A Balanchine Valentine's


Don't ask me how I know who George Balanchine is, I just do. And I'm pret-ty proud of that clever title up there because I'm pret-ty sure it means that the next step in my life involves polo, cigars, and Scotch.

We had a great Valentine's yesterday, even if it didn't exactly go off without a hitch. Brock surprised me with tickets to Ballet West's performance of Don Quixote at the beautiful Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake! I'd never been to a ballet and had always expressed my desire to go. Next on my list is an opera, and then probably a WWF match.

The evening began with dinner at a Greek restaurant in Salt Lake called Aristo's (short for Aristotle). We hadn't eaten good Greek food since Chicago, so this was a special treat. Starting the meal off was some saganaki--pan-seared Kefalograviera cheese flambéed in a Greek brandy. (Calories don't count on Valentine's Day.) Our waiter--a lovely older man named Mark--recommended this to us and oooooh baby was it good! Moving on the the main courses, Brock decided on yemista (tomato, bell pepper, and zucchini stuffed with rice, potato, mint, and crushed tomatoes--all cooked together in a clay pot). I went for brizola, which I guess is just the Greek way of saying "12-oz. ribeye steak."

In retrospect, it might've been a little strange that the man at the table was ordering the healthy vegetarian dish and the lady was intent on downing some cow, but no matter. My steak was cooked to perfection--I couldn't believe how flavorful it was given that it was only seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I guess simplicity is best :) I was slightly embarrassed when the waiter came by later and discovered that I'd eaten the whole thing and nothing more--my tabbouleh salad and rice pilaf sat completely untouched on the plate. "I like a girl with a healthy appetite," he said. Welp, YOU'RE WAITING ON THE RIGHT TABLE, KIND SIR.

We topped the meal off with a shared piece of karidopita (a Greek spice cake with walnuts) and then headed off to the Capitol Theatre. We had awesome seats on the ground floor, about ten rows back, and right smack-dab in the center! The ballet was fantastic--aside from the dancing, I couldn't take my eyes off the sets and costumes. So beautiful. Far from being the stuffy performance you  might be imagining, Don Quixote was actually quite funny! There were two characters in particular that had me cracking up the whole time: Quixote's sidekick named Sancho, and Gamache--a puffed-up nobleman seeking the beautful Kitri's affections.

Naturally, the dancing was exquisite. It kills me how they make it look so effortless! I was also surprised to see how sturdy the male dancers were built. I mean, I suppose they have to be in order to do all the partner work, but for some reason I associated "male ballet dancer" with scrawny, wirey guys.

Seeing a ballet in Utah really makes me want to see a ballet in New York City. I'd be interested to see if the quality of dancing in noticeably better, and if the audience is noticeably less, I don't know, down-to-earth? Normally that adjective has positive connotations, but for those of you unfamiliar with Utah/Mormon culture, allow me to enlighten you. There are people here who don't know the difference between a peewee football game and a ballet. As such, when at the ballet in Salt Lake, expect hoopin', hollerin', and wooooooo!!!s after every triple pirouette.

Also, many Mormons believe that the only events they need to dress up for are church-related. Moving a step up from that, most people will dress up for things like a ballet--but in church clothes. I'm not saying you need an expensive gown to go to these things (heck, I found my dress on sale for $35 at a JCPenney), but there should be a difference between churchwear and going-out-wear. For your husband's sake, if anything. Here's a quick guide for all you ladies. If you answer "yes" to any of following questions, step it up gurrrrrl!
  1. Are you wearing a wrap dress? (NOTE: In general, wrap dresses are made of clingy synthetic material that does nothing for a girl's figure. However, the existence of Kate Middleton is proof that wrap dresses be chic--but c'mon, even she doesn't wear them out on date night.)
  2. Do your shoes give off a plasticy sheen?
  3. Are your heels less than two inches high?
  4. Are you wearing a North Face jacket?
  5. Is your hair in a ponytail?
  6. Are your lips bare?
After the ballet, we grabbed some banana cream pie at Dodo's in Sugarhouse, and then headed back to our hotel room at the Little America for, well, y'know.

I never anticipated sharing my Valentine's night hotel room with a man named Dick Buck, but life is funny that way.

Upon completion of the y'know, Brock and I settled in for sleep. Unfortunately, the heater in our room was giving off a gurgling sound that made this entirely impossible. It was an old-school steam heater, and the water inside was having issues. I think it ateTaco Bell for lunch. Anyway, after a good forty-five minutes of trying to sleep in spite of it, we called up the front desk for solutions. Enter Dick Buck.

Dick Buck was the name of the maintenance man that knocked on our door at 1:00am. I am not making this up. He was a short, bald guy in his late-sixties with white scruff and he sounded like a lumberjack. His solutions included turning off the heater (already did that an hour and a half ago, thanks) and entering the problem in his logbook the next morning.

Fast forward one hour: We'd checked out of the hotel, gotten our money back, packed up, driven home, and were sleeping on my grandparents' couch.

It may not have been the sexiest Valentine's night ever, but one thing's for sure: Nobody heading south last night on 1-15 at 1:30am looked better than we did.


  1. LOVE your red dress!!! I forgot you chopped your hair and how hot you look! So are you guys back in SLC??? Can we catch up sometime, I'm obviously way behind!

  2. Thank you! Almost every year we try and go to the Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater and it's so sad to see how many people show up in their Joe Schmoe outfits. Those who actually do dress up are the minority, which is absurd. When I went to a ballet at the Opera Garnier in Paris (one of my top 3 favorite things I did while I was there, so magical) it was the opposite-- if you weren't dressed up, you looked stupid. Simple as that. And it was a matinee on a weekday!

  3. Dang guurrrll, you're looking sexy! Glad you had an excellent Valentine's Day. :)


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