Blame it on a man history remembers only as Brother Bainbridge. In the 1840s, Bainbridge reported spotting a dolphin-like leviathan in the Great Salt Lake. Although our lake is located some 4,000 miles from Loch Ness, sightings of the mythical being—soon to be christened the North Shore Monster—grew and, by summer 1877, published accounts of it and its "frightful bellow" ran in the Corinne Daily Reporter and later the Deseret News.
By then, the creature had evolved into a horrendous amalgam possessing the body of a crocodile and a horse's head. In reality, it was probably a stray bison. We'll chalk up the confusion to the beginning stages of heat stroke experienced by Barnes and Co. Salt Works employees, a nip or two of Valley Tan whiskey and lack of internet.
Whatever the case might be, we pay homage to that piece of homegrown lore in this special issue, and neigh our way through the glory that only summer in SLC has to offer.
On these pages, you'll encounter everything from a trek atop a double-decker tourist bus to a rundown of festivals that just scream summer to a primer on watersports (those of the non-Russian inclination) on the Beehive Nessie's former home. You'll also get familiar with some area swimming pools ripe for the plunging, salivate over delectable ice cream creations, get the down-and-dirty on dirty soda and find out which spots to ship off the kids to for the day while you soak up the rays.
What's that you say? That's not enough to fill all 93 days of summer? We also threw in a rundown of activities on the now-flowery Utah slopes, an art-themed roadtrip, a summary of outdoor movie fests, tips on how to assemble the perfect picnic basket and a Mezcal 101 class. If that wasn't enough, we also asked several local notables about their first summer jobs, went on the hunt for the ultimate SLC souvenir and assembled a comprehensive patio guide to sweeten the pot.
In short, get ready for one monster of a season. So bust out that floppy hat, squeeze yourself into last year's swimsuit and spread that SPF, baby. Here, you missed a spot.
Like a Tourist
Experience SLC like it's the very first time.
By Sarah Arnoff
We locals think we know it all when it comes to Salt Lake City tourist destinations. There are the basics—Temple Square, the Capitol and various museums and outdoor recreation sites. But there's a different side to viewing Salt Lake that most locals haven't experienced: from atop a double-decker bus.
"I learned quite a bit riding a few times," Syracuse native Alan Housley says. "Even locals learn a thing or two." Housley is in his sixth season driving the double-decker bus and trolley owned by U.S. Bus Utah, a hop-on hop-off tour agency that runs guided tours during the summer. The 19-mile loop is accompanied by an audio narration, and patrons can get off and back on at any of the 17 stops along the route, including Temple Square, Fort Douglas, the Natural History Museum of Utah, Trolley Square and the Salt Palace.
The audio guide is peppered with informational tidbits and fun facts about Salt Lake and Utah in general, like how Brigham Young was personified as the villain in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, and that Lee Redmond, the woman who holds the Guiness World Record for longest fingernails, calls SLC home. It's family friendly and not too hokey, with a few wry jabs here and there. One section on myths about Mormons ends with "Even the staunchest Mormon is known to have a beer now and then—though it's probably of the root variety." Housley recalls one day when he was driving a group of older LDS women in the trolley who didn't hear the "root" part of that line, and one was particularly not amused. "I thought she was going to beat me to death with her purse," he says.
Housley signed on with U.S. Bus six years ago when he was laid off from a previous transportation job. After driving his first summer with the tour agency, he decided to stick around even after finding a management position with CR England, where he works most days of the week. "I just enjoyed this so much, I kept coming back," he says. "It's better than sitting at the house on your two days off watching television." And driving a double-decker bus sourced from the U.K. presents a different set of challenges than his previous trucking gigs. "It creates an interesting environment to drive in," he says. Since the steering wheel is on the right side of the bus, passengers have to enter and exit into the street. But to avoid hazards of oncoming traffic, an attendant rides with Housley to watch for cars, place traffic cones around the front of the bus and escort passengers to and from the sidewalk safely.
Behind-the-scenes work can be complicated, too. "It's a challenge to maintain it, to clean it, to make sure that everything runs all the time with all the right parts because all the parts are British," U.S. Bus Director of Sales AnnaLaura Brown says. For the first two weeks of the 2018 season, only the trolley (which also serves as the Jingle Bus during the holidays) was operational since the double-decker was in the shop for various repairs. Tree limbs around the route need to be trimmed in order to accommodate the roof-free bus' height. And there aren't many garages that can house a double-decker, either. "It's hard," Brown says. "During the season we've had them at residential places that have bigger lots to put them on." But the flip side is that the British buses are popular. The company hopes to have two double-deckers up and running by next season.
Originally, U.S. Bus owner Jerry Dolejs, a Czech native who immigrated to Canada, wanted to expand his three tour companies he'd started up north to the Dominican Republic, where milder weather makes year-round operation more feasible. While scouting out the possibilities there, he met a couple from Utah who informed him of the lack of hop-on hop-off tour buses in Salt Lake City. Dolejs jumped on a plane to SLC and fell in love with the place, starting U.S. Bus Utah in 2012 with two single-level open-top red buses. The trolley was brought down from Canada a year later when Jingle Bus came about and, shortly after that, Dolejs shipped the double-decker from the U.K. to Maryland and drove it cross-country to Utah. "He found the opportunity and felt like people could use it," Brown says.
And use it they have. The season generally runs through mid-October with August and September being the busiest months. Convention crowds at the Salt Palace are the tours' biggest attendees, as the U.S. Bus sales stand is right outside the center's east entrance. During the busy months, Brown says it's common to have the tours almost filled even on the first run, which leaves at 9:45 a.m. In 2015, she recalls, the Parliament of the World's Religions congregated for the first time in Salt Lake City, and attendees from all over the globe spilled out of the Salt Palace to experience the capital of Mormonism. "At one point, we had our red-and-white open-top bus full of Buddhist monks from Thailand," she says. "That was something else to see."
To encourage more locals to try the experience, the company offers Utah residents buy-one-get-one-free tickets, which are good for 24 hours after boarding the bus. Brown says that they are working on other types of tours, like routes for food and chocolate tastings, in addition to their city and Antelope Island tours. But the biggest draw for locals, she says, is the chance to learn more about the city they call home. "I've only lived here my whole life and I still didn't know it all," she says. "Come and learn more about the city you actually live in. ... I don't think I've seen a single local that's gone on the tour and said they knew everything."
The Snow Days of Summer
These 10 spots keep the stoke level strong year round.
By Darby Doyle
Yeah, yeah, this past snow season might have been one of the most lame-ass ones in recent memory. The upside? Getting to jump right into all the summer slopeside glory the region has to offer. As a mama of two teenage boys who are competitive freeride skiers and compete all summer and fall on mountain-bike teams, our family spends a lot of time exploring Utah's mountainous terrain. And as much as I love a good powder day or hike through Alpine wildflowers, I have a big ol' soft spot for the laid-back side of summer lovin'. Think free concerts, car shows, a red Solo cup of chilled rosé on a starry summer night. And all of it about 10-20 degrees cooler than down in the valley. Sigh. That's my kind of Sunday Funday.
Whether you're looking to gear up for a mountain adventure or get your groove on with some live tunes, these Utah resorts keep the stoke level high all summer long.
3925 Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, 801-620-1000, snowbasin.com
Since 1936, Snowbasin has been northern Utah's go-to family resort for year-round fun. This summer's Blues, Brews & BBQ Sunday afternoon concert series (pictured) looks like an absolute hoot, with free shows June through September by artists like Los Lobos, Frogleg, Slings & Arrows and local heroes Folk Hogan and Talia Keys. A family-friendly scene, the lawn shows feature acts from 12:30-5:30 p.m. Check out their Spotify playlist for a preview: bit.ly/BBBBQ2018
Starting June 9, the Needles Gondola runs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for easy-peasy downhill hiking or biking access. After a day of outdoor adventure, snag a cold brew from the local on-tap selections on Earl's Patio, pair it with some award-winning barbecue and settle in for one of the best happy hour views in the Beehive. Even better: The kiddos can keep busy with mini golf, a climbing wall, bungee jump and adventure course while the grown-ups toast the sunset.
Utah Highway 158, 8000 N. 5100 East, Eden, 801-745-3772, powdermountain.com
For the best mid-week activities in the north, head up to Pow Mow on Thursday nights. Every other week through July and August hosts either a mountain bike race (with choices from 4 to 12 miles) or fun-run on the mountain's summer trail network. Pre-registration of $20 gets you a bib, timing, raffle ticket and two-for-one tacos. There are prizes for first place in each age division for men and women.
While you're there, you can indulge your classical side by supporting the Eden Artists in Residence program, which brings young string musicians to Utah each summer. Their rehearsal season culminates in four performances at the top of Powder Mountain in August and September.
Solitude Mountain Resort
12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-534-1400, solitudemountain.com
Utah's covert mountain secret keeps the wide-open fun going all summer long, too. Trails are open for hiking and mountain biking from June 15 through the end of September, weather permitting. Lift service runs Friday-Sunday on the Sunrise chairlift from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., or guests can use their own locomotion to go uphill during daylight hours seven days a week. And Solitude's 18-hole disc golf course is one of the West's favorite high-altitude courses.
An annual foodie event favorite, this year's Taste of the Wasatch is at Solitude from noon-4 p.m. Aug. 5. The fundraiser to fight hunger features live music, nibbles from 50 of Utah's top chefs, and boutique wine and craft beer selections. Tickets and more info at tasteofthewasatch.org.
Wasatch Wildflower Festival
Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, cottonwoodcanyons.org
During the 2018 season, the four resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons take turns hosting the Wasatch Wildflower Festival, which is open to hikers and flora enthusiasts from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Guided hikes ranging from kid-friendly easy 45-minute strolls to up to three-hour challenging hikes, all with trained naturalist guides. The festival is free and there are discounted fees for hikes requiring chairlift/tram access. Parking gets crazy congested on host days, so plan ahead to carpool up if you can.
Brighton: Saturday, July 21
Solitude: Sunday, July 22
Alta: Saturday, July 28
Snowbird: Sunday, July 29
9385 S. Snowbird Center Drive, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, snowbird.com
The busy Snowbird summer activity season kicks off with the resort's annual Brewfest on June 9 and 10. For the best deal on getting the kids exhausted, purchase all-day activity passes ($17-$39; check website for hours and start dates) like tram and lift access to hiking and mountain-bike trails, a zipline, climbing wall and my kids' favorite, the 1,300-linear-foot twisty-turny Alpine slide.
Free family-friendly events on the Plaza Deck at Snowbird Center start mid-June, with lawn chairs and coolers welcome (drink responsibly). The free Cool Air Concert Series runs Saturday nights June 16-Aug. 11. Check out acts like Whitewater Ramble, Jared & The Mill and Ballroom Thieves. Sunday afternoons from noon- 3 p.m. Snowbird presents homegrown bands like The Nate Robinson Trio, Whiskey Fish and an always-popular show by the School of Rock's future rock stars in training. Free family movie nights on the Plaza Deck starting at dusk each Friday night are a big hit, too. This year's classics include the original Jumanji, Ghostbusters and Footloose.
When Men's Journal mag gives a shout out to a local beer fest, you know it's a big deal. Close out the season with a bang at Snowbird's annual Oktoberfest running weekends August-October (plus Labor Day).
Park City Mountain
1345 Lowell Ave., Park City, 435-649-8111, parkcitymountain.com
Cutting to the chase: The combined Park City Mountain and Canyons Village complex is freakin' huge. There's a shit-ton of stuff: gold panning, tubing for the kids, Alpine slides, ropes courses, you name it. There are also tons of free hiking and mountain-bike trails criss-crossing the resort, with very cool views of old mining equipment and facilities.
Locals get in on the action with Wednesday night Farmers Market at the Silver King parking lot, Thursday night trivia at Legends Bar & Grill and free live music on Saturday nights at Park City Mountain Village. Clear mountain air makes for some pretty spectacular fireworks shows, which are hosted July 3 and 4.
On Aug. 11, the Canyons Village hosts Stage 5 of the seven-day Tour of Utah road cycling race.
2250 Deer Valley Drive, Deer Valley, 435-649-1000, deervalley.com
Known as one of the West's premiere lift-served single-track mountain-bike networks, Deer Valley's baller trail system features 3,000 vertical feet of elevation change and 70 miles of trail, rated from beginner to advanced. Recently, the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) awarded it the first Gold-Level Ride Center for great flow and variety. Depending on access, lift service rates are $12-$48; bike rental not included.
Deer Valley's Snow Park outdoor amphitheater hosts three summer concert series with very distinct emphases, though the Venn diagram of awesome is strong: The Decemberists, Gavin DeGraw plus Phillip Phillips, Gov't Mule and Jason Mraz for the Deer Valley Concert Series. For your classical and opera fix, check out Utah Symphony concerts with themes like Broadway hits by Sondheim and Webber, an ABBA tribute, and performances with Kristin Chenoweth, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rick Springfield and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. We're sure there will be absolutely no covert special brownie consumption at the Aug. 11 symphony show of The Music of Pink Floyd. None at all.
Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City, 435-658-4200, utaholympiclegacy.org
From June through September, the site of the 2002 Olympic events like bobsledding, luge and ski jumping hosts similar summer activities. You can observe how the pros do it, or up the pucker factor launching your own body down the bobsled course ($75) or off the end of the ski jump landing zone with "extreme tubing" ($15 and up), rope courses, zipline treks or try out the poolside "splash zone" climbing wall.
You've probably seen videos of Olympic athletes summer training by launching themselves on skis or snowboards down ramps and landing in splash pools. See the real thing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons mid-June through Sept. 2 during the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Shows at 1 p.m. (prices vary).
8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance, 1-800-892-1600, sundanceresort.com
It's not all about hiking, biking and ziplining at Sundance Mountain Resort (although they do have all of those things going on). One of the happenings that makes Sundance truly unique is the Summer Artist in Residence programs, where guests can see craftspeople at work. The resort also hosts two-hour art studio classes daily, with workshops like pottery, drawing, painting and jewelry, and hand-bound journal making. Sessions are available three times a day by appointment only at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 801-223-4535 for class info and aim to make a reservation at least a day in advance.
Want to explore Sundance from the saddle? Through Rocky Mountain Outfitters, the resort also offers one-hour Elk Meadows horseback trail rides ($65 per rider) and a two-hour Stewart Falls Trail Ride ($85 per rider). Children must be at least 8 years or older to participate. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and no double-riding is permitted. Schedule tours at least 72 hours in advance by calling 435-654-1655.
Brian Head Resort
329 S. Highway 143, Brian Head, 435-677-2035, brianhead.com
This just might be the best-kept weekend secret in Southern Utah. From its June 16 opening through Rocktoberfest on Sept. 15, skip the tourist craziness of the national parks and head up to Brian Head's cool pines for lift-served weekend hiking and biking access. Starting this summer in collaboration with Momentum Trail Concepts, a combination of chair lift and shuttle service links over 100 miles of bike trails, including gravity fed single track, terrain parks (with jumps, drops, walls and lots of natural and human-engineered features) and backcountry access. July 14 and 15, the resort celebrates new additions to the mountain bike park, with the Classic Rock N' Ride MTB Festival. Expect demo bikes, backcountry shuttles and I'm guessing a shitload of swag from the many vendors and live music groups who'll be there ($10 cover charge, kids 12 & under free; all bike and mountain activity passes are extra).
Brian Head's also got lots of super chill laid-back (brewski in hand, of course) activities like The Main Event live music show June 30 and July 1, an impressive Fourth of July celebration, and an annual car show on July 27. The Aug. 11 all-day Festival of Flavors (in conjunction with the Flyin' Brian downhill bike race) has live bands and lots of beer, wine and spirit vendors. You know, so you can sip a glass of pinot grigio and watch the cringeworthy crashes from the comfort of the Patio Grill.
Sports and Salt
Experience "sort of stunning" sunsets and workout your core at the Great Salt Lake.
By Kelan Lyons
Mention to a Utahn that you're going to spend some time in the city's namesake body of water, and the response is invariably the same: a scrunched-up nose, a look of disdain and some version of the words, Why would you want to do that?
"The lake itself does tend to get a bad rap. People always want to talk about the smell and the bugs," Dave Ghizzone, owner of Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours, says, though he swears the odor comes from nearby Farmington Bay. Smell be damned, the Great Salt Lake is an underrated spot in the hot summer months for boating, rowing or, for the truly bold, taking a dip. With unbeatable vistas of mountains and magnificent sunsets, braving the bugs and smell is worth it. Plus, Ghizzone says, "Once you're out on the main body of water, there's really no odor at all."
Ditch your preconceptions and get out on the water. Here are some suggestions:
Pedal boats are a great way to kill an afternoon on the water. "They're not very fast, but they are a lot of fun, especially on a calm day," Ghizzone says of the watercrafts. His business rents out four-seater pedal boats, which Ghizzone describes as "kind of a legacy thing" for the Great Salt Lake and "more of a family activity"; children are allowed to join adults, he says, provided they wear a life jacket. The boats are tough to tip over, and peddling isn't difficult because, thanks to the salt, the boats sit up higher on the water, making them great options for weekend warriors who want to spend time with their kids.
Fearful landlubbers, take note: The chances of your boat taking on water in the GSL are low. "You don't have to worry about sinking because the water's so dense," Dave Shearer, the state park's harbor master, says, though he warns sailors to pay attention to weather forecasts. "If the wind picks up, you can get some pretty quick waves out there," he says, but "average daily conditions out here are very good." Shearer recommends prospective boaters check out Sailfest, held in June by the Great Sale Lake Yacht Club, or contact Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours. "There's plenty of opportunities to get out on the water," he says.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
A cross between surfing and kayaking, stand up paddleboarding is more commonly known by its acronym, SUP, not to be confused with the greeting. SUPers stand on a board and use a paddle to navigate the water, giving their bodies—especially their cores—a full workout while doing their best not to lose their balance and stay dry. Trent Hickman, owner and operator of Park City SUP, says the views GSL SUPers get of the Wasatch Mountain Range, not to mention the sunsets, "can be sort of stunning." Hickman says he doesn't think the saltiness makes SUPing any harder, but, "if it's highly windy or choppy, that can make it incredibly difficult."
Amanda Green, co-owner of Green Adventure Sport Rentals, compared her Great Salt Lake kayaking experience to "paddling through cough syrup." (Ghizzone says there's less resistance in the water because of the salt, rejecting Green's cough syrup comparison, unless you're paddling through waves. And Hickman says the difficulty of paddling through the lake "can be subjective.") Using a kayak, Green says, "you can still have the beauty of seeing everything, but not the itchiness of the salt ... I like it because I don't like to swim." Green encourages potential kayakers not to worry about winged menaces: bugs hug the shoreline, she says, but they're not as prevalent farther out on the water.
Dubbed the "polar opposite of kayaking" by Great Salt Lake Rowing president Irene Lysenko, rowing is a full-body workout in which participants face backward—not forward, as in kayaking—and use a combination of legwork and teamwork to glide through the water while taking in some breathtaking views. "It's incredibly beautiful," Lysenko says. "You just can't beat the sunsets. Beginners, head to the Great Salt Lake Marina on Saturday, June 2 for National Learn to Row Day, where you'll get free rowing education and experience. Those looking for a series of classes should check out the GSLR's lessons page. The best part? "It's low-impact," Lysenko says. "You can row forever. You never age out of it."
Swimming, or, for the less ambitious, floating
To get as close as humanly possible to Jesus' water-walking feat, just lie back. "You can float effortlessly," Shearer, the harbor master, says, thanks to the lake's high salt concentration. Prospective floaters should head to the lake's northern arm, since it's twice as salty as the arm to the south. Visit the popular Bridger Bay Beach to lie back, gaze at the sky and meditate to the sound of the birds as you float in the water's salty embrace. Or, if you're an open-water swimmer, brave the brine flies and shrimp and do some freestyle with a backdrop much prettier than your standard swimming pool or body of open water and soak it all it. This, my friends, is summer in Utah.
My First Summer Job
Notable locals reflect on their first forays into employment.
By Lance Gudmundsen
Unless you're a trust fund baby (and maybe even if you are), summertime frolicking is all-too-soon replaced by a summertime job. Like your first kiss or first car, it's an all-American rite of passage into young adulthood.
Honoring the tried-and-true summer tradition, we asked an assortment of Utahns for their recollection of their first jobs, and the lessons they learned along the way.
The job: "I worked for a construction company sanding drywall seams. It was dusty and hot ... so, for a while, I stopped wearing the mask because it was so uncomfortable. But then I asked my friend's dad—who was a doctor—if I had to wear the mask. And he said, "Uh, yeah. That stuff will kill you. Don't breath that in."
Life lesson: "That summer made me all the more determined to do something that didn't involve sanding drywall for the rest of my life."
Former Salt Lake Tribune columnist
The job: "It was on the golf-course grounds of Salt Lake City's Parks Department. The first summer, after my sophomore year of high school, I weeded, trimmed and mowed the greens—and smoothed the sand traps—at Nibley Park Golf Course. My second summer, I was the night water man at Nibley, starting about 9 p.m. and watering all night long, until about 5:30 a.m. My third summer was my favorite: I was the fairway cutter at Rose Park Golf Course, driving a tractor with a gang of mowers attached, going up and down each fairway listening to rock 'n' roll on my transistor radio and enjoying the atmosphere ... particularly the women golfers in their short-shorts and skimpy tops. Only stressful part was making sure I didn't run over someone's golf ball—and making sure I didn't get hit by one!"
Life lesson: "It taught me that work can be fun, and the value of earning money and using it wisely ... making sure I saved some for the car I would eventually buy."
Terry L. Capener
Lagoon general manager
The job: "Making buffalo burgers at Pioneer Village at Lagoon. All my friends were trying to work there. My sister [already was employed there] and always came home happy—but her paychecks were what I was most interested in. After my first interview, I was informed that there was not currently a job for me. (Back then, there were way more teenagers available to work—unlike today where they can basically get a job anywhere.) I was heartbroken—and had already spent my first paycheck in my mind. The next day, I called back and told [the food manager] he could fire me after my first week if I didn't work hard enough. I must have made an impression, as I will be finishing my 39th year at Lagoon this season. I was paid $1.30 per hour and I thought I was rich. The job was hot and exhausting with long hours—but I loved it. I made so many friends that season—and wouldn't have quit if they paid me to!"
Life lesson: "Responsibility, safety, communication, working together as a group and how to get along with others. I also learned independence. I was sooo shy when I started. I learned who and what I wanted to be. I learned integrity and perseverance. I loved it so much that I never really left."
SLC Interior Designer
The job: "I was hired at [the now defunct] Pardoe Floral when I was 13 years old. Old Man Pardoe came to my house just a few houses from his greenhouses and asked if I could work for him. We planted flats of flowers for 11 cents a flat. And if we planted fast, we could make $1 an hour!"
Life lesson: "I met many friends there and had so much fun. I soon learned friends were important in life. Hard work and showing up every day brought a better paycheck. Also, I learned that dependable employees help a company succeed—and self-discipline is critical to your own success. I also developed a passion for flowers. I treasure the friends I made as I worked for various companies. I cherish all the memories along the way."
Thomas R. Calame, M.d.
The job: "The first job for which I received a paycheck was as a stockroom clerk at the Nebraska clothing store in Omaha. I was 15 and made 90-95 cents an hour—which was the minimum wage. After about a year and a half, I was fired in a dramatic fashion for criticizing my supervisor. Unfortunately, he was the boss' brother-in-law!"
Life lesson: "I learned that people don't like to be criticized ... and that being a smart-ass is not a particularly good way to advance in the world."
Utah Lieutenant Governor
The job: Farming and moving sprinkler pipe on his family farm in Fairview, Utah. He was paid 10 cents per pipe, which was usually about 30 pipes in the morning and another 30 pipes in the evening. He was also paid $4 an hour whenever he drove the tractor.
Life lesson: "Hard work and family values. I actually hated farming as a kid, and knew I needed to get an education so I could get off the farm ... but now I just want to be a farmer all the time."
KUTV Channel 2 reporter
The job: "It was the summer after high school graduation. I didn't have a car, so the only job I found with a schedule that allowed my mom to drive me on her way to work was at the local Kmart store near our home in California. It was in the back of the store's loading area which was dark at 6 a.m. There were no customers ... just me and a few others who did the same job. For four hours a day, I put price stickers on merchandise (deodorant, diapers, canned goods) before it was placed on the shelves. It was so boring and mind-numbing. I don't remember how much it paid—it was 1985—but I'm sure it was minimum wage. They paid us in cash—and I think that was no accident. Workers often went right back into the store and spent their hard-earned cash. I remember making about $90 per pay period. I soon was 'promoted' to cashier ... much better because I got to interact with customers."
Life lesson: "It was a great motivator because it helped me set my sights on better things—like a career in TV news. I'd already been accepted by a local university and the job made me feel so thankful that someday I'd have better options."
SLC bar patron
The job: "It was at the old Park Vu drive-in theater on 3900 South and 1100 East—cleaning the lot the morning after the show. You can't believe what people left behind: beer bottles, bras, underwear, diapers and drug paraphernalia. Sometimes, I'd find money ... but I didn't tell anybody. A nice bonus. I was in the seventh grade—so it was about 1972."
Life lesson: "Well, I learned how scary it is to walk along the top of the screen—which I did a couple of times. And how not to spend money foolishly. Of course, I still do the same thing ... but now it's in a bar!"
Keep the kids busy with these 8 stimulating daytime options.
By Scott Renshaw
Every parent of school-age children has experienced it, and the dread that accompanies it: Just a few hours into the first day of summer vacation, and your recently liberated youngsters are grumbling, "I'm bored." Or perhaps just as bad, they appear content to spend hours on their phone, their tablet or in front of the TV, shunning all human interaction or active engagement with the world.
It's not too late to head off ennui, lethargy and passivity at the pass. Here's just a handful of the options for Wasatch Front parents to get their kids involved in activities that will give their summer a boost of energy and education—and, not for nothing, get them out of your hair for a few hours each weekday.
Join the artists of Samba Fogo for a weeklong morning program (July 9-13) for ages 5-9 providing a foundation in Brazilian song, dance, drumming, culture, craft-making and more. The camp concludes with a performance for family members on July 13, and the $120 per student fee includes a Samba Fogo T-shirt and access to the museum exhibits (full and partial scholarships are available).
444 W. 100 South, 801-456-5437, discoverygateway.org/summer-camps
Themed weeks for kids 3½-10 years old combine music, performance, physical activity, arts and crafts for a stimulating 90-minute mini-camp. Explore the worlds of pirates, trolls, Polynesian culture and more. Cost $175 per student ($155 for second student).
1155 E. 3300 South, 801-463-9067, imaginationplace.com
The Leonardo (pictured) keeps your little scientist engaged this summer with weeklong camps that pique their curiosity and offer the museum's trademark brand of hands-on learning. Two options are available for first and second-graders, in two sessions (June 25-29 and Aug. 6-10). In the mornings (9 a.m.-noon), "Colorful Chemistry" serves up experiments with a sweet tooth as children learn chemical concepts through candy. In the afternoon (1 p.m.-4 p.m.), "Myth Busted" teaches kids to wonder about the truth behind urban legends and old wives' tales—like whether the "five-second rule" really works—via direct experience. Camp sessions are $150 per person; $20 extra for half-hour early drop-off.
209 E. 500 South, 801-531-9800, theleonardo.org
Natural History Museum of Utah
Dozens of age-appropriate (from K-8th grade) weeklong experiences are available at the Natural History Museum, both on site and through exploratory field trips. Kids get hands-on learning about biology, engineering and robotics, gardening and food science, geology, outer space and more. Special camps for girls offer safe places to nurture an interest in science and technology. Special courses give participants a chance for one day each at the Natural History Museum, Hogle Zoo, This Is the Place Heritage Park, Red Butte Garden and Arboretum and Camp Kostopulos. Sessions range from $155-$310 per week.
301 Wakara Way, 801-581-4303, nhmu.utah.edu
For that unstoppable bundle of energy, here's a camp that's all about bodies in motion. Weeklong half-day classes at two Utah locations take participants through an ever-changing series of obstacle courses. Team and individual competitions and free play time on the climbing/swinging/balancing apparatuses are also included. Ages 5-13 are eligible, $224 per person including T-shirt, snacks and closing Friday pizza party. Reservations by phone only.
780 W. Layton Ave.; 3107 Wall Ave., Ogden; 801-707-7915, ninjawarehouse.com
Salt Lake Arts Academy
Throughout the summer, Salt Lake Arts Academy presents weeklong classes primarily for ages 9-16, with half-day and full-day experiences that cover a diverse selection of visual and performing arts. Students can learn fundamentals of photography, explore creating works with paper or felt, fashion glass works or design jewelry. For the performers, workshops focus on music, improvisation and dance. There's even an overnight excursion to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Half-day classes range $155-$175; full-day $310-$335.
844 S. 200 East, 801-531-1173, slarts.org
Youngsters interested in film and media arts have a great opportunity to get hands-on experiences. Half-day camps for ages 9-12 cover topics including creating an animated film (June 4-8), shadow-puppet theater (June 25-29) and songwriting (July 16-20) for $175 a pop. Full-day courses include partnerships with Clever Octopus on creating a found-object musical instrument (July 9-13) and making a short science-fiction film (July 9-13), or combining rock-climbing with photography at The Front Climbing Gym; full-day classes $325 per person.
669 S. West Temple, Ste. 202, 801-532-7500, spyhop.org
Utah Children's Theatre
If your youngster has already been bitten by the stage bug, or even shows a little facility for theatricality, there's a whole summer full of chances to put on a show at this South Salt Lake venue. There are opportunities for kids from 4-18 to get involved in a wide range of options: short performances on a variety of themes, improvisational comedy, musical theater, stage combat, puppet-making and monologues for film. Each week-long session runs $135-$175 per student, with discounts for registering one month in advance.
3605 S. State, 801-532-6000, uctheatre.org
Where Swimmers Dare
Trying, failing and succeeding to pool-crash along the Wasatch Front.
By Jordan Floyd
As summer begins to take its hot hold on the valley, Salt Lakers, undoubtedly, will rush to the nearest swim spot to cool off. In anticipation of the swim season, I attempted to visit and or swim in some of Utah's most distinct bodies of water—those that are man-made, sort-of natural or located in a temperature-controlled room. Perhaps for the sole love of a challenge, I sought to steal a swim from locales that require authorization. To be clear, City Weekly does not condone trespassing or any other illegal activity, as fun and summery as it might be. From my foolish mishaps, I'm sure most readers will see that a reservation at a hotel is the best way to get into a hotel pool. It is my hope, however, that some might be inspired by my beautiful journey and will let it swim, so to speak, in their imaginations where it will stay.
Warm up: Brighton's Lake Mary
Given the conceit of this piece, it is imperative to note here that I neither swam nor had the intention to swim in Lake Mary, and neither should you. Certainly, Lake Mary is a gorgeous place to spend a summer day, but because the lake is an important component of the valley's watershed it is not the place for sweaty, dirty and potentially all-around unsanitary bodies to swim. Any claim to hygiene-shaming ends at the mouth of another's faucet. Still, I had to rev up the motor somewhere.
Engulfed by mountain peaks and lying at the top of slopes that hold feet of snow late into the summer months, Lake Mary is a fair challenge to reach on a day in, say, July or August. On an early day in May, however, the path to Lake Mary was completely impassable given my woeful choice of footwear: slip-on Vans. Had I thought to find and bring snowshoes or cross-country skis, I might have traversed the path to the lake and enjoyed a rare warm-yet-wintry time on the lake's mostly granite shore. Instead, I endured only a couple hundred feet of hiking, the space of which was enough for me to sink knee-deep into the snowpack three times, before throwing a few snowballs at nearby trees and turning back.
While the sad attempted trip to Lake Mary marks the beginning of a motif of failure in this piece, the fact that the potential for an enjoyable afternoon by the water was thwarted by masses of snow should not go unnoticed. Utah did what Utah does best, and I did what many Utahns have learned to do when a hell of a lot of snow ruins plans: nod toward defeat and venture to find a hot tub.
First Stop: A Hot Tub (Any Hot Tub) at Solitude Resort
After the initial letdown at Brighton, I recalled sitting in a condo's hot tub at Solitude with my friend a few years back and how good it felt after a day of snowboarding. Surely, I figured, a soak in that same hot tub would feel excellent after trudging part-way up and down a snowy mountain. I only had two problems: I couldn't remember where the hot tub was, and if I found it, I had no way of getting in. I had to do what few swimmers (or hot-tubbers, in this case) dare.
The plan seemed easy: park in the "complimentary parking" area, wander through the condos as if I was the owner or related to the owner of one of the said condos, locate the tub, have someone let me in or find a way otherwise, enjoy and escape unscathed. I did not anticipate, however, the number of workers wandering around the condo area, all of whom, seemingly, had decided to go on their lunch break at the same time, giving them ample time to stare, interrogatively, at me while chomping on their sandwiches. After making a lap around the complex and finding a fenced-in pool sans hot-tub, I noticed a man staring at me while I stood at the pool's fence. We seemed to mime each other for a time, he holding his sandwich, and me holding a notebook and camera, each, it occured to me then, screaming: "I'm a shithead kid with a journalism degree doing a story about getting into swimming pools."
I averted the man's gaze, snapped a few quick pics of the mountain tops, tried to appear as if I was pondering the complexities of the universe and scribbled something incoherent in my notebook. I continued wandering but felt anxious and paralyzed, especially when I eventually found the hot tub. The man was no longer in sight and the hot tub's fence was a quick dash through a stretch of rocks and mountain brush between condo buildings—this is what I had come for. Still, I felt watched. I felt as if the emergence of the sound of a machine whirring in the distance was a decoy. I felt that the two or three handshakes I exchanged with John Saltas some years ago were not enough reason for him to bail me out of jail should the man with the sandwich catch me in the hot tub and call the police. The sun, at its apex, beat down on my neck. I turned from the hot tub, flushed with stress. I knew I had failed, dammit, but at least I had warmed up.
Second Stop: The Allstar Motel Pool
Brimming with the kind of desperation that only persistent failure can breed, I drove straight to Salt Lake's Allstar Travel Motel. Anyone who has dared wait for a table at the original Red Iguana has likely seen the neighboring motel's pool area, dubbed the "Kiddies Fairy Land," and its trademark pool decorations: an oversized lawn gnome and a floppy, red-and-white-polka-dotted mushroom. The sight is a little creepy and kind of worrisome, but inexplicably alluring.
When I arrived, the motel parking lot was packed. I figured of all the individuals coming in and out of cars and motel rooms, someone had to be at the pool, which meant I could potentially blend into the crowd. When I neared the pool gate, I was dismayed to see that nobody was there and that the pool, in fact, was empty. I pushed on the pool's gate anyway and I froze when I heard a voice call from behind.
"Excuse me," the voice said, "this is private property—the pool is not open to the public."
I turned toward the voice and saw a woman approaching me rather tiredly. Reacting quickly, I said toward the woman, "But I'm not the public," paused and then said it again when the woman was a few feet away. We stared at each other, both wondering what the hell my remark meant and why I would repeat it. I tried to make up for my reactionary blunder by requesting, kindly, that I at least be able to take a photo next the pool. She told me that I couldn't, that the owner of the motel was not fond of people taking pictures of the pool or with it because the photos inevitably painted the motel in "a bad light."
I left promptly and apologized to the woman who, I guessed, likely felt trapped in some Groundhog Day spin-off, where she is the main character restlessly warding off obnoxious photographers (or quasi-journos) looking to "getting a picture with the pool—just one." Formally, I'd like to apologize to the woman I interacted with here, and to the owner, I want to say my photo would have been better than any of the others—that it might put a good light on the motel—but I was doubtful then and doubtful now that that would be true.
So I failed again, but at least I was spared the chance to fail anyone beyond myself.
Third Stop: West Valley City's Grins and Fins Waterpark
The Grins and Fins waterpark, which can be identified easily by the red slide looping out of the hotel building in which it resides, was my day-of-swim's culminating destination. Although I was disheartened by the time I arrived at the dual Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites just off the Interstate 215, I felt that something good had to happen.
When I arrived at the hotel, I went straight for the lobby. That the pool door would be the first thing I saw when I entered the hotel came as a surprise. Beyond its entrance I saw a series of shallow, square pools, a playground-looking contraption that had no water spraying out of the holes where I imagined water should spray, and the stairs to the pool's crown jewel: the red slide. As I walked through the entrance, my thought to go straight to the pool door was halted by the complete absence of people in the pool and the woman seated behind the hotel's front desk that, I figured, was strategically placed directly across from the pool door. I quickly ducked into one of the hotel's hallways to make a plan.
Given the fact that the pool's slide had a set of stairs that traveled up another story, I guessed there must be a second-story entrance. After taking the hotel elevator up a floor and wandering around the hallways, I found just what I believed would be there. A door identical to the one I had seen on the first floor stood ajar in front of me, a sign marked "Grins and Fins Water Park" pressed to the wall beside it. With little hesitation, I stepped through the door.
The room was dark and smelled like old coffee and something that could all at once be identified as hot dogs, sweat and some heinous version of loaded nachos. Still, the place had a charm all its own. Dim, neon letters and numbers glowed from their places on arcade games. Empty desks were joined by empty chairs below large windows that looked over the indoor water park. Friends, I had made it to the party room.
I noticed a door that lead to stairs down to the water park, but found it was blocked by the same boxy arcade games I saw when I first surveyed the space. So close, but so desperately far, I thought. Resigned to a final defeat, I walked over to the window and looked down at the water park. The mouth of the red slide was dry, the water below it still and impaled by rectangles of bright sunlight. A reflection of the slide's red underside lay fixed at the center of another rectangular part of the pool. The sun, the slide, its image like a strange mirage was there just beyond the window, floating, it looked like, atop the water. What my editor suggested would be my Sistine Chapel had morphed into my Ecce Homo.
Fourth Stop: The Little America Hotel
After a day packed with disappointment and with deadline looming, I thought I was done. Every lake, pool and hot-tub in or around the valley, it seemed, was built to ward off would-be swim thieves, but at the darkest moment in my journey, there came a dawn—my shining editor. Like an empathetic father after a disappointing ball game in which I struck out with the bases loaded to lose the game, or missed the game-winning three-pointer, he called me, gave me a verbal pat on the back and told me to try again the next day. And so I did. The following morning, I got back up to the plate—I pulled up from deep in the corner with mere seconds left, and I scored, baby, I scored.
The plan was to try and get into a pool at a downtown location. As I wandered around, iced-mocha in hand, I saw a man pass me who piqued my interest. Double-fisting venti-somethings and dressed in khaki shorts similar to the pair I was wearing, he walked toward the Little America. As if he were my own shining Star in the East, instinctively, I followed him up the street and into the heart of the Little America Hotel.
The man lead me to a throughway that divides the Little America hotel complex down the middle. He veered to the left, presumably, to deliver the chilled drink to whomever was on the waiting end. I nodded toward him graciously as he left—for it was him that delivered me.
I walked ahead and saw an enclosure, marked by a white metal fence and rose bushes in full bloom. Tan umbrellas rose above the bushes, and as I neared, I began to make out pool chairs, each adorned by a folded, white complimentary towel. It was my plan to act, at the gate, as if I had forgotten my hotel key card and attempt to solicit the help of a sympathetic pool-goer or hotel worker. I readied my key card-less wallet and located an elderly couple reading at a table near the pool, but as I approached the white gate I could not believe what I saw. The only thing securing it was a small latch that would open with the gentle, upward pull of my elated finger.
I walked through the gate and was met by the sight of a beatific, turquoise body of chlorinated water; the towel-holding chairs flirting with me like lounging oysters flaunting their pearls. I made it and as any champion, king or triumphant swim thief would, I undressed, placed my things on a pool chair and dove right into the pool's deep end—khaki shorts and all—and for a brief second all was good with the world.
My journey having reached its end, I reflected on the past couple day's misadventures and thought, surprisingly, not about the bodies of water, but the people I encountered. What I had engaged in was a dance, not a solo mission, and it was one I shared with a man readying a resort for summer, a pair of women standing guard at two of Salt Lake's quirkiest pools and a khaki-wearing revelation whose unsuspecting guidance I must express gratitude for here. For life and pools, it seemed then, it was never about the destination, but the journey and all those who helped (or hindered) me along the way.
Wish You Were Here
On the hunt for the ultimate SLC souvenir.
By Dash Anderson, Rachelle Fernandez, Jordan Floyd and Nic Renshaw
The disposable keychain, the sad snowglobe, the ever-elusive non-moose-related knick-knack. Few things scream vacation success quite like the cheesy souvenir. With that in mind, we unleashed four of our dedicated editorial interns to scope out and purchase a cheese-tastic SLC memento across a number of local retailers. As varied as their personalities, the items they secured inspired revelry, indigestion and existential dread.
Found at Market on Main, 268 Main, 801-363-0280
One day after work, I went to find a snack at a small Afghani market called Market on Main Street. My venture for some chips quickly became an afterthought once I spotted a small but mighty section of Salt Lake City souvenirs. As I perused, I was fascinated by the unique keychains and mini spoons with Utah designs, among other fun items. My eyes were finally drawn to a flask engraved with the message "Eat, Drink, & Be Merry—tomorrow you may be in Utah," which spoke to my newly minted 21-year-old self. I immediately picked it up, and proceeded to check out, snackless. Despite its message, my flask is now filled with merriment—even in Utah.
Authentic Utah Moose Poop ($5.99)
Found at Salt Lake City Souvenir & Gift, 24 W. 100 South, 801-456-1229, saltlakesouvenirandgift.com
OK, let's talk biology. Pooping is arguably one of the best things to do, well, ever. Clearly this was on my mind when I ventured into the downtown bastion of all things SLC souvenirs known as Salt Lake City Souvenir & Gift. Upon my return to the newsroom, I discovered, the gift isn't real moose poop, but actually delicious chocolate-panned peanuts. Still, this #fakepoop spoke to me in ways that basic "SL,UT" keychains could only dream of. The decision wasn't easy; it was between this or some hand-carved healing crystals. I'm glad I followed my heart (and my intestinal tract) on this one.
Moose shot glass ($6.59)
Found at Simply Salt Lake, 90 S. West Temple, 801-534-4906
In keeping with the theme, the Salt Palace Convention Center has been one of Salt Lake City's most iconic landmarks since 1995, and no iconic landmark would be complete without a gift shop. Located inside the center itself, Simply Salt Lake offers a wide variety of Utah-themed apparel, snacks and other trinkets and doodads. A surprising number of these feature moose, including this novelty shot glass with a very tiny, very drunk moose at the bottom. Apart from the amusing incongruity of buying a shot glass in such a notoriously dry state, I liked the idea that using it requires literally drowning the little guy in alcohol.
Existential-Dread wall art ($2.70; originally $26.99)
Found at Deseret Book, 45 W. South Temple, 801-328-8191, deseretbook.com
While I was tempted to purchase plastic missionary figurines (sold in pairs, of course) or a book about the history of those who explored and settled the "Americas" (no, Lehi was not given a chapter), at 90 percent off, there was no way I could pass on this gloomy wall decoration. With the easy confidence only a promise of a personalized planet can instill, it assures whoever might look at it that "when someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure." Really, I did a church service here, buying an item as downright depressing and existential-dread inducing as this—one that reminds you that everyone you know and love will, at one point or another, become a flawed and fleeting memory via a multi-font inspirational quote set on top of the sepia image of a bare willow tree surrounded by snow. You're welcome, future shoppers.
Festival Road Trips
How to turn your weekend getaway into a theatrical whirlwind.
By Scott Renshaw
Summer in the city can be a bit of a fallow period for local theater, as many performing arts companies recharge their batteries for the beginning of their fall season. But there's plenty of summer theater in Utah; you might just have to hit the road to find some of it. There are ways to experience multiple high-quality productions in a narrow window, if you've got the time for a weekend getaway and know how to make the most of your schedule. Here's a primer on experiencing three of the state's longstanding summer theater traditions.
Where: Ivins (approximately 4.25-hour drive south from SLC)
The Shows: Tuacahn's 2018 summer season showcases four musicals, with premieres staggered from May through July. Three of the productions—Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, Matilda the Musical and The Prince of Egypt—are family-friendly shows in the gorgeous outdoor amphitheater, set right into the red rocks of Ivins (pictured). The fourth—Million Dollar Quartet—plays in the indoor Hafen Theater, where children under 5 are not permitted.
Seeing Them All: The last of the official opening nights is Prince of Egypt's on July 20, while Million Dollar Quartet's shorter run ends Aug. 11. On three of the weekends when all four shows are running, you'd need to make it to a Thursday evening performance to catch all three amphitheater productions on successive nights (there are no Sunday performances), plus a Friday or Saturday matinee for Million Dollar Quartet.
Ticket Prices: Amphitheater shows: $29-$92; Million Dollar Quartet: $29-$59. Season ticket packages offer a discount for those planning to attend all three of the amphitheater productions, with "any day" (Monday-Saturday) ticketing $99-$260 per person. Season tickets are vouchers only, so you'll need to select specific seating for individual shows after purchasing a package.
Lodging: Tuacahn offers discount hotel packages for more than 20 hotels and motels in the St. George area; prices vary widely, but be sure to inquire about discount package pricing when contacting any of the places listed on the Tuacahn website. Click the "packages" icon at the top of the page, then select "hotel packages."
Dining: Chef Hog's Café—offering a menu of soups, sandwiches, burgers and gyros—is the most convenient option, right on-site at Tuacahn. Otherwise, you can find plenty of options from 5-9 miles away on the main drag in St. George, from fine dining and sushi to pizza and other quick eats.
UTAH FESTIVAL OPERA & MUSICAL THEATRE (utahfestival.org)
Where: Logan (approximately 2 hour drive north)
The Shows: UFOMT's lineup traditionally includes a mix of Broadway musicals and classic opera, which this season is weighted toward the former. In June, the program kicks off with You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Utah Theatre, followed by the July premieres of the four main productions at the Ellen Eccles Theater: Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods; Rossini's The Barber of Seville; the 1991 stage adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden; and the 2015 Broadway musical Amazing Grace, based on the life of John Newton, composer of the iconic titular hymn. Other special performances take place throughout the five-week primary season—including a concert tribute to Leonard Bernstein—as well as literary seminars, backstage tours and pre-show "informances" to provide additional context for the productions.
Seeing Them All: Into the Woods, Barber of Seville, Secret Garden and Amazing Grace all premiere the first full weekend of July—and as it turns out, that's the best opportunity to catch them all, plus Charlie Brown, in a three-day span. Head up on Thursday, July 5 at part of a long Independence Day weekend, catch the July 5 evening performance of Barber of Seville, then enjoy Charlie Brown (Friday matinee), Into the Woods (Friday evening), Amazing Grace (Saturday matinee) and Secret Garden (Saturday evening). Other weekends through Aug. 4 will allow you to catch everything except Charlie Brown (which primarily shows Mondays-Wednesdays).
Ticket Prices: Individual show tickets are available online at utahfestival.org, with prices ranging from $16-$79. Series discounts are available, but only by calling the main box office at 1-800-262-0074 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.).
Lodging: Six Logan-area hotels have partnership arrangements with UFOMT, including Best Western, Holiday Inn Express and Days Inn locations on Main Street within just a few blocks of the festival venues. Visit utahfestival.org for the list of participating locations, and contact the individual hotels to ask for their package discounts.
Dining: Logan's Main Street offers many great options within just a few blocks of the theater venues, including the beloved local stalwart The Bluebird. Visit explorelogan.com and click "dining" for a comprehensive listing of places to eat.
UTAH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (bard.org)
Where: Cedar City (approximately 3½ hour drive south)
The Shows: The Tony Award-winning regional theater boasts a season so diverse—from Shakespeare classics to Broadway musicals to fascinating plays—that it would be impossible to take everything in over the course of a single weekend. Beginning June 29, this year's lineup includes four Shakespeare works (Henry IV Part 1, The Merchant of Venice, Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor), plus the musical Big River, the farcical comedy The Foreigner and the Homeric epic An Iliad—and that's all before the second season launches in August and September with Pearl's in the House and The Liar.
