Bistro 258

June 20th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The Friday night before one of our co-workers was to fly home we went to Bistro 258 in Ogden, Utah for a nice farewell dinner. The restaurant is nestled between several restaurants, bars, antique shops, and specialty stores on 25th Street. The street is lined with brick buildings and inviting store fronts reminiscent of a main street in rural America. The restaurant itself has a nice enough environment. The atmosphere was very warm and inviting. At first glance it appears to be a fine dining establishment. The food was very good. For my entree I ordered the Princess Penne.

The Princess Penne from Bistro 258 in Ogden, Utah.

Chicken, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives and toasted pine nuts, sauteed in garlic olive oil, tossed with penne pasta and topped with feta cheese. The flavors were great. It had a warm depth to it. The garlic olive oil, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives really set this dish off. For dessert I got the cheesecake, of course.
Cheesecake from Bistro 258 in Ogden, Utah.

The Copper Onion, Cauldron, and Capitol

May 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

After driving around Antelope Island on our day off we decided to go in to Salt Lake City to do some sightseeing. It was early afternoon by the time we got in to the city so lunch was definitely in order. I had seen a place called The Copper Onion in one of the local magazines. It had delicious looking food. It is right in the heart of downtown and fit in to our itinerary perfectly. The atmosphere was nice. I would imagine it to be a great place to get dinner. It was a good place for lunch too. We were promptly greeted and seated at a window table overlooking the street. The lunch menu was not large at all. I take this as a good sign though. It usually means that the restaurant is very confident in the few dishes they do prepare. I will go ahead and say that my assumption was correct. I decided to go with the grilled ham and cheese. It was the best ham and cheese I have ever had. It is prepared with tillamook cheddar, grotte caputo, and kurobuta ham. It came with a side. I decided to get the broccoli raab because I have never tried it before. I was not impressed. Not because it wasn’t prepared well. I just don’t think I like broccoli raab.

Grilled Ham and Cheese and Broccoli Raab from The Copper Onion in Salt Lake City, Utah.

After a wonderful lunch our day of random sightseeing continued. I knew at some point I wanted to see the Olympic Cauldron and decided there was no better time than the present. It was a short drive up the hill to Rice-Eccles Stadium, home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. It is the stadium for the University of Utah’s football team, the Utes. The Olympic Cauldron was placed high on top of the stadium during the Olympics and was moved to street level in Olympic Cauldron Park following the games.
The Olympic Cauldron at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The park is adjacent to the stadium. There is a visitor’s center as well, although it was not open when we were there. The Hoberman Arch is also part of Olympic Cauldron Park. It was located in the Olympic Medal Plaza during the games. The arch would open each night of the games to signal the start of the medal ceremony.
The Hoberman Arch at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

After taking some pictures we continued our sightseeing. Our next stop was the Utah State Capitol Building. It is a very impressive building located on a hilltop north of downtown. It is a prominent part of the Salt Lake City skyline. At night the dome is well lit and can be seen for miles.
Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Antelope Island

April 9th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

During my stay in Utah I managed to get a Tuesday off work. One of the guys I work with and I decided to make the most of it and get some more sightseeing in. We decided to go to Antelope Island State Park first.

Antelope Island State Park Visitor Center, Utah.

Antelope Island is the largest island in The Great Salt Lake. It can only be reached by boat or by car over the seven mile causeway. From a distance the island looks deserted and barren. It is not though. It has been made into a bison preserve. There are also lots of other species of wildlife. Yes, there are antelope on the island as well. After paying a toll we drove across the causeway and on to the island. Since it was winter time there was not a whole lot of activity on the island aside from the wildlife. Our first stop was the visitor’s center. It is a concrete building designed to blend in to the landscape. Inside is a museum. There are displays for all the different types of wildlife, the pioneers who settled on the island, native Americans, and the annual bison round up. Of course, there is a gift shop too. After looking around a little while we set off to explore the island. There are a few roads that meander their way across the island. I was surprised that one has not been built around the entire island though. The roads just lead to certain sites on the island. We drove down by one of the beaches on the island. This is also where the only restaurant on the island is. Ironically, they serve bison burgers. It, apparently, is only open during the summer. We continued driving and started to cross the island. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first bison, crossing the road in front of us.
Bison crossing at Antelope Island State Park, Utah.

