Morning Walk, Park II: Historic Lower Highlands (and Some Italian Sweets)

This is becoming a great ritual: an early to mid-morning walk through one of Denver's neighborhoods, followed by some local eats. I firmly believe that the best way to explore a city is to visit one neighborhood at a time and then spend an hour or two on foot, checking things out. So many details get lost from a car window.

Today's plan was to walk around the Platte River neighborhood, but I kind of got lost en route.  I found the Riverfront Park area, but couldn't seem to find the shops that I wanted to check out on Pearl Street; I quickly realized that I was in the wrong place. Instead I stumbled onto the Flour Mill Lofts, an amazing building that was converted from an old flour mill into an urban residential building. (I'm a big fan of converting defunct existing structures into living spaces.) Then I passed the Denver Skateboard Park. A few minutes later I somehow wound up on a little bridge that took me up to Speer Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in the city.  Before I knew it I had crossed the river and was back in the Highlands-- where I live, but in a part of the Highlands nicknamed LoHi (Lower Highlands) where I haven't really explored.  The sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous.  Not wanting to waste more time, I decided to unload the troops and walk around.
There's great historic architecture in Denver, which is something I hadn't expected (I'm not sure why). There's Foursquares ('Prairie-Box' dating from 1895-1930), Mission Revival, and Victorian styles built before the silver crash of 1893. Later examples of architecture include Colonial Revivial, Dutch Colonial Revival and the ubiquitous and quaint Craftsman-style bungalow homes. Today we saw tons of Victorians in the Potter-Highland Historic District. We walked around for a long time and before I knew it, it was well past noon and it was time for a snack. We walked over to 32nd Avenue and the hunt was on for a coffee shop or a little bakery. At the corner of Clay, I saw a place called 'Spuntino' and I had a feeling this was going to hit the spot. (This 'Spuntino' is not to be confused with Frankie's Spuntino, the Brooklyn eatery, which has also been mentioned on this blog. It also shouldn't be confused with 'spumoni'- that's an ice cream with layers of colored flavors and candied nuts.) 

Spuntino is an Italian snack-- and this place has small plates, paninis, gelato, piadine and soup. They also have homemade popsicles, which are apparently fantastic, though I didn't try them personally. (Next time.) The menu is well thought out with dolce (sweet) and salato (savory) options.  I got a pastry, a cup of coffee and some gelato-to-go. When I got home I portioned out the gelato, a Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramel.  Seriously. It was delicious and authentic. Apparently the owners had flown in an expert from Italy to train employees on the gelato making process. It was spot on. 

A few blocks away is Little Man Ice Cream.  Their 1,400 lbs. milk can/store is fantastic and their ice cream is delicious.  Not for today though. Maybe Wednesday!   
Next week I'll be heading over to Park Hill and SoBo. Stay turned!

time for a snack...
back to our walk...

back at home...