Friday, June 2, 2017

Bon Appetit




   I have been trying to write this blog for a month. I tried first to use the idea of a Poem, then a rhyme. It seemed I could make some of the ideas work in each case, but I could not make it flow smoothly, as I wanted it to. So I decided to just sit down and write and see what the end product might be?
   First it is obvious that I am not an English Major, and it is also obvious I am not a connoisseur of fine food. However just being old does give me some experience in both.
   When my wife passed away in 2012 I started Blogging, but just for my family. As one of my daughters said ,”I hope you document a lot of the stories you have told us and even some that you did not want to tell. At this point I am not sure how well I have accomplished either one of these things.
   My Brother in Law passed away in 2015 and my Sister and I started going to lunch together once in a while. Then it became going more and more and we realized we were going A LOT. At that point we decided to go to different places, for an ulterior motive of seeing new places, instead of just to eat. Somewhere in that time frame I decided to do a Blog on our eating, traveling and fun times and places: BON APPETIT.
   (There we sat in our gourmet café,)
   (With the golden arches shining above.)
   (Her silver coiffed hair seemed her pride and joy.)
   (And mine was bald which I did not enjoy.)
   (I took off my hat and laid it aside, )
   (If I wore a hat at the table, My Mom would, tan my hide.)
   We made it a venture to try and go to different or new places. Really the trip to a new place was often an adventure in itself.
   One day my Sisters husband and I were reminiscing about the “good old days”, we do that a lot. We had both served in the USAF in Germany and we both learned to love German food. Of course one has to eat you know? We both had been told about a German restaurant in Spring City, Utah that served wonderful German food. We decided to drive down the next day and have some REAL GERMAN food. We both wanted Wienerschnitzel  as we had learned to love it. We thought if there was a German National food it must be Schnitzel. Imagine how “bummed Out” we were when it was not even on the menu? We both ordered something else and it was Ok, but we were disappointed. We talked about the food in Germany and laughed and agreed that perhaps we were much younger, and we were remembering the good times we had in Germany and not necessarily the food. It was quite a trip to Spring City, but I had never been there and it was an interesting little town. This whole little town is preserved as a National Historic place. The architecture on most of the houses is very interesting.   
   Lately I have been going to McDonalds for breakfast, more than a little! My Sis goes sometimes but I have found it is a lot easier to do breakfast there than at home. So I have coined a new name, perhaps to make the food more tasty. I call it the “McDonalds Gourmet Breakfast.” A lot of the family tease me about it, but that is OK. It sure is a lot easier than cooking for one, cleaning up for one and washing dishes for one. Perhaps on second thought the washing dishes for one is probably a Perk? I have eaten more Sausage Muffins with orange juice the past few months than I have in my whole life.
   A lot of times just getting somewhere to eat is a lot of fun. And some days, if it has been a bad one it is a joy just to go some place just for a change of scenery. Many times I have picked up my Sis or she has picked up me and we have no idea where we are going. In the cold winter we usually picked a place close to home, but now it has warmed up we prefer a place a little farther from home. EXAMPLE: One day she picked me up (She always wants to drive—does that mean she does not trust my driving?) and we decided to just head north. We thought we would just go to North Salt Lake and grab a sandwich and come back home. However we ended up going to the north end of the Legacy Highway, or Byway or Parkway—whatever it is called? We were talking when we passed the first place to get off and we missed it. So we decided we might as well go to the end of it where it joins I-15. I had not been on that Highway since they first built it and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there are a lot of swamps and slews out there, but they are filled with hundreds of birds of all kinds and colors. I have never been a bird-watcher but I imagine a lot go out to Legacy to do their thing. There is also a biking and hiking trail that would seem to call a younger person to come and take a look. At my age we have to enjoy the perks while sitting or riding in a car. We stopped at a Mexican Café in North Salt Lake on the way back home. I cannot recall the name of it but the food was plentiful and it was good.
   (While we eat we reminisce about things of our youth,)
   (We have eaten Snails, snakes and crocodile and they are so very uncouth.)