I have seen bison before, but it has been a long time. I had forgotten how big they are. Once they crossed the road we were able to get beside them and take better pictures.
Bison at Antelope Island State Park, Utah.

Just after seeing the bison we saw a herd of antelope. I don’t remember ever seeing an antelope before. They are pretty cool. They look like prettier deer with weird horns. I guess they aren’t used to people, although I would think they should be. As soon as they heard the car they definitely kept an eye on us.
Antelope Herd at Antelope Island State Park, Utah.

After a couple of turns we found ourselves on a road that parallels the shoreline. There were great views of the lake and the mountains that are on the island.
View of the mountains on Antelope Island at Antelope Island State Park, Utah.

The road leads to a ranch that is on the island. We decided to turn around and head back though. It would have been a long drive to get to the ranch. It is a twenty-eight thousand acre island. On our way back we spotted an animal running along the shore. It was a coyote. I don’t think I have ever seen one of these in the wild before. It appeared to be hunting when we first spotted it. Shortly after we spotted it, it spotted us. It seemed very uneasy around people as well. For the most part, it just stared at us the whole time we were stopped to take pictures and look at it. I didn’t get any good pictures because he was a long way away and I was taking pictures with my iPhone. I knew we would see some bison and maybe some antelope, but I was not expecting much more other than that. Seeing the coyote was really cool. We decided we had seen everything we had come to see so we started to head back. I took this picture on the way back. It is a good picture of the lake, but you can also see a large portion of the seven mile causeway we came in on.
View of The Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island State Park, Utah.

Osaka Japanese Restaurant

April 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

While I was in Utah I got on a sushi kick. I wasn’t the only one in our group with a sushi craving though. One of the places we went to satisfy our sushi craving was Osaka Japanese Restaurant. It is in a small strip mall across the street from the hotel. I was not quite sure what to expect. Little hole in the wall places make me nervous, especially when seafood is involved. The server was very prompt and friendly. It is always a good sign when you can see the sushi bar out in the open. You can even sit directly at the bar if you want to. The sushi chef’s were standing behind it waiting to prepare our sushi as soon as it was ordered. When it comes to sushi I am not too adventurous. I usually stick to the tried and true favorites. I always get the Spicy Tuna Roll. I wanted to try something different though. They have their own specialty rolls on the menu. The one that caught my eye was the Mexican Crunch Roll. It is spicy crab and cream cheese deep fried and served with a sweet sauce. Both rolls were very good. The Mexican Crunch opened my eyes to a whole new world of sushi. I had no idea deep fried sushi existed. There is no going back now.

Spicy Tuna Roll and Mexican Crunch Roll from Osaka Japanese Restaurant in Layton, Utah.

After devouring the delicious sushi it was time for dessert. I ordered their mini cheesecakes. I was also on a cheesecake kick in Utah. The cheesecake was typical cheesecake just cut in to tiny pieces. It was tasty though.
Assorted Mini Cheesecakes from Osaka Japanese Restaurant in Layton, Utah.

Park City, Utah Trip 1

March 28th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

After exploring Utah Olympic Park we headed to the heart of Park City. I was excited to see what Park City was all about. I knew ahead of time that it was the premier ski destination in Utah. It is also home of the Sundance Film Festival. That gave me an idea of what it was going to be like. Seeing it in person, though, was so much better. There are three ski resorts right in Park City. As we were driving towards downtown Park City the first one we passed was The Canyons. We didn’t go to the resort itself, but from a distance it looked pretty nice. It seemed like it catered to those wanting a luxury ski trip. As we continued on the next resort we saw was Park City Mountain Resort. This is the main ski resort in park city. It is right in the heart of town. The ski slopes end practically in town. In one location they actually enter town. As we continued to drive we went under a bridge. This bridge is part of the ski resort that actually goes right in to town. You can literally ski right off the mountain, over the bridge, and in to town. There is a chairlift at the end of the bridge that you can take right back up the mountain. I thought this was really cool. All of Park City has a resort feel to it. The architecture is all styled to fit the “mountain retreat” theme. We passed a Burger King restaurant styled the same way. Our destination was Main Street in Park City. As we turned on to Main Street I fell even more in love with Park City and Utah.

