The Dirty Dozen

Posted by on May 30, 2013 at 9:58 pm :: 1 Comment

Jason and I have been ecstatically married for many years, twelve to be exact. It was my turn to make sure that our anniversary was celebrated properly this May and I decided that instead of concentrating on the distantly exotic our revelries were going to focus on the freshly convenient. Salt Lake City, just a short drive away, was exactly what I was looking for. Even though we’ve both been to that metropolis countless times, I was certain that it still held many opportunities for new adventures and I was right. Unfortunately, our new adventures decided to have adventures of their own so not all of our holiday pastimes ended up being entirely of our choosing. However, even with some unexpected setbacks our vacation was mostly delightful.

Jason is a smart and excellent husband. He never ceases to make me feel special.

Jason is a smart and excellent husband. He never ceases to make me feel special.

I reserved a 2-night stay for us at Salt Lake’s most luxurious hotel: the Grand America. The suites at this resort are definitely spacious and the Grand America is in a great location for easy access to many of downtown’s hotspots. But, despite our comfortable quarters, the first night of our getaway was a bit of a hot mess and not in a good way. After work we hurried to get on the road and were halfway to SLC in hectic traffic when I realized that I had forgotten my shoes. No, not the shoes on my feet, but the extra few pairs I was planning on bringing to coordinate with our anticipated activities. A girl has her needs so don’t you roll your eyes at me! Turning around to retrieve my shoes (Yes, I NEEDED them.) made us a few minutes late for our night of John Williams’ music with the Utah Symphony. It was only the first of many things that would go wrong that evening. Another setback occurred when we decided to try Eva, a downtown tapas bar, for a late bite after the concert. We thought this would be a quick culinary excursion but it turned out rather the opposite because we couldn’t find parking anywhere. All of the street stalls had police signs posted on them indicating that parking was not allowed currently. We discovered the following morning that our parking blues were due to the roads closing for a Bike Utah event that ran through the middle of town. It seemed like we drove in endless circles before finally stumbling upon a place we could leave our car. At least Eva, after all that hassle, was tasty, quick and pretty cheap. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and unique place to grab some grub in the downtown area, this might be a good spot for you to try.

Washington Square provided a pleasant place to cram pastries into our piggy mouths.

Washington Square provided a pleasant place to cram pastries into our piggy mouths.

Speaking of spots, our next problem came in the form of a wad of gum that mysteriously found its way onto the shoulder of my jacket while we were eating dinner. Gross! Why am I always a magnet for the unclaimed hair, gum and feces of the world? The last hiccup of our evening was caused by another forgotten item: Jason’s contact case. After realizing he had left it behind, Jason had to go searching for something to put his contacts in. This proved a difficult task since it was past midnight. Eventually he was saved by a 7-Eleven and thus ended our would-be relaxing first night. Not exactly the trip start I had envisioned.

The hills leading to Ensign Peak were strewn with grasses and wild flowers.

The hills leading to Ensign Peak were strewn with grasses and wildflowers.

It was breezy on Ensign Peak but the view made it worth bearing.

It was breezy on Ensign Peak but the view made it worth bearing.

In spite of the snags that had threatened to turn our calm weekend into calamity, the next day we were back on track. We woke up late and walked twenty minutes to a French bakery called Gourmandie’s for decadent pastries which we justified in the name of breakfast/lunch. We took them to Washington Square and enjoyed a makeshift park bench picnic. The rum ball that I gobbled was neither a healthy breakfast nor a healthy lunch but it was better than delicious!

This was the only picture of us together taken all weekend. Thus, despite our silly faces, it's here in this post.

This was the only picture of us together taken all weekend. Thus, despite our silly faces, it’s here in this post.

That black blip is an airplane that was making its way to the SLC airport.

That black blip is an airplane that was making its way to the SLC airport.

Next, we went to a matinee showing of Iron Man III at the Gateway. There’s always some geeky blockbuster being released near our anniversary so it’s become kind of a tradition for us to see superheroes in celebration of our own marital superpowers. Who am I to question tradition? Iron Man III was a fun flick, gaping plot holes and all.

The sinking sun silhouetted Jason's dark frame, creating a perfect picture.

The sinking sun silhouetted Jason’s dark frame, creating a perfect picture.

After our show, we hiked to the top of Ensign Peak to watch the sunset. (See, I did need those other shoes.) Although a lifelong Utah resident, Jason had never been to Ensign Peak before and it seemed eager to show him just what he’d been missing. The brilliant scarlets and golds of the dipping sun reflected beautifully off the Great Salt Lake and its many surrounding saline ponds doubling the scene’s kaleidoscopic colors. It was a tad windy and nippy at the summit but we both quite enjoyed this picturesque excursion anyway.

As the sun dropped below the horizon, the sky was set ablaze and the water below reflected that heavenly fire.

As the sun dropped below the horizon, the sky was set ablaze and the water below reflected that heavenly fire.

These drifting clouds looked like they were painted into the sky.

These streaming clouds looked like they were painted into the sky.

Following our walk, it was time to chomp more incredible cuisine. We ate dinner at a newish restaurant called Valter’s Osteria. I would highly recommend this place. The service is impeccable and the food is amazing. Jason got the spinach ravioli and it was honestly the best ravioli I’ve ever had in my life. Yum!

Tracy Aviary is located in the corner of Liberty Park.

Tracy Aviary is located in the corner of Liberty Park.

The next morning we kept up our trend of excessive food intake with brunch at a stylish cafe called Niche that specializes in locally grown ingredients. I had the fish tacos and they were scrumptious. (No, the fish was not locally grown.)

The Tracy Aviary takes in injured birds of prey. Since they can no longer fly, these predators aren't in fully enclosed structures.

The Tracy Aviary takes in injured birds of prey. Since they can no longer fly, these predators aren’t in fully enclosed structures.

We spent the rest of what was a very pleasant afternoon at the Tracy Aviary, a well-kept bird sanctuary that neither of us had been to. It was just big enough that we were able to see most of it without getting overloaded. I liked all of the birds but their many owls were my favorite.

We got to get cozy with this Guira Cuckoo. He definitely looked cuckoo.

We got to get cozy with this Guira Cuckoo. He definitely looked cuckoo.

And that completed our weekend. It may have started out a little rough but it finished nicely. We ate ourselves silly, relaxed, enjoyed perfect spring weather, and relished local favorites. Who says you can’t find novel diversions in your own backyard? After all, an anniversary is a great time to remind yourself that the world holds many treasures but the best ones are right at home. Happy anniversary Jason! More than a dozen years ago I decided that you are remarkable and time has proved that, as always, I was right!

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