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Spring Cafe + Acquolina + Bodega

I am writing my first food blog as I have finally come to terms with my identity as a foodie. Oh no, I don't want to accept the truth that I am a slave to food! However, my slavishness is unveiled completely when the dishes are served in front of me.  I LOVE FOOD!

As the struggle goes on, I decided to do a "soft-opening." I am going to write about a few of the restaurants I tried for the first time this summer.

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I had coveted the chance to try an elegant-looking cafe called Spring Cafe located on the crossroad of Spring Street and E. Hopkins Ave. in Aspen. It has an all-vegetarian, 100%-organic menu, and the subtext under the name of the restaurant claims "Natural Organic Cafe & Juice Bar." We got Pad Thai for lunch, which had an exotic name but local taste: it was not the kind of Pad Thai you usually get at a Thai restaurant. The taste, although quite nice, did not have the spice and sourness Pad Thai usually has. More like fried noodles in a Westernized Chinese restaurant, it became too salty as we kept on eating. I finished my Carrot Hop juice (carrot, apple and ginger) after just one-third of the Pad Thai, so I ordered another cold Chai Tea Latte. My companion got the Pretty in Pink smoothie - then we came to a conclusion: these were the best strawberry smoothie, chai latte and carrot juice we had ever had! (Also the most expensive.) You can already taste the freshness and the authenticity of the ingredients from the first sip. The thickness and fullness of the smoothie will make all other smoothies taste like water. As for the chai latte, it depends on whether you prefer them sweet or bitter - Spring Cafe's is more in the middle.

Although the Pad Thai and drinks were really filling, we still got desserts. The coconut chocolate chip macaroon was mediocre. The fruit crumble ball had more variety. 

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Two of my favorite restaurants from the past years reopened under new management with different names: Gisella became Acquolina, and Pacifica became Jimmy's Bodega. At first, we were disappointed, but we still went to try the new restaurants.

Acquolina, same as Gisella, serves varieties of pastas and entrees. We got three different dishes and I tried all of them. The Vongole (linguine with Manila clams) was my favorite: the pasta was al dente and clams were as if fresh from the sea; sauce was light but present.

I got Salsiccia (sausage risotto), which was creamy and tasty. However, the sausage plus the cream made the flavor too strong. I felt a bit greasy after finishing it.

The Gnocchi (potato dumplings) was very delicate, and the flavor was balanced very well. Potatoes were cooked very thoroughly while they stayed pretty chewy.

We got the Seafood Plateau, crab cake dinner, and daily special salmon at Jimmy's Bodega. Although we missed the crab soup, tuna tartar, and mammoth burger Pacifica served, Bodega's seafood provided us with an exceptional experience. The altitude in Aspen is 7890 ft. high, so the preservation of the seafood is the first difficulty a restaurant needs to face. Bodega, however, which specializes in seafood, not only keeps their ingredients in a good condition, but also maintains an outstanding quality.

So far, my culinary experience in Aspen has been great, and all three of the restaurants are worth a second visit.

Chai Tea Latte

Chai Tea Latte

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Carrot Hop

Carrot Hop

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Coconut Macaroon and Berry Crumble

Coconut Macaroon and Berry Crumble

Vongole

Vongole

Salsiccia

Salsiccia

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

Seafood Plateau, crab cake dinner and wild salmon

Seafood Plateau, crab cake dinner and wild salmon