Main Street in Park City, Utah.

Main Street is lined with all sorts of shops, restaurants, and bars. It was very busy. Tourists and ski bums everywhere. People literally just skied off the mountain and in to town. The mountains provided the perfect back drop to the town. We drove about halfway up Main Street then found a place to park on the street. They get much more snow in Park City than down in Salt Lake City. There were snowplow created piles of snow all over the place.
Main Street in Park City, Utah.

We decided to find a place to eat first. We walked all the way up the street and halfway back down the other side before we decided on Flanagan’s, an Irish pub. The atmosphere was pretty typical of any pub. One interesting thing I noticed shortly after walking in was they had dollar bills hanging all over the walls. People decorate a dollar bill and then are allowed to hang it up on the wall. I thought that was kind of cool. The menu was what I expected it to be. They serve all the typical Irish fare. I decided on the Rueben and Tomato Bisque Soup.
Rueben and Tomato Bisque Soup from Flannagan's in Park City, Utah.

The service at Flanagan’s was not that great. It took an hour to get our food and it was not that busy. It may have been because there were six of us, but still not sure that justifies an hour to prepare our food. The food itself was very good. I ate pretty quickly because I was anxious to get back outside and explore more of Park City. Everyone else was not in as big of a hurry so I went ahead and paid and headed out to explore a little bit on my own. I am glad I did too because I found out later that after I left the server got an attitude with the other people in our party. Glad I missed that drama. By the time I made it out of the restaurant the sun had already began to set, adding a new dimension to Main Street. I was on a mission. I wanted to take some pictures of that ski bridge and chairlift we had passed on our way in. As I walked down the street I passed this well decorated building.
Main Street in Park City, Utah.

There were red Christmas lights all over it. The second floor balcony was decorated with these hanging orbs lined with more red Christmas lights. I don’t think this picture does it justice. After admiring the decorations and taking some pictures I continued my exploring. There are little alley ways and corridors in between some of the shops. These alleys provide glimpses to more layers of little village buildings. Occasionally the breaks between the buildings provide views of the ski slopes and mountains directly behind. Pro ski shops are mixed in with the souvenir and specialty shops. There are jewelry shops mixed in as well since Park City was founded on silver mines. Eventually I made it down to the ski bridge and managed to get some pictures of it before it was too dark.
Park City, Utah.

By this time I was freezing. It was really cold in Park City. I think the temperature was nineteen degrees. It felt much colder because of the wind. I was definitely ready to warm up so I decided to get my souvenir shopping done. After a little while looking around in some of the different shops I decided to meet back up with the group. They were just getting out of the restaurant. The server along with being rude also messed up the checks. Again, glad I left. The sun had completely set by this point. The street and all the shops were all lit up.
Main Street in Park City, Utah.

The rest of the group also wanted to do some shopping so we walked down the street and perused some more of the shops. One of my favorite stops was The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. You can probably infer why it was my favorite. They had all kinds of chocolate goodness. Fudge, truffles, and chocolate dipped Oreos are just a few examples of the goodness they sold there. The thing that caught our attention was the huge variety of candy apples they had in the window. My chocolate indulgence of choice was peanut butter fudge. After we all satisfied our sweet tooth we looked through a few more shops. We decided to head back a little early. It was bitterly cold, some of us had to do laundry, and some of us had to get up really early the next morning. I definitely loved Park City, although, I don’t think I would want to live there. It is very touristy and has a bit of a pretentious feel to it. Visiting Park City definitely sealed the deal on my love affair with Utah though. Just because I wouldn’t want to live in Park City doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to live close enough to drive up for the day.
Main Street in Park City, Utah.

