Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, July 11, 2015

In Salt Lake City - Culture, Shopping and Food Outing

At Salt Lake City KOA...

For lunch today, we stopped at Crown Burger, an iconic burger joint with several offshoots here in SLC. Upon reading the menu, we were surprised to see a large selection of Greek dishes in addition to the burgers, so right away, there appeared to be an identity crisis. We settled on a Crown burger and a regular burger. The Crown burger was a hamburger with a good helping of pastrami piled on top of the hamburger patty, plus the veggies and a sweetish sauce sort of like thousand island dressing. We decided these burgers were okay, but the pastrami/hamburger combination seemed strange. It was sort of like a hamburger wanting to be a ruben sandwich or something; I didn't get it.  I thought to myself what a shame that it was not a Whatabuger restaurant occupying this very desirable downtown location.

After lunch, we drove up to the University of Utah to visit the museum of natural history. This is a very nice collection of exhibits and artifacts, housed in a magnificent modern building at one of the highest points in the city. I especially enjoyed the view from the fifth floor observation deck. We could see the entire valley east of the Wasatch mountains to the Great Salt Lake in the distance. Breathtaking!  I took a panoramic photo, but it doesn't do it justice at all; I need some work on this:

You may be able to make out the rain shower just beyond downtown Salt Lake City on the right side of the photo.
Among the exhibits I found most interesting was the geology and history of the Great Salt Lake, all that's left of a massive lake that covered the entire valley in prehistoric times. The water contains several times more salt than sea water, yet certain organisms, plants and animals can live in or near its environs. There were many children in the museum, and we thought how much grandson Mason would enjoy this.

After the museum visit, I treated Sandy to a shopping fix. It had been a several-day dry spell for her, so she hit a couple of stores while I took a nap in the car. Typical of her, she bought only things for Mason and Pryce and some cosmetic concoction that only women can identify or figure out how to use. Besides the brand name, which I can't remember, the container's label identified its purpose, which was something like "age defying lip sealer" or "quiet moment knuckle relaxer" or whatever. Who knows what these things do? Whatever it is, it is deemed essential to life, so I kept quiet and drove. I have learned a few things in 39 years.

After that, we stopped at a grocery store to replenish a few food items we keep on board Phannie. Now I know what your're thinking: Why should we buy any groceries at all? We seem to eat at restaurants for all our meals. Well, that's not entirely true. If we eat breakfast, we always fix that in the coach, as well as any other meal when we don't wish to go out or there are no compelling restaurants nearby. And then there are snacks...let's not forget those! But you're right; we do eat out a lot, but I only do it for you, dear readers, so I can report on what I find!

After that, we were determined to try the Red Iguana Mexican Restaurant, which is probably the most popular in the city. Every time we passed by before today, there was a line out the door, as was the case when we arrived. We had to see what was going on! My guess is that it may partially be due to a visit by Guy Fieri of the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TV show a few years ago and still in reruns.

After about a 30-minute wait, we were seated at a table for two crowded into a corner with too many people for the room size. I ordered steak strips cooked with peppers, tomatoes and onions and served on an almond mole'.  Sandy had a taco and enchilada a la carte.

My dish
We weren't impressed. It started badly when we noticed that the tortilla chips brought to the table were stale. Sandy's dishes were average or below, and my steak strips were bland. I had to eat them quickly, as they kept disappearing--sinking in the lake of almond mole' on the plate. My entrĂ©e was okay, but the almond mole' didn't suit the dish at all, in my view. 

As I remember, the Red Iguana menu item that was demonstrated during Guy's show was, indeed, mole', so I'm guessing this sauce has quite a fan base in this town. I was surprised at the large Hispanic population here, so it would follow that there would be demand for authentic Oaxacan Mexican food. My problem is that I grew up with Tex-Mex and I like it better. Much better.

Another downer was the check's price of $37.00, including tip. I was not amused, I don't understand the hype, and I won't be back.

Customers waiting for a table at the Red Iguana

Speaking of eating joints, I have been working on my list of favorite restaurants from our travels that you can access by clicking on "Favorite Restaurants" near the top of the blog. I think I have listed all of them that are, indeed, favorites. For the purpose of this blog, 'favorite' restaurant is defined as a restaurant to which I would return. There are many that don't make the list. Feel free to consult, and to tell me if you disagree or you find it has gone out of business!

Road trip tomorrow!  Ta Ta for now!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.

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