Seeing Them All: Again, that's really not an option. However, the festival's website offers several helpful potential itineraries depending on your interest in taking in other satellite activities of the festival—like the family-friendly Greenshow and various production seminars—or enjoying other area sights and activities. Visit bard.org/itineraries for some of the possible options to help you organize your schedule.
Ticket Prices: Shows at the centerpiece outdoor venue, the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, run $20-$75; productions at the indoor Randall L. Jones Theatre go for $32-$75; Anes Studio Theatre tickets are $50-$54. Discount packages are available only if you're planning on taking in as many as six shows, so if you're planning a longer weekend visit, you can save $4-$5 per ticket. Students can even get a $40 pass that allows attendance at every show except Othello during the run of the festival, if you select tickets online the day of the performance.
Lodging: No special package discounts are offered in conjunction with area hotels and motels. Information about hotels, motels and bed & breakfast options can be found at visitcedarcity.com
Dining: Concessions and snacks are available on-site for between-shows convenience, while several nearby dining options are listed on the festival website.
9 Steps to a Stellar Utah Summer
There's plenty to do around Salt Lake during the summer, but why don't you try to make those even better?
By Ray Howze
It's summertime. That's why you're reading this, to have fun in the sun. We've all done the garden variety summertime in SLC activities, so why not mix it up a bit? What follows is a guide to help make the best of a few usual suspects across the Wasatch Front—complete with a few twists, turns, dinks, dunks and most importantly, drinks.
As a tried-and-true local, I often get asked how to have an actual good time at these events (beer, but only sometimes) so I felt compelled to share some of those answers. After a short exile, at the ripe age of 27, I can say I've been there, done that, having learned a lot last year in my first "adult" summer in the state. It's not alI sunshine and soda pop as I've made a few mistakes along the way (stay tuned) and have suggestions on how to avoid those as well. More importantly, I learned how to make the best of those times.
Ready? Here we go.
The drum circle in Liberty Park has been around since 1995 and was started by California native Sabina Sandoval. Since then, it's morphed into a well-known gathering of people enjoying some of those laid-back California beach vibes. Here, they're more likely mountain vibes.
Every Sunday during the summer, you can bring your drums or guitars or just yourself to jam and dance in the park. Would it be stereotypical to suggest loading up on some kombucha to quench your thirst? Disclaimer, never tried it but the much-healthier people than me make it seem OK. Last time I visited the drum circle was with parents. I can confirm this is not the most fun way to enjoy the drum circle but it is a place for everyone. To each their own. So, if you've got a case of the Sunday Scaries (fear of Monday), head over to Liberty Park to end your summer weekend right.
Liberty Park, 600 East 900 South, Sundays throughout summer, free
What summer isn't complete in Utah without Pioneer Day—or Pie and Beer Day for us gentiles? This holiday is great. It's pretty much July 4 2.0. It has all the great festivities of Independence Day, but ramped up with more parades and fireworks.
Just had July 4 off from work? No problem, here's another holiday for you three weeks later. The annual parade down 200 East takes place in the morning. Drink of choice? I highly suggest bottled water. No funny business here. Plus, you'll fit right in with the crowd—if you're a parade person. Afterward, reward yourself with copious amounts of brews and pies. SLC is bustling with new local breweries so grab a growler from one of them (probably the day before, in case they're closed) and take it home for a refreshing, hoppy and sweet-toothed afternoon.
I've tried to spread the Pie and Beer Day intrigue in other parts of the country. They didn't get it, but they enjoyed the pie. And really, that's all you need to look forward to, right? Pie. For the nightcap, find one of the many fireworks shows around town. By this point in the day, it's best to bike or walk. Too many people. And after all that pie and beer, what better way to work it off?
Parade: Primary route down 200 East; Fireworks: Liberty Park, Gallivan Center and Smith's Ballpark, to name just a few
Concerts and Festivals
I would love to share with you great stories about summer concerts and festivals around town, (I was there for the Modest Mouse Twilight concert that spurred the whole "free" aspect of that series to change) but there's not enough space here for that. Luckily, we have a future issue focusing on them in a few weeks.
There are some places, though, that let you whet your own whistle by allowing patrons to bring in their own food and drink. For example, the Outdoor Concert Series at Red Butte Garden lets you bring in your own cooler. How special. Sure, it might seem like a hassle lugging it around, but it can be worth it if done right. Pack some ice and if you're a mixed-drink aficionado, which I will admit I am not, bring plenty of cups so you can mix it right. Or make it simple and bring that margarita pitcher. My best times here have been with just a blanket and cooler. Chairs are too much of a hassle. Plus, no one likes chairs getting in their way.
More of a beer person? Luckily for you, City Weekly has you covered with its annual Beer Festival in August. Whether it's concerts or festivals, you won't be short on finding one that suits your fancy.
Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, May 23 through Sept. 17, redbuttegarden.org/concerts
Didn't make it to Coachella, Stagecoach, Burning Man or some other hip festival getaway? This one is free and it's best suited for an overnight stay. Go on the summer solstice—Thursday, June 21 this year. The tunnels are four concrete tubes located west of the Great Salt Lake (pictured) and placed just right so they capture the sunrise and sunset on each solstice and equinox.
Take some camping gear, plenty of water, food and a portable toilet (or dig a hole) since there are no facilities here, and enjoy a night out in the desert with other solar revelers. On the solstice, it truly feels like a small festival in the middle of nowhere. There are no organizers except for all of you, oh, and hoards of photographers. Granted, you might want to provide your own music. Cell phone reception is minimal so you can take the chance to disconnect from your everyday life and connect with Mother Nature.
Once you're settled, take in that gorgeous sunset. The shared experience adds another level of awesome to the whole affair. After the sun goes down, the fun really begins. If you're into themes, think of something sunny—say, tequila sunrise. But remember, you're in the middle of nowhere, so choose wisely. Bring plenty, too, to share with others and make a new friend or two or 20. While you're there, say hi to Jon, the keeper of the sun tunnels, and tell him I sent you. He's probably wearing shorts and a tie with no shirt and drove his RV there. This is a desert party after all. And, it's art, dang it.
Directions: Head north in I-15/I-84 and take a left at Highway 30. Continue until a few miles from the Nevada border and signs will direct you along the dirt roads. Free.
A Lake or Reservoir Trip
We just mentioned the Great Salt Lake so let's get to it. The Lake: not that refreshing and kind of smelly. But if you want a true Utah adventure, take a day to hike on Antelope Island. Bring water. No time for other drinks. See some bison and definitely do not drink the lake water. Or do and be dehydrated. We'll hear about your rescue in the news.
For a more refreshing water experience, find a friend with a boat and get to Utah Lake. It's fresh water and can make for an electric lake day when there's no algae outbreak. If you don't have friends, find one of the many nearby reservoirs and head there instead.
Rent paddleboards, take a dip if it's permitted, and most of all, snap a picture of you holding a drink with a silly cocktail umbrella or go whole hog and aim for a sangria pitcher. Your lonely days will surely be over. In need of a hobby? I took up fly fishing last summer and had a blast. The goal for this summer is to get out on the Provo River, cool down and catch those pesky fish.
Directions for Antelope Island: Head north to Layton on I-15 and take Exit 332. Head west to Antelope Island Road. $10 per vehicle, $15 for first night of camping.
Salt Lake Bees
What's that? You actually didn't gain any new followers with your ridiculous tiki pictures? Then take yourself out to the ball game. Who says team sports are best enjoyed en masse? Local ball stars the Bees are minor league so to get butts in seats, they're big on promotional nights. Taco Tuesday? You've got it. Thirsty Thursday? Step right up. Honestly, pick any day to go to the ballpark and enjoy yourself. Wednesdays you can buy $1 hot dogs. I'd go Tuesdays through Thursdays if I could, but the temptation for sad/silly posed pictures is far too great and my boss follows me on Instagram.
Powers that be, hear this: This year, I chose The Sandlot promotion night on Friday, Aug. 10. It's the 25th anniversary of the iconic baseball movie and comes with a bobblehead. Fun fact: the movie was filmed down the street from the stadium, so this one certainly hits close to home.
Smith's Ballpark, 77 E. 1300 South, tickets starting at $9, slbees.com
Salt Lake City is now a two-soccer-team town. Between Real Salt Lake on the men's side and Utah Royals FC on the women's, there's soccer to be watched in Sandy almost weekly during the dog days.
For all you tailgaters out there, this is where you can get your summer pre-game shenanigans on. There are numerous lots around the stadium where for $5-$10 you can park and tailgate with other people that enjoy the "beautiful game" as much as you. Drink suggestions for this summer activity? Um, beer. It's tailgating and nothing is easier to tailgate with than a koozie full of an ice-cold brew. Plus, if an errant soccer ball knocks it out of your hand, as happens to me nine out of 10 times, it's easy to replace. Last year, I purchased a ticket for July 4 because you can go on the field for fireworks afterward. I'm not a big fireworks fan myself (I have dogs) but this was the one exception I made last year and it was worth it.
Rio Tinto Stadium 9256 S. State, rsl.com
Utah Jazz Summer League
This summer marks the Utah Jazz' fourth year of its new offseason showcase. The three-day event runs from July 2-5 (with a break on July 4) and serves as a warmup to the premiere NBA Summer League six hours south in Las Vegas.
This four-team round-robin tournament let's you get a very affordable look at the hometown team's future. Last year's team featured breakout star Donovan Mitchell. Anyone there likely got an inkling he would be pretty good. I attended last year's competition at the Jon M. Huntsman Center because of construction at Vivint Smart Home Arena, but this year it will return to the Jazz home court.
Tickets for all three days are only $15. Heck, that's just more than a beer during the regular season and with a holiday falling right in the middle, this is a great chance to cure those summertime basketball blues. Get a glimpse of a future star so you can tell your friends, "I was there." And thankfully, this year get back to the adult drinks at the big kid's arena.
Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, vivintarena.com
I know, I know. Wendover is a 90-minute drive from SLC. Why on earth would you suggest this place? Hear me out. First, it's Nevada—so gambling. Second, it's Nevada—so cheaper booze than here. Third, it's Nevada.
Wendover is small and it's certainly no Las Vegas or even Reno, but for a day trip or overnight extravaganza, it can get the job done. A few suggestions: If you're going just for the day and want to do a little gambling—to get a little taste of winning—take a few hundred dollars you don't mind losing because you'll probably lose it anyway. You might win, sure, but most likely you'll lose. Just don't forget, you can't win if you don't play. And if you play, you can drink for nearly nothing.
Like sports? Why don't you check out some futures and place a longshot bet on the upcoming football or basketball season. I placed one last year and lost. Remember that mistake I mentioned earlier? It was a measly $200, but it added a little extra incentive to cheer throughout the season. Had I won, it meant I would get to make a return trip to Wendover with that winning feeling—kind of nice when you think about it. One more note: It's not in Wendover yet, but recreational marijuana might soon be available in that city like the rest of Nevada. You know, if that's what you're into. After all, it's Nevada.
Wendover, head east on I-80, wendoverfun.com
OK, I think that wraps it up. Don't say I didn't warn you. And, as always, remember to be responsible in your summer shenanigans. That's how you can keep doing them. If you know how to win big in Wendover, though, please get in touch.
Thinking Outside the Basket
Find portable picnic food at one of our many local world markets.
By Alex Springer
When my wife and I felt that we were ready to entertain bringing a small human into the world, our conversations often veered into how we would approach food and eating with said addition. The main objective was to discern ways in which we could teach our spawn that food is fun, especially if it looks really weird. Now that we have officially brought a small human—she's 10 months old and goes by Juniper—into the world, we're starting to put our plans of expanding her culinary horizons into action. I mean, she already has six teeth. We have to get a move on.
With the weather getting warmer, the idea of summer picnics in the park or stocking up on road-trip snacks for our whole family have started to take shape in my head. Before the wife and I saw our food choices as object lessons for a tiny person, we would always opt for convenient options within our own cultural wheelhouse—deli sandwiches, pre-packaged potato salad, green Jell-O and the like. Our current goal is to spread our picnic blanket a little wider and be a bit more inclusive of other culture's answer to food that travels well. At the moment, June's still working on solid foods, but this time next year she'll be ready to eat whatever the world has to offer—which is why I scouted out some of our local and diverse ethnic food markets for on-the-go food that would continue to expand the little one's burgeoning palate.
