So after a spectacular day 1 I awoke with great expectations for my Rachel Rehab Day 2.
Its interesting because it couldn’t have been more different than the previous day but still totally great. (And it was a true Eat, Pray, Love Moment).
Started out at 8 I walked over to Les Madelines Bakery a few blocks down. I must admit I’m exhausted from all this city walking. It’s funny I always think I’m in great shape and then I do something I’ve never tried before or done in a while and it kills me! All the walking I did today my feet are killing me and might have 2 blisters!
(I could only find 1 tennis shoe for half the day…Insanity is starting in). So flip flops it was and I’m sure that caused more pain than was required.
Anyway I made it to breakfast at the famed bakery Les Madelines. Everything was delicious but my favorite was the pan au chocolate (or chocolate croissant). The hot chocolate was super good but very rich. Almost wished I had someone there to share it with.
I also bought macaroons for my Mom as a thank you gift for her help with my surgery. Yum!
So I know I say things like this all the time but it doesn’t make it any less true- today was one of the best days of my life! It was so wonderful! Its hard to believe that I ever contemplated doing anything else and that I could be the same human being that was so miserable on Tuesday. I wish I wasn’t such a spazz and had a constant, even tone to my days but alas that’s just not my style.
The one thing about an insanely hard week with a seemingly impossible deadline and a near-panic attack is that everything can only go up from there and boy did it. I’m so glad I decided to spend the money (and it wasn’t too bad actually) and treat myself to a weekend of rehabilitation and rejuvenation. I needed it so badly!
For starters I finished the month end in time!!!! I still can’t believe it! Hurray! Heavenly Father really does answer prayers and help you do the impossible when you have faith. Seriously.
So done with my Friday free (hurray!) I set out for a massage at my gym. (Would have asked my dear friend Jill but she had to take a 9 to 5’er for insurance 😦 ). Anyway, got a one hour massage and it was heaven. Seriously if I was rich I’d have a massage every week.
Oh I forgot I got to the massage late because I was cleaning my car because my folks are using it this week and guess what I threw into the recycle dumpster? Yes, my keys. It was quite the endeavor to get them out climbing up on a laundry basket that was in the dumpster and hurling myself into the cardboard. It actually hurt and I have bruises but I got the keys! Nothing was going to get me down!
After the massage I got the car wash and then headed to the hotel. I am staying that the City Center Marriott in Salt Lake. I stayed here once before when in 2007 I along with 4 of my friends celebrated the last day of a job I hated and the beginning of a happy Rachel. It is honestly one of the happiest memories of my life. So, naturally I have a special fondness for the hotel and its luxurious accomadations (amazing robes, tons of pillows, soft sheets, thick curtains etc). Just look at the pillows!
They weren’t ready for me right away so I went off to have some lunch. At first I walked the wrong way and so I asked these businessmen if they knew of any good lunch places. “There’s Carl’s Jr” they responded. Isn’t that rude? For all they knew I was a visitor to their city. I would never do that. Anyway, nothing was going to get me down so I headed the other way and went to wells fargo to deposit a check and asked the teller if he knew a good place “The Robin’s Nest” he said. It was just around the corner so I went and checked it out.
I figure in lunch places it is always a good sign when the line is long and the tables are full. This was the case at Robin’s Nest. Everything was delicious from the bread to the orzo side pasta. I got the gobbler (turkey ‘thanksgiving’ style sandwich with cranberry relish, mayo, lettuce ect). The half was huge and the lunch combo came with drink (fresh squeezed lemonade no extra), orzo pasta or chips and a dessert bite (I got the lemon square although everything looked fabulous). I heard Bobby Flay say that ‘delicious’ was passe as a food adjective so I’m not sure what word to use. It was scrumptious. Perfect lunch.
Once I checked into the hotel I read for a little bit on my fluffy pillows and then napped for about 30 minutes. Feeling great I headed up to the pool/hot tub and had a great swim. As a Masters Swimmer (I was going to say competitive but I don’t know if last in every race really counts as competitive) I naturally always wear training swimsuits. So, it is nice to occasionally swim just for fun and wear a suit that feels a tiny bit more attractive. Is that terrible to say?
At the pool they had this sign that made me laugh. Kind of a challenge to the whole weekend in a way!
After a refreshing and relaxing swim/soak I came back and read some more and worked on my novel. It’s just a silly thing I’ve toyed with over the years. I am going to finish it for the national novel writing month in November. If I don’t I have to do a polar bear swim! (Its a bet with my friend Abby).
