October 7, 2019
Dinner last night at Desert Bistro was a wonderful experience! The owners Karl and Michelle have had the restaurant for 19 years in various locations around Moab (on ranches etc.) They moved into the downtown location about three years ago. This is an intimate, upscale restaurant serving adventurous southwestern cuisine with lots of attention spent on the customer experience. We sat on the covered patio with the most intriguing heat lamps. We could feel the heat but could not see a red glow or anything that looked like a lamp. The lamp looked like a plumbing pipe abutting the ceiling. There were also blankets on each chair which were not necessary but a nice touch. Lots of local art on the walls. The restaurant is a gem that is really very understated. There is a history there but I could not find it. People were still coming in at 9:00.
We started with homemade bread with an assortment of very interesting toppings (pumpkin and sesame infused oil, rosemary and sweet salt, tapenade). Bob and I had the same meal which is unusual as I rarely have an entrée. The food was so intriguing I had to stretch! Many of the special items (fish) this evening were sourced from Hawaii. We started with the seared ahi tuna stacks which were layered ahi tuna rolled in sesame sticky rice (somewhat like sushi) with a cilantro, sesame dipping sauce. Adding wasabi made it even better. On the plate was shaved Daikon radish wrapped in a carrot peel and a filled dumpling. The wine list was very expensive and not so good. The best Bob could find as a ½ bottle Kendall Jackson “California” chardonnay which we not normally drink. That said, we brought a 2015 Chateau Meyney which was magnificent. Meyney can be a harsh wine but this one was one we savored. We knew the pairing was not the best so we enjoyed between and after our courses.
In talking to the Lyft driver and our dinner wait staff, Kim, we learned that you cannot be a Moab native unless you were born there or played Moab football! As I mentioned earlier, Moab did not come into being until the 1950’s with the discovery of uranium. It was only then that rudimentary infrastructure was developed. Kim, who was a very athletic looking 40, said she grew up barefoot and didn’t brush her hair until her teens! Mountain biking and river sports are a major part of Moab life. Many spend a late afternoon and evening on the river after work. Canyonlands became a NP in 1964 and is one of the youngest. I had forgotten the Colorado River provides power to 30 million people in LA, SD, SF, Phoenix, Denver (and ?).
Back to touring! Canyonlands is Utah’s largest National Park with much of it being remote and unreachable. There are 3 districts (Island of the Sky, Needles and Maze). The last time here (2012) we spent almost 2 days adventuring and driving many miles south to the Needles District which had sandstone orange spires, petroglyphs etc. Interesting but not worth the long drive to see again. We might also have driven 12 miles to the Grand View Point Overlook (Island of the Sky District) to see the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers which we found fascinating. However, It was nearing 4:00 so we decided to not be rushed getting ready for our dinner!
Moab has lots of adventurous opportunities that we might have done several years ago. No ATV off-roading or white water rafting anymore! We may try to take a boat down the Colorado for a different perspective though.
Awoke to another clear, very cool morning. Left for Arches at 10:00 and waited 15 minutes to get in! We did get a parking space at the visitor center which was fortunate. The movie, Window in Time, was excellent. Wind, water and gravity created the arches but over time they ultimately will surrender to the same. The park my granddaughter will see at my age will clearly not be the same. There are over 2,000 sandstone arches in the park. Again, spending a day or so visiting Arches 7 years ago, we weren’t trying to do it all again. Surprisingly, traffic was not bad and we were able to get parking spots in the Windows section and at Devils Garden where we took some walks. There were also plenty of turnouts. In fact, we made a salad and ate at one of the turnouts not far from Double Arch. It is hard not to be in awe visiting many of the national parks on the Colorado Plateau. We are doing the “mighty five”(Canyonland, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion). Each are magnificent in its own way.
Walked through town but nothing too interesting.
Each night I race to upload pictures and send the blog during a window of when the camp has not filled. My alternative is 5:30 am! Forgive my grammar and spelling!
Tonight’s dinner is Brazilian (chile, brown sugar and orange zest) roasted salmon with cauliflower gnocchi. 2017 Mer et Soleil chardonnay.