27 March 2012

Vinto Pizzeria

My wife's birthday called for a celebration. I sent an email to her late in the afternoon to see if she wanted to try a new restaurant. She was more willing than I expected, so I was excited to make the trip to the SLC and try Vinto Pizzeria on a recommendation.
We arrived at about 8 pm and were seated almost immediately. The decor was nice. I won't elaborate other than to say I liked the intimacy of the restaurant. We were seated at the end of a wall bench with a table and chair (think booth on one side shared with the table next to us and a chair on the other side).
Our server was equipped with the latest in wireless ordering. We both ordered Italian Soda. I had a peach, while my wife had a coconut flavored one. Mine was forgettable, and I would steal sips of hers while she wasn't paying attention. We both hadn't eaten that day, so my wife asked if they could make a flatbread, and the server said he could alter the menu and make a simple parmesan cheese or herb flatbread. We ordered the parmesan cheese and the meatball appetizer to start. The meatballs were slightly spicy, but I daresay it was one of the best I've eaten. The sauce was a very well flavored tomato sauce with fresh herbs that we quickly mopped up with our remaining flatbread. So far so good.
I had been in the mood for wood fired pizza, so my entree choice was simple. I had Pepperoni and she ordered a Margherita. The pepperoni on mine was slightly warm with spice and I increased that with the crushed red pepper provided. The crust was decent. Not bad not great. However, I enjoyed my pizza and wanted to taste hers for comparison. Her fresh basil was a nice change of pace from my spicy pizza. The herb flavor was excellent. We boxed the remainder of hers to go and ordered a small dessert.

The in house Gelato sounded good, but the dark chocolate only come in a 'water-based' version and not a true Gelato. I was tempted to get a Cannoli gelato, but opted instead for a Ginger. It was definitely unlike any other ice cream I've had, but both she and I liked how it refreshed after our meal and it was a good ending to a satisfying meal.
I'll keep this on my list of restaurants to go back to after I'm done trying those I haven't been to yet.
Let's try a rating system out of 10:
I'd say this was a 7

Vinto on Urbanspoon

An Excuse to Blog More

So I'm not exactly a consistent blogger, but I've found an interest in trying new restaurants and figured I'd put my feelings about my experiences in the blogosphere. I also may post tips and tricks that I've picked up about various subjects. So my blog may transition from a focused 'journal of events' to a smattering of ideas/subjects. If anyone has requests for reviews/tips/questions, feel free to comment and I'll do my best to address your request.

05 December 2011

My Jake Heaps $0.02

I think Heaps transferring hurts BYU more than it hurts Heaps. Riley seems to be the better short-term option and for lots of reasons, a better QB right now. But I'm of the thought that if BYU is serious about competing/winning a national title, our best shot is 2013. We face Boise, Notre Dame, Utah, Texas, Georgia Tech, Houston, and some 6-6 type teams. Without Heaps we face that schedule with an unproven QB with loads of upperclassman talent at the skill positions (Hoffman, Apo, Alisa, Quezada, pick your Sr. TE) and what should be a strong Offensive Line with Houston Reynolds and strong 2010/2011 recruiting class (Ryker Mathews). While Riley has shown the ability to win now against teams with losing records, I think Heaps just walked away with our hopes of any chance at a National Title. Granted that would have meant BYU winning all their games which they've been unable to do since 1984...
The timing of losing out on a 3 year starter for the 2013 season is terrible. But that's just my $0.02

21 October 2010

There and Back Again

I met Steve at Bonneville Elementary in 1988.  I don't recall much of our interactions from that period of time, however, I do remember my best friend was very tall and had a birthmark.  I moved away in March of 1989 and as 5 year-olds do, became consumed in my new surroundings.  Steve remained at Bonneville until 3rd grade and later moved to Sandy, Utah and then again relocated to Pleasant Grove, Utah.  Steve's family had a rich tradition at Orem High and instead of attending school in Pleasant Grove he was enrolled at Canyon View Junior High - a feeder school to Orem High.  Steve played defense for our freshman football team.  He wore striped Nike socks that were blue and white and made his height stand out like he was a character from a Dr. Seuss book.

Stephanie and I met at Lakeridge Junior High.  She was part of the same group as the girl I liked so we came to be friends through mutual friends.  Later, in Utah History we discovered we both had an affinity for Pearl Jam, although her infatuation with Eddie Vedder was based on different criteria than mine.  One of the most embarrassing stories about Steph was the first day I saw her without make-up.  "Are you sick Steph?"  To which she wryly responded with "No, I just didn't put any make-up on today.  Jerk."
When it came time to move on to high school, Stephanie lived across town and should have attended the rival high school of the one I attended.  Her friendships, and perhaps their excellent educators may have been among the reasons that brought her to Orem High.  I remember going to Hogi Yogi in the Riverwoods the day Stephanie said she was going to Cosmetology School; I believe I told her she should go to college.  Ironic, I still haven't graduated… she's been done with school for years.  After high school, we'd sometimes go to Crest and get a beverage from their drive-thru.