Next up I went headed to dinner. My friend Heidi had recommended The Copper Onion to me and as it is minutes from my hotel I thought it’d be a perfect fit. Boy was she right. I have never been to such a nice restaurant in my life. Everything was beautifully presented and tasted sublimely good. Best restaurant meal I’ve ever had.
I decided to try different things. Be bold and daring because that’s the kind of day it was! So here are the courses:
For appetizer crispy pork belly salad with pickled vegetables. I’ve always wanted to try pork belly and it did not disappoint. The salad was rich, decadent, salty, sweet, spicy (pickled jalapenos). So good!
Then I got the duck which I’ve never had before. I’ve always heard it was too fatty and I hate eating chicken fat. Figured wouldn’t like duck fat any more than chicken. But this was perfectly cooked. The fat was completely rendered out with a crispy skin, cooked medium rare. Then underneath the duck breast was duck confit (holy cow yum!) and a baby portabello mushroom that was the best mushroom I’ve ever had. All accompanied with a butternut squash puree that was like butter and a mixed green salad with roasted peppitas. (Salivating yet? Wait until you see the photo).
Then for dessert I had a chocolate pudding that was divine. It was rich with a crunchy topping and whipped cream. It had sea salt or something sprinkled in to counter the sweetness.
I cleaned my plate in every course but the great thing is I didn’t feel stuffed or even overly-full. I felt perfectly satisfied. The food was not overflowing like at chains but it was all delicious and memorable, which I’d take any day over quantity. I got all of that delicious food plus a drink for $40. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty good deal? You’d pay triple that in New York or San Fran.
The thing I appreciated the most about the restaurant was how accommodating they were to me as a single diner. I’ve tried to eat at nicer places by myself and felt literally singled out and that I was an inconvenience for a busy waiter wanting more tips. This is why I usually get take out not because I’m afraid of being alone at a meal but because it isn’t a pleasant experience as a rule.
Tonight was totally different. First of all The Copper Onion has a bar (a suggestion I often give single diners as it easy to find someone to talk with and does not feel so isolating as a big empty table) with a separate bar menu but they also have what they call the counter. This is like a separate bar area that faces the chefs. It was so much fun seeing everything get made and smelling all the dishes! My waitress was wonderful. Kind, accommodating and extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu (she was partly responsible for my bold orders!). See the smile on my face!
The meal was sublime and when I finished it was 6:50 and as I walked past The Broadway theater next door to the restaurant I noticed that Perks of Being a Wallflower was playing at 7. Perfect timing! The Broadway is one of the only independent theaters in Utah and while many of their choices seem a bit dreary for my tastes this was a film I’d been wanting to see.
It is definitely not for everyone but I loved it. Its funny, sad, different and the dialogue is perfect. I think it is one of the few movies I’ve seen that gets the feel a high school experience right. Most movies about teenagers feel like the show Glee that is mostly starring 30 year old actors in high school. This was much more authentic. I don’t know if I totally bought some of the darker elements but still very emotionally satisfying to see something original and different. I felt inspired!
Here’s the thing that made today special. I have obviously lived alone for many years of my adult life. I’ve gone to movies alone, eaten alone, even went on a cruise alone, but I don’t’ know if I have ever spent a day with basically no companionship and had such a spectacular time. It is really gratifying to know that I can be that happy all by myself. I think I have to remember that when I’m feeling lost and out of control. I have the power to feel happy all by myself even without all the luxurious trappings to prop me up.
I feel proud of myself. I did something that nobody else I know to my knowledge has done. I spent the whole day by myself and had a spectacular time. Granted most everyone I know doesn’t even have that option but still its nice to know I can do it.
Even more than that, its nice to know I can relax like a real human being. Feels like forever since I’ve relaxed. Since Hawaii for sure. And how great to have achieved my Hawaii zen right in my own hometown for pennies on the dollar of what I’d spend on any trip, anywhere. What a freeing concept! I look forward to many more adventures! It’d be great if some of my friends joined me but also great to do it alone. How freeing is that?
Most importantly I feel like I can conquer the world again. I wish I didn’t get the anxiety and I am getting better at dealing with it but I’m grateful in a way for it because it forced me to take action and create happiness for myself. I learned that making a decision is a freeing experience and then planning for joy is the only way to really get it. Rarely is it presented to you for free.
I’m grateful to God for giving me this day. In the world of billions of souls going about there day He proved once again this week to me that HE KNOWS ME and HE WORKS MIRACLES! I can’t wait to hear Him speak through His prophets tomorrow. I will have notebook in hand and am confident I will receive instruction and inspiration. I am so blessed. I am so grateful. I am so inspired. I am so HAPPY!