You basically can't walk a single block without running into something historic in Rome.
We headed back to the room to freshen up.
So where were we headed for dinner?
Because of all the Chinese businesses in the area, the Missus walked into the Chinese Market and asked the manager if there was any "great" Chinese food around. His Answer? "Ummm, they are all just about the same." So we decided on going back to the place we we started this little journey at; Da Danilo.
This time however, we'd not be strong-armed into getting all the antipasto. Even though the owner kept staring daggers at us during our stay. No, we enjoyed a nice Malvasia Bianca and the really enjoyed the main reason for returning; the Carbonara with truffle.
I'm willing to put up with the "typical Roman service" (so says Max), the pushy owner...just for this. The perfectly prepared pasta, the creamy-tongue coating sauce....the shaved truffle.
The rather bland orecchiette da danilo......
And the nice, but not outstanding braised oxtails.....
Would not be reasons to return. But that carbonara....that's a "Desert Island Dish".
Trattoria da Danilo Via Petrarca 13 Rome, Italy
And so we ended our time in Rome. Where it seems history was made on every corner.
And while the Missus wants to return to Rome; it's not high on my list. But tempt me with that Carbonara again and I might give in.
We had eaten well the night before and slept even better. The normal 5am wake up was missed and we slept in a bit.
Having your morning espresso is a good time to people watch. You gotta admit, some of these folks sure have their own...well...style. Like that guy to the right. Notice the matching outfits. Which got me to wondering...was he an accessory for the poodle, or was the poodle....well, you get the point, right?
Our first stop this morning was nearby; Esquilino Market. The area has quite an international flavor...there were quite a few Chinese businesses and we heard Mandarin being spoken from our window every evening.
There's quite a variety available.
It was a nice break.
From this point on, we past those familiar places.
I like how the place looked and later found out that the upper floors of the theatre have been converted to apartments. Pretty cool, huh? How'd you like to live in and above such an historic structure?
Trastevere and the lovely colors and lovely cobbled street turned out to be my favorite area in Rome.
I loved the lanes, the folks walking the alleyways. There seemed to be much more daily life going on here. Clothes hanging from windows, folks going on with their daily routines.
The place really has character and charm.
One turn, and suddenly we were in front of Santa Cecilia, dedicated to Saint Cecilia. The church is supposedly built upon the location of her house.
There are quite a few artifacts and artwork in the church. But it is far from being gaudy...the lines clean.
An interesting note about Saint Cecilia. She was martyred between 176 and 180 A.D. Her body was exhumed in 1599 and displayed no signs of decay! She is the first Saint whose body was found to be incorrupt.
Even though there were quite a tourists, you turn a corner and find a little alleyway that you'll have all to yourself.
There you come across little treasures like this little bakery. Which we later found out was named Biscottificio Innocenti, a very well known and regarded cookie/biscuit shop.
The Missus bought a couple and really enjoyed them.
Biscottificio Innocenti Via della Luce 21 Rome, Italy
While headed to Piazza de Santa Maria, we came across this gelato shop.
The Hazelnut Gelato I had from here was my favorite of all the gelato I tried in Rome.
Fior di Luna Via della Lungaretta 96 Rome, Italy
Of course having this refreshing gelato on the fountain steps of atmospheric Piazza di Santa Maria might have something to do with that opinion.
If Trastevere were a living organism, Piazza di Santa Maria would be its heart.
I loved the artwork of Cavallini in the apse which dates back to 1291.
By now we were getting a bit hungry, so we decided to head on back.
As we headed back toward Termini Station, I noticed the beautiful Ivy hanging on over Via Panisperna in the Monti neighborhood. Taking a look to the right, I noticed the name of a place I'd read about; Ai Tre Scalini. What luck. We were getting pretty hungry.
Basically a wine/beer bar, the place was doing some major business.
Folks seemed to be having a great time and the staff here were very friendly and helpful.
We each had a glass of wine and started in on the menu.
Knowing that we'd be having the pretty rich and hearty Roman fare for dinner, we decided on getting some charcuterie and cheese. Starting with the Salsicce al Tartufo - truffle sausage.
Which was nicely scented with truffle.
We also got the Misto Salumi e Formaggi, a huge charcuterie and cheese plate.
