Thursday, March 31, 2011


86 N. University Ave.
Provo, UT

I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. Flats as opposed to stilettos. But I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve got an array of red lipsticks at the back of a drawer. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m an exotic orchid instead of a gerber daisy. In that spirit, I decided to take a break from second-hand booksellers and tea shops and visit SPARK restaurant lounge in Provo. Yes! Provo has a sleek and chic lounge with a delicious menu, hip vibe, and alcohol-free mixed drinks.

Friday at noon I put on a pair of dark wash jeans and silver flats—my attempts at glamour—and set off on my own. I’d actually tried to talk a few friends into going with me, but it turns out most people have something to do during the day. And if I waited to go somewhere until I could be accompanied…well, I’d never go anywhere at all.

I was surprised to find the place relatively empty. A waiter sat me in a corner, flat up against a wall, out of sight. Was it unseemly to show up for lunch on your own? She asked me if this seat was all right, and not wanting to be demanding, I assented. Note to self: when restaurant is filled with open, airy seats, be demanding! I have no one but myself to blame.

I ordered the Oxblood to drink: blood orange puree, Rockstar, and cucumber. Excellent! I had a basic chicken sandwich that was anything but basic. It came on a hot bun, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The chicken was marvelously flavored and the greens were covered with a lovely, sharp, fresh Parmesan. My sandwich came with a side of chilled strawberry soup. Heavenly!

The desserts looked fabulous, but I was too full to give them proper attention, so I made a note to go back another time. My only complaint was that the wait staff seemed a little bored and inattentive. True, it’s hard to stay motivated on a slow day (I “waitress-ed” my way through college), but that’s all the more reason to make the few guests present feel like royalty rather than an inconvenience. However, this observation is based on a one-time experience. I look forward to visiting SPARK again and putting them to the test.

To all of you college-age guys reading my blog (cue crickets), this is definitely a place to impress a date.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Favorites Including Mindy’s Newest Music Video

Thanks for sharing your favorite things with me. I want to make sure everyone knows about them.

“Vitamin D, a functional sewer line, and Jimmer Fredette.”

“Sunshine in a time of coldness.”

“Grapefruit-flavored Perrier water, Texas-shaped tortilla chips, tostada compuestas, and peach-flavored gummy penguins. None of which can be found in the state of Utah, if they could they would most likely no longer be my favorite.”

“Mountain High Original full-fat plain yoghurt. (The pretentious "H" is what makes it taste so good.) Williams Sonoma Winter Forest lotion.”

“My favorite thing is doing something I enjoy but rarely get to do. Today, it was play catch. Other days, it's to see my awesome sister-in-law.”

Now, one of my quests is to find grapefruit-flavored Perrier. Jimmer is making all of Provo’s dreams come true, and our freak bouts of March sunshine are providing a little vitamin D. One of DCB’s sister-in-law’s favorite things to do is eat Indian food with DCB and spouse. I’m still trying to wrap my head around plain yoghurt (even with an “h”). Sometimes milk cultures freak me out. But I understand that gourmands highly recommend Mountain High Original.

One of my favorite singers has posted a new video! Check out Mindy Gledhill’s music video here. Readers of this blog will probably recognize the Ice Castles at Midway in a few of the shots, and Utah Valley Magazine readers will recognize Stephanie Nielson.

You can see Mindy's photo diary of the video shoot here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Things

Simply Splendid
Bistro & Boutique
67 S. Main Street
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

I remember a lunch period in 7th grade, I was walking around outside on a gray, misty day eating a pastrami sandwich and thinking, “pastrami is delicious, Marvin is cute, and all’s right with the world.” A slight variation on Robert Browning. (Look it up.)It didn’t matter that my pastrami sandwich was of the homemade variety rather than a NY deli special. It didn’t matter that Marvin didn’t return my pink-candy-heart sentiments. I was happy with the little things; they made it bearable to go to math class after lunch.

Now I’m bit a older and I prefer my pastrami sandwiches on toasted rye with sauerkraut. I still like men who make me laugh. And it’s still the little things, my favorite things, that can save a gray, drizzly day. Lest I sound too Pollyanna-ish, I’ll bet that if you think about it, you’ll agree. What are some of your favorite things?

I took an informal poll:
Ding Dongs
Mike Rowe
nesting dolls
ice cream
canvas shoes
Laffy Taffy wrapper jokes
Mt. Dew in vintage cans
books on tape
grandma’s button box
the feeling after a long hard run
an stolen hour with a good book
hearing my favorite song on the radio
diet Coke

A new boutique store in Pleasant Grove combines two of my favorite things: unique gifts and historic down town main streets. Oh, and oreo truffles... three things. And cupcakes. And chicken salad...on croissants. Okay, five of my favorite things.

Simply Splendid is a gift boutique and bistro serving delicious homemade sandwiches, soups like tomato basil and creamy broccoli and cheese as well as cupcakes THE SIZE OF YOUR HEAD. Pleasant Grove's main street has long needed an eatery, and now they've got one.

The gifts available at Simply Splendid range from purses, scarves and jewelry to pieces of art and home decor. I love to find gifts for people that reflect their personality. A meaningful gift says "I know you, and I notice your personal preferences and quirks." Simply Splendid's wide range of jewelry charms is a great way to pick a personal gift. Their jewelry artisans will create pendants that pay tribute to favorite teams, individuals, and even missionaries.

The premises of Simply Splendid are an old historic home right on Pleasant Grove's main street. It's rooms are full of sunshine, hardwood floors, and old-fashioned fixtures.

Gorgeous place to browse, I recommend Simply Splendid for an outing with friends. Get a sandwich and a diet Coke or treat yourself to one of their gourmet cupcakes. And don't forget to place an order for cookies to be delivered to your missionary. Simply Splendid knows their clientele...and they know they're hungry.

What are some of your favorite things?