So the second and final part of our trip was three nights in Boulder, Utah. Our adventures there were beautiful and peaceful and, of course, filled with nature and ridiculously amazing food. Our need for a bit of wondrous site-seeing was fulfilled with several drives through the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. This is miles of roads weaving through red rocks and deep canyons, many of which lead you down into the north side of Lake Powell. When it got a little too hot in the car, we would park and walk down to the river running alongside the road, cooling ourselves in the pools and sunning like lizards on the rocks.
We stayed at Boulder Mountain Lodge, which in and of itself is really worth the trip alone. The lodge is family and pet friendly, has a hot tub, comfortable rooms and beautiful grounds. The kid’s favorite part of the day was getting badminton rackets and a birdie from the front office and attempting to hit over the too-high net in the middle of the field. They also managed to talk The Mr. into croquet one evening as well.
But the true highlight of Utah was… well, the food of course. Boulder Mountain Lodge is home to Hell’s Backbone Grill, a restaurant started in 2000 by Blake Spalding and Jennifer Castle. I won’t go into too much detail except to say that if you have a chance, go! And if you don’t, at the very least, check out their cookbook, With a Measure of Grace. And, if you plan to go and stay at the Lodge, do your self a favor and book two nights (or more) right up front because one just isn’t enough. You need at least two dinners and two breakfasts at Hell’s Backbone to really experience the restaurant. The menu is heavily inspired by the flavors and dishes of the Southwest and the ingredients are all local and organic, many of which are grown personally by the owners.
Needless to say, my food (creamy enchiladas, cornmeal encrusted trout, a vibrant red beet salad, a plate of radishes and rosemary infused local cheddar, pueblo rice, steaming hot posole, butterscotch pudding with homemade pine nut brittle…) all disappeared so quickly that I didn’t even think to take pictures. I suppose I should plan that for next time… there will most definitely be a next time.
In the meantime, I’ll just whip up some new concoction from the cookbook and daydream about next year’s trip!