Friday, June 22, 2012

black sheep cafe: what's right in provo

i don't know what we're doing for tonight's date night, but here's a recap of last friday night, which was pretty awesome.

first of all, we ate at the black sheep cafe.  i had been longing for dinner al fresco on the sidewalks of new york or seattle.  a close third was dining outside on the sidewalks of provo on university avenue.  it was a gorgeous evening, and we had a view of Y mountain and a couple at the justin hackworth studio across the street from where we were sitting posing near the window of a second floor walk-up for their wedding photos.

it was very ny/provo.  eating on the street, mixing food with the fumes (ny--i love food & fumes!!!) while watching a very young & surely prematurely engaged couple prepare to marry (provo).  (driving around downtown provo, we saw no fewer than three couples doing outside "urban" engagement photo shoots--against peeling brick walls, rusty chain-link fences, etc.)

but i digress.
chile verde navajo taco
what i really want to say is go eat at the black sheep cafe, a newish restaurant on university avenue's 100 block featuring navajo-inspired southwestern cuisine.

seriously, people.

this place is fun (there's a silver smith working in an open studio) and the cuisine is interesting but also crowd-pleasing.  i think even the pickiest eaters i know (or should i say unadventurous?) would still like it.  the first time i ate there i brought ten teen-aged students and everyone of them loved it.  but i was happy with it, too.

also, this is a classy joint, and it's a home-grown joint at the same time.

my students think i'm a weirdo because i won't eat at national chains.  they simply don't get it.  but i won't for lots of reasons. turns out i'm not the only one in provo who feels this way.  check out what la ney ferme, our local community supported agriculture farm (provo's first and only one!), has to say about it.

1) i like to spend my money to support people who live in my community.

2) i want downtown provo to have as much vibrancy and diversity as possible.

3) if you eat in a local restaurant, you have an increased chance of not getting a microwave dinner from the commissary kitchen of, say, the olive garden.

4) i want to know who's making my food and why.  turns out i'm not the only one in provo who has these crazy ideas.

but i keep digressing.  here's a run-down on black sheep.

1) the service is warm and you can tell that someone who knew what she was doing took the trouble to train the staff.  in a college town where servers are prone to be students in first serving jobs, this is refreshing.  they were able to talk about the food and give detail oriented service.  one or two little gaffs, like stacking the plates in front of the diners, could easily be polished up.

2) they use real linen on the tables.  i love this.  it just feels good.

3) and (this is most important next to the service.  i hate bad service as much as i hate bad food.) : they make all of their sauces, breads, desserts, chips, etc. in-house.  this is hard to do and most restaurants cut corners by using cans or prepared sauces or factory made breads and (heaven forbid) i've even been served costco desserts at some joints.

we had a green chile navajo taco, the bleu burger, their blue corn chips and salsa, and an orange creme brulee.  every item was good.  (on my previous visit, i had the pork chop sandwich, which i loved.)

the fry bread was light as a cloud with a very tender-crisp skin on the outside.  the green chile was also quite good.  the chips were light and crispy, the salsa smoky and nice, and the oil was fresh (nothing ruins a meal faster than rancid frying oil).  the bleu burger was actually cooked medium rare, as we had requested, and the melty pockets of blue cheese mixed into the burger, the fantastically crispy hog's jowl, the caramelized onions, the reduction sauce, and then the fresh navajo naniskadi flat- bread it was wrapped in elevated this burger.  c. is a real burger connoisseur and he pronounced it to be one of the best burgers he'd ever eaten.  i concurred.  the habanero orange creme brulee was subtly-flavored and well-prepared.  the sensation of the habanero on your tongue added interest to what can be a run-of-the mill dessert and the orange essence was not too overpowering, as orange flavoring tends to be.

so you should seriously take your family to eat here when the come to town for the fourth of july/stadium of fire/freedom festival/family reunion week.  they'll love it.  all of them.  i promise.  and you'll be doing your part to keep a really well-done, made-by-hand restaurant in our community.

this is byu campus

after eating at black sheep cafe, we went to byu to see the art opening of eight bit by michael whiting, who did a pixel-inspired show of big, metal pac-manesque sculptures.

the stag
most of the pieces were in the byu sculpture garden, a space populated by a lot of realistic bronzes.  it was so great to see this big minimalist & kind of post (or post-post?) modern sculptures in juxtaposition to the gorgeous gardens and the much more traditional sculptures in the permanent installation.

refreshments consisted of multi-colored blocks of rice krispie treats
ingrid is interning at the byu museum of art and was working at the reception.  she hit the nail on the head when she said that  the reception could only have been pulled off by relief society-trained women.
it was truly coordinated in every detail.  see that food sign? that's what i'm talking about.  did we need a sign telling us that food was on the table?  no.  but was it more fun that way?  of course.

sexy rice krispie treat close-up
also, no offense, relief society sisters, but the food looked awesome, but wasn't as delicious as it could have been.  you know i love you!  don't take it personally, relief society sisters.  it's just that you sometimes care more about how things look than how they taste.  i'm probably just jealous because i lack the crafting gene.  my food looks bad but tastes great.

also, there were short-shorts and cool tights on campus.  you don't see that frequently.

one of my favorite pieces
did i say you should visit this show?  you should.  after you take your family to black sheep cafe.  it's very kid friendly, and the garden is lovely, and shown off in a whole new way with this instillation.

note the sculpture behind the cat head.  that's typical of the other sculptures in the garden.

a lotta leg was showing that night.  i loved the stripe on stripe action.
cecily went around looking for fashionable attendees to photograph.  thanks cecily!

dj working the reception
all the kids attended the reception and loved it.  the rice krispie treats, the sculptures, the dj, the beautiful evening.

cecily loved this look, and snapped the photo for me
we stayed until closing time.  it was that fun.

it's kinda hard to see, but heather as polka-dot on polka-dot action going on.
art historian heather belnap jensen (and former GITP guest blogger).

these flower centerpieces also echoed the pixelated theme, and were hand crewel embroidered.
the gals also embroidered hair bows/bow-ties for the staff.

ingrid and all the staff wore pixellated ms. pacman bows.  the dudes wore them as bow-ties or boutonniere.
ingrid, another art historian and former GITP guest blogger. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, yeah! I love, love this post! I want to live in this post for awhile. Oh, I hope the Black Sheep Cafe makes it!