Park City Hotel, Restaurant, & Bar Tips

After attending BLEND Retreat, one thing I promised to talk about that I haven’t quite gotten to yet is Park City itself. I’ve talked about all the food we ate, the exercise we did (OK, mostly the hike, since that was all I was up for!), and the swag we got.

But now I am here to tell you all about this little mountain town that attracts thousands of guests year after year! Albeit several weeks late…but better than never, right?

The only experience I had traveling to Utah was in 2010, when I had a layover in Salt Lake City with my parents. We missed our connecting flight [we were flying from Sacramento to New York] so we had 6 hours to kill at the airport. Naturally, we decided to go on a tour of Temple Square in Downtown SLC.

THE Mormon Temple

That’s another story for another day, but suffice it to say Mormonland is super interesting!

Park City, however, which is about 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, is a completely different beast.

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Driving from SLC –> Park City

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In 2002 when the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, lots of the events took place up in the nearby mountains. Check out these remnants! #olympicsnerd

Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park City

DSC_0514As I’ve mentioned, we stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Escala Lodge. It is one of quite a few hotel-resorts in the Canyon Resorts area of Park City – just a quick drive up the road from “Downtown” Park City.

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we had to walk through several other hotels to get to our hiking trail – they all seemed lovely!

There are tons of ski lifts in this area, which I’m sure makes it a great place to visit in the winter months. We enjoyed walking to a beautiful hiking trail where we got this stunning view:

gorgeousYou can even see the resorts in the distance 🙂

The Hyatt itself was amazing. The grounds were beautiful, reminiscent of a big cabin in the mountains, but also very elegant and modern at the same time.

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The restaurant in the hotel was the location of our breakfasts, and they also hosted our cocktail hour (complete with delicious appetizers!). It is a huge space with giant windows, letting in lots of light. Loved eating meals here!

Now…for the SUITE!

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This is just the living room. And I totally slept on that couch (didn’t even need the pull out)…couldn’t believe how comfortable it was!

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All four of us (Becky, Carly, Arlene and myself) kept saying the things in the kitchen were nicer than our own things at home. Because they WERE. Haha. It was such a nice place to just sit and relax during the few breaks we got throughout the weekend.

All in all, I can’t say enough good things about the Hyatt Escala. The service was also top notch…not to mention handsome, as pretty much every single lady in our group remarked throughout the weekend 😉

Main Street in Park City

There is one main street in Downtown Park City…and it is literally called Main Street.

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It plays host to tons of shops, restaurants and bars. Even a dance club or two! Here are the spots I checked out:

Dining

On Saturday night, a group of us decided to go to Wasatch Brew Pub for dinner before going out on the town. I decided Saturday would be reserved for sampling some local beer! I got beer recommendations from one of the [many] handsome front desk guys at the Hyatt, and off we went to dinner.

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I told said front desk guy that I like hoppy beers, and he told me I had to try Hop Rising by Squatters Beers. It’s a Double IPA [which means STRONG!] and I loved it. I’ve rarely met a Double IPA I didn’t like…I think many breweries take care to keep their double IPAs from getting too bitter and overpowering.

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Paired with a black bean burger and sweet potato fries. Hilariously enough, most people at our table ordered this burger. It was super funny to me that we all ordered the same things [either this or the Avocado-bacon-chicken-lettuce-tomato & Swiss sandwich]…clearly we were all looking for the healthiest items on the menu!

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the whole group! i believe this was stolen from Carly 🙂

All in all, it was a great dinner! Definitely recommend!

Wasatch Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

Going Out

While we were eating our gourmet dinner on Friday evening, our table was debating whether or not to go out for a drink or two. Debra brought up a great point: Who knows when we’ll be in Park City, Utah again…if ever? It was this “carpe diem” attitude that led me, Debra, Brittney [of The Laughing Cow], & Orlando [of Onnit] to go out after dinner on Friday night and see what Park City was like. We went to O’Shucks, a quirky little dive bar, followed by No Name Saloon, one of the more popular spots in town. On Saturday after dinner at Wasatch, most of our dinner group ended up repeating the same two bars that us 4 had been to the night before.

If you’re from out of town and planning on going out to bars in Park City, there are a few things I noticed that were different from most places I’ve encountered in California and elsewhere:

  1. Liquor Laws: Beers on tap are capped at 4.0% alcohol. Unless they’re local, in which case they can be up to 5.0%. I don’t just say this because I want to drink the strongest beers to get drunk faster [although, yes, okay, sometimes I do]…Taste is definitely affected by alcohol content. There’s a reason why Bud Light is only like 4% alcohol. Stick with a bottled beer if you’re going for taste! Mixed drinks are also capped at exactly 1 ounce of liquor.
  2. Closing Time: Bars stay open until 2am, but stop serving alcohol at 1am. I guess to give people a chance to sober up before heading home for the night?
  3. Hipster-Bros: Park City is officially the Mecca of Hipster-Bros. Most of the guys we encountered there dressed like hipsters [e.g. they wore PLAID], but upon talking to them, we soon realized that they were totally just bro’s in disguise:
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PLAID EVERYWHERE

On to the bars!

O’Shucks Bar & Grill

O’Shucks is for sure a dive bar by my standards. The drinks are cheap, there are peanut shells on the ground, and it’s small and cozy. The highlight for me was…cheap schooners!

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After seeing them on Friday night, I had to come back and get one on Saturday. I had never had one before! I ordered an IPA, thinking I was totally scoring by getting a goblet of strong ass beer for only $7. Of course, this is before I knew about the aforementioned liquor law, and I basically ended up drinking a watered down version of IPA.

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I’d say there was about 1.5-2 pints in the schooner. I decided not to finish it, because I wanted to save room in my tummy for some other [tastier] beers.

No Name Saloon & Grill

No Name is right next door to O’Shucks, and it’s basically a fancied up version of the same concept. We spent a lot of time here both Friday and Saturday nights, and I got the feeling it is a popular hangout amongst Park City dwellers.

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They had a cool upstairs patio, which boasted great views and great people watching 🙂

20130605-103000.jpgI ended up playing Buck Hunter both nights:

20130605-102837.jpgI thought it was the super “Utah” thing to do, and apparently didn’t learn my lesson when I spent most of the game Friday night shooting cows instead of bucks 😉

On that note, I hope you travel to Park City some day! I had a great time, and loved getting to know my Blends better over great food and drinks!

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Us at the SLC airport on Sunday – Carly, Brittney, Becky, Sara and I.

Have you been to Park City or Salt Lake City?

Have you ever arrived at a place where you’re surprised to learn their laws are different than your own?

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Blend Retreat Swag + Chocolate Protein Muffins

Sooo, if you haven’t heard, we got a lot of free stuff at Blend.

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A yoga mat from NatureMade? Seriously?! 😀

photo cred: Becky @ Olives n’ Wine

We found all of this waiting for us in the swag bag we got upon checking in on Friday afternoon. And just… WOW.

Additionally, there was an expo room set up with tables featuring even more sponsors, with MORE products set up for us to take as we pleased. What? Like…REALLY? We were in disbelief all weekend at all the great companies who want to promote their products to healthy living bloggers.

The funniest moment had to be when we opened our bags and saw:

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coconut oil and vanilla beans!

Becky, Carly and I started freaking out. I’m pretty sure I was jumping up and down in excitement…we were in food blogger heaven.

We thought that was it for the swag, but to our surprise, we walked back to our rooms on Saturday post-breakfast and pre-hike to find:

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MORE swag?!

So you get the point…there was a lot of swag.

The weekend concluded with a closing ceremony on Sunday, which included a raffle. Only, it wasn’t just a couple of items being raffled off…I think almost everyone won something!

{both photos courtesy of Lindsay @ Lindsays List}

2 of those 3 Onnit goodie boxes ended up going to Becky and I!

photo cred: Becky at Olives n’ Wine

Onnit has a lot of very interesting products…namely, their supplements. Their supplement Alpha Brain was one of the first nootropic supplements on the market. It is supposed to help with focus, creativity, and apparently it enables lucid dreams as well. I think Stron Bone & Joint might be a little more my speed, but I am definitely excited to try some of these out!

When I got home, I was determined to make the most out of all the free stuff I got, and save some money on groceries this week in the process. So I went to Safeway and got the essentials: bread, Alexia frozen fries because I’m obsessed, and mixed greens for salad. With some coupons from my swag bag, I also bought:

Yogurt and almond milk from Chobani and Silk, two Blend sponsors!

So basically, the swag legacy continues.

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I decided to use my Hemp Force protein from Onnit, Chobani yogurt, and Musselman’s apple sauce (yep, we even had apple sauce in our swag bag!) to make some chocolate protein muffins. At only about 110 calories and less than a gram of fat, they’re just as skinny as my Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins, but thanks to the hemp protein they pack a bit more fiber and protein!

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Skinny Chocolate Protein Muffins
verrry loosely based on these Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes ~11 muffins

2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 banana, mashed
3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla (optional, but recommended)
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or mixture of all purpose and whole wheat)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 scoops chocolate-flavored protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 425F.

