Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ripping It Up in Mormon Country, Part I

I spent this past weekend in and around Park City, Utah, skiing and hanging out with one of my favorite college friends, Paige. She's living the dream out there, freelance writing for magazines, occasionally bartending "just for fun", and of course, skiing ALL THE TIME. And well, since I don't have the balls to take my career in my hands and move out there like she did, I am forced to limit my time in Park City to short visits-- which there will hopefully be many more of in the future.

I grew up skiing in New Hampshire-- my mom had me up on the slopes not long after I began walking-- and I've grown to really love it over the years. When I was living out East, it was always so easy to just jump in the car and go, I took it for granted. It was only when I moved to the Land of No Hills-- Chicago-- that I realized just how much skiing meant to me-- and how much I missed it. Luckily, Northwestern had an annual ski trip (which I went on twice), and I still had vacations at home to hit the slopes. But now that I'm working full time, it's a little harder to make those ski trips happen. But that's where Paige comes in-- she's living the dream, and she's gracious enough to share it with me, whever I can make the trip out to Utah. Oh, it's great to have friends with common interests... yes, yes it is.

So, of course, this entry isn't going to be all about me moping that Chicago doesn't have any hills. I had a kickass time with Paige in Park City, hitting the slopes and savoring the eats-- not the least of which was my first Osso Bucco. Keep reading.

Day One: Flight Attendants, Please Prepare for Landing

The first thing that struck me as I walked out of Salt Lake City International Airport was the mountains-- towering, majestic, and appropriately snow-capped, they rose dramatically off of the plain that is Salt Lake City, forming an almost protective fortress all around the edge. Paige drove up in her rough-and-tumble Chevy Tundra (you need an SUV to be able to get anywhere in those parts) and whisked me off for the short drive back to her apartment. After getting settled, we headed into town for our first dinner, at Flying Sumo. This place served up some of the most excellent sushi I have ever tasted-- and I've definitely tasted my share. I think it was Paige who told me that this place turns Sushi virgins into believers-- people who've never tasted sushi before come here and are instantly converted.

We started off with edamame and a pot of delicious green tea, which we found (upon lifting the lid) to be seasoned with little bits of popcorn and other unidentifiable morsels. Considering I usually loathe green tea (I think it tastes like boiled grass, so I just try to drown it out with sweetener), it was truly the some of the best savory green tea I've ever had. And it complemented the sushi fantastically.


We started out with two large, fat maki rolls. Paige got the Dakine Roll, which came in wonderfully sweet Dakine sauce-- wonder if it's named after the outfitter? I got the Nitro Shrimp Roll, which wasn't as spicy as it claimed to be, but did come with some flaming hot sauce on the side (which I guess was meant to be the "nitro"). Still not full, we ordered a third roll-- the Hawaii Five-O-- which was even bigger than the first two, and QUITE scrumptious. Don't remember exactly what was in it, but there was some tempura action and it was sprinkled with crushed macadmia nuts, adding a delightfully crunchy texture to the roll's sticky rice and chewy seaweed.

Stuffed with sushi, but not stuffed enough to skip dessert, Paige and I strutted out of Flying Sumo and made our way up Main Street in search of something sweet. Main Street, Park City is a quaint and charming little drag dotted with boutiques, restaurants, and ski shops, and strung up with Christmas lights that were made more beautiful by the falling snow. Quickly enough, we came upon the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in all of its confectionary glory.


Although initially overwhelmed at the selection of gourmet chocolates and candy apples, I eventually settled on a generous chunk of macadamia nut toffee, while Paige went for a nicely sized caramel. Next time I'm going to have to spring for one of these drool-worthy caramel apples though.

Got to be off to bed now... but stay tuned for Day 2 of my Utah trip... including my first Osso Bucco... coming soon!

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