Deer Valley Grocery and Cafe – Nature at Your Doorstep

When you live in Park City, you live right in the center of paradise.  To a mountain lover like me, Park City is the most beautiful place on earth.  So when I am inside working on a stretch of long days in my home office, I go a little stir crazy.  Last week was one of those weeks.  I didn’t see the light of day with what seemed like an endless stream of projects. At the end of four intense days, I asked my husband, Jay, to get me out of the house, even if it was just for a drive. Well, he had a better idea.  He drove me directly to the Deer Valley Grocery ~ Cafe for a relaxing dinner on the deck.
I’d had breakfast inside the cafe last winter and loved their strong coffee and hot oatmeal with what seems like a hundred condiments piled on top – brown sugar, sliced almonds, raisins, etc. but I had never been there for dinner so I took my time in ordering.  Jay immediately went for the made-to-order cheeseburger when he saw the grill outside on the deck.  I had much more of a challenge with the tapas menu.

Clayton, our waiter, explained they have about twenty different small plates -tapas- which they constantly rotate.  The six I had to choose from all sounded wonderful – there were chicken lettuce wraps, smoked duck empanadas, Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots, short ribs, grilled asparagus, etc.  You can see my dilemma.  With some help from Clayton, I settled on the duck empanadas and added a Caesar salad.

We grabbed our silverware, two glasses of water, our little number, and headed out to the deck.  In the evenings, the entire deck is shaded so every table is a prime location. We chose a table in the corner overlooking the pond and adjacent to pots overflowing with flowers.  When we sat down, Jay looked at me and said, “I had no idea this place was so nice!”

We love historic Main St. but the cafe had a whole different vibe to it. Nature was at our doorstep. Fish were jumping, mallard ducks were swimming by, and egrets were on the shoreline stalking their evening meal.  We were informed the pond is often frequented by moose wandering in for an early evening swim, and osprey circle and dive for fish. 

To our delight, Clayton walked out with a tub of breadcrumbs and gave us quite the show as he dropped them one by one into the water.  We watched fish versus ducks in what I dubbed, “The Battle of the Breadcrumb.” The ducks were often the victors but the fish gave a valiant fight as the jumped on top of each other sometimes coming completely out of the water to get closer to their treats.

When our dinner arrived, we scrambled back to our table. A waitress brought out a tray of condiments that included local mustards.  She was kind enough to leave it for Jay so he could sample them to his heart’s desire. The empanadas were delicious and the salad was the kind of Caesar I like, which I can only describe as “Caesery.” Even though we were stuffed, we opted for the bread pudding with caramel sauce anyways.  We knew we couldn’t eat the whole thing so we took the rest home after eating a couple of delicious bites.

Sitting on the deck after a glass of wine and a delicious meal, I felt reconnected with the paradise I love.  With the fish jumping, ducks swimming, and a slight breeze kicking in, the deck started filling up with more patrons and Jay smiled as he overheard someone say, “I had no idea this place was so nice.”

 

 

 

The Deer Valley Grocery ~ Café is open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. and is located in the Deer Valley Plaza building at 1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, Utah.

For more information and a sample menu click here.

How We Burned 900 Calories During a History Lesson – Historical Hike at Deer Valley

Going on Deer Valley’s guided historical hike with mountain host Michael O’Malley was a great experience! In my last post, I shared a little of the history he taught us and a lot about the host himself.  There are a few more things you might want to know, however.  Here you go:

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

We gathered at Sterling Express Lift and then hiked on a narrow trail through two amazingly beautiful aspen groves.  Just when I started to notice my heart pounding and lungs burning, we stopped for a mining history lesson and a chance to catch our breath.   I  listened intently as  Michael explained there were literally a thousand mining tunnels beneath us. He passed around black and white photos of how Deer Valley looked during those mining days. Guess what? Silver Lake was actually a lake at one time! I did not know that. I always wondered…

Wildlife was everywhere.  We spotted two mule deer does on the hillside across from our trail.  Then a few minutes later we saw three elk cows in the same area.  They slowly came  into a clearing and then moved past. I had never seen an elk, much less three and so close. Magical.

We also met some interesting people – there was a mix of locals and out-of-towners which included some hard core hikers who you’d want to saddle up to in a windstorm or if you were hungry – they had all kinds of supplies in their packs. One guy had bear repellant spray which of course we didn’t need but would come in handy in a variety of circumstances.  We met a mountain bike instructor, a tourist from San Francisco, a family from Connecticut and Jennifer the helpful mountain host.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

When we regrouped at the end, my friend informed me we hiked 5.5 miles in 3.5 hours to an elevation of 9100 ft. which was about a 1000 ft. climb.  She wore her heart rate monitor the whole time and told me that we had burned 900 calories and the guys had burned 1600.   What?  Are you kidding me? I was having such a good time, I never noticed that we were working out.  Do you know how hard it is to burn 900 calories? In case you don’t know, here are some examples:

Two hours on the rowing machine burns about 900 calories. I love the rowing machine but I am seriously bored to death after 20 minutes.

About two  hours on a treadmill burns 900 calories — utter torture.  Will never happen in my lifetime.

Five hours of yoga burns about 900 calories – I did a class once called Yin Yoga where you twist into a pretzel and then the instructor tells you to relax into the pose (really?) and you stay in that position for like 20 minutes or so to release the tension.  Push ups are easier than that. Seriously.

Photo By T.J. Lenahan

An hour and a half of cardio boxing burns 900 calories- I actually took a cardio boxing class at my gym a couple of months ago. Don’t ask me why I thought I was in good enough shape to take this class.  I made it through the class but when I got home, I couldn’t lift my arms even to feed myself and believe me I was starving.  Two days later the real pain hit. Every  muscle in my torso and upper body felt like it was being attacked by ice picks. A friend of mine who boxes told me to go back right away and work through it. Right.

So imagine my surprise that hiking in the most beautiful place in the world, learning all kinds of interesting history, meeting some really cool people, and seeing majestic animals burned up a boatload of calories …. with out feeling the burn.  Somehow it feels like everything is right with the universe. The historical hike is one experience I definitely plan on repeating.

144 Days Off the Couch

I’ve got a goal, to spend the 144 days of summer off the couch.

The snow has melted and this week the kids get out of school for summer.  As the school year ends I’ve been able to fit in a couple events with some friends. The first was Running for Ed. No not a person but a fundraiser for our local schools-Ed as in education. This is a team of five and we each have two legs to run. The total course is 42 miles around town and change overs at the schools. Most teams have a theme or costume. We were the “Crayons.” When my friend Simone told me our costume I envisioned some sort of hat that was a crayon tip with a face cut out. I was pleasantly surprised (see photo). I joked I might wear it again for Halloween. One of the funniest comments of the day was when one of my teammates passed someone and she heard them say” I got passed by a crayon!” We also got placed in the last group (fastest runners) to start the relay. Not sure how that happened because I’ve never run a six minute mile in my life. Maybe it was because our captain was on the winning team last year. It was a blast for a good cause.

The next event was Little Red Riding Hood. I’m not sure how many women are riding their bikes but there’s a lot! One number that was tossed around was 3,000. You choose your own distance, my group chose 80 miles. This isn’t a team event but the seven of us got warmed up and into a rotation of drafting. There was no more talking or joking, our heads were down and we were rolling out the miles. If you didn’t know you would have thought we were professionals.  It ended up being a bit shorter than 80 miles but I was happy to see the finish.

It is always a fun time to get away with fiends for the night and share the day together. I’m not sure there is another place that has so many people that are active and enjoy exercising fundraising at the same time. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue my theme for the summer “144 days off the couch” as the boys get out of school for the summer. I might need to multitask and take advantage of time when the kids are in lacrosse & golfing camps. Oh to be a kid again! At least I feel like I kid when I’m with friends and exercising! Good thing my friends invite me to participate. They’re helping me to stay in shape over the summer for the winter! Or maybe they know I need to work off the winter lunches! Hmmm

The Modern Mountain Man (and Woman)

Since I was born, raised and have spent most of my life in the mountains, I tend to consider myself as a true “mountain man.” Of course, my own definition doesn’t necessarily fall into the accepted view most of us have of the traditional “mountain man.”  It means more of a “mountain dweller” than the quintessential trapper and other explorer that used to roam the Rocky Mountains and might still be encountered at certain summer “Rendezvous’.” Since I’m also from French extraction, if you found me at one of these events, you might easily mistake me for these rugged characters if I donned a different garb and sported a few grizzly teeth around my neck, but that’s not quite my style, at least, for the foreseeable future!

