Friday, February 08, 2008

Best Last Weekend, pt. 1

To celebrate my internet being up and running properly again, here's a post about my little trip to Utah from last Thursday until Tuesday.

Something I learned by flying to Utah and being in Utah that I didn't really know from living in New York is that it is winter right now and that much of our country is covered in snow! New York has been cold some of the time, but I think it has only snowed once this winter, and that barely lasted a day.

Now, the main purpose of my going to Utah was to be there for Grandma Barnes' 80th Birthday Surprise Party, but the party was Friday night and I flew out Thursday afternoon so I had to lay low until the next day. To aid in laying low, Cindy picked me up from the airport and we headed to the Conference Center for President Hinckley's viewing. We were battling the clock and eventually had to leave before seeing the Prophet because we had to have dinner and be home in time for the LOST premiere. (I'm sure you know what that's like.) {But hey, don't let me leave you in suspense...the next morning Mom, Uncle Duke, Cousin Rachel and I went to the Conference Center bright and early when there was practically no line and were able to see the Prophet then}

Now, in that last paragraph when I said "have dinner" I was understating it because we didn't just "have dinner", we had like a whole biggish party at the Blue Iguana with all sorts of friends (there were more than are in these pictures [but not a whole, whole lot more]). My brain wanted to believe this was a "Welcome to Utah" party thrown in my honor, but in my heart I knew it was actually a "Have a Nice Month Long Trip to London" party in honor of Cindy's month-long trip to London that was to begin the next morning.

Kim, Cindy, Marsha.

Me and Whitney (from London. 7 & 3/4 years ago.)

Are you ready for Mexican food pictures? I ate myself unto immobility at this meal. It was great. I had missed great Utahn Mexican Food so bad.

These are shrimp, pineapple, and chorizo tacos. With such a daring combination on the menu, I just couldn't resist.

Then it was off to Cindy's for LOST and the last-minute finishing up of art projects that needed to be taken off to London.

The next we got up super-early and I drove Cindy to the airport in a gentle but continuous snowfall. As I left the airport the snow turned into a regular beast of a storm and I slowly made my way to Duke & Teresa's on a snow-covered freeway with cars skidding out about in front of me. It was great fun. I kept my hands at 10 and 2 and an eye on all my mirrors and dashboard needles and made it home safe no problem. By 8 am the storming had ended and hard workers were working hard.

After visiting President Hinckley, Mom and I had lunch at the Cotton Bottom. I'm kicking myself in the shin right now for not having a picture of the Cotton Bottom...but it's this bar by my Grandma's house that I've associated with Salt Lake City for my entire life. My earliest memories of driving from LA to Salt Lake all include coming off the subway freeway as our trip was ending and seeing the Cotton Bottom's Bugs Bunny'd sign before me. Anyway, last August I was at this popular Tribeca eatery (right after the Mulcock reception, in fact) and I noticed something very interesting listed on their menu. I quote:

"Garlic Burger: A recipe borrowed from The Cotton Bottom Bar in Salt Lake City. We've been told by some Salt Lakers that ours is better. Served on a toasted garlic bun with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle."

And while I didn't order this Garlic Burger (I think maybe I had something like meatloaf? I get these meatloaf moods sometimes) I was very, very surprised by what my eyes saw. A Tribeca hotspot (of sorts) sending a shout-out to this obscure little bar from the fragments of my childhood memories? And then boasting to all of New York that they were better than this spot that no one in the city had ever heard of? So I did a little research and discovered that this burger was slightly famous in and around Salt Lake (My Uncle Duke said that it was pretty good and that he had it "One or zero times" [he couldn't recall which])in fact this Cotton Bottom garlic burger is so renowned that it was ranked as Utah's 2nd Best Burger (after Carl's Jr.) by users (seriously). Being a pretty big fan of Carl's Jr. I was anxious to try a burger that a highly reputable internet poll deemed to be nearly as good, so (as I was saying paragraphs ago) Mom and I headed down and tried the burger and forgot to take a picture of the bar's famous sign.

It was ok. The bun was super serious. Needed mayo. And let the record show that the Cotton Bottom isn't like a bar with burgers like the Corner Bistro in New York or Goldyburgers back home, the Cottom Bottom is a straight up dark and smoky little bar featuring a crowd that's 2/3rds Bar-going, 1/3 hamburger-investigating (so Mom and I weren't too out of place). But can I send a shout out the the bartender/order taker/hamburger bringer? He was a super nice dude that made us feel plenty comfortable and not at all dumb (and really, we should have felt a lot dumber.)

After lunch Mom and I saw the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I hope you remember the little review I posted on that. Ok, let's move on to...

The Utah Trip Main Even! Grandma's Surprise Party!

Teresa masterminded a birthday dinner for Grandma where 27 or so of Grandma's choicest descendants (including all of her children, lots of her grandchildren, her favorite grandchild, and a great-grandchild or two) surprised (shocked, perhaps?) our octogenarian matron by being there. Here's the way too dark, way too short video of Grandma's entry that captures some of the spirit of the occasion:

Once Grandma got over the surprise she went about greeting her relations with so much speed I could barely capture her on digital film.

Back at the table, Dad was explaining his method of remembering where one's breadplate and glass can be found at their place setting. (look at his hands [duh] and maybe you can figure it out...the next day I implemented his strategy and recoiled with horror when I realized that my entire table at Liesel's reception was using their neighbor's bread plate)

This is what Grandma is saying in this picture about the surprise we had just given her: "If I were the fainting type I would have fainted!"

Dinner! Really quite decent in all honesty.

And here's Grandma with her birthday cheesecake. Notice that she kept the candle in as she ate it, she found the cake to be much prettier that way. Very clever, Grandma. Very clever.

You know what? I'm splitting this Utah trip up into multiple posts. Sorry. You're just going to have to deal with it.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

It was so good to hang out with you again before I went to London. I think it should be a tradition. That painting never stopped smelling like resin and we just threw it away. It didn't work like it was supposed to.