Utah, Day 7: Time Flies

The Bird had been good to us so that’s where we spent our last full day in Utah.

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We knew we weren’t going to take the tram so we parked at Creekside (parking lot 1) instead of parking near Snowbird Center (parking lot 2).

The conditions had become spring-like as the week progressed so we stuck to the top half of the mountain where the snow wasn’t completely slush. In fact, there were still great stashes of powder in upper Gad Valley and Mineral Basin. For the first part of the day, we were in search of fresh lines in upper Gad Valley, which proved to be difficult because of the rocks that were in the way.

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Little Cloud Lift

After a quick lunch at the Birdfeeder, we took Peruvian Express lift up and then took the Peruvian Tunnel to Mineral Basin. Yes, I said tunnel. SNOWBIRD HAS A TUNNEL.

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Awesome, right?!?!?! 😀

It took about 4 minutes to go through the tunnel. We spent the rest of the day in Mineral Basin.

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I tried to get a picture of Henry jumping over rocks, but I didn’t bring my DSLR and my phone camera is too slow. FAIL.

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Even though it was another great day at the Bird, I started getting bummed out because I knew we would be going home the next day. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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Our last dinner in Utah was at The Copper Onion.

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I was nervous because we didn’t have a reservation, but there happened to be two spots available at the counter when we arrived. I love watching chefs in action so I thought we lucked out. An interesting thing I noted was the number of gloves the chefs blew through during our time there. One of the chefs wore a glove over a glove and kept changing the top glove after prepping certain foods. Is this standard food safety protocol?

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Looking over the menu, I saw bone marrow, pork belly and mussels offered as appetizers; three of my favorite things! How could I say no?

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Pleasant Creek Ranch Wagyu Bone Marrow: Parsley, Caper, Fennel salad, Charred baguette, $13

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Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnip, Preserved Cherries, $11

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Mussels: Creamy Black Pepper Sauce, Toast Points, $15

The bone marrow and pork belly were AMAZING, probably the best I’ve ever had. The mussels were perfectly cooked, but the pepper sauce was a little overwhelming.

We decided not to be complete fat asses this time around and only ordered one entree. 😀 It was tough because I was really interested in the poutine!

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Lamb Riblets: Warm Cauliflower and Potato Salad, $18

The riblets were fall off the bone tender and less gamy than I’ve experienced elsewhere. I really enjoyed the side salad.

For the first time in a long while, we actually had room for dessert. Usually our buttons are popping off and still, we would order dessert.

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Special of the Day: Strawberry, Grapefruit and Basil Sorbet, $3

The sorbet was definitely light and refreshing. I first tasted the strawberry and the slight bitterness of the grapefruit came through at the end.

After dinner we went on a night walk around the State Capitol Building, which is just a few blocks away from our condo.

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If you look closely, you’ll see people sitting on the front steps and on the surrounding wall. I guess it was prom night or something because we saw lots of kids in fancy dresses and tuxes. Damn, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. 😥

After a week in Utah, Henry said he still prefers Colorado. Given how horrible this season has been, I don’t think a fair comparison can be made. I really do hope this season is an anomaly and I’ll get a chance to come back and fully experience why Utah has “the greatest snow on earth”. So for now, I’ll just say that I ♥ Utah as much as I ♥ Colorado.

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SLC Eats (+our verdict):
The Copper Onion, 4/5

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I eat: Redd

I’m always a little nervous when I return to a restaurant that I loved the first time. What if the quality has deteriorated? What if I was just really hungry? Did I just happen to order the best things on the menu? What if my second time is an off day? So many questions run through my mind.

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Crispy Duck Confit with Lentils and Foie Gras Meatballs
Glazed Pork Belly, Apple Purée, Burdock, Soy Caramel
Steamed Pork buns, Hoisin, Vegetable Slaw
Braised Shortrib, Bacon, Cipollini onions, Fingerling potatoes, Red Wine Jus
Caramelized Diver Scallops, Cauliflower Purée, Almonds, Balsamic Reduction

Henry and I first dined at Redd for lunch in October, 2009. We loved it and couldn’t stop raving to our friends and family about our wonderful experience. Fast forward about two years and we returned for dinner with a couple of friends, fully expecting Redd to knock their socks off. But… that didn’t exactly happen. Perhaps my expectations were too high or my tastes have matured/palate refined or even a combination of both – overall, I was disappointed with our meal.

