It started with Monday. As any new week would.
We had reservations for a food-and-wine pairing, at The Communal Restaurant in downtown Provo. The winery that was featured was from Napa Valley, our favorite, and its name was Judd’s Hill . The wine maker was there, and it was a ton of fun to hear him energized about his juices! He should have been excited, too: they had indeed the first chardonnay that I didn’t hate, and that says something. Their reds were a bit way dry for me, however. But it is me, not them!
The menu from our food and wine pairing
You’ll have to know a bit about the Communal. It’s this little, maybe 500 sqf place in downtown Provo, and all it has is three tables. Three huge tables, that accommodate oh, I don’t know between 10 and 20 people each. And you sit down right across and next to strangers and you feel just like you feel when you’re on a plane: stuck, that is: you’ve got a stranger; and some food, and two hours to spare. What are you going to do?! Ignore? Or participate?!
The rabbit, cooked three ways, and the beef and beet dish. I had a hard time eating something as pretty as this!
We participated! We met some cool out-of-towners, in town for business, and some “neighbors” from Springville. Amazing that people who grew up around here would entertain the beautiful decadence of wine-and-good-food pairings. Thou shalt not judge.
The food came in small portions, but it was so delicious. My favorite was the rabbit. Especially the roasted one. It reminded me of this rabbit onion stew mom used to make every fall when my dad’s uncle would bring us his hunted rabbits. So yum!
The beef was a bit … bloody for me, but then again, I am no good judge – I never eat it. The whole night was an experience – the food was gourmet and unusually delicious, not something you can get at any ol’ restaurant every day, and the wine was well paired and complemented it well. It felt like a trip to Europe for sure: good food, small portions, good wine and close encounters. Definitely not recommended if stepping out of your comfort zone is not your thing.
And then, there was Friday. We went out for my work team outing, to Texas Roadhouse. If there is such a thing as going to hell for killing beef, these people have the expressway ticket, let me tell you!
I know that for most Americans this is not a cultural experience, but it is for me. I have never seen this much steak on one table in my whole life! From our table top of 8 people, 6 got some form of steak, one got a form of burger, and I got the shrimp. I have no idea how people can eat enormous amounts of steak! I would want to look like Mr. Universe and demand my money back if it didn’t happen after so much red meat!
After the dinner, we went to the newest James Bond Movie, Skyfall. So, the evening ended nicely, with us being teleported from Texas, back to the Motherland, in England. It was one of the best Bond movies yet, according to the aficionados in the audience and … to my husband, too. It was really a lovely evening.
On Saturday, we first went to a traditional Italian pizzeria, Settebello in Salt Late City. I loved the pizza! I have never been to Italy, but it reminded me of Amsterdam Italian pizza – just thin crust and healthy tasting – chockfull of fresh cheese and tomatoes, with an aftertaste of burnt wood, from the real brick oven it just came out of . None of the goopiness and plasticness of the American pizzas. Mine was loaded with garlic. So much so that I had to chew some peppermint gum after it, so I won’t offend my concert neighbors! Pair that up with a nice, smoother than silk Italian pino grigio, and the dinner was amazing!
After dinner, we had tickets for the Utah Symphony, in Salt Lake City. I have not been to The Symphony for many, many, oh, too … many years. I enjoyed it like the fasting son enjoys the first sign of water after fasting for a long time in the desert! We watched a Debussy and Ravel concert, and it was amazing! I loved the fact that for two hours there were no violations by technology in the space of the elegant Abravanel Hall! No electronic instruments, not even the sight of an electronic panel monitoring the sound or the lights! Just pure music, old fashionedly played instruments and beautiful, masterful sounds. Just the way they have been doing it since … the invention of music, I guess! The piano player from France, played an entire piano and orchestra concerto from memory. No paper reminders! It was a beautiful and humbling escape.
The gorgeous glass sculpture in the lobby of Abravanel Hall
Temple Square and the surrounding streets, as seen from inside Abravanel Hall
Waiting for the concert to start.
When we got out, the city was wearing the winter coat. Snow, sleet and ice was frosting every corner of it! The usual 45 minute drive home expanded to 2 hours on Saturday night! The roads were slick and the traffic thick. (Rhyme not intended.) But laying down in bed, and looking back, we have no complaints.
Welcome to Winter, and Happy Holidays, too, from SLC, UT!
I feel like I have traveled between California to France, and then England, back to Texas and yet back to Italy and France in the span of five days without moving so much more than 40 miles from where we live.
I love America. And the one thing I love her the most for is … that it allows for all of us, immigrants, to bring home to us, instead of make us travel to it. All this, while letting us explore what it has to generously offer on its own, too.