So my definition of what makes a mountain man and woman is a far cry from that early frontier day’s image, and is in fact defined by the love some of us have for living near the summits and for building our daily lives or our recreation around them. I simply would like to talk about those of us, mountain women and men, who love elevated living and always get more excited when we’re in the midst of jagged peaks than strolling on New York’s Fifth Avenue or facing a tropical sunset, far away in some South Pacific paradise.

This new breed of “mountain people” love to ski in winter, whether it’s alpine, telemark or cross-country, can on occasion step on a pair of snow shoes or just enjoy a stimulating morning run in the snow. These same individuals are also highly adaptable; they can switch gear within weeks and go from skiing to fly-fishing or even mountain biking, as soon as the trails are dry enough and passable. Endless trail running is also part of the choices mountain dwellers make and their stealthy travels take them where wildlife hides, where deer and moose are totally at home, marmots lay in the sun and cougars watch from behind some aspen grove.

They’re rugged individuals who can also hike long distances, scramble towards forbidding summits and climb vertical cliffs when they’ve made up their mind to reach over them. On occasions, they’ll explore distant valleys on horseback or run down a river with friends. I’m not a hunter, so I can’t speak for those we see in the fall with gun or cross-bow in hand, but I’m a bit closer to those who never miss a sunset on a stormy day, can catch an Osprey in flight or surprise a heard of elks with their camera.

The luckiest of these modern mountain people work in the mountains and usually don’t even realize how fortunate they are; others still have to compromise between making a living in some city and escaping to the mountains whenever they get a chance. They belong to the mountain environment and they love it. They look at the clouds and guess tomorrow’s weather; sport goggle and sun-glass tans year-round, stay connected with their surroundings and become almost part of the scenery. They respect the natural elements, they know that nature is the ultimate boss and see in it a yardstick to measure their strength, their determination and their endurance.

In many ways, they are as fierce and independent as the first “mountain men” used to be and are one-hundred percent in tune with their surroundings. The only difference, in my opinion, is that their life is far less dangerous and that they’ve found many more ways to extract raw fun out of their mountain lifestyle!

Biking is for the Whole Family

Spring came early to Park City—in a town where odds run high for snow on graduation day, it can be confusing to be able to play outside like it’s Summer in April or May. But, friends, we’re muddling through, somehow. What with all the Chamber of Commerce weather, and the fact that my kids look at bike time as cross-training for skiing (Opening Weekend), this is bound to be the summer that improves our skiing by leaps and bounds.

In fact, it didn’t take long for us to get rolling in summer mode in our house. Seth, our newly-minted five year-old, with his newly-missing two bottom teeth, has determined that this summer’s theme is “Two Wheels or Bust!” It didn’t take much—just like when he wanted to learn to ski, he saw big brother do it, and that, friends, was that (Secrets to Success). We started offering various tips on technique, offered to put a broomstick in the well under his seat so we could help him balance, suggested he use his feet to push and glide off the ground while he got the feel for it. And, in typical Seth fashion, he looked at us and said, “Why don’t I just ride?”

So, he did. Here’s the footage

The next thing I knew, Jeff was in the garage, finding the pedals to put on his own bike. Poor guy had been so busy in the last few years, the only time his bike got to roll on the trails around here was when our friend Cheo came for visits and borrowed the bike (he’s a BYOPedal kinda guy). Now, though, the kids were on a roll, and Jeff was not going to miss out.