We started off with oysters and appetizers to share.

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Glazed Pork Belly, Apple Purée, Burdock, Soy Caramel $14
Carnaroli Risotto, Maine Lobster, Meyer Lemon Confit, Truffle Oil $15

The pork belly was one of my favorite dishes the first time around and for that reason, I ordered it again. And thankfully, it was as good as I remembered! The risotto was delicious as well, making it difficult for me to have to share it with 3 other people.

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Sauteed Skate, Onion Fondue, Summer Beans, Hazelnut Brown Butter $28
Petrale Sole, Coconut Jasmine Rice, Clams, Chorizo, Saffron Curry Nage $28
Prime New York Steak and Shortribs, Salt Potatoes, Bacon and Mushroom Ragout $32
Liberty Farms Duck Breast, Shelling Bean Cassoulet, Bread Crumbs, Thyme Jus $29

The best entree of the table was the skate with brown butter… WHO DOESN’T LOVE BUTTER? TELL ME! TELL ME!

Everything else, however, just fell flat. The saffron curry nage left a bitter after-taste and the short ribs were tough and stringy. I was most disappointed with the duck; it was overcooked, the skin was not crispy and the amount of bread crumbs over the cassoulet was just ridiculous.

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Butterscotch Pudding, Vanilla Anglaise, Pinenut Rosemary Cookies $10
Chocolate, Peanut Butter Beignets, Bitter Caramel Ice Cream, Bananas $10

After being let down by the entrees, I wanted to pass up dessert. But since we were (unofficially) celebrating Henry’s birthday, we ordered two to share. I liked the butterscotch pudding more than the beignets because it was lighter and not as sweet.

Oh, btw, it didn’t help any that a lady sitting 10 feet away from us was throwing up UNDER THE TABLE. It was her bachelorette party.

Verdict: 3/5
Redd
6480 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599

I eat: Burma SuperStar [1],[2]

The first time I dined at Burma SuperStar, I waited 2 hours for a table. The meal ended up being worth the wait, but I was determined to not let that happen again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t more prepared my second time and it was another 2 hours spent waiting around. Sorry guys! 😦

Tip: Burma SuperStar allows you to call in and place your name on the list – when a table is ready for you, they’ll give you a call to let you know. Make sure you’re around the area.

I decided to combine the pictures I took from my two trips to showcase a variety of dishes.

My FAVORITE items were:

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Braised Pork Belly

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Tea Leaf Salad

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Garlic Chili Shrimp

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Garlic Noodles with Duck

The pork belly was melt in your mouth UHMAZING and I loved the different textures in the salad. Being such a big garlic lover, the garlic shrimp and noodles were perfect choices.

The other dishes I’ve tried were delicious as well!

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Moh Hinga (catfish chowder)

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Nan Gyi Dok

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Spicy Chicken with Mint

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Burmese Style Curry with Beef

You must order rice with your meal! It’s totally necessary.

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Half Tan Poi and Coconut Rice

And if you still have room (which I highly doubt), I recommend this for dessert:

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Banana Spring Roll with Coconut Ice Cream

I have a love/hate relationship with Burma SuperStar. I really love the food, but the wait is ridiculous. I’ll make sure to follow my own tip next time.

Verdict (1 & 2): 4/5
Burma SuperStar
309 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

I eat: Bottega Ristorante [2]

My first time dining at Bottega was SO AMAZING, I couldn’t wait to go back! I had to try the Egg and Pork Belly Confit, which Tyler Florence showcased on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. We weren’t able to order this dish the first time around because it’s seasonal; it appears on the menu starting in July.

Good thing I didn’t have to wait too long.

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We started off with one of Henry’s favorite wines (Buehler ’05 Cab) and a few appetizers: Polenta Under Glass, Monterey Calamari and of couse, Egg and Pork Belly Confit.

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The polenta was just as delicious as last time, but the calamari, though tasty, was nothing extraordinary. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away with the Egg and Pork Belly Confit either. I LOVED the runny soft boiled egg, but unfortunately, the pork belly was overcooked. Oh well. I prefer braised pork belly over pork belly confit anyway.

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Next up was pasta: Pappardelle Bolognese. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly, but the meat sauce fell a bit flat. I expected it to be more flavorful.