   One morning my Sis called me and suggested we go a diner in Oakley, Utah for lunch. It is an old R/R car that had been brought to Oakley and converted into a diner. Of course all it takes for me to go is an invitation and we are gone. Just going up Parleys Summit was worth the drive. We have had a couple of days of rain and then warm weather for a couple of days and “Spring has sprung,” as the old saying goes.  The ride was beautiful. The trees had leafed out, the flowers had bloomed and the wild grass was green. Of course I love the mountain vista’s we have in Utah but I especially noticed it today. I guess I was just ready for Spring and it was one of those days. The only distraction, was having to dodge the Orange UDOT cones that seem to grow in the road. We pulled into the parking lot in Oakley about 11:30 and we knew immediately we had a problem. The parking lot was EMPTY. There was a little white sign on the door—Closed Mon-Wed. So what to do? So what to do? Of course I knew exactly what to do. We went to the Hi-Mountain ice cream shop and got a dish of Pralines & Cream ice cream to hold us until we found a place to eat lunch. We are both crippled up with “old age” problems so we went to the local Cemetery and ate our “goodie” while we sat in the car and decided what to do about lunch. Of course we knew the ice cream would not hold us all afternoon so we decided to go to Heber City, then past Deer Creek and down Provo Canyon and have lunch in Provo.
 (As I said earlier I enjoy the traveling and seeing different or old places more than the eating lunch.) I told my Sis I remembered a place that I used to eat at in Pleasant Grove called the “Purple Turtle” way back in the late 60’s and we decided to find it. It is a little strange, because almost as soon as I told her that, the place came in view. We ate there- the food was still good and of course it brought back memories. I guess finding it like that might be called spontaneous inspiration or serendipity. Ha Ha.
   (They were always looking for a new place to eat.)
   (They want to drive in a car, not walk on their feet.)\
   (They are old and aching, crippled and lame)
   (They know old age is the thing to blame.)
   It sounds like we go to McDonalds a lot, but actually we try to venture to other places. A lot of them we know nothing about and a lot of them turn into an interesting Lunner (lunch/dinner.)
   One morning my Sis showed up and asked if I wanted to go to a new place. She had heard of it and said it was probably a little pricy but she would like to go and try it. Of course I would! All I need is an invitation and I am ready to go. It was only a short drive from my home, so off we went! --- A LITTLE PRICY  YES I WOULD SAY SO! It was Tuccis Cucina Italiana. Yes the food was marvelous, but $50.00 for two of us for lunch? I told my Sis we needed to splurge once in a while, just to see how the other half lives, but let’s not make it a habit.
   There is a definite disadvantage to eating in the Valley, close to home. There is no new scenery to see, just going and coming and we have a tendency to just order on the menu what we did the last time we were there. This does not leave much room for either sightseeing or trying out new foods and eventually it also gets boring.
   I picked my Sis up one day and we were going to a copy-cat pasta place for lunch. On the way we were on 4800 South and we saw a small restaurant with a sign that said, ”Best Hamburgers in Salt Lake City” or something like that. WE stopped, We ate and yes they were good. We were our own waiters. When the food was ready she called and we went to the back and got our food and took it to the table. We also got our own drinks. When we were finished I talked to the gal who owned the place and she was a one woman whirlwind. (she cooked, if she could- she served, she answered the phone and kept the food coming from the freezer to the grill.) I am not sure it was the Best Burger in Salt Lake but it was very good. We were not in a hurry so we were the last ones to leave. That left time to talk with her and she has an interesting story. And yes we have been back a few times.
   I decided to drive to Saratoga Springs or Eagle Mountain for lunch one day. I traveled down the old highway past Camp Williams. I had not been there for a long time and I wanted to see how it had changed and if they had any interesting new, or old, eating places. I did not find any except what I have started calling “celluloid palaces.” Also known as fast food places. They were not interesting so I decided to go up through Stockton and Tooele to go home.
I did not expect to find an interesting place to eat on the way. However at the junction for Tooele/Dugway there was a small roadside store, gas station and Café. There also were about 20 Motorcycles parked in front. I went in and got a diet-coke, mainly just to (checkout the place). It looked OK so I sat down and had a burger. I also talked to some of the bikers. They were all from the Salt Lake area. They were on a week end outing and planned on stopping in the Beaver City or Cedar City area for the night. I actually had a good time visiting with some of them. (It reminded me that I think we should take a chance, smile and talk with strangers. If nothing else we may find a friend.
   So with not knowing where to start this Blog and not knowing how I am going to end it, I guess there are at least two things I end up with. First and most prominent is that the real reason my Sis and I, and at times my Daughters go out to eat is not really the eating, but the traveling, the reminiscing and enjoying the beauty of this place we live. I guess the “Ute” Indians really knew what they were doing, as Ute means ”people of the mountains”. Of course I grew up at the foot of the mountains and they are still my favorite place to go for solitude. The second thing I do, when we go out to eat or whenever we go anyplace, is to try to meet and talk to people. I have a very strong feeling that most people are friendly. At least I have found that so in my travels.
   This was written primarily for my family. It tends to jump from one place to another—as my train of thought changes. If anyone who reads it can bond with any of the thoughts, please let me know if I have company out there in Cyber-Space.

WR Baldwin--- 2 June 2017