So, with images of family bike rides dancing in our heads, we hauled Lance’s first mountain bike with gears into Jans for a tune-up (it was a hand-me-down from friends), and took mine there for good measure. While we were there, Jeff noticed some shiny new objects—and started chatting with Stephanie, one of the expert bike fitters. Before long, she had Jeff set up on demos, and he was tooling around the neighborhood, trying to choose a new bike. I won’t bore you with the list of complaints he has for his old mountain bike. We think of it as Cheo’s bike, anyway, and now this will allow the two of them to go on rides together when he’s in town…but I digress.

I owe Stephanie, Marty, and the team at Jans a debt of gratitude for helping Jeff find a new bike. First, she took the guesswork out of what gift to give my husband for our 17th wedding anniversary this month. Yes, friends, in case you were wondering, the official gift for 17th anniversary is One Sweet Ride. Second, she singlehandedly helped reconnect my guy, who raced bikes in high school, with a lifelong passion—that’s going to help push his healthy lifestyle agenda to the next level. Also, they helped me entertain my kids during the whole bike demo process, allowing many pairs of shoes to be tried on, and selling us a couple of bags of candy, to boot. As in winter, I’m not above bribing with candy. [Upping the Ante on Bribes]

After all was said and done, I was inspired to get my like-new (as in gently used, because I bought it eleven years ago and have ridden just a handful of times) bike into the shop for a tune-up.

Some people in my house have described me as a reluctant biker—I’m not. I swear. I really, really WANT to bike. But I’ve never been a confident biker, which makes it hard to just get out and ride. When I first bought my bike, I took advantage of the variety of free, guided rides available to all levels of bikers through Jans and White Pine—some are even women-only. Somehow, though, once the boys were born, I couldn’t make the time for those rides. No, boys, I’m not blaming you. In recent years,  I promised my pal Emily that I would take some mountain biking lessons at Deer Valley—but other things took precedence.

Now, though, the same thing that motivated me to up my game on the snow has been brought to bear for biking; I will not be left behind by my family. So: First things first, I’m going to start riding on the flat trails around town. Next, I’ll join some of those evening rides at White Pine and Jans. And, because my kids are going to check out some Deer Valley Summer Camps, I’m going to book myself a mountain biking lesson on the mountain, too.

Let the games begin!

Cheers to Summer at Deer Valley

September Bickmore and Bonnie Ulmer of Deer Valley Grocery~Café, produced the winning cocktail last month at the Park City Cocktail Contest when a panel selected this original cocktail, “Flower & Pine” as Park City’s “Signature Cocktail” for spring and summer 2012.

We met up with Bonnie Ulmer to find out what makes summer in Park City so great and to share a recipe for one of Deer Valley’s signature cocktails.

When did you come to Deer Valley?

I was one of the originals. Starting as a bartender and cocktail waitress at the Après Ski lounge, I started opening day in 1981. I have been making drinks here ever since.

What is a perfect summer day to you?

I usually have Sunday and Mondays off. We wake up early to get a little wakeboarding or waterskiing in on the Jordanelle or Deer Creek. On Sundays we make our way over to the Park City Silly Market for a while and then head back to the closest body of water for paddle boarding. We usually round the day off with a BBQ and of course a couple cocktails.

What is your favorite thing on the menu at Deer Valley Grocery~Cafe?

Ben Stevens, the chef at Grocery~Café makes the best Panini’s. I love to sit and eat on the deck.

What is your most memorable concert at Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater?

My favorite concert at the Snow Park Amphitheater had to have been Lyle Lovett. He was married to Julia Roberts at the time and all my friends and I kept trying to see if she was in the crowd somewhere.

Your must have treat at Deer Valley?

My favorite dessert has to be the McHenry’s Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie served at Royal Street Café.

What is your favorite cocktail?

Blueberry Mojito.

Biggest misconception about Utah liquor laws?

I have so many bar patrons surprised you can actually get a drink in Utah. Some of our cocktails, with liquor flavorings have as much as two and half ounces of liquor in them.

We asked Bonnie to share the recipe to her favorite cocktail, the Blueberry Mojito. It makes a great cocktail to enjoy over the Memorial Day weekend.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Valley Blueberry Mojito

Yields: 1 Drink

Ingredients:

1 handful mint

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Quarter wedge of lime

½ to ¾ cup lemonade (preferably not from concentrate)

1 oz. premium light rum (Bacardi Silver brand suggested)

2 Tbsp. fresh or frozen blueberries (one tablespoon smashed to create some juice)

Splash of soda

½ oz. premium dark rum (Myer’s brand suggested)

Sprig of mint (for garnish)

Slice of lime (for garnish)

Ice

Procedures:

-  In a tall 16 oz. class, add mint leaves and sugar. Squeeze juice from the lime wedge into the glass. Mash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or a special wooden “muddler” until the mixture is fragrant. Fill the glass with ice.

- Add lemonade until the glass is 2/3 full. Add splash of soda then add light rum and blueberries and stir.

- Slowly pour dark rum into the drink so it floats on top.

- Garnish with a sprig of mint and lime, serve.

 

 

 

Final Notes on Another Great Ski Season

Once more and just like last year, Deer Valley Resort made it to its last day with flying colors!  On closing weekend, the mountain was dressed up into an immaculate coat of white; in fact it had been snowing almost all week long, ending the winter season, just like the previous ones, on the highest possible note.

It’s quite fair to say that Mother Nature didn’t do much to help during the peak winter months, as if she were avariciously hording snow for some unknown purpose, but the Deer Valley’s snow-making crews came to the rescue and more than compensated for a lackluster snow-year and sparse precipitations.

(Photo by Daniel Diyanni)

All along, I never held great expectations about natural snowfalls and, as a result, was never disappointed. Instead, I skied more than my share and I could only rejoice when a number of providential blizzards transformed the mountain. These abundant precipitations first came in the later part of January, lasted for days around mid-February, and then in a more routine, spring-like fashion, during March and early April.

(Photo by Ryan Turner)

Of course, the credit for what ended up being another great season, rested more on the snow-maker shoulders and the groomers fine-combing expertise, than on the skies natural bounty, and for once, the snow-making insurance-policy protection came into full force and delivered the goods!

(Photo by Ryan Turner)

This said, the season was packed with wonderful days of skiing, powder snow, both untouched and meticulously manicured, and at times it was hard to believe that it was a dryer-than-usual winter. When January came around, tree skiing was again a possibility and the opportunities for powder “face-shots” were much more frequent than I would have imagined.

It’s too bad that these sensations are so hard to share, because if they could be telegraphed in more vivid terms, many folks who ended up staying on the sidelines might have made the effort to come out and experience these great ski days for themselves. I, for one, discovered new runs, new path in the trees and by the time the resort closed down this past Sunday , I still could not get enough good skiing!

Of course, I’ve always been a late bloomer as far as skiing goes. I never get really excited too early in the season. My passion for the sport needs to build up and as April comes along, I’m still eager and ready, but nature thinks otherwise… The morale of the story is that, whether we live next to Deer Valley Resort, in the Salt Lake Valley, Los Angeles or New York, we should never assume that “conditions are bad.” The ski reality that Deer Valley creates always exceeds our best imagination!

(Photo by Gus Steadman)

As our delayed winter may linger for a few more weeks, there still might be a few turns in store for me under the form of alpine ski touring, as soon the skies clear and the snow return to “corn” quality. Mountain biking is still a good distance away, and frankly, before thinking too much about the upcoming summer and its endless array of activities, I need to take a long mental vacation from this past winter!

Never Too Late To Go Mountain Biking!

I know how it feels; we’re now almost at the end of August and you haven’t ridden your mountain bike yet as you had promised yourself! Well, it’s never too late and in fact the next few weeks are likely to be the best in the entire summer for straddling a mountain bike and getting a taste of what a fun recreation it can be if you have never tried it before, or refreshing your memories as well as your skills if you have experienced it in the past. Deer Valley is the perfect place to do it, should you decide to take advantage of the resort’s lift-served mountain biking options by either riding the Silver Lake Express or the Sterling Express lifts, rent some great bikes and also receive some friendly advice.

