In the interest of keeping this very long post as short as possible, I will limit this to vacation recap and not discuss any new recipes (they are on the way, I promise). I am stocking up a few oldies but goodies and one new (semi-stolen) recipe that I love. Man, if I were to post more often, the posts would be shorter AND the process would be so much less hateful and I would then do it more often. What a great cycle that would be. Kind of like eating healthy making you feel good and making you want to eat healthy foods more often. Also, alcohol making you feel bad and leading you to drink less often....Too bad none of these things happened during my vacation thus far...-
Above is the beginning and the end of our first night out in Utah. We figured since we were going to be in a place where the restaurants were cheaper on the whole, why not go to the most expensive place in town and pay what we would have paid for a semi-special night out in NYC. We chose Bambara
and gosh was it a great choice! The place was decorated in black and white, making it very chic and it was small but...spacious. The meal started with a bread and hummus platter (complimentary) and we went to town on that hummus. I generally love it when restaurants provide a complimentary bread with something more interesting than butter. I would also love it if the bread were more interesting but I don't want to be TOO much of a snob ;-) (hehe). We continued on with a stuffed peppers appetizer and two main courses (a gnocchi dish and a tuna). Both were spectacular, but none were photographed before being devoured. The star (I think) was the dessert. It was photographed because it was MASSIVE. That boat of a plate it was sitting on is a pasta dish. Seriously. The pastries are filled with ICE CREAM. It is SWIMMING in hot fudge and wonderful black cherries and those "fries" underneath are sliced almonds. The last time I was faced with a dessert that rich I ate and ate and ate until I was sick and thought it was worth it. Well I ate and ate and ate this dish (I ate my whole half, Boyfriend did not manage to finish his....willpower) and waddled the whole 0.8 miles back to the hotel happy as a clam. A really, really stuffed clam. Moving on...
Our next night out was to Eva
, a much less pricey tapas and cocktails place. Unfortunately we had consumed 1.5 beers each while soaking in the outdoor hot tub (human soup!) so we were not really drinking that night. Still, it was really great. We started with two appetizers: Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potato Gratin. While the Gratin was a bit on the heavy side for me, the Brussel sprouts (left) were incredible. They were roasted with macadamia nuts. I WILL be recreating this dish (perhaps subbing in much less expensive almonds) in the VERY near future. I fell like this whole time I've been being so silly, eating Brussel sprouts whole. Silly me. We also had a lamb kebab (remarkable for coming with grapes on the skewers-yum!) and a Shrimp and "Grits" dish. This was also pretty nice and came with a sunny side egg on top. We would later realize that this was a recurring theme throughout SLC menus. Two nights later we went to the Copper Onion. This was kind of in the middle for fanciness (and price). We had an appetizer of Brussel Sprouts (I couldn't resist after Eva!) and sauteed mushrooms (middle picture). Surprise, the mushrooms had a sunny side egg on top! Both dishes were kind of the oily side (hence no link!). We continued on to a sturgeon dish (ok) and a Wagyu beef stroganoff (right picture) which was nice, but nothing to write home about. Also, cooking Wagyu beef to medium-well makes it taste the same as rump roast. We ended with a peach and blueberry pie a la mode (caramel ice cream). It was awesome. The crust had that touch of salt that's easily one of my favorite things on a pie. I ate my half of that too. Boyfriend continued to exercise moderation. We finished our dining out with some super junk food (fried, slathered in sauce, covered in sour cream, you name it) at the Beerhive which boasts a very wide variety of beers on tap. Utah, by the way, sells all it's beers at a 3.2% alcohol content, so you have to really go out of your way to find the strong stuff. Or go to Beerhive (they don't have a site!).
Finally, here's something more like what some of the people who read this site are looking for. Hotel Room Nachos! I mentioned in my previous post that our money does not grow on trees so we have been employing quite a few money-saving methods on our vacation. Not the least of which happened to be making our own breakfasts and packing our lunches. As an aside, we also didn't rent a car, used public transportation and walked everywhere (1.5 miles one way was our record, 0.7miles was our average, so figure at least 1.4 miles per day of walking). So we were also party green!
Anyway, our breakfasts consisted of yogurts with boxed cereal purchased at the supermarket, fruit and sometimes, cookies (guilty). We also bought a bunch of deli meat (3/4 lb each of turkey, chicken and roast beef), cheese (1/2lb pepperjack for him, Laughing Cow for me) and a loaf of bread. We took about a quarter of each of these with us to the mountain, left them in the lodge (unrefrigerated, yes!) and assembled sandwiches for lunch. Honestly, it was super tasty because the bread and the meat were both more gourmet than what we would be getting in the lodge AND it was a lot cheaper than buying a sandwich for $8! AND finally, we had 2 nights where we ate "in". Our first night we bought a supermarket enchillada (to microwave) and a shrimp ring. Our second eat in night was more innovative. I made hotel room nachos. A great money-saving idea.
Hotel Room Nachos (hers-healthier)
Ask your hotel to provide you with plates (or get paper plates from a market)
Spread each plate with tortilla chips (the flavored ones are great)
Shred (manually) 3-4 pieces of any deli meat all over the plate (I used 2 slices chicken, 1 slice turkey)
Take a fork and "crumble" 2 wedges of Laughing Cow Cheese over the chips
Top with Salsa
We also lucked out in the fact that our last ski lodge had salad bar toppings for "free" so I picked up some chopped tomatoes and lettuce from them.
Pop all that into the microwave in shifts for 1 minute each.
This wasn't a lot of work and tasted great and was easy to make in a hotel room. The only utensils required were plates and a plastic fork and knife.
Ok, this was huge. I'm going to describe the actual SKIING in the next post (hopefully Thursday?). I will, however, continue this post with something I think is worthwhile to share: a shopping list for thrifty vacationers.
Ski vacations are super expensive and it is the season, so maybe some of you readers are planning on taking them. Ever since I started taking ski trips without my family, I've learned that shopping for food and making at least some of your own meals is a must because lodges are expensive and sometimes you're just not in a big enough town to easily go out to eat. Here's a few staples I've found are great to have on hand. This is a list for 1 health-conscious girl and 1 not-too-picky guy for ~7 days. Also keep in mind these are meals for a rather active day!
1 box cereal
14 yogurts (more expensive than 2 tubs but more convenient)
Lunch Items (we packed our meals for 3/6 days+ had leftovers)
3/4 lb each of 3 different deli meats (try to keep 2 lean like chicken/turkey)
1/2 lb cheese
Laughing Cow Wedges (I find these are AMAZING on sandwiches)
Granola/Oatmeal Bars (Fiber Ones are the best!)
Chocolate Fun Sized Candies (for Him)
Loaf of fiber-heavy/whole grain bread
Dinner/Snack/Apres Ski Items
Chips (Tortilla is preferred)
Consider dried fruit/nut mix
All of these are easily storable in any hotel mini fridge and they make for a nice variety of meals (change up the Yogurt flavors, change up your sandwich assembly and fruit accompaniment).
In Utah this all cost us about $100 (including the beer and our meal "in" of shrimp and enchilladas). That came out to 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners (per person, so that's actually 24 meals). So, about $4/meal. I realize that a coffee/bagel would be less than $4, but there's no way you can get a ski lodge lunch for $4 and certainly not a healthy dinner!
Lastly (I promise this time!) here is the skiiers Mecca. The ultimate reward for a day spent doing some pretty intense stuff: chili in a breadbowl (with cheese).
The reason why I didn't want to pack lunches every day is because I know Boyfriend goes crazy for this stuff and also for big juicy burgers, so I thought I'd leave room for him to get get those things (and share with me!).
We had this on our 4th day and burgers on our 5th and 6th ski days.
There hasn't been a lot of dieting that week. Well I have vacation for 1 more week but judging by how it's been going, I think I'm going to continue with a milder degree of decadence anyway.
P.S. I did consistently have at least 1 alcoholic beverage every day but I never went beyond 2. I consider this pretty mature. Week 2 of the vacation appears to feature 1 alcoholic beverage every other night.
Adios amigos, I'm off to bed!