While we were in Estes Park for Spring break, we had to drive down the mountian one day because Mr. Wonderful had found us a Craigslist find – a car top luggage rack that would let the three kids be able to put their feet on the floor of my Mountaineer on the 11 hour drive home.
I will scour Urbanspoon and Yelp often in a foreign town to find a good local place, but sometimes the best reference is that of a local, in this case, our friends Brennan and Jerry who live in Estes.
Brennan told us if you truly want a great breakfast you need to go to Crane Hollow Cafe.
So the day after winter storm Virgil swept across Mid America, guess what we were stupid enough to do?
Yep, that’s right – we drove down a windy mountain road for 20 minutes.
Mr. W swears his knuckles weren’t white when we reached the bottom, but I know better. And yes, that IS an SUV that slid over the edge of the road and into the Big Thompson River. We actually passed the emergency rescue of the guy the night before when we also drove the road trip in the dark (shudder).
But Crane Hollow was worth it.
Looking more like a lean-to shanty than a dining spot, the Wonderful guy walked on up and made some comment about..”Hey babe, this looks romantic” while I eyed it in speculation.
I needent have worried however, for stepping inside, I knew it was going to be my kind of place.
From the freshly baked goods in glass on the counter to the antique looking tables and rustic furniture to the old-school country tunes softly crooning in the dining area, (I have instincts about these things), I felt right at home.
We started by ordering Chai Lattes, and they were pleasingly spicy, sweet and creamy. AND they were served in one of those large white cappacino mugs that I love to cup in my hands on a cold snowy day. There were also offerings of locally brewed espresso and some wonderful sounding Aztec hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne in it.
Mr. Wonderful looked like he fit right into the Colorado mountain side with his furry face and skull cap and he really enjoyed the Chai.
We studied the menu, and always a plus, we learned that Crane Hollow prides itself on serving as many seasonal and local ingredients as possible.
It was tough to choose, with things on the menu like Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal with fresh fruit and a Smothered Burrito topped with spicy homemade pork green chili. We also noted various options for healthy choices like soy milk options and vegetarian patties instead of sausage. Colorado has some healthy people who bike and run…even in snow storm Virgil. Believe me, I saw it!
Mr. Wonderful ordered the house made Corned Beef and Hash with peppers and onions added on.
The corned beef was exceptionally good and not too fatty and I don’t think he could finish this plentiful portion. Of course I snatched a bite complete with some of one of those beautifully poached local eggs.
I couldn’t resist the Sourdough French Toast.
You can get two or three pieces dipped in a cinnamon-vanilla egg batter, topped with lovely ripe strawberries and whipped cream and pure maple syrup. It nicely fit the bill for me this cold morning and it was delicious.
This was probably one of our favorite places to eat when we were up in Estes Park.
If you’re ever vacationing or live in the area and haven’t tried it – it’s worth finding!
Crane Hollow Cafe
7504 Hygiene Rd.
Longmont, CO 80503
Here’s a map to help you find Crane Hollow Cafe!
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