A nice lovely lunch.
Ai Tre Scalini Via Panisperna 251 Rome Italy
As we walked back to our room, I noticed I'd reached the point where I really started noticing things.
Soon enough, routines would start setting in. And we might even make an acquaintance or two.....
Yes, it was time for us to head out to our next stop. But not before dinner.........
We arrived back in Rome and got on the Leonardo Express to Termini Station. Like I mentioned before, that this short leg is a total joy...super easy and relatively quick.
Getting back to the place we were staying at near Termini Station; B&B Civico 31, we were greeted by one of the owners, Max, with a "welcome home". Max is a great guy, he did it all. We got back and asked where the nearest laundry was. His response, "you need something washed? Give it to me; I'll have it done....." Which he did. At no charge! Whenever I mentioned a neighborhood place; he's ask if we wanted to make reservations....which he would do! Amazing.
The room we stayed in....on both legs of our trip were comfortable. The décor features vintage Italian movie posters...which I found kind of neat.
We had our general directions fairly straight and were now finding different ways to get to where we wanted to be.
The day had started out sunny, but that changed on a dime as rows of clouds would pass over with scattered showers.
So the Missus decided that we should head up to the Capitoline Museums, up Capitoline Hill. This is where it is claimed the first museum in the world was open to the public in 1734.
You know you've finally made it to the top when you see the Statue of Marcus Aurelius. You've reached Piazza del Campigdoglio.
This statue is actually a replica. The original stands within the museum.
It was a great way to spend an early afternoon.
We managed to dodge the passing showers and spent the rest of the day wandering around.
By dinner time, we're talking 8pm, still on the early side, I was famished. Max had made reservations at a rather close, highly regarded Trattoria. Apparently, he went to school with one of the owners, so getting us a table, especially "early" at 8pm was no problem.
You will find Trattoria Monti mentioned everywhere. The cuisine is based on the family's region of origin, Le Marche. The service was the friendliest and warmest we had during our entire time in Rome. There's a certain somewhat jaded attitude we perceived in Rome....what Max calls "typical Roman service". And I can certainly understand how tiring it can get based on questions we heard tourists asking, "what is truffle?" "Why don't you have gluten free pasta?" What is truffle? Yikes..... the folks at Monti just took it in stride, smiled, and laughed with the customers. They took the time to explain the food of the region to folks to help them try to understand.
One of the items "to get" here are the sformatini; called "flan" on the menu. Sort of like a savory bechamel - egg based custard. We got both the radicchio and the red onion versions. Both came with a nice, thick, cheese sauce, which didn't detract from the flavor of the "flan".
While both were good; it was the savory-sweetness and the texture of the caramelized onions in the red onion version that put it at the top of our "best things we had in Rome" list.
Another signature dish of Trattoria Monti is the Tortello. Basically a large stuffed with ricotta and egg yolk; I was a bit disappointed with this one. While I enjoyed the sauce; it had a nice balance of acid-tartness-sweetness-herbaceous flavors, with a nice texture and the ricotta added a mild salt and milky component....the egg yolk was hard and overdone. Knowing how much I love a runny yolk; which I understand this should be (though not overly so). I felt the dish was incomplete.
The Missus ordered Roast Suckling Pig with Baby Potatoes.
And while the suckling pig was just ok; a bit on the dry side, the skin more rubbery than crisp. Those potatoes were very good; almost buttery....the Missus asked how they made the potatoes....the response? "You come tomorrow at three o'clock and we show you!" Classic.....
I got the Fried Lamb Brains with Fried Zucchini.
I'm not the biggest fan of organ meats....well, check that. There are certain organ meats and preparations I don't care for. Sweetbread and brains, so long they aren't too rich and overpowering aren't one of them. I liked the richness of these. The Missus thought the flavor edged on the "metallic/iodine" side and didn't care for them. The fry job was perfect....not too hard as we found in other places in Rome.
We enjoyed our meal at Trattoria Monti. We found the staff here to be friendly, the food good, and we'd gladly return. The prices were also quite good.
We arrived back in Valletta nice and early. I had quite a bit planned for our last full day.
Unfortunately, the apartment we really enjoyed staying in wasn't available for this night, so we were staying in the Osborne Hotel which was on the opposite side of the peninsula.
