Salt Lake City Report (long)
So with the best laid plans, I left for Salt Lake City with a list of places to try. Due to business obligations, however, I only made it to three (and two of those were not even on my list!).
After setting up my exhibit on Sunday morning, I headed out for a walk to enjoy the beautiful weather and find some football. I ended up at Squatter's Brewery and very much enjoyed a couple of Full Suspension Pale Ale pints, an organic greens salad and a (heaping) order of garlic and herb fries. The fries were really tasty - hot, crispy with lots of rosemary, thyme and garlic. There were way too many of them for me to finish, however, and lost some of their luster as they cooled.
I headed out to Bambara for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The host was very gracious and didn't look at me funny when I told him I would be dining alone. He smiled, welcomed me and asked that I wait a minute for them to clear a table by the window. A perfect vantage point, I faced the salad/app station of the kitchen, where I could watch the bustling activity. Perfect. I looked at the Dine O Round menu, as the almond crusted ono sounded good, but my waiter talked me into the cedar plank salmon instead. I started with a glass of sparkling wine, which went well with both the bread and red pepper hummus and my starter of the roasted corn bisque. The bread was just alright (cold and kind of greasy) but the soup was delicious - very sweet and corny, with a little crab meat garnish. Rich and very tasty. My salmon was also very, very good. The cedar plank added a nice smokiness to the fish, and I really loved the little pucker from the prickly pear sauce. It was also my first time trying a nopalito, which was grilled and placed atop the white bean and corn salsa. I loved both accompaniments - especially since the salsa had a nice kick! I paired the salmon with a glass of the Latour Valmoissine, and was very satisfied. Too full for dessert, I left well-fed and happy.
I meant to try Acme or Tin Angel on Monday night, but after a long day exhibiting and a strenuous yoga class, I came back to the hotel to find they had turned down my bed, left a bucket of ice and a robe. So it was room service and a bubble bath at the Grand America. The garlic and pesto roasted chicken was actually tasty, and I loved the rosemary sauce, especially because they let me sub out the roasted fingerlings for mashed. Bottle of wine I had bought from the liquor store on Sunday, and it really was the perfect end to a long day.
Tuesday was a business dinner at Martine where they only presented their Dine O Round menu, which listed 7-8 tapas, 5-6 entrees, and 5-6 desserts. You could pick tapa, entree and dessert; soup or salad, 2 tapas and dessert; or soup or salad, tapa and entree. There were three of us, and we each chose one of the options. I had the salad, which had greens, candied walnuts, grilled heirloom squash and canary lentils with an apricot champagne vinaigrette. The squash was very good, but there were too many lentils and I'm not sure the walnuts really added anything. The other two both had the soup - and eggplant tomato bisque which they both said was wonderful, but I didn't taste.
I ordered two tapas - lamb and chorizo with polenta and the utah trout with tomato fennel salsa. Both of them were delicious - the lamb was wonderfully gamy and the trout wasn't at all fishy. I also had a taste of my companion's wild boar short ribs which were absolutely amazing - the best thing we had all night. The two entrees were the lamb and the duck - the duck was so tender and done just perfectly, it was also a very large portion! The cherry sauce accompaniment was perfect - tart and not too sweet. This was a very solid entree. The lamb was also tasty (much the same as the tapa version).
We had two desserts at the table - a peach jealousie (sp) and the grilled gingerbread. The gingerbread was clearly the better dessert - wonderfully spicy and sweet, with a good caramelization from the grill. The jealouise tasted like a soggy peach pie to me. All in all, a very good dinner, especially with a very nice bottle of rioja to wash it all down.
I regret not making it to Mazza (which happened to be right next to the yoga studio I found) the Red Iguana and Acme, as well as the Tin Angel, even though the sweet potato black truffle flan isn't on the menu anymore. Salt Lake City was beautiful, though, and I hope to have some business opportunities there, and have my list ready!
Thanks for all of your suggestions and advice.