Utah Olympic Park Trip 1

March 15th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The Sunday after our first ski trip we decided to go back in to the mountains, but this time we headed to Park City, Utah. I knew one of the places I wanted to visit while we were there was Utah Olympic Park. We were also planning on visiting the outlet stores and Main Street in Park City. The drive to park city from Layton, Utah, where we are staying, is about an hour. It doesn’t seem quite that long though because there is so much to look at along the way. We drove down interstate fifteen through Salt Lake City then we headed into the canyon. The interstate is made up of lots of windy curves that take you up into the mountains. Once some elevation is gained it opens up to spacious views of the mountains and rolling hills. Driving in to Park City is like entering a totally different atmosphere, both meteorologically and culturally. I started noticing that the homes became nicer and the temperature on the car thermometer was dropping. There are people all over the place skiing. We passed several cross country skiing areas along the way. The snow was also becoming deeper. As we got off the exit to head in to Park City you could see the Nordic Ski jumps high up on the mountainside. I could not wait to go explore Olympic Park. Our first stop, however, was the Tanger Outlets. At first, I did not want to stop at the outlet sores. Who goes to Park City to go to outlet stores? Once I got out of the car and realized what stores they had there I was a little more accepting of the idea. Of course, I had to buy something. I definitely wanted to make the outlet store excursion as quick as possible though. As we were walking around the outlet mall, one of the first things I noticed about Park City was the cultural variety. I noticed at least five different nationalities during the short time were at the outlet mall. It just added to the excitement of where I was. Park City is a world renown ski destination. People from all over the world travel to Park City just for the skiing. After a few purchases, we were off to our next stop, Utah Olympic Park. As we winded up the mountain side towards the park those Nordic Ski jumps we saw from the interstate grew larger and larger. They actually look quite small from far away. Definitely not the case the closer you get to them. As we came over the last hill into the parking lot there it was, the sliding track. I was super excited to see this because the next weekend I had reservations to take a ride down the sliding track on a bobsleigh. Seeing the track for the first time absolutely added to my anticipation. I was super excited. As soon as I got out of the car I just wanted to explore. The park is pretty much open to foot traffic. I didn’t see any signs that said do not enter. Of course, the first thing I wanted to check out was the sliding track. There is a walkway directly next to the outside of the track so I started walking that. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get to the inside of the track or not. Come to find out there is a pedestrian underpass leading under the track. You go down a flight of stairs, directly under the track, and then right up the other side. Running along the inside of the track is an access road. It is a pretty open area, and I imagine it would have to be considering they hosted the Olympics. I got the best pictures from the inside of the track.

The sled track timing board at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

The timing board shows the track in its entirety. There are fifteen turns total. You can also see the track itself in this picture. They keep the track covered so they don’t have to clear the snow and it keeps the ice from melting. I found an opening in the tarps and took a picture of the track.
The sliding track at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

It was so cool to be able to see a sliding track close up. Bobsleigh has always been one of my favorite Winter Olympic sports. It really put it in to perspective to see the size of the track, the diameter of the turns, and the steepness of the banks in the turns.
The sled track at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

Curves 12 and 13 of the sliding track at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

Curve 15 of the sliding track at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

I was super interested in knowing all of the details about the Olympic Park. I wanted to know the logistics of everything. Where did they put the stands? What are all the different buildings for? How many people were here for the Olympics? For the time being my questions went unanswered and I made my own inferences. After taking photographs of the sliding track and making a decision not to hike the entire mountain I started to walk back the way I came. The second thing that stood out to me after we arrived was the hill behind the main building. I went to check that out. It was covered in all different kinds of jumps and obstacles. I assumed it was their training area for young athletes. It looked fun and intimidating.
Part of the ski training area at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

I continued walking behind the main building and on the other side were the summer freestyle ski jumps.
Summer freestyle ski jumps at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

