Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Food and The People in Haven

There is this place around Salt Lake City where you can hide for a couple of hours and seriously forget about the bottom line! The Log Haven Restaurant, in Millcreek Canyon (

I have learned fast and early that any place around here that’s “in a canyon” will delight the eyes with beauty and serenity. Every trip along any canyon is an adventure and a completely refueling opportunity.

Log Haven’s location  is no different. You drive along steep walls of Utah colorful rock, on winding roads, grounded by pine, aspen and hardwoods. There are campgrounds, waterfalls, a creek, parks and trails along the way. Once you get there, the world is locked quietly behind you. The front door of the restaurant faces a waterfall, and the landscape is wild, and although very much planned, it gives you the illusion that it was untouched. The building looks like an old log cabin – chameleonically blending in.  

The view from our table towards the front alleyway -
can you even see it, through the aspen trees?! 

Inside the dining room

But there is more to the place than its surrounds. They welcome you in their “living room” and ask you to wait for your table in front of the fireplace, on their oversized couches and armchairs. They ask you about your day and they tell you what parties they have next door – they usually rent several spaces in the facility to private parties. When we were there “this young girl was celebrating her 100th birthday”. We thought it was a wedding by the décor, but in a way, it was – when you commit to your 101th year of life, I s’ppose.

The host (the same one we had 3 years ago, which should say something – made me think it might be the owner?!) shows you to your table and gives you the menus – nothing fancy, right?! Except maybe for the live piano jazz music coming from the foyer – an elderly gentleman is playing, while taking short sipping breaks for his white wine glass.

And then, you meet your waitress - we had waitresses on both our trips. They were both a bit “different”. They are perfectly … American, but they roll their Rs. They pirouette. They say “thank you” if they notice you breathing. If you say “thank you” back, they say “thank you” because you said “thank you” – and they do not stop till they are the last ones saying it – in  a very … Japanese greeting sort of a way.

They have a knife bent in an L shape lengthwise with which they clean every single crumb that you happen to leave on the table – compulsively. They giggle while describing the dishes you’re interested in ordering. They shiver with pleasure and roll their eyes as if describing an orgasm when they talk about their desserts. They say “fromage” instead of “cheese” and “mousse” with French pursed lips. They say “beurre” instead of “butter”.

It could become a bit embarrassing, you see, but that’s when you get the point that this is not your ordinary restaurant! You didn’t just drive all the way here to just fill your gut with food. You came here to be treated, and entertained, and spoiled visually and socially, dined and to forget about your world. You are in the mountain, and you are eating wild duck and berries with local harvested everything’s. 

This is my dish: (honey grilled organic) chicken breast (bone in - yeah!),
hominy - millet cake, fennel salad, blackberries, local feta

 This is what my husband had (the special): NY Steak, lobster tail,
asparagus, mashed potatoes and beurre clear.
I loved his monogrammed plate!

 And that brings me to the food. I have had a hard time describing food that is really delicious, because I believe that food, just like wine, is such a personal experience! I like my chicken dry, and my cow pretty dead! But I love my fish raw. I know a handful of people would fight me on all of these accounts! So, all I would say is – just go, try it, and tell the world what you think. But I can only guarantee you won’t be disappointed, no matter what the order will be!

They do a great job of everything, and their ingredients are always fresh which makes them so extra  flavorful, especially the veggies and the cheeses (still trying to figure out how they get fresh lobster out here, but …). The goat cheese they use comes from this dairy in Salt Lake (Drake Farm) that we discovered on our own, by just visiting the Farmer’s Market every year! Their cheeses are amazing so they really stood out for us!

The recipes blend in the area, as well – bison, trout, mushrooms, wild turkey, lots of various peppers, pine nuts and lots of berries.

Everything that they bring out is pleasing to the eye also – which always make me feel special. It’s not just food. It’s culinary art – and that is why I don’t mind ever spending the extra dollar. I feel like I pay for the extra care they put in every piece of onion they put on my plate!

Unless you’re really well off, financially, of course, this is not the place you would go for your every night dinner. But every once in a while, it’s good to escape, do something different and go on a culinary vacation, close to home, while finding out what your local harvest tastes like. The Haven is for that one time.

No comments: