Time to Make a Change | Buzz Blog

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Time to Make a Change

Posted By on August 11, 2011, 5:15 PM

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This isn't really a food blog. It's more about calling it a day, with food as a backdrop. ---

Today, CW's assistant editor Rachel Piper and I enjoyed a toothsome end-of-an-era lunch at The Metropolitan. Tomorrow, after 16 years, this posh downtown eatery will close its doors, so Rachel and I stole away from the office and basked in Metropolitan's glow one last time.

We sipped a glass of wine (OK, two), enjoyed olives and bits of pumpernickel bread and hummus as appetizers, slurped soup, munched on grilled shrimp (mine was on couscous, Rachel's was on grilled veggies), and savored sorbet and an ice cream sandwich for dessert. Quite an extravagance for two ink-stained journalist types. And I was reminded of how rare such standout meals are, served over time in a room with lots of head space.

Even the restroom, with its candles and linen towels, is a spotless, modern sanctuary.

As we got up to leave, I looked around one final time, my eyes following the curved granite bar. At the end of the bar stood the owner, Karen Olson, whom I don't really know. We struck up a conversation about Metropolitan's distinctive hostess stand, the sculpted larger-than-life mushroom that I only today learned was made by U of U art professor.

We discussed the future of the Metropolitan's wine cellar. It's in high demand.

We talked about letting go of a dream. All along, Olson said, it's been hard to know when to pull the plug. Was it after five years? 10 years? 15 years? Who knows--maybe a dismal financial statement made the decision for her. But my read is that Olson was "the decider." She needs this chapter to end in order to begin another. She hinted strongly that something exciting lie ahead.

Like a great Metropolitan dessert, it was just a tad bittersweet. Little by little, as she spoke of letting go, tears welled in Olson's eyes, as they did quite surprisingly in mine. Despite being practically perfect strangers, I felt humbled, looking at the culinary vision she had created for Salt Lake and was willing to walk away from. It takes guts of steel to follow one's bliss.

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