Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Always Better on Holiday VI, pt. 5: Learning and Growing in Utah

So yes, last Wednesday I left California for Utah for part two of my three-part super-vacation.  I spent a lovely two hours laidover in Phoenix . . . it was only supposed to be an hour, but you now how it is sometimes.

Goodbye, Phoenix!

And then I was in Utah!  I learned so much there.  At Cafe Rio I learned they have nachos now.  I also learned that, eh, getting the nachos isn't really worth it.

And I learned they've been having wonderful sunsets in Salt Lake, best captured if you turn the exposure compensation down a stop.

I learned about the Beehive Tearoom.  Charming, really.

Pearl taught me about defensive driving.

And at my sister's house I learned that Scout like's Ellie's boots.  I also learned that, if you shoot Nerf darts at your nieces and nephews, they love it and they'll run the darts back to you when you're out of ammo.

The next morning I learned Sophie likes climbing.  And waiting.

And I learned that the Chic-Fil-A spicy chicken sandwich is a great-looking sandwich and a pretty spicy sandwich but, oh no, definitely no the spiciest chicken I've ever had.  Duh.

Also learned that they've got awfully fancy bathrooms at the Fashion Place Mall.  Way too fancy.

Went to Benihana's Friday night with Andrew.  Looking at our different sushis, began to suspect our appetizer selections may represent fundamental differences in our lifestyles?  I was humbled.

And I learned some chefs are better than others.  "Too much sake", what a catchall super humorous excuse!

Shrimp appetizer . . . I don't know, seems a little stingy.  Oh, and thanks for the tail, guy.

But that was a nice onion volcano.  Actually, it was a fine meal, a fine chef.  Just not astounding.  Maybe I can't be impressed anymore?

Over at the art show at the library I learned about Jared's new hairstyle.

And then went over to the famous chocolate place and learned that the little people aren't always there.

Andrew taught me about chocolate covered worms.  And generosity.

Over at Jared's house roommate Caleb taugh me a little about botany.

And Andrew taught me about camp saws.  Japanese camp saws.

And I learned about the best pizza . . . sausage with fried chicken and blueberries.  For beagles.

Out back we learned who was the fastest footracer.

Or which runner is most concerned about keeping a hat on?

And learned it's a little hard getting a perfect group photo.  Look!  There's me!

Saturday morning, big big deal, Kat taught me a little bit about donuts.

She dj'd up eleven excellent donuts (and one fritter).  Quite the playlist.

That night an octopus at Whole Foods taught me about feelings.

And, at the Friendsgiving Feast, Cindy taught us all about 21st Century Jell-o molds.

And I learned that in Salt Lake everyone with a job owns a house.  A charming, darling, warm little house.

Sunday night I taught the Edwards family about "my" miso corn.

Best batch ever!  Having nice and soft room-temperature butter on hand made a big difference. 

And I learned Duke has taken a waiter job on the side.

At lunch Monday I saw that Grandma has learned to surrender her food for photography right away.

And I learned that Cancun Cafe's enchiladas are, eh, fine. 

That night I went to a little party in the most cat-art-filled house I've ever seen.

Same house had a copy of Ol' Possums on hand, I learned Laura is sensitive and thoughtful.  She found the poem that inspired the song that inspired our cat's name just like that.

Tuesday morning, it took some work, but Andrew and I learned where to get a fine breakfast near grandma's house.  The Belgian Waffle and Omelet Inn.  If the waitress named Nicole is your waitress then you, my friend, are in luck.  Big, big luck.

Andrew learned about exposure and how much I still think about the Panthers.  Why do I still wear that hat?  Because I believe in redemption.  And the good old days.

At the house, just watched the cat watch things.  No learning.

At the airport, giving service, I learned about Kat's new photo face.

And I learned about families waiting anxiously for Elders as the blizzard of the century looms on the horizon.

Do you remember the other week when everyone thought Utah was going to have to surrender itself to snow forever and ever?

Grandma and I made a special trip to Dan's to load up on essentials, so we'd last.  So we'd not die from the snow.

Nice to see some hints of joy in a world about to disappear into white death.

Turns out the "blizzard" was no big deal, still, Grandma wouldn't let me out that night.  Which ruined some pretty great plans that had been cooking up . . . fortunately, I had bought myself a Totino's Party Pizza at Dan's (we don't have these in New York!) and rediscovered a beloved taste from my college days.

And then, on Wednesday, I learned that the Blue Burrito Company at the Salt Lake City airport is not the place to get the  absolute best burrito you'll ever have, but it'll take care of you.  And make a wonderful leftover for later.

Goodbye, Salt Lake.

Goodbye, Utah.

Hello . . . cracker planes?