We dropped our bags off and started on our way.
The first item was to get some espresso for the Missus and something for me to eat.
We saw this little shop along the way.
The little place was full...of locals......having coffee, reading the paper, talking about...well, I dunno. We entered and they quickly made some room for us.
While the Missus was having Her espresso; with a Diet Kinnie chaser, I saw something. Along the counter, there seemed to be makings for sandwiches. A couple of guys came in to pick up sandwiches while we were having our drinks. I couldn't help it. I just had to find out what this big seller was.....tuna sandwiches. I was raised on tuna sandwiches, but truly believe there's only one brand of canned tuna that shall pass these lips. Us old timers from Hawaii have some major brand loyalty. I had my doubts, I really wasn't thrilled with the version I had earlier in Valletta. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this was a major win.
It didn't look very inspiring. But man, this was good. The bread....what's with the bread in Malta (I'd learn soon)? It was crusty, but not too hard, nor chewy. The tuna wasn't the greatest, but it was the sum of the parts which made this fantastic. In perfect proportion; ripe, tasty,tomatoes rubbed on the bread, briny olives, I tasted mint (!), which tasted so good, boiled eggs, lots of black pepper, red onion for that touch of pungent flavor.
I wish I knew the name of this place. We returned for some espresso on the way out of Malta...but duh, I forgot to get the name of the place!
We caught the bus, and with some cryptic instructions got off in Paola. We walked to Tarxien, it was hard to know where Paola ended and Tarxien began....it seems that the borders of these small villages just blend into one another.
We arrived at our destination. There was a graveyard and church next door.
For some reason, the Missus was taken with the tranquil environment and decided just to lie down on one of the benches and listen to music.
Discovered by some farmers plowing a field a field in 1914. This complex of temples, dating back to 3150 B.C. this site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
The excavations have indicated that the site was used extensively for rituals.
It was a fascinating visit. The island of Malta has long been inhabited, some estimate all the way back to 5200 BC.
Leaving the site, I got the Missus who was just having a great old time listening to music, staring at the tree and the statue of the Virgin Mary.
It was time to head back to Paolo and our destination.
But first, we got distracted by this little shop on a side street that was doing some nice business. Cars kept stopping, folks running out; sometimes holding up traffic, to go in and grab...well, who knows what.
This is the spinach-olive, with a touch of ricotta version.
Frankly, I preferred what I had before to this. Though it was quite hearty and stuffed.
And so, we searched for our destination. Which we found with this discreet sign.
When I knew we were going to Malta; one of the first things I did was make reservation for Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Discovered by workers digging for a cistern in 1902, the story of its revelation is quite amazing. Due to the damage done by carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors, only 60 visitors are allowed a day (it's actually closed right now while a new environmental management system is put in place).
Of course, photos aren't allowed; but you can see some here. Let me just say, at least for us, it was an amazing experience.
Making it back to Valletta, the Missus wanted Her Quinoa Salad from Piadina Caffe. So we headed over. This time I had the prosciutto with provolone, which was light and refreshing.
And I got a chance to read the local paper.
After a light snack it was finally time when we could check in. Along the way to the hotel we saw this doorway.
Which is how we ended up in the lair of Joe Frendo.
Who is Joe Frendo? I'm still not sure. I looked down those stairs and saw some bottled water, which is just what we needed and wanted at that moment.
We had somehow ended up in the shop of a Maltese bread maker. Huge wood burning oven going.....I was told; "go take a look....the best bread in Malta is here."
I looked at the bread which looked familiar. So I asked, and my question was answered with, "yes, Il-Horza, that is our bread."
And so we thought, "why not order a pizza?"
Having ordered our dinner, we got back to the hotel; checked in, and freshened up.
Walking past the Grandmaster's Palace, we noticed a demonstration happening. It was for women's rights. We saw a gentleman walk out to talk to folks. I asked who this was and was told, "well....it's the Prime Minister of course." The Prime Minister!
It was soon time to pick up dinner, so we retuned to Joe Frendo's Bakery. Walking down the stars we saw Joe's family having dinner at a table in an adjacent area and Joe at work on our pizza.
