BIG night out at Blacksmith Lounge

C’mon now, let’s be honest.  Who doesn’t love a hole in the wall restaurant?  You know, the Sutter Home wine drinking, pull tab playing, sweatshirt wearing crowd.  You don’t?  Liar.  Everyone loves these places whether it’s for the amazing food or entertainment value alone.  And if you don’t, you are fooling yourself.

We went to this extra classy hole in the wall for dinner last night and it was stellar.  I’m talking low 8 foot ceilings, card table like seating and waitresses who took our food order and made our drinks herself.  They even had those amazing paper placements with local advertisements showcasing everything from plumbers to septic system maintenance (Ewww!).  Paper Placement

Not dive enough for you yet?  Just wait, there is more.  Our dinners (around $12 each) came with a salad and choice of potato.  Not sure what it is about a good dive, but for some reason a cold lettuce salad with 1 slice of cucumber and ranch dressing tastes so amazing.  Oh, and this place didn’t serve croutons on the salad, there were several delicious yellow gold-fish crackers swimming on top.  And believe it or not, this experience got even better.  My hubby ordered a Miller Litefrom the waitress.  At the same time a woman walked by, overheard the order, and pulled that requested miller lite out of the 6 pack she just happened to have in her hand.  She was wearing a tie died t-shirt and denim overalls embellished with a Green Bay Packer patch.  You guessed it, she ran the off sale liquor store attached to this fine establishment (yes, seriously).

Sirloin Tips

The entertainment value alone was almost as good as the food.  Chris had sirloin tips with onions, mushrooms, green peppers and the red potatoes while I scarfed down the hand battered cod with hash browns.  Sounds like a simple meal, but I’m telling you, it was all sorts of fantastic.  It was classic dive food that was beyondCod delicious.  AHH, I almost forgot.  Guess what they served with the check?  Not only was it one of those yummy after dinner mints, it was coated in chocolate.  YUM!  I am totally going to make those sometime.

I make fun of the experience, but it was all part of a good time for this city girl.  I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go back.  It was amazing.

Oh, where were we?  Blacksmith Lounge in Hugo – 5 star for sure!

Sorry these pictures are crap.  It was dark in there, of course. 

Chocolate Covered Dinner Mints

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Park City, Utah – snowboarding in a little slice of heaven

Experts say that Utah has the best snow in the world and I think they are right.  But what do I know…I live in the bitter cold state of Minnesota where our snow resembles some sort of ridiculous ice rink on a hill. Snowboarding in MN is like bobsledding down an ice shoot on your feet.  I guess if they ever have that in the Olympics I might be good at it.  Utah snow is light, fluffy, glittery white and there are mass quantities of it.  Amazing and much safer!

I have snowboarded in Utah several times before and we recently went back with my family.  Outside of the amazing snow, I would hands down choose Utah over other ski destinations.  My choice does factor in the amazing snow, but mostly it is because the resorts are only 25 minutes from the airport and it’s a direct flight.  I mean, is there anything worse than flying all day, jumping into a rental car and driving another 2-3 hours to get to…say…Vail?  Nope.  I want to fly in and be where I am going in under 1 hour, or in this case 30 minutes.

Town Lift

Town Lift

We spent 4 days going all out the entire time they were open, 9:00 – 4:30.  It’s a truly amazing experience with wide-open spaces, breathtaking views, tons of snow and no lift lines.  Sadly, I realized I am not 21 anymore.  Snowboarding 4 full days in a row is SO exhausting.  By the time we ended the day, changed, and went out to eat, I was ready for bed…at 9pm. Embarrassing.

Park City Restaurant Review:

When I travel, food is a very important part for me.  I use travel as an excuse to eat what I want, where I want, when I want and treat myself to things I might not otherwise have due to cost, etc.  The restaurant scene in Park City is unreal.  Since they recently hosted the Olympics and they are widely known for the Sundance film festival, they have everything you might want as it relates to food.  (And yes, despite their Mormon ways, they do serve alcohol!)  The majority of the restaurants are a little more ‘fine dining’ than what I might typically prefer, but there are a wide range of options.  Since there are so many people visiting Utah, the Main Street dining area of town is packed!  I would recommend either making reservations well in advance, or going to eat very early or very late.  We tried making a reservation the same day at a couple of places, and they were booked between 5:30 and 9:00pm!  Regardless, we found some great options and really enjoyed our food.

Bandits Grill & Bar: They serve some serious BBQ in a super warm, cozy and relaxed atmosphere.  Perfect after a long, cold day of snowboarding.  Try the Salmon Salad with mango dressing if you want something lighter.  It was fabulous with generous portions of mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, wonton noodles and salmon just to name a few ingredients.  What’s not to like!?

Bangkok Thai on Main: From the outside, this restaurant looked a little fancier than what I like on a ski vacation, but there were people eating here wearing snow pants and flannels.  I know…seriously.  So I didn’t feel so bad in my jeans and Burton hoodie. All I have to say about this place is Lobster and Mango Spring Rolls, Thai Dumplings and Pad Thai.  Mmmmmm.  Five star!!!

Easy Street Steak and Seafood: Really tasty, but this wanna be foodie thinks it is over-rated.  Don’t get me wrong, it was fun going to an extra fancy place and the food was

Easy Street

good, but this really isn’t our family’s style.  It would be great for a romantic date night though.  I had the seared grouper with Flash Fried Tomato and Corn Salsa, Pork Belly, Jumbo Lump Crab and Black Eye Peas. The grouper was great!  But, the pork belly I didn’t really get.  Chefs on the food network rave about this.  But I found it to be an oversized piece of fatty bacon.  I bet it’s great to cook with, but not so great to just eat like a piece of meat.

Wasatch Brew Pub: We waited over an hour to get into this super cute pub and it was worth it.  The rock cod tacos were delicious!  Perfect for the low-key, sporty, beer drinking crowd.  All beers on the menu were brewed in-house so my hubby especially enjoyed this place.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory:  I know they have these all over the place, but I must point it out.  We stopped in and I bought 2 cashew, 2 macadamia and 2 pecan turtles.  AAAhhhhh!  I also had a caramel covered marshmallow for the first time and it was surprisingly good.

Shopping Review:

Super quaint, unique and fun stores! Sure, they have a few cheesy gift shoppes but we all love those don’t we?  Who doesn’t want to buy cheap crap they don’t need.  They also have some insanely cool art galleries, but those were far outside this chicks price range. Chris and I did manage to pick up a couple unique pieces for our home though.  Love them!!

Utah’s Best kept secret:

If you fly into Utah, you can download a voucher for a free lift ticket just by showing your boarding pass at the resort ticket offices!  This is the best deal in Utah as far as I am concerned.  Especially since a full day lift ticket for 1 person is $90 for 1 day!