Our high school has a tradition of holding a student body sponsored dance once a month.  This provided ample opportunity for dating many people and getting involved with different circles.  During one girls-choice dance, Steve, Stephanie, and myself were all included in the same group.  The advent of energy boosts had just begun and part of our activities took us to a smoothie store.  I promptly ordered a triple energy boost for my drink and the corresponding heart palpitations which were sure to accompany that mistake.  Dinner that evening was at Brick Oven and Steve and Stephanie had the misfortune of sitting by an overly-caffeinated teenager.  As annoying teenage moments go, I'm sure the restaurant staff was more than excited to see me leave.  But that is the night I made a new, old, friend.  I don't think Steve and Stephanie were on that date together that night, but it wasn't long after they started dating.  Years later, the nostalgia bug hit and we dug out the memory books.  After a few pages after the infamous 1980s "I Love Trucks" onesie pictures, Mrs. Cook's Kindergarten class picture came up.  Steve stopped the page and said, 'wait a minute, you were in Mrs. Cook's Kindergarten class?'  Without knowing, I had found my best friend 12 years later.

My adult life is dotted with memories of Steve and Steph.  The day I left for AIT in Virginia in 2001, my two best friends came to wish me farewell.  Shooting basketballs with Steve at Bonneville thirteen years after we first met there.  Running away on a bike with flat tires when Steve had to pick me up.  Our dinner conversation at Ruby River in Provo, I believe one Halloween night.  Mi Ranchito with Joe and the infamous 'Chicken Bone.'  Mi Ranchito in general.  Numerous holidays, especially New Year's at the Russell's.  Steve's apartment and his Carne Asada eating roommate Adam.  Playing Word Racer and twisting the plot of A Walk to Remember at Steph's apartment.  Countless night's each of us drinking 12 packs of Mountain Dew.  Eating Beto's and staying up way later than we should have the night before his wedding.  The day my best friends got married.  Getting my haircut monthly from Steph while she was in school.  Calling Steve and Steph the day I saw Saw and waking them up at midnight.  Eating dinner in Huntsville at Macaroni Grill.  The crazy connection Steve's path had with my wife.  Holding Rex for the first time.

I met Rex in July of 2007.  He was a long baby.  I thought he looked like Steve a lot.  I remember Izzy coming to visit Steph and Rex in the hospital.  It seemed they were drawn to each other from day one.  Rex brought a side of Steve out that I hadn't been privy to, but an example of love and fatherhood I will try to exemplify.  Steve doesn't do anything less than 110%; in his role as a father, he has further elevated that standard.  As Rex grew, Steve would tell me stories of how fun it was to raise him.  Rex's outfits seemed to be some of the enjoyment as well.  Rex has worn many hats.  Most notably, the dog hat, a White Sox hat, a pirate hat, a Woody hat, and recently, an Atlanta Braves hat.  Each hold memories for me, and likely for the Stuart's as well.

I have not experienced the joys of being a parent.  Honestly, I'm terrified of being a parent, but the other night, I was allowed a glimpse of what the love a mother and father feel must be like.  Steve and Steph had me over to visit Rex after an evening event.  Steph took Rex into bed and laid him down for the night.  Steve was attending to some chores so I took a few minutes to scan the website.  A minute went by and I heard Steph calling my name.  I hurried into the room and asked if I could get her anything.  She said "Rex asked you to lay by him."  I was taken back for a second, and then slipped my shoes off and said I would love to lay next to him.  I repositioned his stuffed animal and stared into his eyes and was reminded of when I was a child.  I would ask my mom to tell me what to dream about.  She often would respond by suggesting I dream of 'floating down a river of chocolate on a boat made of marshmallows' and other candy.  I told Rex to dream of the candy world I used to visit in my dreams.  I rubbed his cheek and forehead as he became drowsy.  We chatted for a minute longer and I feared I was keeping him awake more than I was helping him fall asleep.  I kissed him goodnight and told him I loved him and left with Steve to shop for groceries.  It was a touching moment for me, one I'll not soon forget.

Rex, Steve, Stephanie, Annalin - I love you

01 July 2010

Rant on Soccer

Am I the only one not applauding the US Soccer team?  Lucky to tie England, had to rally from 2 down against Slovenia, scored in 91' v. Algeria, another goal given up in the first 5' to Ghana.  I don't really think what they did was 'a little bit beyond soccer'.  The Algeria goal is memorable, but placed in context, it's not that amazing.  As a severely casual soccer fan, I'm left asking "What if..." for another 4 years.  The draw to the semi-finals shaped up to be the best scenario the US could have asked for, but we lost to a lesser ranked team.  What if the US didn't have to play from behind in 3 of their 4 matches?  Without researching, I estimated the US played 390 minutes of soccer.  Again estimating, I think we led for 30 seconds?  In my opinion, these 'accomplishments' are why soccer will be the least popular major sport in the US.

He said he hopes the U.S. run in the World Cup will be forever remembered. "What I can tell from these kids, what we did was a little bit beyond soccer," he said.

-Landon Donovan (full article)

06 June 2010

Engagement Photos

Denise and I had our engagements taken near Soldier Hollow in Miday by Kate Benson.

19 April 2010

Wristbands for Rex! Coming in May

Click for Order Form

To raise funds for the Stuart family, we will be selling wristbands in 2 colors and 3 sizes. The wristbands will have a debossed cancer awareness ribbon and words:

Rex Stuart

Colors will be green as well as white in sizes:

Large (8 3/8″ )

Medium (7 3/8″)

Child (5 7/8″)

(for reference the LIVESTRONG® bands are 8″ for adult and 7″ for children)

Pricing will be:

1 for $3

2 for $5

5 for $10

We will fulfill orders in Utah and Huntsville, AL. At this time we are only accepting cash and are not able to ship wristbands due to the prohibitive costs.