I had been told by my boss before I came to Utah about these jumps. At the bottom of the jumps is a gigantic swimming pool. During the summertime athletes practice their arial maneuvers using these jumps and the pool to break their fall. I was pretty cold at this point so I decided to head inside and meet up with the rest of the group. Turns out that inside the main building, which is called The Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, they have a couple of museums.
Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

The first museum I went through was The Alf Engen Ski Museum. It provided a history of skiing and how it has evolved over the years. It had an exhibit on the beginnings of skiing in Park City. There were exhibits on different snow sports from cross country skiing to freestyle and everything in between. There were also some interesting displays on skiing in Utah and what makes it unique. I met up with the rest of the group in the museum theater where they were watching 2002 Winter Olympic highlights. I made it just in time to see the bobsleigh segment. Watching the highlights of the bobsleigh competition only intensified my anticipation for my chance to go down the track. The second museum they have there is The George Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum.
George Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

This one had some really cool exhibits. There were pictures and memorabilia from a variety of winter sports that were a part of the 2002 Winter Olympics. They had costumes and pictures from the opening and closing ceremonies. My favorite exhibit was the Olympic Medals.
Authentic Olympic Medals on display at the George Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

They had a variety of the medals on display. In the center, of course, was the gold medal flanked by silver and bronze for a variety of different sports. I didn’t realize this before, but each sport gets it own medal. Each medal is sculpted the same way but they are engraved on the back for their corresponding sport. They also had some of the molds and dyes they used to make the medals. Once we finished looking through the museum we made a stop in the gift shop. We didn’t have any concrete plans for the rest of the day other than going to main street in Park City. We weren’t entirely sure what else may be in store for us in Park City though, so we decided to go find out.
Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

The Tavernacle

March 12th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

Following dinner at Red Iguana we wanted to experience a little bit of Salt Lake City’s night life. We headed for a place that had been suggested to us shortly after our arrival in Utah. The place is called The Tavernacle. It was promised to be a good time.

The Tavernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

We had tried to go the previous weekend after our dinner at Tucanos, but we were too early. The festivities hadn’t started yet. The good thing was, we already knew how to get there. We were able to find parking on the same block and we didn’t have to pay. That is always a good thing. The cover to get in was five dollars. It was really a good deal considering what we were given in return. The place was packed. We found out later in the evening that the tables are reserved days in advance. It was standing room only. So we found a spot on the wall to stand and watch the action. The crowd was pretty mixed, although it did seem like the college crowd had the most representation. The Tavernacle is a duelin’ piano bar. They have a stage with two grand pianos in the center of the bar. There were two performers leading the action.
The Tavernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

From how it was described to me before we went, I thought the two pianists would be trying to out perform each other. That wasn’t the case. It was actually quite the opposite. They work together. It is pretty much group karaoke. People fill out song request slips and lay them on the pianos along with some cash. Usually no matter what song is selected one of the two, if not both, of the performers would know how to play it. They played a huge variety of music. The most memorable song of the night was Garth Brooks, Friends in Low Places. Not because I like the song, but because of the crowd interaction that went on during that song. Another fun aspect to the group karaoke thing is that if you don’t like a song you can veto it. To cancel a song you only have to pay one more dollar than the person that requested it. Then you get to bang a huge gong and they immediately stop playing the song and play the song of your choice. The Garth brooks song was stopped and started several times before someone paid thirty something dollars to stop it for good. That person, then proceeded to hit the gong so hard he broke the drum mallet. The performers did not let him live it down for the rest of the night. They had a creative way of controlling the crowd. If someone did something out of line, they just embarrassed the crap out of them so they got the point and didn’t do it again. For instance, this one drunk girl kept wanting to play the tambourine. She had horrible rhythm and was definitely not a crowd favorite. So to make her stop, one of the performers put it to a vote. The crowd unanimously and boisterously voted her off the stage. Another highlight was when they did Sir Mix A Lot’s I Like Big Butts.
The Tavernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Crowd interaction is a big part of what they do at The Tavernacle. They were constantly pulling people on stage. At one point they had a couple girls on top of the pianos dancing. The performers would refer to the crowd as the world famous Tavernacle choir. It was a very lively atmosphere. I loved it. I would love to see a duelin’ piano bar in Chattanooga. Just one more reason I love Salt Lake City, and Utah in general.
The Tavernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Red Iguana Trip 1

March 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The most talked about restaurant in Salt Lake City has to be Red Iguana. It has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. In my opinion, that makes it awesome right off the bat. My boss told me about it before I came out here. Once I got out here, It was definitely the most suggested restaurant. That being said, Red Iguana was definitely the most anticipated restaurant of the trip.

Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah.

After skiing at Snowbasin all day we were all exhausted. We needed a couple hours to recuperate before we headed back out. After getting some rest, the next order of business was a big yummy meal at Red Iguana. We had been told it was kind of a hole in the wall and not in the best part of town. It was a hole in the wall, but the area didn’t seem all that bad. The bad parts of Chattanooga are worse.
Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Being the most talked about restaurant in Salt Lake City I expected there to be a wait, and there was. We were greeted by a crowd waiting outside for their chance at some good food. The estimated wait time was forty-five minutes. Considering there were six of us, I was pretty impressed with that. I had a feeling it would totally be worth it too. It is a good sign when there are that many people waiting outside of a restaurant. The restaurant is really small so there was not room to wait inside. Having a crowd outside must be normal for them because they are prepared for it. They have a radiant heating system mounted under the eve that runs the length of the front of the building. I am really glad they had it too because it was cold. On top of that, periodically, a server walks through the crowd offering free hot chocolate. The wait only added to the anticipation. There are large windows on the front of the building that provide great views of other people eating. You could see the food on the tables and it looked delicious.
Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I was so happy when our name was called. We were led inside to wait while the final touches were put on our table. The atmosphere is awesome. You could tell everyone there knew they were getting a one of a kind meal. The inside of the restaurant only added to my excitement. The walls were painted bright colors. The front door was covered in stickers. The decor was pretty typical of a mexican restaurant with the exception of all the awards. Every wall you looked at had awards on it. They are voted number one mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City year after year. There was an assortment of newspaper clippings and articles proudly on display as well. There were two musicians roaming from table to table playing Mariachi style music. They were pretty good too. Shortly after being seated we were greeted by our server. As with most Mexican restaurants, chips and salsa were provided with a quickness. As we were handed menus. I already had a general idea of what I wanted. Red Iguana is known for their mole. Mole is a spicy sauce with chocolate in it. They put tons of different ingredients in it to provide a flavor explosion in your mouth. I knew I wanted to try some. The menu had all of the typical Mexican dishes on, but with a Red Iguana spin. The section that caught my eye was their specialties. I decided on the Puntas de Filete a la Nortena, or filet tips for those of you who don’t speak spanish. The reason I chose this dish is because they serve the filet tips on almond mole. It also comes with refried beans and tortillas.
Puntas de Filete a la Nortena from Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I made a good decision. The filet tips are cooked with onions and peppers. When the dish arrived my first inclination was to eat it like fajitas. I put the filet tips and mole in a tortilla and chowed down. It was extremely good. The tortillas are just like I like them. They are steamed and served warm. The mole was packed full of flavor and complimented the beef, onions, and peppers very well. At first I don’t think my mouth knew what to do with all the flavors in the mole. The taste buds on my entire tongue were being used. The entrees all around the table looked delicious. I was so full, dessert never even crossed my mind. Someone else in our group made the excellent decision to get the sopapilla. Lucky for me, it was a large portion. This was the best sopapilla ever. Their tortillas are thick, which I love. So when they use those same tortillas to make sopapillas the results are amazing. Usually when you get a sopapilla it is completely crunchy. Some people like it like that, not me though. This sopapilla was perfect. It was very fresh, had some crunch, and was soft in some spots. I loved it. After enjoying my little slice of sopapilla heaven I was thoroughly stuffed. Looking around the table, it appeared everyone else was too. We headed to our next destination, The Tavernacle, leaving empty tables that would quickly be filled by more excited patrons.
The cover of Red Iguana's menu.