Early fall is also the perfect season to do it; the weather is much cooler and the crowds are generally considerably thinner. In fact, the resort offers an impressive 55 miles of trails meandering through woods, canyons and meadows, offering a blend of the best vistas available and the most exciting terrain. In case you wondered, I’ve heard that Deer Valley Resort has been rated by some mountain biking publication in the top ten best destinations for mountain biking…

So now where do you begin? Check your mountain bike and make sure it’s still trail-worthy or doesn’t lack modern suspensions, decent tires and good brakes. If it has remained in your garage for more than ten years, you might be surprised to find out that technology has passed it by; if that’s the case, rent one at Deer Valley Resort, that will enable you to familiarize yourself with the new technology from modern gears to clipless pedals, and give you an opportunity to make up your mind should you decide to invest into a new machine. If your bike still looks the part, make sure to have it tuned up and have its tires and brakes checked before going out, and while we are on the subject of personal security, don’t leave home without your bike helmet!

Then, if you’re still a bit uneasy, there’s always the opportunity of taking a refresher course. Don’t think you need one? Well, this might in fact be a great opportunity to not having to relearn everything or re-discovering… the wheel. Deer Valley’s Mountain Bike School can give you that bit of extra-confidence that will make a huge difference. It’s open daily and someone’s available at either Snow Park Lodge or mid-mountain next to Silver Lake Lodge from 10 am to 5:30 pm to assist you if you really want to discover something new. There are in fact a host of things you can rediscover or learn, like sharpening your visual skills on single track courses, balancing and positioning your body according to the changing terrain, cornering like a pro, breaking smartly, descending and climbing more effectively and many more very valuable tips.

Lift-served mountain biking is also an excellent way to get you started without suffering too much and gaining some critical training before you can do the whole thing on your very own, if you decide to. The passes are quite affordable and your kids or grandchildren below five years of age will ride free. So enough procrastinating! You only have between now and Labor Day, plus the following weekend of September 11 and 12 to get back into, or get acquainted with this great sport while weather and temperatures are still ideal!

Big Stars, Bright Nights- Wynonna

I had the pleasure of seeing Wynonna perform this past Tuesday evening here at Deer Valley.  As of now, it may have been the highlight of my summer.  It was not the longest concert I have ever attended but between her vocals and personality it may be one of the best.  She showcased her enormous voice that you expected but once she was done with a song she continued to engage the audience with her great personality.  She called people out for their dancing, signed old tour shirts and even brought a few kids up on stage for a photo op.  I am pretty sure she had not only herself but most the audience crying and laughing through out the evening.

 

Before the performance even began I decided that my guests and I needed to be treated to the Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket.  I have not had one for a few years and am I ever so glad we decided to order them.  We ordered two baskets a salmon and a beef and I am not sure which one I liked better.  They were both delicious!  The antipasto with the Creminelli truffled salami, steamed artichokes, olives, double cream brie and fresh baked French bread were enough to do you in.  Then, if you can, finish with lemon pound cake and raspberry truffle tartlets.  The whole thing was amazing and the best part was that I did not have to do anything but enjoy it!

 

I am now counting the days to my next concert which is the Utah Symphony’s performance to the 1812 Overture!  I think I am going to have to order another basket!

The Wild Flowers are Blooming!

With summer now in full swing in the mountains, you don’t want to miss  seeing the wild flowers at Deer Valley.  They are amazing this year and the colors are incredible.  I am always up for a hike to check them out but the mountain biking trails are looking tempting these days.

I finally have my first concert, Wynonna, on the calendar for next Tuesday.  Wynonna is coming as part of our Big Start Bright Nights series and it should be a great evening.  I have already ordered my Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket and can not wait to brag about it in my next post.

Don’t forget about our free Wednesday night concert series which start at 6 p.m. at the Snow Park Amphitheater.  We have Wisebird, Shaky Trade and my personal favorite Bryon Friedman coming up.  My family and I always pack a picnic but I was to lazy last night so we will be off to the concession stand.  I am looking forward to the chicken ceasar salad and an ice cream sandwich for dessert.

 For those of you wanting to come up for a long weekend make sure to check out our website deervalley.com.  We have some great summer packages and some even some specifically for the different concert series. 

 Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather!