Broadway boheme

In February, Zed and I moved in together.

The worst part of moving was finding a place to live. We needed to be close to my work, his school, and in a place that would allow for a 60-pound beast who looks intimidating and has a ferocious bark. Plus, it needed to be cheap. We ended up in a tiny place in downtown, mostly because of the price point and loose pet policy.

The building proclaims itself to be built in 1911 in a faded painted sign that no one has removed from the rooftop since it was placed there. The tiled porch is chipped and the sandstone foundation crumbling as the gray paint peels off in strips, it says this building is called, “The Nelson.” No one has ever called it that. The crumbling, faded porch overlooks a busy street.

In this apartment, SLC feels distinctly urban. There are people everywhere, all the time.

Somewhere between churches, shops, bars, public institutions, and homes for the homeless, we can watch people of all types as they wander through the city. Many looking for friends or family, some for a few pennies to catch a bus, others looking for a good night out, and some just looking.

I’ve called the cops twice in six months. Both times because a man was passed out on my doorstep.

I’ve mastered the art of avoiding vagrants asking for change or hawking stolen wares.  I no longer take the dog on walks at night. (Mostly because the meandering bar crowd doesn’t remember to ask to pet a dog, and mine is not happy to meet strangers.)

They’re always on this street–the wandering people. Some need help, some ask for it, others don’t want it, and some are just that way.

Black globe, neon nations

I’ve met at least two who claimed to be dog trainers and proceeded to offer me advice about my dog. One an old cowboy, the other a young woman, both seemed desperately out of place, time, and money. I don’t do much to encourage these encounters, but as I’ve mentioned, something about Archer encourages conversation.

Our daily meanderings have us meeting strangers still, only now in this neighborhood, the strangers are strange, seemingly desperate, and often in need of help that I certainly can’t provide. I’m always ashamed to mention resources that I know of that are available. And I don’t know if I should. I’m never quite certain what to say except to talk about the dog in question. (It almost always starts with, “What kind of dog is it?” if they are too polite to bring up his bat ears.) As I try to continue our walk without making this person feel terrible for asking.

Maybe what they really need is to feel human by talking about a dog. Archer's bat ears

Granary Row and The Porch

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Last week there was a bit of buzz about town with the opening of Granary Row.

It’s in one of those industrial west-side neighborhoods where it feels like no one lives, but trains and trucks. The area is hemmed in by a freeway on all sides. It’s a favorite haunt for budding photographers hoping to get their urban decay on.

It’s where I’ve met a number of amazing entrepreneurs working to build small businesses that make SLC more vibrant.

And it finally feels like a neighborhood.

The Kentlands Initiative worked with the city to design and build a “pop up market and festival.” Granary Row is made up of recycled cargo containers redesigned with gardens, restaurants and shops in mind. My favorite part is that the whole thing sits in the middle of a wide street. Those wide mid-western streets drive me crazy. It is one of the worst features of SL,UT life, especially on the west side.

A row of trailers breaks it up nicely. And it feels for once like a walkable area.

I’m going by weekend-only hang out tonight. My first stop is going to be the Porch. The group invites locals to tell stories about their lives in a supportive atmosphere. I’m thrilled the Utah Valley group has a second home “up north.” It’s the closest thing we have around here to the Moth, and I’m excited to see how it goes.

I can’t wait to hear the stories! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to share my own.

The Porch. Local storytellers in Provo, Utah. Photo via utahporch.org.

Thirsty Thursday pub crawl with a helping of history

Thanks for all the new follows yesterday! That was a nice surprise to wake up to. I hope all you new kids know I write about a lot more than books, actually I mostly write about TV and my dog these days.

So…yes. I hope you are not disappointed.

I have 93 followers now! Whoo-oo!

I’m tempted to do a giveaway when I get to 100. Perhaps a book? Or a movie? I just can’t imagine a booze-soaked cake will survive UPS. Hmm….I will think on this.

In the meantime let us meditate on today’s entertainment: history and bars!

That’s right I’m doing another pub crawl. This one is around downtown Salt Lake City hosted by the Utah Heritage Foundation.  The more I learn about the group, the more impressed I am by the work they do. I may visit them again next Saturday for the Literate Ladies Lawn Sale. (Alliteration and books? Yes, please)

If i can be persuaded away from the Downton Farmer’s Market.

Nonetheless I’m looking forward to this walk around downtown. It will be the first pub crawl I’ve ever done in a city where drinking in the streets is NOT allowed, so I’m curious how that will go down. I’m hoping for a fun group and lots of fascinating stories about Salt Lake City’s Mormon, miner history.

UHF is top-secret about the tour, so I doubt I’ll be able to post a full review of the experience or outline what we do. But here’s what I will guarantee: rowdiness from a woman in a sundress.

The rest is going to be history.

24 Hours in Salt Lake City

Last week, I saw the Double Tree by Hilton DTours Competition and got all hopped up on the idea of traveling Salt Lake City.

I totally missed the deadline for the competition to win a two-week to two-month trip to wherever, but that didn’t stop me from fully enjoying my 24 hours as a tourist in my town.

This is a tourist hot  spot, promise.

This is a tourist hot spot, promise.