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We shared two entrees between 3 people because we didn’t want to over-stuff ourselves (which we ended up doing anyway). Since Henry and I had duck last time, we went for the Wood Grilled Lamb (with local figs and polenta). The polenta was delicious and the figs added a subtle layer of sweet that balanced out the gaminess of the lamb.

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We also ordered the Smoked and Braised Short Ribs (with preserved Meyer-lemon spinach). The meat was very tender and the lemon lightened up the dish.

So even though our buttons were popping off at this point, we couldn’t leave without having dessert. I don’t remember the name of the 1st one, but who cares. Focus on the 2nd dessert: Zeppole al Lemoni – Italian donuts served with Meyer-lemon curd and Earl Grey infused jam. Hot damn, these were delicious!!!! I preferred the jam because the lemon curd was a little too tart.

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I had put Bottega on a pedestal after my first time dining there. My second time brought Bottega back down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the restaurant and would recommend it to anyone. I just know that, other than the Confit of Half Duck and the Polenta Under Glass, most dishes aren’t the best I’ve ever had.

Verdict 2.0: 4/5
Bottega Ristorante Napa Valley
6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599-1300

I eat: Petrossian

Not being able to secure a reservation at The Bazaar during dineLA, I thought I was settling by going to Petrossian instead. Now, I think it was meant to be. Petrossian is a gourmet food boutique and restaurant located in West Hollywood, specializing in caviar. It first appeared on my radar when I heard about their infamous black truffle mac and cheese. Yes, I have a love affair with mac and cheese. Even though the mac and cheese wasn’t on their dineLA dinner menu, I decided to give Petrossian a try away .. with every intention of ordering the mac and cheese on the side.

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While waiting for the waiter to take our order, I browsed through the regular menu and “caviar pizza” caught my eye. That’s not something you can pass up, right? Right. So we ordered the caviar pizza AND mac and cheese IN ADDITION to the 3 course Dine-LA meal. I think the waiter thought we were crazy, or at least, fat asses.

Executive Chef Ben Bailly, who is very good looking by the way, sent out the classic cold borscht soup as amuse bouche. It was so refreshing and delicious!

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The mac and cheese and caviar pizza were brought out first and these two items totally blew the rest of the meal out of the water; everything else just paled in comparison. It was, HANDS DOWN, the best mac and cheese I’ve ever eaten! Rich and creamy, real truffle shavings, smokey bacon flavor – what more can you ask for from a mac and cheese? And the caviar pizza, wow. The creme fraiche as the pizza “sauce” was simply amazing and tied all the ingredients (chives, capers, red onions, caviar) together beautifully.

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With our bellies already filled with mac and cheese and caviar pizza, we began the Dine-LA meal. Our first courses were the shrimp “papillote” and the tsar cut salmon sampler. The shrimp “papillote” had easily recognizable flavors – the chili/ginger sauce was the sweet thai chili sauce you can find at most grocery stores (in asian/international section). The shrimp were perfectly tender, due to being cooked “en papillote” with wonton wrappers. I found it very surprising that I didn’t like the salmon sampler, since I love salmon in all forms (smoked, cured, baked, broiled, fried).

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For entrees, we had the halibut brandade and the braised pork belly (of course!). Brandade is traditionally a puree consisting of salt cod, olive oil, and milk/cream, and Chef Bailly’s twist with halibut was wonderful! I think the substitution of halibut was a great choice since cod and halibut are both texturally firm and dense. Since the halibut is a mild flavor fish, the addition of piquillo peppers really stood out in a good way. The only thing I didn’t like was the black olive oil surrounding the brandade. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first. It sort of tasted a little bit like rust with a hint of fruitiness in the back end. YUCK! As for the pork belly, it was a little too overcooked. It did, however, have great flavor.

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The desserts were both enjoyable. The pistachios used in the Sicilian pistachio creme brulee are probably Bronte pistachios from Sicily, which would explain the vague floral note. The vanilla panna cotta was creamy and delicious; it was basically a high end yogurt parfait.

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My meal at Petrossian was the best Dine-LA experience I’ve had so far. I would have rated the meal highly even if I hadn’t ordered the mac and cheese and caviar pizza. I can’t wait to come back and try the other dishes on the menu. I have my eyes set on the foie gras salad 🙂

Verdict: 4/5
Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique
321 North Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90048