We loved this place. So the Missus asked Joe Frendo as simple question; "when did you start making bread" which turned into an 45 minute monologue of Joe Frendo's life....punctuated with many a "mey-lah". Which I still don't understand. It was an amazingly funny slice of life. Along with the pizza, we decided to get a bottle of wine, but requested that they open the bottle. At which time Joe walked over to a table, pulled out the corkscrew which was being used to level the table out and opened our bottle. Only in Malta!
We got the "Maltese Pizza"("mey-lah")and Joe Frendo gave us a couple of really good rolls.
The pizza...the crust was quite nice....had artichoke hearts, olives, and a nice tangy tomato sauce.
Which is what we had....watching the roof tops of Valletta.As dusk approached I took this photo.
And waking right before the sun rose, I took another.
Like most places, Malta had been much more than what we had expected......
The main reason we decided on an over-night detour in Marsaxlokk was to check out the Sunday Market, known simply as the Marsaxlokk Market. The market was originally a Sunday fish market, but as tourists have found it over the years, it has expanded quite a bit.
We actually hit the place up when it first opened so there weren't as many tourists.
There's literally everything under the sun for sale here.
And there were quite a few folks hitting the place early to stock up on stuff.
Beyond all of this, the place is still a fish market at heart.
When the crowds started arriving, we decided to check out the side streets.
I've already posted on lunch, so I'll skip on over to the Missus getting some dessert.
And kind of just hung out watching the crowds like this little guy......
After which the time arrived for our afternoon nap.
After awakening, we decided to check some of the other side streets and found a little mini-mart. This is where I found Fizzee....I enjoyed this sugar free, almond drink, which was indeed quite "fizzy". It was quite refreshing. The Missus? Well, She still preferred Her Diet Kinnie.
There was something very "chill" about Marsaxlokk. The little fishing village made Valletta seem like a bustling city. The top sight in this fishing village is without a doubt the bay which is a natural harbor. Three quarters of Malta's fishing fleet is located in this harbor, which was also where the Turkish fleet was station during the great siege of 1565.
In spite of the rather unsightly power plant located across the harbor, it is still quite stunning.
After taking a nice stroll, we took a short nap. When we awoke, in late afternoon, all of the day-trippers were gone, and it was like we had the place to ourselves.
A nice light breeze blowing, the clouds rolling in, we seemed light-years away from the hustle and bustle of Rome.
Looking closely, you might notice something quite interesting about the brightly colored "Luzzi", the traditional Maltese Fishing Boats.
It's in the eyes......
These boats in design and color is said to date back to the Phoenicians and the "eyes of Osiris" are painted on them to watch over and protect the fishermen while at sea.
One thing you quickly notice about Marsaxlokk are the lack of resorts, hotels, and that sort of thing crowding up the boardwalk. Rather, there are many traditional buildings, which add character to the locale.
Looking for a place to eat, we came upon this rather colorful place. Half restaurant, half gift t shop, named T'anna Mari. The menu was fascinating so we stopped by to eat....twice!
We loved the menu, which featured traditional Maltese dishes; stuff I'd never heard of, ingredients that we love. It was a great change of pace from the multitude of seafood places on the waterfront.
Unfortunately, time passes quickly, and changes come just as fast. T'anna Mari is under new ownership and is now a Sicilian Restaurant.
So I'll do the rest mostly in photos with a few names of dishes and such.
This was called L-Platt Malti and featured a collection of traditional Maltese appetizers.
Bigilla - the traditional mashed beans.
Ful - Broadbeans with Garlic.
Tonn Immellah - Brined Tuna.
Zalzett Malti (Maltese Garlic Sausage) and Ġbejna (Goat Cheeses)
Il Fortizza - Stewed Horse.
Qarabaghli mimli - Stuffed Marrows, that would be stuffed squash.
We loved the meal and went back for lunch the next day. Unfortunately, it was like eating at a totally different restaurant. The food was over salted, fishy, dry......
Fenek Moqli - Rabbit in garlic and wine
Aljotta - Fish Soup
Qarnit bit-tewm - Octopus in garlic and herbs.
When getting ready to write this; I discovered that the place had been sold. That's too bad......the menu was interesting and it seemed like they were really trying to make a go of it. We did appreciate how the menu broadened our horizons with regards to Maltese food. I hope the nice husband and wife team that ran this place are doing well.
