Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zion NP

Last nite we went to Bouchon for dinner. I have eaten at this Bouchon location once before, and at the original place in Napa Valley a few years ago. This is one of Thomas Keller's many fine restaurants. It reminds me of a Parisian brasserie like Le Coupole, but Keller calls it a bistro.

We started with a bottle of non-vintage Roederer estate champagne to celebrate my wife's and our friend Marcy's birthdays. The starters we chose were all mostly simple salads perfectly dressed with impeccably fresh greens, or a couple of us had a beet salad. A country pate was also selected. We drank a 2000 Smith Haut Lafitte with this course. I was quite pleased to find such a mature and fairly priced wine on what is a very good, but generally highly marked up wine list.

Entrees were mussels in white wine with the classic presentation of pommes frites in a cone. Day boat diver scallops dry packed from Maine was a special selected by 3 of us. Unfortunately, this dish was not well received. My wife had a superb crispy 1/2 of a poulet. Another of us had white boudin sausage with pureed potatoes and prunes. I opted for the braised boneless beef short ribs that were melt in your mouth tender. Along with finishing up the white bordeaux we drank a 2007 cotes du rhone from Tardieu Laurent.

For dessert we shared chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, profiteroles, and creme brulee. We also enjoyed a bottle of 1995 Neipoort colheita (vintage tawny port). After a leisurely 2+ hour meal, we all left quite satisfied. We then strolled home via the Wynn casino, continuing to marvel at the range of attire and people that one sees in Vegas. As one of us said, Vegas is like a parallel universe and definitely unlike any other city.

This morning all the wives plus one of the husbands headed home, and I and my friends Craig and Marty drove over to Zion NP. Craig had never been here, so we decided to walk up the narrows of the Virgin river that runs thru Zion canyon. The top photo is of Craig, and the bottom photo was my effort to capture a brief rain shower--double click on it to enlarge to better see the raindrops. It was quite amazing to witness because from where we stood, the sun was shining and no clouds were visible but it was definitely raining lightly with the raindrops sparkling in the sun. As you might expect in a narrow river canyon, we saw no bird life other than 2 dippers, and heard a canyon wren.

After carefully picking our way over 3 hours time thru the often rocky river bed, we drove into Springdale to have an early dinner at the Bit & Spur. This is a local place that I have eaten at over the years. Its main food theme is mexican, and they make everything on premises. An example would be the sweet potato and masa tamales stuffed with either pork or mushrooms. Having not eaten since mid morning, we chowed down heartily.

It is now Wednesday evening and I am in Hurricane, UT which is about 20 miles away from Zion NP. There is a magnificent harvest full moon shining down. The week's bird count is now up to 53 and the YTD is still at 681. Tomorrow we are going to hike in Buckskin Gulch--a classic Utah slot canyon. Stay tuned!

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