04 August 2009

Altered Plates On Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

From Salt Lake City July 2009

Este Pizzeria in downtown Salt Lake City is a very busy spot at 12:30 pm on a weekday. It was even busier than usual on the day Connie (my mom-in-law) and I went. It was a heck of a day, in fact. But I'll get to that later. You did come here for the food.

Above are little puffs of fried dough called zeppoles that are normally sprinkled with granulated sugar and cinnamon. I got gypped on the cinnamon when I asked for no sugar, but the cool thing was that the zeppoles come with a little container of agave nectar in which to dip them. When I say little, I mean this:

From Salt Lake City July 2009

Just a few milliliters, but it turned out to be just enough for the whole box. The box, by the way isn't styrofoam, it's some biodegradable corn container. So was the water cup.

From Salt Lake City July 2009

OK, back to the food.

From Salt Lake City July 2009

These tiny doughnut bites were yummy. I'm sure they would have been a bit crisper and not as chewy if we hadn't such a long walk back to the car and the wee drive to Connie's office. But, we were running out of time on the meter and needed to move the car.

Being able to have another option besides sugar for a dippable dessert is wonderful. And, Este pizza isn't bad either. Well, let me clarify that. For SLC, the pizza is great. Tastes a lot like East Coast pizza. For New Jersey or New York pie, it's pretty average.

Are you still curious about the heck of a day we had? Well, you asked for it. Connie and I saw two people get hit by a train! But, before that happened, we witnessed (in separate instances) a pretty large, and strangely quiet protest at the courthouse.

First, on my way to the main branch of the Salt Lake City Library (I will be blogging about that at length -- as well as much more of the trip -- on Here and There later), Connie called me to say that there was a big gathering of Fundamentalist LDS (read: Mormon for LDS) protesters gathered in front of the City and County Building, and that I shouldn't miss the opportunity to see such a thing. I wasn't sure what this meant until I drove past the building and saw what appeared to be costumed women with poofy hair and men in long-sleeved shirts (in 90 degree F sun) and jeans milling about under the trees and by the steps of the courthouse.

From Salt Lake City July 2009

There were probably around 500 folks (although the paper said there were at least 1000 -- they exaggerated) quietly waiting for news inside the historic building. I did what I always do in these situations, and told the the friendly police bikers that I was a visitor from New Jersey and was curious about what was going on.

From Salt Lake City July 2009

The kind officer on the left told me that the fuss was about a land dispute. He also recommended going to see the cannons fire in Park City that Saturday night during the 1812 Overture. Moving on...

After leaving the protest (mind you, they didn't quite resolve the dispute after all.), I went to the library. I won't blog about the wonderful and gorgeous library here (because that's what Here and There is for), but what I will tell you is important to the rest of the story.

In the atrium of the library is the library store. I know! I'd never heard of a library store before. Next to the library store is a lovely little plant and fancy bits store where I bought my step-father Dave a great gift for his upcoming birthday in September. I can't say what it is because he just might read this.

Connie met me in the atrium and we walked to my rental car to put the gift in the trunk before hoofing it to Este for pizza and agave nectar zeppoles. On our way back from the car, just about to the library, we heard a huge commotion by the Trax station. Trax is the city train that runs along the streets, kind of like the trolleys of San Francisco. People were shouting "Walk! Run!" and some other things that didn't sound good at all. As we approached the Trax station (which looks just like a bus stop, with a plexiglas enclosure), things did not look good at all.

From Salt Lake City July 2009

I know, it was creepy of me to have taken a photo, but I was there before the reporters around the corner at the courthouse came over, so I snapped one. Just one. Turns out, there were two boys (although Connie saw a third running from the scene) slugging it out by the stop, and they ended up in front of the train as it came to a stop. One boy was bumped by the train, and the other was run over. When we had walked up to the front of the library (directly across the street from where the accident happened), someone was taking off his shirt in order to get under the train to pull out the second boy. And, when I say "boy," I should really say "man," because the paper said they were two 20-year-old-men. Seems people get hit by these trains all the time. Just two weeks earlier, a 50-something-year-old man was hit and was in critical condition as a result. These two young guys were pretty cut up, but hardly in critical condition.

The weirdest thing was that three separate people, on three separate occasions during our walk from the car to Estes and back, felt compelled to tell us what had happened, what we, in fact, had witnessed. I'd never experienced that before, nor had Connie nor I felt compelled to share with a stranger what we had seen. On the other hand, we did feel compelled to tell John's sister and Connie's other co-workers the moment we walked into her building.

Anyway, it was a heck of a day -- all before lunch!


King of New York Hacks said...

WOW...Zeppole's with nectar ?? Never seen that in New York but sure would like to try it !!! I'm going to ask my favorite pizza dude to whip this one up for me !!

Deb Schiff said...

Yeah, I hope it becomes a big trend. :D Thanks for commenting, King.

Farty Girl said...

I used to go to the North End in Boston, which is the Italian section, and I never saw anything like those little zeppoles before. They look delicious! I bet they are tastier with agave than sugar anyway.

Deb Schiff said...

Hey FG,
Yeah, I'm here in Joisey, and the same goes for me. :D That's why I just had to try them.
Thanks for posting!