Before I could even put my plan on paper, I knew that I would have to hit up the Chinatown Supermarket (3390 S. State, chinatownsupermarkets.com). I've been there a few times before, and the sheer volume and variety of imported products is staggering. For my purposes of quick, ready-to-eat food that can be easily packed away, I headed straight for the bakery. For a few bucks apiece, you can get sesame balls and baked pork buns, which make excellent alternatives to sandwiches. Although I didn't think about this beforehand, it turns out sesame balls are perfect for kids. If you've never tried one before, they're tennis ball-sized dough balls covered in sesame seeds and stuffed with a slightly sweet red bean paste. They're extremely portable, self-contained snacks that are sweet without being terribly messy. The same goes for the pork buns—imagine a pulled pork sandwich that doesn't goosh out all over the place when you eat it.
In the same complex, I visited Moon Bakery, a Korean pastry shop with some great ideas for portable desserts. Its shelves are stocked with pre-packaged, snack-sized buns and cakes, which offer up a worthy substitute for Twinkies or other mass-market brands. These rolls come in peanut butter, coconut and cheese to name a few, and it also has more savory items like croquettes and sausage rolls. The variety of buns available at Moon Bakery can create an entire picnic basket on their own, and the fact that they're individually wrapped makes them really easy to pack away for later.
My next stop was Qaderi Sweetz N Spicez (1785 S. State, 801-484-0265, qaderisweetzandspicez.com), a little market that's also filled to the gills with imported Indian and Middle Eastern groceries. A bag of fresh naan is a no-brainer—add a few jars of mango chutney, hummus and, for those looking for something hot, a bit of spicy lemon pickle relish. I also spotted some canned lychee that I think would be perfect for June when she gets a few more chompers. It's a fruit that is just as sweet and juicy as peaches or pears, but its alien, spiky exterior tends to bring down the curb appeal of the produce aisle—which is probably why we don't see it a lot at the mega-markets. In addition to lychee, Qaderi stocks a lot of ready-to-eat, composed canned food like peppers and cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, which would also be easy to pack up for a trip.
With a few options for portable meals out of the way, it came down to my favorite part about this excursion—packing the cooler. I tend to geek out about the different fruit drinks and sodas beyond the realm of Coca Cola, and both Chinatown Market and Qaderi have a huge variety to choose from. I bought a bottle of basil seed fruit drink from Chinatown, mainly because it looked like the lava lamp that I used to have in my room as a teenager. The herb's seeds are suspended throughout the drink, giving it a truly bizarre appearance that I think would speak to the little one when she's old enough to appreciate weird stuff like that. It tastes like of any garden-variety fruit-flavored drink, and its slightly slimy texture might be a bit odd, but it's a must for kids who will dig pretending that they're drinking a bottle full of alien eyes.
All things considered, I feel pretty confident about my ability to build a picnic basket or select road-trip snacks that extend beyond my cultural comfort zone. I'm looking forward to seeing which items resonate with June once she gets a bit older. Sure, there will be some things that she just won't like, but I feel like presenting her with food that she might not see every day will at least let her know that eating is not a static practice—food comes in many varieties, and the exploration of those varieties is one of the best parts about being alive.
The Ultimate Patio Guide
Sip on a drink and munch on some killer grub at these fine al fresco settings.
By Samantha Herzog and Rachelle Fernandez
This rustic brothel-turned-tavern is keeping Ogden's downtown culture alive with its refreshing roof deck and bar scene.
201 25th St., Ogden, 801-990-0692, alleged25th.com
The homey Mexican cuisine and colorful outdoor patio here are hidden treasures found at the heart of the downtown SLC experience.
165 S. West Temple, 801-533-9800, blueiguanarestaurant.net
If cozy cabins and European-style craft brews are your flavor then look no further than this intriguing Old World microbrewery.
94 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-5474, bohemianbrewery.com
As next-door neighbors, Canella's and Taco Taco are a high-quality combo that titilates the palate.
204 E. 500 South, 801-355-8518, canellas.com
Cliff Dining Pub
High-end urban American fare and a scenic city overlook are the hallmarks of this classy drink-and-dinner bar.
12234 Draper Gate Drive, Draper, 801-523-2053, cliffdiningpub.com
Cotton Bottom Inn
This local favorite promises an intimate no-frills experience with the best garlic burger found on the Wasatch Front.
6200 Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-273-9830, cottonbottominn.com
Their in-house recipes and clean presentation are sure to leave a lasting impression.
1355 E. 2100 South, 801-486-2473, thedodorestaurant.com
Softly lit and inviting, this relaxed-yet-cultured location offers high-quality service without sacrificing comfort.
6405 S. 3000 East, Holladay, 801-943-1696, elixirloungeslc.com
This specialty East Coast-style sandwich shop keeps plates piled high with corned beef, pastrami and rye.
2005 E. 2700 South, 801-906-0369, feldmansdeli.com
Summer days (and nights) mean live entertainment and good times at this breezy downtown locale.
326 S. West Temple, 801-819-7565, graciesslc.com
Green Pig Pub
The savory menu of this popular sports bar satisfies brunch through dinner and is home to an understandably award-winning rooftop patio overlooking scenic downtown.
31 E. 400 South, 801-532-7441, thegreenpigpub.com
The Hog Wallow Pub
If the enchanting décor and woodsy musical demeanor doesn't warm your insides, their barbecue definitely will.
3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 801-733-5567, thehogwallow.com
The ever-elegant La Caille is a little slice of the French countryside sheltered on the outskirts of the city. With grounds kept gorgeous year-round, their breezy wooden patio and roaming peacocks are a genuine delight.
9565 S. Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751, lacaille.com
Famous for its gourmet burgers and lively atmosphere, this classic sports pub and grill proves you can never go wrong with good burgers, bacon and an outdoor bar.
135 W. 1300 South, 801-487-4418, lucky13slc.com
Between the dreamy bronzed décor and the aromatic Middle Eastern menu, there's something undeniably romantic about the vegan-friendly locale.
Multiple locations, mazzacafe.com
Piper Down Pub
If you're looking for a place with character, Piper Down is an eccentric "Olde World"-style pub with a rooftop bar and a lot of swagger.
1492 S. State, 801-468-1492, piperdownpub.com
Poplar Street Pub
The housemade food and laidback persona of this pub make it a solid choice for your next Sunday brunch or weekend music bar-hop.
242 S. 200 West, 801-532-2715, poplarstreetpub.com
The roaring '20s echoes through the streets of Murray. With Chaplin-inspired cocktails, a fire pit patio and burlesque shows, this spot gives SLC an authentic glimpse of the infamous bootleg era.
151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852, prohibitionutah.com
The only café were fresh creative food is made affordable, this east Millcreek patio is the perfect brunch spot after a hike.
3474 S. 2300 East, 801-277-6499, rootscafeslc.com
Known for its bustling festive patio, and embraced by trees and live music, the second-oldest restaurant in Utah is a must for residents and visitors alike.
4160 Emigration Canyon Road, 801-582-5807, ruthsdiner.com
The Sun Trapp
Bust a move to the DJ, or head outside onto their newly revamped deck for a lively environment.
102 S. 600 West, 385-235-6786, facebook.com/thesuntrapp
Housing an artistic interpretation of Latin American food, T27 offers shade and margaritas in spirited downtown SLC.
149 E. 200 South, 385-259-0940, taqueria27.com
Refinery never tasted so good. Add fried chicken and waffles or some housemade burgers and a healthy dose of live music and you've got The Garage.
1199 Beck St., 801-521-3904, garageonbeck.com
With jammin' reggae nights and billiards, this Murray establishment is a one-stop shop to welcome the warm summer months.
4760 S. 900 East, 801-590-9940, theroyalslc.com
The Tap Room
From high-quality Scotch to outdoor yoga, this pub draws the Sugar House crowd outside with a warm atmosphere and a welcoming patio.
2021 S. Windsor Circle, 801-484-6692
The shaded patio—brimming with a wild blooming lilac bush—is an ideal summer scene (not to mention, a perfect setting for their award-winning European eats).
365 W. 400 South, 801-328-4155, thetinangel.com
Summer bod be damned! Watching the sunset over a cotton-candy-hued sky from this eastside patio view makes any cheat meal well worth it.
501 E. 900 South, 385-202-7167, traditionslc.com
This easy-to-find Italian joint is a colorful way to enjoy a fire-roasted pizza pie perfectly paired with tasty California wines.
680 S. 900 East, 801-533-8746, triodining.com
A spacious patio and live entertainment brings in crowds with their signature burgers and cocktails.
32 Exchange Place, 801-322-3200, twistslc.com
Named after an LDS prophecy. Find rich bourbon- and blended liquor-themed desserts here.
325 S. Main, 801-363-0137, whitehorseslc.com
How to navigate Utah's dirty soda scene.
By Amanda Rock
It's gonna get hot this summer. Like sweltering, sweaty, stick-to-your-car-seat kinda hot. Your cool-down solution is just a drive-thru away if you hit up your local dirty soda joint for a cold beverage to defeat the heat. For the uninitiated, they're made with pebble ice and served in a giant Styrofoam cup, so they stay nice and cold.
Don't roll your eyes at me. I know there are two distinct groups of people in Salt Lake City: dirty soda devotees and the rest of us. Sure, pop with added sugary syrup is mostly popular with those who abstain from coffee and alcohol for religious reasons, but after a week-long sugar binge (aka "research"), I'm convinced there is a dirty soda for everyone. After all, it's way cheaper than your Starbucks addiction (and it's not like you can drive around drinking a cold beer). So let's get dirty.
Swig 'n' Sweets
Swig is Utah's premier dirty soda franchise—a logical place to wrap my head around the soda sensation that's taken over across the land in the past few years. My first trip through the drive-thru left me dizzy with indecision; there are so many options! I cleared my head and settled on the Missionary, a Sprite with coconut milk and Tiger's Blood syrup. The flavor was fruity sweet, but I didn't like how the drink coagulated into bright pink chunks. I had better luck with Big Al, a simple, tasty concoction of Diet Coke, coconut and lime syrup. On my third trip, I asked for their most popular drink and ended up with a Raspberry Dream in my eager hands. It's made with Dr. Pepper, raspberry and coconut syrup. Smooth and sweet, it left me beginning to like it dirty.
Various locations, swignsweets.com
Feeling like I had a handle on this dirty soda business, I visited Fiiz' Taylorsville location. I was overjoyed to spot Lime Rickey on the menu as it was my childhood favorite from Arctic Circle. I'm happy to report that the combination of Sprite, grape syrup and fresh lime is still delicious. Another Sprite-based beverage I enjoyed was the Scotch and Soda with vanilla, lemon and lime syrup—a simple and refreshing combination. Ready for the big guns, it was the Threat Level Midnight that blew my mind. It's made with Coke and a luscious medley of raspberry puree and blackberry syrup. Real fruit purée in a soda, it turns out, is a delight. I'll be back to try this again.
Various locations, fiizdrinks.com
Perhaps it's the free popcorn with each order, but I enjoyed visiting the pictured Thirst most of all. The menu is concise and simple to navigate, which I really appreciated. I ordered the Yer Killin' Me Smalls—made with root beer, marshmallow syrup and vanilla creme. It was too saccharine for me, but pleasant enough. Toppling all other drinks I tried during the week was the Fresh Prince, a thirst-quenching combination of tart lemonade, strawberry- and raspberry-flavored syrup, huge wedges of fresh lemon, lime and a few fresh, ripe berries. This was the only dirty soda I regretted getting the small 16-ounce size as I could drink it all day. Also, I would like to take it home to add a glug of gin or vodka. With this Fresh Prince by my side, it's going to be a good (and dirty) summer.
38 E. 1300 South, SLC, 385-229-4359, thirstdrinks.com
Inspiration, Innovation and Ice Cream
I scream, you scream, we all scream ... you get it.
By Alex Springer
I'm lucky to live in a state that loves ice cream. There are days when it gets so hot during the summer that the only way I can muster up the will to peel myself out of bed and go about my day is to promise myself that I'll get ice cream at some point. Thanks to our local affection for frozen, creamy desserts, I can usually find a spot to cool my jets wherever my day ends up taking me.
