Last winter I went on a business trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was my first time in the mountain west and it was exactly like the mountains on the Coors cans, but real. They were icy, they were blue, and the entire time I felt like I could reach out and use my hands to pull down the Hollywood backdrop surrounding the sprawling, tacky metropolis that is Salt Lake City.
The thing to do is avoid SLC and head to the mountains. Except when you get hungry. When you’re hungry, SLC has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. One thing that was unexpected about Salt Lake City was the excellent craft beer selection. Epic and Wasatch were two fun breweries to visit. Wasatch brewery is in Park City, perfect for an apres-ski. My favorites were the “evolution” amber and “polygamy” porter, mainly because the labels were cool (shh). Or when you’re not cool enough to hit the slopes at Alta, and all you can muster is a nice snowshoe through the woods, reward yourself at the Bayou, a hip downtown bar.
Arriving into SLC, I wasted no time and immediately got in line for a Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives) favorite: the Red Iguana. This is a MOLE favorite, a brown and generally visually displeasing sauce poured over delicious Mexican favorites. There are lots of moles to choose from: I chose the negro, and then immediately wept tears into my beer when the girl next to me got a sample platter of all the moles before she chose. How do they get so much flavor in mole? Also, I don’t know how to pronounce this, but order rajas de chile pobleno con queso con chorizo. Key word being chorizo. You’ll die, and then regret finishing the plate because you need to save room for mole.
The best thing I did in SLC was visit Antelope Island. It’s called Antelope Island because there are actual antelopes that roam there. As well as foxes, bison, birds, and other living mammals that are usually not seen outside a zoo. It was a heavenly retreat from earth. The greys were not as much grey but cooling, the oranges were dusty, and the slices of light scoring through the clouds was picturesque. We spent the afternoon hiking and exploring.
The icing on the cake of the refreshing, cleansing visit to Antelope Island was immediately after consuming a greasy, cheesy, burger at this dive bar known for their house-smoked bacon and rosemary-garlic fries. The character in this place was above-average for dive bars, and I loved it.
The trip ended at a surprisingly hip downtown brunch spot. There were lots of knit hats, oversize black glasses, and trendy draping garments: the style I now call Mormon chic. Really quiet, cute, trendy brunch place downtown SLC, where the eggs come cage-free.