Snowbasin Ski Resort Trip 1

March 7th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

On February twenty-fifth we went to Snowbasin Ski Resort. This would be my first trip to Snowbasin. I was super excited to go skiing. When I found out I would be visiting Utah in February I immediately knew I wanted to go skiing. My father used to live in Colorado. He thoroughly enjoyed skiing. Nothing quite compares to skiing out west, from what he has told me. If I hadn’t gone skiing while I was out here he wouldn’t have let me live it down. I wouldn’t have let myself live it down either. As it turns out we picked a really good ski resort to go to. Snowbasin hosted some of the alpine skiing events during the two thousand and two Winter Olympics. I fell in love with the place as soon as we arrived. The only thing I really had to compare it to was the one time I had been snowboarding in West Virginia. I don’t think there really is any comparison between the two. We took a shuttle from a hotel in downtown Ogden so we could enjoy the sights on our way up. To get to Snowbasin we drove through the Ogden Canyon. We followed a creek that eventually turned in to a frozen reservoir. There were little mountain homes scattered along side it. As we were driving through the canyon we were gaining altitude. Once we emerged from the canyon we continued to climb in to the mountains. The big sloping hills of the mountain valley gave way to steep hillsides covered in evergreens and snow. When we started getting close I had my eyes peeled for ski slopes and chairlifts. I finally saw a chairlift way up on the mountainside. After going through a couple more turns we were there. I immediately loved the vibe. The weather conditions were not ideal, but that didn’t seem to be keeping people away. It certainly wasn’t going to keep me away. It was cold, of course, and really windy. Come to find out it was so windy they had to start the day with only two of their nine chairlifts running. The sound of skis and snowboards being blown over filled the air as we walked inside to check in. We had reservations for what they call “Learn N’ Earn”. It was thirty nine dollars for rental equipment, lesson, and a lift ticket for their Little Cat lift. It was a really good deal. The lodge was exactly what I had imagined. It was a huge log structure. When you open the doors you are greeted by a fireplace with couches and chairs in front of it. It had high log supported ceilings. There was wood panelling and dark rich carpets everywhere. It was laid out in somewhat of a circle with banquet and meeting rooms branching off. We found our way to the reservation desk to retrieve our rental vouchers and lift tickets. Towards the center of the lodge there was a cafeteria style kitchen. They had all kinds of delicious looking breakfast foods. On the other side of the cafeteria was a large dining room equipped with another fireplace. There were floor to ceiling windows providing views of the slopes. After retrieving our rental vouchers and lift tickets we went to the other lodge type building to pick up our rental equipment. I had originally planned on snowboarding, but since I would have been the only one from our group in the snowboarding class I decided to ski instead. I also thought it would be cool to ski since that is what my father enjoyed when he was living out west. Plus I had never done it before and figured I would add another first to my trip inventory. It didn’t take too long to get our equipment. With skis and poles in tow we headed to ski school.

Getting ready to ski for the first time.

Snowbasin’s ski school is just beside the building we rented our equipment in. It is an open, pretty much flat area surrounded by a wooden fence. On top of each fence post there is a sign with a different skiing or snowboarding technique on it. They use these to organize groups of learners based on skill level. Running down the center of of the ski school area is what they call the magic carpet. It is basically a conveyor belt to take the inexperienced up to the top of the slope, which is all of three to four vertical feet. Once we had been sorted in to our groups our lesson started. We began by going around and introducing ourselves. Then we started with the basics. We learned how to put on our skis. Then we learned proper stance. Soon we were learning how to control our speed and stop by positioning our skis in a wedge shape.
First time skiing.

We practiced slowing ourselves and stopping over and over. We needed to know how to do this before they took us to the big bunny slope. After thorough practice and a couple of ski school drop outs we headed to the big kid chairlift.
Moving to the big kids' chairlift.