While planning our time in Malta, I thought a side trip to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. The village of 3500 is well known for their Sunday Market, so I thought instead of heading here for a day excursion, why not spend two nights in a sleepy fishing village? It seemed like a nice way to break up our stay on the island. So we took our time; had a morning espresso and spent most of the morning walking around Valletta.
At about 10 we caught our bus right outside the gates of Valletta. 40 minutes later we were getting off our bus in Marsaxlokk. It was overcast and rainy on this morning and walking along the waterfront, we had no idea where our hotel was......
So we stopped at one of the cafes and asked. As is the norm with places like this; the folks were really nice and the gentleman actually walked us to the hotel, which was tucked away on a side street near the end of the harbor close to the transition to an industrial area.
Our room was ready and waiting for us so we got an early check in, freshened up, then headed off to lunch. It was drizzling off and on, so I decided on just going to one of the most well known seafood restaurants in the village; Ir Rizzu.
As it was noon, the place had just opened.
The dining area is quite large....the service fine, mostly young kids, so it was kind of well, like a place where young kids are serving you......kind of uneven, though they did try.
Things started off with a gratis appetizer. I recognized the "bigilla", basically mashed beans....doesn't it look like something you'd get at a Mexican Restaurant? I did like the "ful-bit-tewm", the white beans with garlic.
There's something about the bread on Malta that I really like. This wasn't as yeasty, nor did it have the wonderful texture of what we had the night before at Il Horza, but we still enjoyed it.
We also went with a bottle of a local white from Pjazza Regina winery. A combination of three grapes, it was nice, light, refreshing, and went relatively well with the seafood.
As is the norm for us; we went with a meal of appetizers; starting with the classic Maltese Fish Soup; Aljotta.
This was like a very fishy bouillabaisse and not my favorite thing in the world. Salty and not enough acid to take the edge off for me.
The Octopus was a workman-like effort.
A bit tougher than I prefer, but the flavors were nice....great salt-herbs.
The mussels were quite large, though still moist. They hadn't cooked it to death.
Simple was probably the prudent thing to do with this. Not bad.
The best item were the "Mediterranean King Prawns". Again, nice and simple, cooked to perfection.
Wonderful flavor, nice and sweet, the Missus loved those heads!
Overall, this was a decent meal. Nothing fancy by any means, but simple, and a nice way to start our stay in Marsaxlokk.
Of course, what red-blooded male doesn't want to check out a collection of armor, swords, cannons, and other weapons? It brings out the little boy in me.
What makes this even more interesting is that the entire collection is housed in their original buildings.
Even though the size of the collection is a small fraction of the size it once was....due in part to pilferage by Napoleonic forces during the French Occupation of Malta, it is still quite impressive.
And of course, one could not visit the Armoury without reading about the "Great Siege". In 1565, the Ottomans laid siege to the island. If you recall, back in 1522, the Knights had been defeated and left the Island of Rhodes.
This time though, things would be different. Outnumbered an estimated 8 to 1, the Knights and the people of Malta hung on. Eventually, with morale low within the ranks of the Ottomans, a relief force of Spanish landed, handing the Ottomans a defeat.
It was a great moment in the history of Malta. The Grand Master, Jean de Valette, was Malta's key influential figure during the Great Siege. Indeed, the city of Valletta was built and named in his honor.
We headed back to our dwelling, making a stop at the corner store for some water, diet coke, and something the Missus came to really enjoy; a soft drink produced in Malta called Diet Kinnie. She told me it reminded Her a bit of the beloved Laoshan Cola.
We got back to the apartment and took a short nap.
It was a really special moment for us....the interior of the cathedral a gleaming golden jewel. The concert was one that had only been performed once before, ages ago, written by a composer from Malta.
The owner of our apartment told us his favorite restaurant is Il Horza....so we dropped by the evening before and made reservations for dinner. It would be one of our favorite meals of this trip.
The location and interior is quite unassuming....the menu is quite interesting as you'll see from the dishes we ordered.
But first there was this bread.....
Yes. This bread. Possibly some of the best I've ever had. Yeasty, crusty, not too dense, just plain wonderful. As with many things in Malta, we'd have another encounter with this bread again.
