Pabst, Puffeney and Pulled Pork. A Salt Lake Weekend
You know you’re attached to a place when, after 4 years of not living there, you still refer to returning as “heading home.” So it is with me and Salt Lake, the place i lived for the first 26 years of my life, and a place that still has 26 years of my life in its streets.
It can be said that you’re not a truly from Salt Lake unless you have a proper, old-school love hate relationship with the city (i’m not talking about complaining about restaurants or night life here, i mean at some point you had to actually despise the city). It’s something that you learn to live with, or you leave (i left, obviously). Coming back has made me realize how much i love the place, with all its quirks (Salt Lake, unlike many cities has a distinct character quite apart from that sort of cosmpolitanism we often mistake for character, and in this case that can be a good or a bad thing).
Upon returning this time the feeling that everything in the city was changing was palpable. The staunch opposition to the dominant culture (if you don’t know what the dominant culture in Utah is…) that defined my youth and the youth of my friends was slowly waning because the dominant culture in Salt Lake was waning. We sat around late at night, drinking pabst and eating pulled pork sandwiches and people weren’t complaining to me about the latest salvos in the Utah culture wars (out of towners are a good sounding board for talking local politics in Utah, i’ve found). Salt lake will always be a company town for the most part, but the huddled in caves mentality that people from outside of the majority had is shedding.
The cheeses at the excellent Liberty Heights Fresh. Utah has always had some of the best local cheeses.
Of course some things remain the same. The state still has a monopoly on liquor and wine sales (and beer above 3.2 alc. by weight) so there is always a point where me and my wife rush madly to one of the two wine stores in the city because we forgot they close at 7.
While the restaurant and food scene in Salt Lake is changing towards a smaller local model, the wine selections are still lagging. The largest of the two wine stores is still dominated by big names and brand name grapes. Luckily, after some searching we found a couple of bottles that were perfect on a hot summer day.
2007 Château de la Fessardière Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine
If there were two grapes that could carry me through me a whole summer, melon de bourgogne and gamay would be those two. even when the wines are serious in that deeply-confusing-to-outsiders wine geek way they are aren’t serious. These were both porch wines (literally in this case, as we drank them on a porch) and well worth the not much money we paid for them (although the LaPierre did require some serious oxygen as it had reduction issues).
we also cracked a bottle of 2002 Jacques Puffeney melon-queue-rouge (as i can’t eat melons due to a bizarre allergy i unconciously substitute with grapes named melon [Freud would say something different, but who listens to him anymore]). It was a little tired, but still cool in that way that over the hill Chablis is cool. It hangs on to its minerality till the bitter end.
On sunday we headed down to Kilby Court, one the best music venues ever for a flea market. It was going off. i don’t think i’d realized how much the city had actually grown up until i got there. A bunch of kids (to me anyway, since i’ve joined the ranks of the un-trustworthy) making their own stuff, selling it, all the while drinking beers and having a good time? Man, it felt like a new day.