One of N’s coworkers used to manage a comedy club and still has some connections. He got us some tickets to see Jim Gaffigan tonight. We watch stand-up on tv sometimes but don’t go to a lot of live shows so I’m looking forward to it.
Gaffigan is probably best known for his “Hot Pockets” bit but I thought this one was funny too.
Last year I took a photography class from Nicole Hill, a very talented local photographer. I really enjoyed the class and learned quite a few things. I wanted to take another class from her but Nicole got married and moved to San Francisco.
But I just found out that Nicole is coming back to Salt Lake City and putting on a weekend workshop of fun art classes. The classes will run November 5th to the 7th and will cover topics like photography or using Illustrator or screen printing. I have my eye on two classes: Tabletop Photography and Digital Workflow for Photographers, but I’ll have to see how it goes.
I just signed up for the fall semester of woodworking. To be honest I’m a bit discouraged about this semester because last semester I had hit a snag on the jewelry boxes I was making and I don’t know how to fix the problem yet. But I’m sure that once class gets going and I figure out how to fix things I’ll feel better. The class is ten weeks long so hopefully I’ll have some time left over to make a little toy for E or some bowls or something.
Wouldn’t it be great to have unlimited time (and money) to take classes in whatever interested you? *dreamy sigh* Sometimes I miss college. Anyway, if you’re local and interested you can see the full listing of fall classes here.
Last night N and I were planning to go see Sonic Youth at the free outdoor concert series that Salt Lake City puts on every summer. But after a long day at the office for him and a long day of wrangling a somewhat cranky E (he’s teething) for me we just couldn’t get excited about driving downtown and standing around in a hot sweaty crowd to listen to a band whom we probably wouldn’t even be able to actually see on the stage (because of the aforementioned hot sweaty crowd). Yep, we’re getting old.
We had already arranged for a babysitter and didn’t want to cancel on her. So we put E to bed and went to dinner at Pizzeria 712, a restaurant that both of us had heard of but never tried. It was really good.
I’ve never been to a restaurant like it in the Orem/Provo area: it’s upscale but casual in the same way Tilth was. Like Tilth, Pizzeria 712 is also devoted to sustainability and sourcing their ingredients from organic/local sources. (I don’t think they take it as far as Tilth does, but then again that would be pretty difficult.)
The atmosphere there was lovely and refined but not stuffy. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the evening breeze. We started with braised short ribs served on top of polenta with horseradish cream and then shared a pizza topped with speck and soppressata (both are cured meats), shaved garlic, and mozzarella. The crust was hand-tossed and thin and crispy. It was obvious that the flavors had been chosen carefully and they all worked well together. We finished with a vanilla panna cotta served with a cherry sauce. It was SO good: creamy and sweet and cool and perfectly balanced by the tartness of the cherries. Considering the high quality of the food the prices were very decent. Our three course meal (without any alcohol) came to $35 plus tip.
I really had a great time: the food was delicious and N was a perfect date. After knowing each other for ten years he still makes me laugh like no one else does. And to top the evening off I ran into a friend I used to work with and haven’t seen in a year (Hi, T!) and we had the chance to chat and catch up. It was a serendipitous and charming evening.
Pizzeria 712 is located on the bottom floor of now-defunct Midtown Village development and while the pizzeria itself is warm and inviting, it is a little strange to look out at the huge unfinished building across the parking lot. I hope their location doesn’t hurt them: they’re now my favorite restaurant in Utah County and I want them to be around for a long time.
These are some of my favorite pictures from our visit to the local dinosaur museum last weekend.
E and his friend L thought these fish were great.
The huge water/sand table was also a big hit.
I thought E looked pretty cute in his oversized smock.
E was terrified/fascinated but this model shark.
Even after we had moved on to the next display E kept wandering back to stare at the shark. I think he wanted to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.
It’s a pretty decent little museum. E was too little to get anything out of the actual dinosaur skeletons they have, but he really liked the water table and this sand pit where the kids brush sand away to uncover fake fossils. If you’re local and you want to meet up there, let me know. My membership gets guests in for 50% off. I’ll hook you up.
We first heard about Timbersports on the Colbert Report last year.
I thought the whole thing was oddly fascinating in the same way that I’m intrigued by traditional aspects of small town Utah life like rodeos and parades. I didn’t grow up in Utah and to be honest I don’t want to live here forever. But I like experiencing the local flavor while I have the chance.
And I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for festivals. So on Saturday I took E and went with my mom, brother, and nephews to the wild outdoors festival.
The lumberjack part of the festival turned out to be pretty anticlimactic. They were taping it for ESPN and so there was a lot of waiting around for the cameras to get set up. I was hoping to see the events where the competitors climb up super tall poles or balance on floating log booms but we only saw them chopping logs in half with hand axes. Which I guess is actually pretty impressive, but was kind of meh to watch.
Manly men at work.
The best part of the event were the Splash Dogs, dogs that competed to jump the longest distance into a pool of water. E loves dogs and freaked out in joy every time he saw one jump.
On of the splash dogs in mid jump.
A splash puppy in training.
There were a couple of other things to do beside watch the dogs and lumberjacks.
Cowboy A in training.
J taking a turn at the bow.
Wrapping it up and heading home.
It was fun, but I probably won’t go again unless they drop the price. It was $15 for adults, $10 for kids which was simply way too much. The mechanical bull, the archery station and the splash dogs were pretty much all there was to do and watch besides the timbersports. More than a third of the grounds were devoted to showcasing boats and tents and other merchandise that we weren’t interested in. To be fair, I don’t think we were really the target demographic but I still think admission should have been half the price they were charging.
Maybe we’ll have more luck at some of the other festivals this summer. There’s a Scottish Festival this coming up weekend and tickets are more reasonably priced. Maybe I can talk N into going–we’ll see.
On Saturday I went to an Indian cooking class with my hair stylist/friend LeeAnn. It was a lot of fun. I think the teacher, Savita Puri, is in her late sixties/early seventies and she was very sweet. Her husband of 51 years (!) was assisting her and kept cracking up the class with jokes and stories. They were adorable.
The class was conducted demonstration-style, so we watch them cook Murg Makhani (butter chicken), Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), Dal (lentils), Zeera (cumin) rice, naan (flat bread) and a mango mousse dessert while following along with the recipes. Then we ate everything–it was delicious.
I love Indian food but have only cooked it from scratch once and that was in the pre-E days. It has seemed daunting to gather all the spices and specialty ingredients needed. But the teacher gave us the address of a good Indian grocery store not too far from my house and so I think I’m going to go stock up on supplies and then try out the recipes at home.
If you’re interested in the class, it’s held the last Saturday of every month at Thanksgiving Point from 11 am to 1 pm. It costs $40 and different recipes are showcased every class. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it a regular thing, but I might go back in July because Mrs. Puri said that they might make one of my favorite dishes, chicken saag, that month. Yum!
In the past (i.e., that one time) when I’ve made Indian food I’ve just serve short-grain rice like I use for Korean food, but having the Indian rice really adds a lot to the meal.
Recipe: Zeera (Cumin) Rice Serves 4
2 cups basmati rice
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cups water
2 T oil
salt to taste
Wash the rice 4-5 times, then soak for 15 minutes and drain the water.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add cumin seeds, when it starts crackling add the rice. (Be sure not to let the cumin seeds burn!)
Fry the rice for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the rice, salt, and water to a rice cooker. Stir well and then cook until done.
The trip to Goblin Valley was really fun. Thunderstorms had been forecast but they were supposed to hold off until the late afternoon. The forecast was part right: it poured during the 4-hour drive there but it stopped raining once we got to the park in the late afternoon, which was nice. But the rain had turned the soft red clay dirt into super slippery, mushy mud. We had already invested so much time in getting there that we braved the mud and climbed down onto the valley floor to poke around. The scenery was amazing.
There were a few other people braving the mud.
E clowning around with N.
My shoes after walking around on the valley floor.
The mud was really something: it sucked my shoes right off my feet a few times. We hadn’t brought extra shoes and so we ended up driving home barefoot. We wanted to stop somewhere for dinner so we first stopped at a Walmart and bought some cheap shoes to wear. Before we went into the store we tried to clean off our muddy shoes the best we could but I still felt very self-conscious. It was the first (and hopefully the last) time that I felt under-dressed for shopping at Walmart.
We had one other little mishap besides the mud: we had miscalculated the amount of gas we needed. When we got to the park we were running quite low on gas so on the way back we drove straight to the nearest gas station which was in the opposite direction than our home. It added about 45 minutes to the drive home but I think it ended up being worth since we got to see this place:
Best gas station ever!
All and all, it was a really fun trip. If you go, bring extra shoes and clothes, towels, and a big jug of water to wash up with. (There isn’t any running water at the park.) And make sure you have at least a quarter tank of gas when you get there–learn from our mistakes!
N and I decided yesterday that it would be fun to take a day trip to Goblin Valley this weekend.
Goblin Valley is filled with these strange rock formations that have been shaped by erosion into looking like, uh, goblins. Right now we’re planning on driving there Saturday morning, poking around for a couple hours and then driving back that night. It’s almost a four-hour drive, so we’re crossing our fingers that E will handle the trip well.
I’m planning on taking my Holga in addition to my normal camera so hopefully I’ll bring back some good pictures–unless we chicken out and spend the weekend lazing around/doing chores instead which is always a distinct possibility.
(My apologies, but work has kept me really busy these past few days and I haven’t gotten around to sorting through the keychains and weeding out the duplicates for the giveaway. But I promise to do it this weekend and I’ll have the giveaway up on Monday.)
Even with work being crazy this week, E and I found the time to go to Farm Country over at Thanksgiving Point. It’s only 5 minutes away from our house and so it’s a really easy outing. It was the first time we’d been there and E loved it.
E liked seeing all the animals; they have goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, cows, and horses. The goats were his clear favorite, probably because they were the most obliging when he tried to feed them corn.
It was pretty cute. E kept running around staring at everything and spontaneously shrieking in joy.