Shelly was flying from New York City to Los Angeles and managed to arrange a weekend layover in Salt Lake City. This meant two days with my best friend whom I have known for almost 20 years. We visit each other every so often, but those vacations usually involve what are called “weeks,” not “days.” A two-day layover meant we needed to pack 10 years of fun into each of the days she was in Salt Lake City.
The last time Shelly and I spent time together in Salt Lake City was when I first met her. We were students at BYU and, if we wanted to splurge on something more than $1.99 all-you-can-eat flapjacks at Wendy’s, we’d leave Provo and come to Salt Lake City to eat at the Olive Garden. Then, we’d order the all-you-can-eat salad and garlic bread, sip our lemonade and head back to BYU singing “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream.” Oh my heck, those were simple times.
Those times would simply not do on this trip. So I did a quick Google search and it seemed like the weekend Shelly was coming to town, Salt Lake City was a persona non city. When I typed the name of our capital into the search engine with the word “fun,” Google replied, “Try removing ‘Salt Lake City’.”
So I took matters into my own hands. WWPD? What would Phil do? As of October, Cheap Shot has been in City Weekly for one year. Happy Birthday to me. This means I have 52 stories in which Phil could lay out a blueprint for Phil and Shelly to construct a wonderful weekend. But you know what I found out? Phil is a cheap bastard. Unless I wanted to take Shelly to Wendover on the Fun Bus for a free buffet, look for nickels on the ground or eat hot dogs at golf courses, I was of no use to me.
However, Phil did realize that Phil has saved a lot of money this last year by going down the yellow brick road of Moochies and Estes and Burt’s. Oh, Chanon Thai! Phil also realized it was annoying speaking of Phil in the third person, so I quit.
As always, Shelly was beautiful when I picked her up at the airport. WWPD? This was not going to be a cheap weekend, because the secret to being cheap is knowing when not to be cheap. Twenty years ago, Shelly and I formed our friendship over $1.99 pancakes; eventually, though, you have to raise the friendship bar.
Our first night together, we ate dinner at Martine (22 E. 100 South). We drank a flock of Grey Goose martinis and ordered nearly every tapa on the menu. The bill came and the money went. And when we got to my house, even the cab driver was floating on our little stream of happiness singing, “‘Give,’ said the little stream. ‘Give, oh, give away.’” Man, it was like a frickin’ Happy Valley MasterCard commercial.
Within 48 hours, Shelly’s trip was just a memory. But, like I said, sparing no expense, it was priceless. After wining and dining Shelly around town, I wanted to show off my newfound culinary jewels to my grandmother. I called and asked if I could take her to a 5-star restaurant—a place I knew she would find both cute and adorable.
She was dressed to the nines when I picked her up and I looked like a four. We drove around for a few minutes and then I pulled into my driveway. For the first time in my life, I cooked dinner for my grandmother. When you’re looking for the best things in Salt Lake City, sometimes it’s about money. And sometimes it’s in your own back yard.