If my daily travels happen to take me near Trolley Square (602 S. 700 East), I don't miss a visit to Normal Ice Cream (normal.club), a retro, chrome-fitted van that has taken up residence at the mall's east entrance. Classically trained pastry chef Alexa Norlin, formerly of HSL, opened the truck to explore soft serve ice cream, which has always been one of her passions. Under her creative leadership, the Normal team concocts a rotating list of different housemade soft serve options, all of which eventually end up as part of the truck's Willy Wonka-inspired composed cones.
"Soft serve is ice cream in its natural state," Norlin says as we chat over the phone before Normal opens for the day. "It's the best way to taste flavors, because you're not waiting for part of it to get to the right temperature; it's the best version of ice cream." In addition to Normal's signature cones, their standard cone can be topped with a shell of dark chocolate or dulce de leche—they call it "dulcey dip" (pictured), and it's the best thing to happen to ice cream since the banana split—and each one is a perfect marriage of texture, flavor and frozen refreshment.
Now that Normal has gained more of a following, Norlin is hatching plans to start challenging the way people think about soft serve. "This month, I have a composed cone that is olive oil ice cream, dulcey dip and dehydrated Kalamata olives," she says. "A large part of my motto is that people in the food industry have the responsibility to teach others about new flavors, concepts and textures." Norlin likes experimenting with ice cream because of its universal appeal. "You already have people hooked because it's ice cream," she says. "You just have to give people a little bit of a comfort level before you can get super weird."
With temperatures rising and the operation expanding, Norlin just secured a storefront off 100 East and 900 South, which she plans on opening soon. "Trolley Square was great for me because it proved my concept," she says. "Obviously, I always believed in it, but my belief doesn't really transfer to other people unless they see the numbers."
Normal will always have my soft-serve-craving heart, but, given the hot and sweaty months ahead, I needed to establish some ice cream safe houses for every eventuality. What if I find myself way out in West Valley and I'm in need of something chilled and delicious? What if my ice cream urge takes me when I happen to be hanging out with some vegans? These are the things that I think about when summer is inevitably upon us. Here are a few inspired ice cream choices for wherever you happen to find yourself when the temperature gets above 90.
Silvestre's Rolled Ice Cream
Next to soft serve, rolls are my favorite ice cream delivery system. Rolled ice cream places are known for their preparation method. They spread their mixture out on an exceptionally cold surface—sometimes called an anti-griddle—where they proceed to add different toppings. Once it's all nice and flat, they use these big wall-scrapers to chisel it into tightly wound rolls. At first, I thought this was a gimmick; like a twist on the Cold Stone business model. But something wonderful happens during this process, especially when the people making the stuff know that rolled ice cream is the perfect vessel to explore different textures.
It's this exploration of texture that has officially cemented Silvestre's on my radar. It's a tiny, unassuming extension of West Valley's Café Silvestre, and it's only been open only for about a year, but they're doing some crazy things over here. Their horchata ice cream comes topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which is also chopped up and worked into the ice cream. Since the ice cream is so cold, it doesn't make the cereal soggy, so it's like getting a supercharged Saturday morning breakfast. The dish that'll forever be immortalized in my memory, however, is one that includes a fresh, deep-fried Twinkie. I've always considered the state fair staple to be an elevated dessert, but mixing it with some creamy vanilla ice cream just enough to let the crispy exterior come through in every bite, is enough to rest my case.
3524 S. 2200 West, West Valley City, 801-972-5582, facebook.com/silvestresrolledicecream
If I ever took the plunge into vegandom, I would most miss ice cream. While it's not extremely likely that I'll make that move any time soon, Monkeywrench is where the vegan version of myself would go to satisfy any and all ice cream cravings. They have vegan soft serve with a lovely, icy texture and comes with a hint of cinnamon. They also stock plant-based waffle cones, and they make their own vegan-friendly chocolate and caramel sauces. Their huge selection of hard-scoop ice cream is where I gravitated. It's all made from a base of coconut and cashew cream and is impeccably flavored.
I recommend both the lemon blueberry and the Black Forest. I got both of 'em in a double scoop-stravaganza, and I thought they paired well with each other. Individually, they're also just as capable. The lemon blueberry is rippled with amazing, huge frozen blueberries, and the ice cream is perfectly tart. The Black Forest is ... well, let me put it this way: Ben and Jerry ain't got shit on that scoop of frozen gold. You've got cherries, you've got nuts, you've got little vegan brownie bits—in short, you've got everything you've ever needed right there in that bowl.
53 E. Gallivan Ave., Instagram: @monkeywrench_slc
Sweet Cream Bar
If you're asking about where to get good ice cream down Provo way, and someone even mentions the BYU Creamery, then you have my permission to smack them right in their ignorant face. Nobody knows it yet, but the correct answer to that question is Sweet Cream Bar. It's hands down the best place to get ice cream in Provo, period.
The basis of their operation is housemade soft serve, and they dish it up in a few different ways, such as concretes and sundaes. But the thing to get here is one of their chimney cones. Chimneys, otherwise known as a spiral of baked pastry that is primed for all manner of fillings, take the place of traditional cones, creating a dessert that's flaky and full of flavor. Where this is enough of a concept to keep things interesting, Sweet Cream customers also get to pick a crunchy coating for their chimney—items like chopped almonds and graham cracker crumbs—along with spreads like peanut butter, Biscoff and Nutella that go inside the chimney before it gets slapped with your ice cream of choice.
Sweet Cream is a prime example of a dessert place that goes over the top while still showing some restraint, and that's what has earned it the supreme title of best ice cream in Provo.
3376 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-691-6433, thesweetcreambar.com
Don't Eat the Worm
Ditch your Spring Break horror stories and give these upscale agave-based cocktails a go.
Words and photos by Darby Doyle
Tequila 101: More than 200 varieties of agave plants grow wild throughout Mexico and the Southwest. Alcoholic products from this species include, yes, tequila, but also mezcal, bacanora, raicilla, sotol and a lower ABV fermented agave nectar beverage called pulque. Distinctively smoky mezcal can legally be made anywhere in Mexico with a bunch of different agave options, but in practice there are only about 30 agave varieties harvested for mezcal, and almost all of the category is produced in eight of Mexico's 31 states (most U.S.-imported mezcal comes from Oaxaca). However, much like how Champagne or Cognac in France must be made in those eponymous regions with specific varietals, real tequila may only be produced in an area of Mexico centered in Jalisco and neighboring states Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. And only the Weber blue (agave tequilana) plant may be used to make tequila. Further, 100-percent agave tequila comes in various aging categories: blanco (clear, typically un-aged), reposado (aged less than one year in wood barrels or other storage, giving it a slight golden hue) and añejo (aged more than a year, and "extra añejo" tequilas have been aged more than three years).
Your Cancun hangover that lasted for three days was probably the result of overindulging in tequila labeled "gold" (or interchangeably "jóven" or "oro"). While some jóven and gold tequilas are legit quality mixes of blanco and reposado or añejo from exacting distillations, there's also a good chance that your bottom-shelf gold was bottled by distillers who cut farther into the pretty nasty acetone-heavy heads-and-tails of the distilling run (that'd be called "smearing" in distilling lingo, which happens in every spirits category, sorry to say). Or, instead of drinking quality tequila 100% puro de agave, you might have picked up a bottle of tequila mixto, which can be legally bottled with only 51 percent agave distillate. The rest can come from caramel coloring, artificial oak extract flavoring, glycerin and corn or other sugary syrups. Basically the stuff of vomit and nightmares.
TEQUILA'S BEEHIVE CONNECTIONS
Since all tequila must legally be produced and bottled in Mexico, brand owners like Lisa Barlow of Utah-based Vida Tequila (vidatequila.com) work closely with their distillers in Mexico and must follow very strict criterion for labeling, bottling and importing. Barlow recently oversaw a bottle re-branding of Vida's three flavor profiles (award-winning blanco, reposado aged six months in new white oak barrels and a rich añejo-aged in French oak for two years). "I love Mexico," Barlow says. "I wanted our tequila to represent both how modern, sophisticated and forward Mexico is as a country, and also reflect the pride that Mexican people have in their food, music, culture and tequila traditions." A huge supporter of Utah's craft cocktail and bartending scene, you'll see Vida products at events all over the region and on the top shelf of some of the state's most beloved restaurants and bars.
Even closer to home, New World Distillery (4795 E. 2600 North, Eden, 385-244-0144, newworlddistillery.com) owners Chris and Ashley Cross took on the challenge of producing agave spirits in Eden, Utah (hence their labeling "agave spirits," instead of "tequila"). After spending years traveling through Mexico and sampling the gamut of the country's booze, the Crosses set out to distill 100-percent blue Weber agave sourced from the Jalisco highlands. New World's Rabbit and Grass Agave Spirit has a similar profile to traditional Mexican blanco tequila, but by using Champagne yeasts for fermentation and bottling at 89 proof (most tequila is 80 proof), their bold blanco is a bit more agave and fruit-forward than expected. The Crosses also re-distill cuts from their Rabbit and Grass agave spirit runs to produce one of only two agave-based vodkas currently made in the U.S., and also use this base to create Wasatch Blossom Utah Tart Cherry Liqueur, sweetened with agave nectar instead of refined sugar. Head up to the distillery in Eden for a tour and tasting; Ashley would love nothing more than to help people learn more about quality agave spirits. "I really hope people can be steered away from that outdated notion that agave spirits are limited to the tequila-with-a-worm version," she says, wanting drinkers to enjoy them as they would fine wine or whiskey. Her tip? "Sip great tequila instead of throwing it back like a shot." And don't deaden your palate with the notoriously heavy wham-bam lime/salt action. "Take your time. Enjoy."
6 HOT SPOTS FOR YOUR UPSCALE AGAVE FIX:
Agave and Damiana at Alamexo Cantina
Looking to dive right in to experimenting with agave spirits? One of my favorite summertime spots for mezcal sippin' is the breezy 9th & 9th patio at Alamexo Cantina (1059 E. 900 South, 801-658-5859, alamexocantina.com). Order a generous split-able serving of house guac and start sampling from the cantina's thoughtful bar selections of blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas (including Vida's añejo, priced at $14 a pour), as well as a few nice mezcal options. All of these well-curated selections warrant sipping neat, in my estimation, maybe with a single ice cube if the day is particularly sweltering. But for those wanting their agave presented in margarita form, for an extra $1 any of the spirits listed on their menu can be mixed the traditional way with damiana leaf, which has been revered in Mexico since Mayan times as an aphrodisiac. ¡Salúd!
El Alacrán Hermoso at Water Witch
This "Handsome Scorpion" ($11), an original cocktail by Pat Harrington at Water Witch (163 W. 900 South, 801-462-0967, waterwitchbar.com) is his current homage to all things agave. "If I had to pick a spirits category that I'd have to drink for the rest of my life, it'd be agave." Harrington says. "Mezcal, and tequila in all of its blanco and aged forms—and they're all great with food, too." It's a spirit designation he believes is equally great for quick highballs or a rare añejo passed around the campfire. Harrington also opines that it's the only family of spirits that's a stimulant, rather than a depressant, recalling the Mexican proverb (loosely translated to English, here), "If you ever lose your way, drink an agave spirit and you'll find your way."
El Alacrán Hermoso
1.5 ounces Wahaka (or Espadín-style) mezcal
0.5 ounce almond orgeat
0.75 ounce fresh lemon juice
0.5 ounce Cocchi Americano
1 dash orange bitters
3-4 drops Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange zest swath.
Aardvark at Bar X
Bar X (161 E. 200 South, 385-259-0905, beerbarslc.com) bartender Julie Tall named this $9 spicy spin on a margarita after the cult favorite Portland-produced hot sauce, which is one of her personal go-to condiments. "It's a classic margarita base with a nice agave body, rounded out with a pinch of salt, fresh grapefruit and lime juices," Tall says. A solid shake of secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce later, a "Caribbean meets Tex-Mex" heat makes its entrance. It's perfect for hunkering down in the dark bar on a sweltering afternoon, or doing as I did recently—watching the people of our salty city stroll by whilst sipping this spiced up concoction street-side.
In search of the perfect Paloma
Most bartenders I polled reiterated that this town's O.G. Paloma is served in a traditional salt-rimmed clay cantarito cup at Chile Tepin (307 W. 200 South, 801-883-9255). Simple but beautiful, this classic Mexican highball is perfection in tart-sweet balance: tequila, grapefruit soda, salt and a touch of lime juice. But there are some other stellar versions about town that make fleeting appearances. Case in point: For Mother's Day, Scott Evans at East Liberty Tap House (850 E. 900 South, 801-441-2845, eastlibertytaphouse.com) shook up a particularly potent Paloma with Vida tequila and local Mountain West Hard Cider as a limited-edition perfect patio sipper. Quarters SLC (5 E. 400 South, quartersslc.com) bartendrix-about-town Arianna Hone—who also loves Chile Tepin's original and can be found slinging her own fab version by request when she has all the ingredients in stock at the arcade bar—is also a fan. "I could live off Paloma's for the rest of my life," she says. Same.
Pear Cactus Margarita at Black Sheep Café
Yes, Becky, you can get a drink in Provo. And in this case, it's pretty damned refreshing, to boot. Black Sheep Café's (19 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-607-2485, blacksheepcafe.com) signature prickly pear cactus margarita ($10) is made with Milagro tequila, Cointreau for a nice sweet orange hit, fresh lime juice and vibrantly hued hot-pink prickly pear cactus syrup. Flavor bomb: activate!
Siamese Night at The Rest
After an exhausting day battling the slings and arrows of our modern existence, sometimes the last thing we want is a sunny patio. We crave a dark, moody lair—and only a visit to the depths of The Rest (331 S. Main, 801-532-4452, bodega331.com) can satisfy our misfit souls. Once there, I'd recommend trying a new agave-forward smoky and herbal addition to their summer drinks menu: Siamese Night ($16), which includes more than a few of my favorite things—mezcal, overproof rum, cucumber, jalapeño, basil and some housemade celery and shishito pepper bitters—all shaken up to sooth the weariest pilgrim. Or, if you can't even stand the thought of pulling on actual grown-up pants, make this beaut up at home. Bar manager Adam Albro shared the recipe for the days when I'm beyond adulting. Or pantsless. You're welcome.
1.5 ounces Wahaka Jóven mezcal
0.5 ounce Wray & Nephew rum
0.75 ounce fresh lime juice
0.5 ounce ginger syrup
0.5 ounce simple syrup
1 slice cucumber
1 slice jalapeño
1 sprig Thai basil
3 dashes Honest John celery & shishito bitters
Method: Muddle basil, jalapeño and cucumber in the bottom of a shaking tin. Add all remaining ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a large tulip glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh Thai basil sprig.
One sip of the upscale agave spirits listed above, and I think you'll be sold on a spring break re-do, too.
11 movies guaranteed to put you in a sunny mood.
By David Riedel
Summer movies, in addition to being fun—though only occasionally—exist mainly as a way for studios to make major money (quality be damned) and for patrons to get out of the heat.
"But Dave," you say, "Salt Lake City summers feature what climate peeps call 'dry heat.'"
News flash: Dry heat is still heat, man. Just because it takes 15 minutes to start sweating instead of five, doesn't mean it ain't hot out there.
I can only speak for myself, but there are many times I've ducked into a movie house to avoid melting into a puddle of perspiration and angst. In fact, the only reason I've seen Bridesmaids and Wedding Crashers (see below) is because I wanted to avoid becoming a greasy spot on the sidewalk.
With that horrifying image in mind, if you're looking for a cool way to avoid the hot temps (I can't believe I just wrote that), take a gander at the list below, fire up the Netflix (or Hulu or Amazon Prime or HBO Go) and chill, baby, with these movies that scream summer! Yeah!
Back to the Future
This was the movie of the summer in 1985, and though it's completely dated, it's dated in a charming way. When your kids or the unemployed millennials who babysit them ask, "What's Pepsi Free?" you can say, "Oh, kid, sit back and let me learn ya something." Like the fact that George McFly ain't no one ta fuck with.
I was never a fan of Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live (she struck me as one-note), but I became a convert after Bridesmaids. The scene when she's freaking out on the plane is THE. BEST. Plus, Maya Rudolph is tops. Best line in the movie, via Ellie Kemper: "You are more beautiful than Cinderella! You smell like pine needles and have a face like sunshine!"
The Endless Summer
Filled with eye-popping surfing footage and dad-humor narration ("Lance is so relaxed on the surfboard's nose, you get the feeling he could have a ham sandwich while waiting around"), this laidback documentary takes the position that one could surf year-round if one stuck to the appropriate hemisphere. No other movie captures surfing's innate beauty so well. Fun pre-British Invasion-inspired music, too.
Technically Footloose isn't a summer movie; it was released in February. But something about it is totes summery. Maybe it's the sweaty dancing. Maybe it's the students' attempts to get a dancing ban lifted in order to have prom (the last thing you do before summer break). Maybe it's because Chris Penn (who's fantastic) sweats so much that it becomes an unspoken character trait. Of note: Footloose was filmed in Utah though it takes place in fictional Bomont (a stand-in for Elmore City, Okla.)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Fury Road isn't just a great action movie, it's one of the best movies ever made. George Miller topped everything he's ever done (including The Road Warrior and Babe!) in this tale of Max (Tom Hardy) helping a group of women escape evil Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Essentially one long car chase through the desert, Fury Road just feels hot. Of note: Charlize Theron is more badass than Hardy in this flick.
If The Endless Summer features surfing at its most carefree, Point Break is the movie that makes it a blood sport. No one seems to remember this, but Point Break didn't light up the box office when it was released in 1991. It's become a cult classic, and for good reason: Awesome surfing visuals, rip-snorting action and stellar performances by Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Gary Busey (I said it). It really is 100 percent pure adrenaline.
Here's the movie that made Sandra Bullock a star and resurrected Keanu Reeves' flagging career the first time (it's happened twice since with The Matrix and John Wick). Speed is so tense and action-packed it doesn't give you a chance to breathe, which is good, because there are some goofy moments ("Cans!"). But why quibble with an otherwise flawless summer ride? Best line (when Joe Morton is told there's a gap in the freeway): "YOU'RE FIRED! EVERYBODY'S FUCKIN' FIRED!"
This is my dark horse. Two graduating high school seniors and best friends (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) endeavor to get summer girlfriends (Martha MacIsaac and Emma Stone) while dealing with the fact that they're going to different colleges in the fall. Funny, honest and surprisingly sweet despite its earned R-rating.
Perhaps this is most summer of all summer movies. Top Gun is at once a ton of fun with its thrilling flying sequences, and a reprehensible piece of jingoism because of its extreme right-wing us vs. the Commies bologna that was perfect for Reagan's America. The story is dumb—daddy issues, boo hoo!—but it coasts a lot on Tom Cruise's charm. Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Rick Rossovich and pre-fame Meg Ryan aid him immeasurably. Try to watch it on the big screen with a sound system so powerful you have to sit in a different room.
The Way, Way Back
This nifty little sleeper kind of came and went in the summer of 2013, but it's worth a watch. Lonely and awkward Duncan (Liam James) suffers through a long beach vacation with his mother (Toni Collette) and her mean-spirited boyfriend (a nasty Steve Carell). Local cool-guy Sam Rockwell and his pals, including Maya Rudolph, at the water park make it bearable. Another sweet (if predictable) summer flick with some good dramatic moments.
A peak among the many valleys that dot both Owen Wilson's and Vince Vaughn's careers, Wedding Crashers knocked everyone on their asses in the summer of 2005 (it was a huuuuuuge hit). The story of two guys who pose as brothers to crash weddings (duh) and meet women, it won't win points for progressivism, but it's a riot nonetheless. Wilson's natural smarm charms and Vaughn's bulldozer personality is somehow endearing. A sharp supporting cast brings it all together.
Local Screenings and Fun Goings-On!
As usual, Salt Lake City is stuffed to the gills with summer-fun beneficence. Take a look at some of the events, movie-wise, going on in and around town. No jokes here, just good times.
By David Riedel
SALT LAKE CITY FRIDAY NIGHT FLICKS
With the theme "Family Favorites That Are Out Of This World," there are some nifty movies showing outdoors in June and July, including Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (June 1, though this one isn't for very young kids); Space Jam (June 8); Galaxy Quest (June 15); Lilo and Stitch (June 22); The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (June 29); Wonder Woman (June 30); The Iron Giant (July 6); Wall-E (July 13).
DAMN THESE HEELS
Coming up on its 15th anniversary, Damn These Heels is the longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the Mountain West. Film titles weren't available at press time but they'll be announced in late May.
The Broadway film series this year celebrates the greatest women directors from June 1 to July 3. There are too many greatest films on the docket to list, so here are the highlights: Sally Potter's Orlando; Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker; Jane Campion's The Piano (a personal fave); Niki Caro's Whale Rider; Allison Anders' Gas Food Lodging; Penelope Spheeris' masterful The Decline of Western Civilization; and Kelly Reichert's Meek's Cutoff (shot in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio).
SUMMER LATE NIGHTS
This Salt Lake Film Society series runs from June to September with movies at Tower Theatre on Fridays and Saturday at 11 p.m. and Sundays at noon. Clueless kicks things off on June 1 and Lords of Dogtown wraps things up on Sept. 2 In between you'll find Point Break, Pink Floyd The Wall, The Love Witch, Mad Max Fury Road: Black and Chrome edition (it's just what it sounds like), and Coffy with Pam Grier.
At Smith Park (better known as Founders Park), Movies in the Park starts up on June 8 with Sing. It's followed by Greatest Showman (June 15), Ferdinand (June 22), Coco (July 13), The Last Jedi (sweet! July 20), Black Panther (Aug. 3), and Trek (Aug. 10). Blankets, chairs and picnics are cool, alcohol is not.
Monday Night Movies at the Ogden Amphitheater returns June 11 with Wonder Woman. Then on June 18 (happy birthday, Paul McCartney!) it's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which used to be one of my favorite films until I realized Ferris was on track to grow up and become someone like George W. Bush. Anyway, there's also Hidden Figures (a great film, on June 25), Jumanji (the O.G., July 9), Jumanji (the new one, July 16), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (July 23), Coco (July 30) and Black Panther (Aug. 6). Bring blankets, chairs, snacks. Doors open at 7 p.m., movies start at dusk.
Provo's Movies in the Park opens with a dive-in screening of Coco at the Provo Rec Center Wave Pool on May 25. (Wreck-It Ralph is also a dive-in on June 29.) The other movies screen at Rock Canyon Park: How to Train your Dragon (June 4); Megamind (June 11); Despicable Me (June 18); The Greatest Showman (June 25). All movies start at dusk.
I know I come off like a cynical bastard (and not just a little bit of a jerk), but one thing I love to do with my kid—aside from drumming and ukulele playing and running in the park and reading and gardening—is watch him experience something for the first time that I already love. He's too young for The Lion King (I always tell him Mufasa is asleep), but one day he won't be. And maybe your kids can handle it already! Movies showing this summer include Jon Favreau's live-action Jungle Book, Despicable Me 3, Tangled, Brother Bear, the wonderful Coco, and the aforementioned El Rey León. And there are candy and drinks for $1. Yes, please!
Bring lawn chairs and coolers to the Snowbird Center Plaza Deck and settle in for Family Flicks at dusk. This year: Teen Wolf (June 22); Matilda (June 29); The Outsiders (July 6); Toy Story (July 13); Jumanji (the O.G., July 20); Groundhog Day (July 27); Ghostbusters (the O.G., Aug. 3); Footloose (O.G., Aug. 10). It all starts at dusk. Popcorn and cotton candy will be available at the Birdfeeder.
You'll find some of the same movies in South Jordan that you will in Sandy, along with Wonder (June 22), the live-action Beauty and the Beast (July 6), and Wreck-It Ralph (Aug. 3), but at each screening there's stuff to do beforehand beginning at 8 p.m. For example, you can meet Belle before the BATB screening.
The St. George Town Square magically becomes a movie theater for Sunset on the Square on the second and fourth Fridays of the month starting May 25 with The Flyboys. There's also Ferdinand (June 8), Mulan (June 22), Despicable Me 3 (July 13), Coco (July 27), Wonder (Aug. 10), and a sing-along Beauty and the Beast (Aug. 24). Bring snacks and a lawn chair and you'll be all set.