Our least favorite dish of the night was the Fish Stew with Black Rice and Shellfish.
We could never get into the really fishy flavor they like here in Malta. I mean, I like consommé de 7 mares and all that, but this was too much for us.
The Hay Smoked Barbary Duck Breast with Asian Pork Springroll and Greens was an interesting mash-up of familiar flavors and textures.
The duck was tender and delicious, the springroll crisp, the flavors balanced. Nothing was overplayed and this was a nice fusion of flavors.
The Stuffed Quail with Truffle Mousse Wrapped with Pancetta was delicious as was the very porky, Pork Tongue Croquette. For some reason, we didn't enjoy the shaved fresh summer black truffles, but of course the Missus loved the quail egg.
The Crispy Local Pork Belly was lovely. Crisp initially, then melting away......
The house made smoked pork sausage was also lovely, very tasty, straight up flavors. Quite nice.
The Missus loved the "dessert"; unpastuerized local cheese, milky, yet refreshing.
The service was good, the ambiance very nice and romantic....a very good meal.
Il-Horza 6, St. Christopher Street Valletta, Malta
We took a walk back to the apartment. As I mentioned before, the streets of Valletta are usually pretty quiet at night....not on this night as there was a concert happening outside a nearby restaurant.
It was kind of neat....anyone could come by and hang out on the steps....maybe buy a glass of wine at the restaurant and chill.......
We slept in on our last morning....well, if you call sleeping until 730 sleeping in. Our food experiences in Utah seemed a bit disappointing, but we decided to give one last popular restaurant a shot. Since they didn't open until 10am, we decided to walk on over to Temple Square, the headquarters for the LDS.
It was nice and fairly crisp and we were enjoying the day as we passed the convention center.
We passed the Creek Shopping Center, with shops like Tiffany, Nordstrom, and the Apple Store....and closed on Sundays! I'm guessing it has something to do with being right across the street from Temple Square. We were greeted as we entered and asked if we'd be visiting "Music and the Spoken Word", which is the Sunday morning televised broadcast. We were interested, but told the nice folks that we would have to leave fairly quickly. We were told it was no problem since the rehearsal was going on. We were free to leave anytime before the 930 start.
Which is how we got to watch part of the choir's morning rehearsal in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Quite impressive.
Speaking of impressive, the entire complex is dwarfed by the towering Salt Lake Temple.
The grounds features beautifully manicured gardens, a huge conference center, administrative buildings, several historic houses; the "Lion House" which used to be Brigham Young's residence. It had to be large because Brigham Young had 57 biological children, and the connected "Beehive House".
Temple Square is Utah's most visited tourist attraction, with as many visitors a Utah's 5 National Parks combined!
We saw a lot of folks taking photos....they all seemed overjoyed, almost giddy, at being here.
From the Beehive House, we headed North and got on North Temple Street and headed west. SLC's streets are set-up in a very simple (once you get sued to street with the same name with North/South/East/West) grid system. Our destination was on North Temple and was just under a mile and half walk. Things did seem a bit more "gritty" as we crossed over the I-15. A mere half block later we were at our destination; Red Iguana.
We arrived a few minutes before opening. The exterior looks a bit worn and shabby, but I had read that this is one of the most popular restaurants in the city....Mexican....in Salt Lake City? The place opened and we were told to sit anywhere our hearts desired. Our server; I'm hoping my memory isn't mailing me was named Stephanie. She was super outstanding, so very friendly, accommodating, and gracious.
Within a flash chips (not very good) and some salsa (nice and picante) found its way to our table.
We had come here to try the mole....but was having a difficult time deciding. So Stephanie said not to worry, they put together a sampler for us to try.
What really shocked me was how much I enjoyed the version of Mole Amarillo, not quite the traditional version; this one had raisins and habaneros...sweet with heat. We whittled down the sauces to versions we liked....but was stuck on four. Again, making us half and halfs were not a problem. You gotta love the service.
We choose chicken; which was simple simmered bird. The first combo was half Mole Verde and Mole Poblano ($15.99).
The verde was nice and nutty, but was over-shadowed by the rich, sweet, and spicy mole poblano, which tasted closest to versions I've had before.
The second was Mole Negro and Mole Amarillo ($15.99).
