This past weekend, I found myself again in Salt Lake City. Ya know, for a place I really don’t like that much, I certainly seem to go back often. I was there last September. Again in January. This makes 3 times in 9 months. Luckily, I never seem to spend an inordinate amount of time there. This particular time, Jess’s friend Christy was graduating from med school at the University of Utah. She wanted to go down there to support her friend, so we did.
We hit the road after a half day on Friday. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the drive to SLC from Boise is one of the easiest 5 hour drives there is. You can set the cruise control at 83 and just roll. You have to make like one turn to get there. Of course, this is a relative measure as Boise is the most remote metropolitan area in the entire country. We are farther from the next closest big city than any other place in the lower 48. There’s a bit of trivia for ya there.
We got there about 7pm and checked into the hotel. Jess got a killer deal at Hotel Monaco which was right downtown. It was a beautiful place. It’s one of those boutique hotels. They even give you a goldfish to adopt for your stay (we named ours Chester). More on that in a bit. After freshening up, we wanted to head out and explore the area.
Wow, what a massive disappointment. SLC’s downtown is DEAD. The business that were still in business closed at 7pm. The damn pizza place nearby closed at 8pm. This was FRIDAY NIGHT for pete’s sake! There was nobody on the streets at all, except panhandlers asking for change. It was all very exciting. Giving up on finding any retail joints open, we decided to just try to find a restaurant open. Our options were crappy chain joints like Olive Garden and the like. We kept wandering and eventually found Squatters Brew Pub. Thank god! A place we can relate to. This is the place that produces the Polygamy Porter (bet ya can’t have just one!). Finally, we found some people out on a Friday night. We just kept wondering if there is ANY nightlife in SLC. I think we decided that there just isn’t. So, we had some good food, horrible service, and a few beers. It was really the best we could hope for.
The next morning was the ceremony. We left early in order to find a Starbucks, which turned into another huge chore. In Boise, there is a Starbucks (or other coffee joint) every other block. We drove around for 20 minutes before finding a place to get a lousy cup of coffee. Ugh. But, we did, and found our way to the campus for the commencement.
The ceremony was just like every other graduation I’ve been to or involved with… Pretty boring. The bulk, of course, is reading of names you don’t know while small pockets of support in the crowd whoop and holler for that person. The problem with this one was, being a med school graduation, everyone gets “hooded” which takes extra time. *yawn* There were a few doctor fathers who came in to “hood” their sons, but it made me crazy since only one of these fathers even shook hands with their son after their little deal. It made me crazy! You know, you’ve been pushing that kid since he was 8 years old that he was gonna be a doctor, and you can’t even break off a handshake when he graduates med school!?
The only interesting part was the speech by the class president or whatever, who was detailing out all that had gone on in their 4 years together. There were like 84 members of the actual med school class, and one thing he mentioned that like 35 babies had been born to them (or partners) during those 4 years. Wow. We really ARE in Utah, aren’t we?
After the ceremony ended, we were on our own for a few hours until the party started. Jess spotted a Whole Foods near the Starbucks, and she was dying to stop there and look around, so we did. Found some interesting sauces and whatnot. Interesting place. Then we went next door to one of those Baja Fresh type Mexican food joints for quesadillas. Amazingly enough, we were able to get a beer with lunch. And didn’t even have to fill out an application!
Then, it was back to the hotel to relax (Jess napped) for about an hour before it was party time. Our room wasn’t made up, but that wasn’t the strange thing. We checked on Chester… wait a second… that’s not Chester! Chester was one of those googly eyed goldfish… now, we have one of those regular old boring goldfish! Strange things were afoot, but we were at a loss to come up with why. Jess is convinced Chester died, and they swapped him out. I’m not so sure. So, we tried to accept Chester 2, but it just wasn’t the same.
We found the house (Christy’s sister’s place) up in the hills easily enough. (I’m not going to bitch and moan about the street naming convention in SLC again.) This was a pretty solid shindig. Lots of beers. A bunch of people there. Luckily, I had met a few of these people a month earlier in Boise, so I wasn’t totally uncomfortable.
Then came the main course. This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. It was flown in from Louisiana by the friend of Christy’s older brother. Simply unbelievable. It was a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey (yes, I know that’s a Turducken of John Madden fame), but there was an extra twist… that whole shebang was stuffed into a whole pig! This thing was absolutely glorious. They had it on the smoker grill for something like 16 hours. Everything was completely boned, (except for the pig’s head which they removed prior to serving as to not skeeve everyone out) so you could slice it like a a gigantic loaf of meat bread. Oh yeah, between the pig and the turkey, there was sausage stuffed on one end, and shrimp on the other. If there is a meat dish in heaven, that has got to be the one. I have pictures, but not on me. I’ll get them on here soon.
Update: Here are the pics!
So, we spent the night drinking and eating. Basically, 2 of my favorite things. I smartly slowed down and started drinking water, knowing that I had to drive home the next day.
We woke the next morning and got all packed up and headed to find breakfast. Jess knew of this place outside of town called Ruth’s Diner. One of those old school joints that are very popular. Thus, we had to wait about 40 minutes to get in. But the food was terrific. They have this beautiful outdoor patio covered by trees. Of course, those trees are covered by thousands of little green caterpillars that were continually dropping onto you. I spent the whole meal convinced that one of those damn things was going to drop into my drink or my biscuits and gravy. I couldn’t relax. But it never happened.
After, we hit the road and again had no issues on the drive home. That was my weekend. I was forced to deal with Salt Lake City again, but, I was introduced to the pig-turducken. I think that’s a fair trade off.