After learning how to board and depart the chairlift we headed to the top of the bunny hill. At first it is a little intimidating. It is also a little humbling to see four year old children zipping down the slope with ease. We continued to practice our gliding wedge and wedge stop on a much larger scale. There were a couple of mishaps along the way. Followed by a couple more ski school drop outs. I ended up with a forty-five minute private lesson because everyone else in the group resigned. By the end of the lesson I was able to do wedge turns and wedge to parallel turns. If that makes no sense to you, let me put it in to perspective. I was able to go down the hill with some semblance of normalcy and near the skill level of a four year old.
Skiing down little cat at Snowbasin Ski Resort.

Once the lesson was over I met up with the other members of the group for lunch. The base of the resort is at an elevation of six thousand four hundred and fifty feet. They have a lodge near the top of the mountain at eight thousand four hundred feet. To get there you take a gondola. That is where we went for lunch. It was about a thirty minute ride to the top. As we rode up we were able to see more of the resort. The resort covers three thousand acres so in reality we probably only saw a small portion of it. We also had awesome panoramic views of the mountains and valley in the distance.
View on the way to the top of the mountain.

At the end of our gondola ride we were greeted by Needles Lodge. It is nestled just next to Needles Point. We realized once we got to the top that the mountains we had been staring at the whole time we had been there were now the mountains we were on top of. There are three towers on the top of Mount Ogden that I had been looking at for weeks from the call center. Now we were on the opposite side of that same mountain and within a few hundred feet of those towers. It was pretty cool. The lodge was similar to those at the base of the mountain, but with its own personality. The most striking thing about the lodge is the size of the logs they used to build it. For the most part the lodge is a big open dining area with a fire place in the center. The log beams supporting the roof are at least four feet in diameter. It looked like they had used redwood trees to build it. We enjoyed a nice lunch right by the window overlooking the mountains and resort below. I finished eating pretty quickly and was anxious to get back down to the bottom and continue skiing. So I headed back down on the gondola with another member of the group. It is kind of weird to ride the gondola back down. Most people don’t do that, they ski down. It was a little reminder of my still developing skills. I spent the rest of the day skiing down the bunny hill, directly in to the lift line, and repeating the process. I forced myself to stop with just enough time to return the rental equipment, make a quick lap through the gift shop, and catch the shuttle. On the ride home I started realize just how exhausted I was. It was well worth it though. Skiing in Utah was everything I had hoped it would be.

Doolittle’s Deli

March 1st, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

In celebration of the new episode of Jersey Shore last Thursday night we got pizza from Doolittle’s Deli in Ogden, Utah. On Thursday nights it is tradition for my friends and I to get together and watch the new episode of Jersey Shore. That tradition is still holding true in Utah. It isn’t quite the same because we are missing a key member of our group, but we are making the most of it. Doolittle’s Deli is practically next door to the call center I am working at. I see people at work with food from Doolittle’s all the time. It looks delicious so I had to get some. They have a deal available for delivery orders. If you order one medium pizza you get one free. So we ended up getting four pizzas total. We had them deliver to the call center so we could get the deal then we took them back to the hotel. Doolittle’s has a good selection of specialty pizzas. We got the loaded pepperoni pizza.

Jimmy's Loaded Pepperoni Pizza from Doolittle's Deli in Ogden, Utah.

We got a Hawaiian pizza.
Hawaiian Pizza from Doolittle's Deli in Ogden, Utah.

We got a cheeseburger pizza.
Cheeseburger Pizza from Doolittle's Deli in Ogden, Utah.

Last but not least we got a chicken alfredo pizza.
Chicken Alfredo Pizza from Doolittle's Deli in Ogden, Utah.

All of the pizzas were very good. The crust is soft and buttery. On the pizzas with marinara they use a sweet sauce. I like that. Not a big fan of the spicy sauces. All of the ingredients were very fresh as well. I think my favorite was the chicken alfredo pizza. Probably the most unusual was the cheeseburger pizza. It had beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and most unusual fry sauce. The reason I say most unusual is because fry sauce is not something you see in the south. It is definitely a Utah thing. People love it here. From what I have been able to gather it is a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise along with some other spices. Different places make it with different ingredients though. The Sonic Drive Ins out here actually have it in packets. All in all it was a very successful Jerzday.