The mole negro was fine, though not nearly as good as say......El Tejate. The unconventional mole Amarillo, sweet and spicy stood up well. It was by far our favorite.
The rice and beans (and the tortillas) were pretty routine and not very good.
And while the food fell short of amazing, it was good, easily our best meal during this trip. And the service was wonderful. Our server is a fairly recent transplant and we chatted about SLC's uniqueness, things that caught her off guard when she moved here. The affinity for sandwiches and burgers; how you can look down Main Street on some days and not see a single car..... She made our meal a pleasure.
Red Iguana 736 W North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84116
We walked back to the Residence Inn and managed a short catnap before leaving for the airport.
Perhaps the food really didn't stand out on this trip. But the views, well they were priceless.
After a light lunch (and interesting beer) we checked in at the Residence Inn, SLC. This room was even bigger than the Provo location and things looked new. We then had a nice short nap. The staff here was quite friendly and nice. The location is right on 300 South aka West Broadway.
The Greek Orthodox Church is right across the street as is Pioneer Park.
The location was quite convenient. Our dinner destination was just a half mile walk down the street. A couple of things we noticed right away.....there are tons of chain restaurants in SLC. And in spite of all the cars parked; the streets looked empty.
I had made dinner reservations at The Copper Onion. The menu looked perfect for us. Man, in spite of how the streets looked; this placed was packed to the gills. The dining room seemed on the hot and stuffy side, so since the weather was mild we asked if we could get a table on the patio. They only too happy to oblige.
Our server was a really gracious, friendly, and knowledgeable young man named Michael. He made the meal a seamless process except for the time they took our plates and silverware away then brought us our next course...leaving us stranded. But other than that, we enjoyed the service.
We started with the Wagyu Beef Tartar ($11).
Man, look at all that crostini. This didn't quite do it for us. The beef was too chewy, it was under seasoned...I really missed that velvety egg yolk which adds richness without interfering with the refreshing aspect of the beef, which the salsa rosa did. The arugula, fresh, crisp, not overly bitter, dressed simply was the best part of the dish.
The Escarole Salad ($10) looked quite sloppy.
The greens were really nice and crisp, but I wasn't a fan of the balsamic they used which was extremely sour, lacking the rounded balance, and touch of sweetness that we love in a balsamic vinegar.
The best item of the night was the Wagyu Roasted Bone Marrow ($18).
Man, that marrow was awesome....simply prepared, rich, smoky, with a touch of salt which was provided on the side. The Missus made sure to have every single little morsel.
Luckily, we made sure to keep the salt provided for the bone marrow. We needed it for the Griddled Duck ($23).
Funny thing; several items seemed in need of salt...which led the missus to say, "hey, this is SALT Lake City, right?" The duck, with a light sprinkle of salt tasted fine. It was cooked a nice medium rare. It was cut a bit too thick. also, the plating seemed a bit dated and ponderous. That red stuff you see on the butternut squash puree is actually duck blood......I don't think the duck rested long enough after prep. Loved the upland cress, peppery and refreshing. The Portobello was totally under-seasoned and the gills hadn't been cleaned, so it left a huge black blotch in the orange-blood tinged, plate.
The Missus did love Her order of Beets ($4), though.
The service here was excellent. The food however, seemed a bit uneven to us; in terms of flavor, presentation, and finesse. Still, I'm glad we tried the place.
The Copper Onion 111 E Broadway Salt Lake City, UT 84111
After dinner, the Missus decided we needed to burn off that bone marrow so we walked all the way to Trolley Square, then back to the Residence Inn.
We passed the modern looking public library and the City and County Building along the way back.
Man, so this was Saturday night, huh? We finally passed a couple of groups of people as we walked up South Main Street. As we got close to the hotel, we stopped by Squatters Craft Beer, which was packed in spite of the empty streets (strange, I know) and picked up a couple of bottles to try as a nightcap.
The Squatters Bumper Crop Honey Ale was fine, nice head, hints of citrus and honey (of course). The Wasatch Evolution Amber Ale is pretty blah.....
Still, the weather was nice...we kept the windows open all night and the Missus sure slept well!
Tomorrow, we'd have one last chance for a good meal in SLC before heading to the airport. Would we find it?