Oct 8, 2013

Salida, Colo. – Amica’s and the Arkansas River

Wood-fired pizzas?  Microbrewery?  And an historic downtown location?  I’m there. 

Those were my initial thoughts when Amica’s was the suggested lunch spot by Christine’s daughter when Ken, Christine and I spent the day with her and her boyfriend exploring Salida, Colo. 

Salida is about 40 minutes north of Crestone.  It’s in the heart of Colorado, where U.S. Hwy. 50 meets U.S. Hwy. 285.  Tourism is the big money-maker in town, thanks to the abundance of opportunities for rafting, hiking, camping, hunting, skiing, etc., nearby.  Case in point:  On our way to Crestone, we had already enjoyed a breathtaking ride along U.S. 50 as it meandered alongside the Arkansas River and past one whitewater rafting excursion after another.

With the surrounding beauty of the Arkansas River and the Rockies, I was very much looking forward to seeing more than the outskirts of town.  And, in fact, the historic downtown, did not disappoint with its Victorian Era buildings and dozens of shops, galleries, restaurants and bars reminiscent of Old West times – all catering to tourists and expatriates who have migrated to this beautifully placed town.

The fake wife’s daughter and boyfriend frequent Salida quite a bit for shopping and a return to civilization (I suppose a town of 5,500 seems quite large in comparison to 150 people after you've been there a while).  Obviously, we trusted their judgment.  So, after a stop at the organic food store (what, you were expecting Walmart?), we drove downtown and parked across the street from this place …

If the aroma from the outside didn't already give away the deliciousness that was inside Amica's, the wait for a table did.  But given the opportunity to catch up, we didn't mind at all. 

Mother and daughter enjoying the day
It also provided me plenty of time to survey the menu …

… both food and drink.

I also appreciated the fact that you got to see the artists at work in the kitchen.  I always appreciate a place that doesn't mind showing off its product. 

We were eventually seated in the back room with a great view of the microbrew facilities.  Unfortunately, I was too busy enjoying my Rex’s Amber Ale and terracina pizza to bother to take a picture.  I did, however, remember to get a good shot of the pizza.  Marinara, pepperoni, red peppers, kalamata olives, caramelized onions and mushrooms?  Yes, please!

Terracina -- Mama mia!
Seriously, this was good pizza.  A nice, thin, crisp crust, baked to perfection, and a great variety of pizzas to choose from.  I really don’t know why you’d ever need to bother to make up your own variety. 

The local amber ale was a perfect choice to complement the pizza.  It kind of reminded me of a hoppier American take on Newcastle.  The locally grown hops weren't overpowering, and even at 6% alcohol by volume, it was light enough to not fill you up too fast.  This beer apparently won a gold medal at the Colorado State Fair, and I can see why. 

After lunch, we walked off our full stomachs by exploring downtown …

… which eventually means finding the Arkansas River Walk and Riverside Park.  Now, wouldn't you like to live here to be able to enjoy this for free all summer long?

Who says downtown can’t be scenic? 

Well, I think I've set up my next blog topic enough already.  It’s the yurt story you've all been patiently waiting for.  Stay tuned.  

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