Late fall and winter in Palisade is a far cry from the agricultural town's growing season. Fruit trees and grape vines lie dormant in their long rest between crops. Palisade's fruit stands are shuttered and, while most of the agri-tourists have moved on to warmer pastures, downtown businesses remain open.
The patio at Peach Street Distillers closes for the season, but the cozy bar remains open, serving thirsty locals a mix of sometimes traditional, sometimes unique and oftentimes goofy cocktails muscled up with the Palisade Distillers’ small-batch vodka, gin, bourbon and brandies. Their bloody Mary has become legendary as much for the Clamato-based mixer and generous assortment of pickled garnishes as the Palisade-born Goat Vodka.
For visitors who can't decide between Vietnamese and Italian, Palisade has got the perfect restaurant. The menu at Red Rose Cafe reflects the influences of owners Rose and Tom. Rose runs the front of the house and provides the inspiration for traditional rice noodle bowls, pho, and fresh salads of cabbage, mint and cilantro topped with delicately thin slices of cold meats. Tom, the chef, displays his Italian heritage with scaloppini and pasta dishes featuring salmon and shellfish. Rose and Tom ran a similar operation in Denver, where they had a loyal following, before moving to Palisade. The restaurant, which was featured in Sunset Magazine, has a comfortable, homey feel anchored by a U-shaped bar. The wine list features a respectable selection of local wines. The Carlson Vineyards Gewurztraminer is an excellent complement to the aforementioned Vietnamese salad.
In addition to the wide variety of dining and beverage options, downtown Palisade keeps guests entertained in December with an Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration. Activities include street carolers, holiday music, wagon rides, kids events and tours of some of Palisade's Victorian homes.