I started off at the one place I always see tourist, the Utah State Capitol Building. It was nice to take the time and enjoy the grounds, the architecture and the sunshine. Usually Archer and I walk as quickly as possible. But this time I photographed it up and did my best tourist impression. However since the dog was in tow, I did not get to go inside the building. It has wonderful architectural details and occasionally you can catch a couple inside taking wedding photos.

It's the little things that give away the location.

It’s the little things that give away the location.

Next I went on a detour to Memory Grove Park just down the hill from the Capitol building. Once again I took the time to photograph and enjoy the scenery a bit as I made my way north to City Creek Canyon.

One of the many monuments to Utah's fallen soldiers in Memory Grove Park.

One of the many monuments to Utah’s fallen soldiers in Memory Grove Park.

Archer loves running in the water, following the stream and meeting all the other dogs on the loose. I like that it’s a lot of nature, but close enough to the city I don’t have to drive. It’s literally across the street and down the hill from the Capitol. I love it! The hike took about an hour before I decided I was ravenous enough for a snack.

The City Creek from which so many place in this town take their name.

The City Creek from which so many place in this town take their name.

After depositing the puppy at home, I made my way to Eva’s Bakery on Main Street. This little place looks like it flew over from Paris to bring chic local eats to the weary. The cappucino was delicious and the Beehive brioche divine. I love, love Cafe Ibis. The roast is always just right, and Eva’s baristas know there way around an espresso machine. They served it dry and it was foamy caffeine heaven for me. The brioche was a delicious honey, almond, sugar blend. The dough was crispy, light and delightful. Absolutely loved it! The setting was wonderful for settling in to write a bit, read a bit and just relax after a long morning hike.

A delightful mid-morning snack to go with writing.

A delightful mid-morning snack to go with writing.

Next I made my way to the Salt Lake City Downtown Library via TRAX for some more spectacular views, architecture and books.

Architectural awesome right there.

Architectural awesome right there.

The library has always been one of my favorite SLC landmarks since I first moved here. It’s not just a space for books, they host community events, house local shops and regularly show films. I stocked up on all the crime noir I could read in a week, checked my Twitter feed and was off to meet Lewis Bros. Food Truck.

I have been waiting and waiting for Lewis Bros. to park near me. But I always miss them! This time, however, I knew right where they would be and what better excuse to indulge in Vietnamese inspired local fare than traveling in downtown?

A menu and a logo on the Lewis Bros. food truck.

A menu and a logo on the Lewis Bros. food truck.

I took TRAX again back to the Courthouse stop. Several food trucks were gathered in a parking lot near the Little America Hotel for the CNU21 convention. I skipped right by WakiPaki, Chow, Off the Grid and a pizza truck for Lewis Bros. banh mi.

Like I said, I’ve been wanting to try their food for ages.

The wait was brief. The cooks friendly and helpful, even going so far as to take orders to customers who seemingly forgot their kimichi fries.

The pork was tender, juicy and ginger-y. Yum!

The pork was tender, juicy and ginger-y. Yum!

I opted for the pork in the Vietnamese-style sandwich. It was served on a crusty baguette with delicious shredded pork and pickled carrots and onions on top. Not the fanciest of fare, but coming from a truck pretty impressive. At $6 a pop, it’s the most expensive item on the Lewis Bros. menu and totally worth it. I devoured the whole sandwich sitting on the grass and listening-in on some true tourists take on Salt Lake City.

After all the food and walking I needed a break from all my excursions and headed home to veg out for a bit before a night on the town. I wandered around Temple Square people watching and trying to see the plaza I walk across so often from a traveler’s point of view. The results: so many weddings, flowers and statues! It’s an awful nice public park most of the time.

I knew I wanted a perfect SL,UT night, so I headed to Bar X following dinner. I ordered a Moscow Mule since I am deeply in love with those copper mugs. It was crisp, fresh, delicious and absolutely on point, like every drink the mixologists of Bar X create. They are perfectionists in the art of cocktail making; and it shows. It also hits the wallet with cocktails starting out at $9 and going up for there.

But so, so worth it!

I sipped my drink and listened to the live band. It was nice to get out, but I was still pretty bushed from the day’s adventures, so I soon went home.

If had waited until this week, I totally would have hit up Friday Night Flicks in the Park next. 

I love summer in Salt Lake City!

Salt Lake City’s Twilight Concert Series 2013

Yesterday the lineup was announced for the Twilight Concert Series this summer at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.

If my Twitter feed is to be trusted it’s going to be an indie rocker’s wet dream of a summer! Now for those of you who don’t live in the SL,UT and can’t see some of these awesome bands for just $5 here’s a YouTube listen. (Tickets purchased early for all 9 shows are $35!)

The line up as follows:

July 18: Belle & Sebastian with Blitzen Trapper


July 25: Flaming Lips

August 1: The National with Sharon Van Etten

August 7: Grizzly Bear with Youth Lagoon

I feel compelled to put a trigger warning on this. The video is a bit grisly for my tastes. I like the song, but eww.

August 8: Erykah Badu

August 15: TBA

August 22: Kid Cudi

August 29: Empire of the Sun

September 5: MGMT

It’s going to be another amazing summer series from Twilight. If you’ve never been it’s more than worth the $5 admission for the experience. I love the food and drink trunks to go with all the SLC Punk style you will see. And the drugs. There’s no way to have that many sweaty hippies in one park swaying to the beat and not smell at least a little weed.

Enjoy it!