I love visiting new places. Usually before I go somewhere I have scoped out what restaurants would be cool to try and where the cool shops are. I didn’t have to do that this time thanks to Vivint, a sponsor of Alt (you didn’t think I would not mention Alt this week in a post, did you?)! They are based in SLC and put together the best map for all the attendees to plan from. To be honest, I didn’t think I would have any time to use it with all the conference activities but it came in to play on Saturday night. And it turns out, I think I like Salt Lake City! I had never really heard anyone talk about it in terms of good food or cool people so I just didn’t think anything of it. But getting to see the small amount that I did leads me to believe that I would really like seeing more of it. (Oh and be sure to check out Vivint’s blog for awesome content!)
We checked the map and saw what our close dining options were and then we went on-line to do some research before making out decision. We decided on The Copper Onion after reading that it was one of the best restaurants in the city. We didn’t know what to expect other than the menu looked darn yummy. We rolled up without a reservation. How amazing is that pig portrait!?
We were seated at the Chef’s counter where we could watch the kitchen staff prepare all the food. I LOVE that sort of thing. It was really fun to watch. I didn’t get any pictures of our dinner! So bummed but it was phenomenal. We decided to share a bunch of things so we could taste a bunch and it turned out to be such a good idea. We started with these ridiculous fried potatoes, Patatas Bravas, that were coated in smokey paprika and served with a spicy aioli. SO GOOD. We ordered the Wagyu Beef Stroganoff to split which was beautiful. It had these huge homemade pappardelle noodles you wanted to slurp up in a very unladylike kinda way and chunks of beef that were tender and delicious. They have a bunch of sides to choose from and we tried their Brussels Sprouts (tossed with garlic and lemon and Warm Mushrooms. I’m not a huge mushroom fan but these sounded amazing. And they were! They were tossed in a chimichurri sauce (tons of fresh herbs) and were heaven in my mouth. I have never said that about a mushroom before. Never.
So the only fitting thing to do to finish the meal was order 3 desserts. We tried the Chocolate Pudding that was served with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Whoa. The olive oil was unexpected and crazy tasty. I had been craving pie so I had to get the pecan. It did not disappoint. We also got the Bread Pudding with Cardamom and ricotta.
It is one of those places that makes you super happy and super sad at the same time. We had a great time, the staff was friendly, the atmosphere was amazing (great music!) and the food was exceptional. So I’m very sad that we don’t have it at home. Tear.
Next we walked over to Bar X. We had asked our server where we should go for a drink and she suggested this. As we walked around the corner there was no mistaking its location.
The inside of the bar was dark, as most are, but there were some great touches that made it totally cool. To start, it was SUPER clean. The doorman was totally friendly (we chatted, he was from Orange County originally) as were the bartenders. And oh yeah, they were playing black and white movies on the TVs, well until some Neanderthal came in and asked to watch sports on one of them. Gross.
This photo does not do the set up behind the bar justice. The lighting in this bar was simple but had such a great effect. They had yellowish backlights, which made all the bottles this amazing amber color from the liquid inside. And every once in a while there was a green bottle that added a nice touch of visual interest. SO well done but totally laid back. You got the feeling that they were like, hey, this would look cool and did it. I had to lighten up this photo a bunch to share the crock pot they keep of wassail (usually made with wine, fruit juice and sometimes brandy – not sure what is in theirs). I just think that is so great. So perfect for the bar, town and weather. We decided to try out something with whiskey and the bartender really worked with our tastes to create something for us. I loved it! They use good liqueur and use fresh juices to make classic cocktails in a modern and delicious way. And the bartender had a bow tie. The staff was super friendly. I love this place.
And as I was looking up to see if their site mentioned what was in their wassail, I came to find out that this is actually owned by Ty Burrell from Modern Family. Apparently he divides his time between Utah and LA and helped turn this old seedy bar in to this new version. Well done, Phil Dunphy.
Since we are totally old and started out our night at the early bird dinner time we still wanted to hang out more after our drink at Bar X. So we headed back to the Grand American for a night-cap. I wonder if all these prints made anyone dizzy?
As we walked in (Oh my gosh I find myself getting all excited about this band just writing this!) I heard live music. We headed first to the restroom and half way there I realized what I was hearing. It was Regulators by Warren G done instrumentally. What!?! It sounded amazing. So we grabbed the couch that was open by the band and listened to the Joshua Payne Orchestra for the next half an hour. Consider me a fan. They went on to play White Lines, a little Radiohead and Bittersweet Symphony. Oh and one of them was from Orange County. I think most of the people in Utah are really from Orange County (including the lovely Brittany from The House that Lars Built).
And then I realized they sell CD’s and promptly bought one. There is some original music on there but also some MIA and 99 Problems (It’s your boy!). Why can’t they be in Orange County?!
And if you are ever in SLC you have to go by the Grand America Hotel to the world’s best toy store, Jou Jou, “a curious boutique for toys and treats” (watch the video!) We walked by that store twice a day to get to the conference and finally went in on our last day. Mind blown.
As you walk in there is an entire wall of framed video screens. Each one has a different monster in it and they all move and talk and it is mesmerizing. There are other interactive areas of the store that kids would love and it is worth checking out just for the kids to see it.
My pictures do not do this store justice. I don’t know who does the buying but it is insane. Unique toys, gifts, candy – stuff you don’t see everywhere.
I wished I had room to fit this water gun pillow in my suitcase to bring it home to my boys. I love it. This would be the store I would always go to if I needed to buy a kid’s gift. They also had a fantastic book area and right away I spotted our faves by Calef Brown.
So I think I really like Salt Lake City. It is also home to Skull Candy and Axl’s Closet so it must be pretty cool. I called my girlfriend who’s in-laws have a house in Park City the minute I got home. She invited my family to go with them sometime. Score. Are you an SLC fan? What else do I need to see if I go back?