On the Road: Vertical Diner (Salt Lake City, UT)

So, a couple of months ago I took a trip to Salt Lake City to attend a concert.  My road trip buddy this time out was one of my oldest friends, and someone I haven't traveled with in a couple of decades.  She wanted to attend the concert as well, and she was in desperate need of a weekend out of town.  The last time we hit the road, she was a lapsed vegetarian (my bad influence, I'm afraid), but over the years she has rebounded to become a vegetarian with vegan leanings.  Not exactly an ideal dining companion for someone like myself, but what the hell.  I'm a (relatively) nice guy and I enjoy a challenge.  I researched a lot of places that were vegan, vegetarian, or at the very least had very decent options for those types (SLC has become a very good place to eat for them, a surprising number of the highest rated restaurants on Yelp are geared that way).  But of course she had her own suggestions, and I decided to risk her favorite place in town despite the serious misgivings I had based on the menu and the reviews I'd read.  If you're wondering if I was pleasantly surprised, the answer is no.  I wouldn't go back to this joint even if I were offered a free meal.  Feel free to stop reading if you like, but if you want details you can find them below.

I didn't take this picture, it's from their Facebook page.  I just wanted out.

On the Road: The Lot / à la carte (Bend, OR)

A couple of things to apologize for today.  First of all, I'm WAY behind on my posts again.  Secondly, a lot of the upcoming posts will be road posts, so I guess I should half-heartedly apologize to those of you who think I spend too much time writing about places that aren't local.  That having been said, this will at least be a quick one, so bear with me.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had two coffees in pretty short order on my last morning in Bend.  After that I headed to 7-Eleven to stock up on cherry Slurpee and Red Bull for the trip home, and discovered that they don't have a public restroom.  I couldn't remember where the nearest rest area on the freeway was, so I asked the cashier who was ringing up my purchases where the nearest public restroom was, and he told me it was around the block where the food trucks were.  Food trucks?  On a Sunday?  This I had to check out.  And that's how I found myself at The Lot.

The Lot

On the Road: One Eyed Sisters Coffee Trailer (Bend, OR)

Are any of you fans of Anthony Bourdain?  I am.  I may have even mentioned it before.  I guess it doesn't matter, pretty much everyone has watched some travel TV, yeah?  You notice that often when the host gets to where he's going, there's someone there to drag him around.  Sometimes a friend, sometimes a colleague, sometimes just a local.  Well for those of you who don't know, those people are called fixers.  Not the kind who clean up crime scenes for the mob, but the kind who make arrangements, grease wheels, plan itineraries, and so on.  I've always wanted a fixer, but I've never had one.  However, I might have a suitable candidate for future visits to Bend...

One Eyed Sisters Coffee Trailer

On the Road: Spork (Bend, OR)

We're going out of order here.  In my last post, I described on of the great meals of my life.  However, that wasn't the first thing that happened when I arrived in town.  I had a few hours to kill, which I planned to spend up in the mountains taking pictures of the forest area outside Sisters (which is still rebounding from the B&B Complex Fires), but I figured a break for lunch was in order after a five hour car ride.  I'd asked for recommendations on my Facebook page, received three, and decided upon Spork.  They interested me because they'd started out as a truck and then went brick and mortar to satisfy their following (something that seems to be happening more and more often).  They specialize in putting their own spin on dishes from all over the world, and a perusal of their menu reveals a wealth of Asian, African, and Latin influences.

Spork (front)

On the Road: 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar (Bend, OR)

I'm not a professional.  I've said it time and again.  Usually it's to remind the people reading my ramblings.  I do it a a defensive measure.  You don't like my use of profanity?  The fact that I spend so much time writing about places that are out of town?  That so much of my writing is focused on things like burgers and Asian food?  Too bad!  I'm not a professional writer.  I'm sure as hell not a professional food critic.  I make no money doing this (notice the lack of ads on my blog?).  Sometimes I get an invite to a soft opening, or a free bottle of a condiment in the mail, and that's about as lofty as it gets.  I'm the one spending my own time and money, burning gas, putting wear and tear on my car, and so I go to the places I want to go and order the things I want to eat.  This whole thing is meant to be informative to those who want the information.  But every once in a while I get someone who accuses me of trying to ruin a business, or schill for another one, or complains that I write about taco trucks so much, and I feel the need to remind them that I am not a professional.

A few nights ago, I was the one who was reminded of just how non-professional I am.  That's karma for you.

5 Fusion & Sushi Bar