egg. Sounds a bit weird, I know, but it is A-Maze-ing!!
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Polanka could also win the “best restaurant with the worst atmosphere” award. It’s found in a dingy shopping mall with florescent lighting and ugly tile floors in Glenwood Springs.

But this is the kind of food I would want on my death bed. This place is like “last meal of your life” good. Partly because you can FEEL the love and history put into it. You might cry it is so good. Drop everything and drive there right now. Order everything on the menu. Ignore the fact that it looks like you are eating in a weird florescent lit packing store in a strip mall. Ignore the styrofoam plates. Just close your eyes and stuff your face.
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By the way, honorable mention in Glenwood Springs goes to Slope & Hatch tacos too. Great creativity AND execution.

 

Hope you enjoyed our favorites of the year. With moments and foods and discoveries like this it makes us look forward to 2016!

Blessings and much love,

Giants & Pilgrims
Betony & Tim Coons

 

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