Start by mixing all the wet ingredients together in a bowl: applesauce through vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and whisk together. If you are using hemp protein powder, the only ingredient you need to sift is the cocoa (if you sift the hemp, some bits might not make it through). Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. The mixture will be thick.

Spray a muffin tin with oil, and divide batter among tins. (Because of the low fat content, I don’t recommend using paper liners) It should almost reach the top. Place muffins in oven for 5 minutes. Then, keeping muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375F and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Check the muffins with a toothpick: if it comes out cleanly, they are done. If not, give them another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the muffins sit for 3-5 minutes before removing to cool on a rack. I used a butter knife to loosely release the muffins.

NOTES: Hemp definitely has a strong taste, so next time I use hemp protein powder in this recipe, I will definitely add vanilla (I didn’t in this batch), chocolate chips, and maybe even cinnamon to off-set the flavor. Even so, these have great texture and are rather large for 110 calories!

Paired with even more Greek yogurt, this made quite the protein-packed breakfast!

Also, it was pretty much dessert for breakfast. I can always get down with that.

Have a great 3-day weekend!

Do you ever use protein powder in your smoothies or baking? What is your favorite kind?

I can’t wait to try the other protein/energy powders we got in our bag: Vega, Plant Fusion, and Fitmixer!

Blend Retreat – The FOOD!

Hi everyone! If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably saw a lot of this this weekend:

Utah

HyattEscala

I spent the weekend in BEAUTIFUL Park City, Utah attending Blend Retreat. I expect to dedicate quite a few posts this and next week to recapping the event and sharing what I learned about all the great sponsors {and my fellow bloggers!}, but today I wanted to focus on one aspect I think you all will love: the FOOD!

The retreat included several hosted meals between Friday and Sunday: a Cocktail Hour and Dinner on Friday, and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. There were also a few Snack Breaks throughout the weekend, which consisted of some of the event’s sponsors setting out goodies for us to sample. All the food was great {not to mention healthy!}, and I was super excited to learn a lot about some new-to-me brands!

FRIDAY
Snack Break sponsored by Justin’s Nut Butter & Attune Foods

After Carly and I arrived in Salt Lake City, we met up with Becky, who drove us to the Hyatt Escala Lodge. Soon after checking in {and freaking out at how much SWAG we got!} we headed to the first Snack Break of the weekend.

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I was pretty hungry at this point, haha, and had about 20 million graham crackers and entirely too much nut butter. Justin’s was sampling their regular and maple almond butters, regular and honey peanut butters, and chocolate hazelnut butter to spread on Erewhon graham crackers. My favorite combo was definitely graham crackers + honey peanut butter, but I know from experience that the maple almond butter is good enough to eat from a spoon!

photo cred: Becky at Olives n’ Wine

Becky, Carly and me!

Cocktail Hour sponsored by Silk

Next up, we all changed out of our travel clothes and into some nicer ‘duds.

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The hotel put out a pretty amazing spread of appetizers, including crudites with ranch or cilantro-lime dressing, AMAAAZING spring rolls with Thai peanut sauce, and spicy black bean cakes. If I didn’t know that we had a dinner immediately following, I totally would have just eaten this as dinner! It was all delicious.

photo cred: Carly at Snack Therapy

The only picture I think I have of me dressed up, oops! Carly and I traveled from Sacramento together, and can I just say that I couldn’t have asked for a better travel buddy? It takes a special person to keep things light and entertaining when you’re flying home from a fun weekend on like 2 hours of sleep 😉

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ANYWAY, back to cocktail hour! The restaurant at the Hyatt Escala Lodge is pretty gorgeous.

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On the Cocktail menu were three specialty Silkology drinks, all featuring Silk Almond Milk. Being a ginger lover, I of course went for the Ginger Refresher: rum, ginger liqueur, almond milk, bitters, agave & mint. It was one of the most interesting cocktails I’ve ever had, that’s for sure! But it all somehow seemed to work.

There was also a photo booth!

photo cred: our 4th roomie, Arlene

Dinner + Dessert

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Salads!

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Entrees!

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I ended up with (clockwise, from top): mixed greens with Chobani dressing, grilled veggies, Carrot Ginger soup, herb roasted chicken and fingerling potatoes, and a bulgur salad. And I later snuck a bite of Brittney’s quinoa cake, which was so. good.

I loved chatting over dinner with Debra from Miles to Run, and Gena who owns and operates Bake All the Things down in Southern California!

The dessert offerings were also pretty amazing:

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Panna cotta featuring Chobani

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Apple Cobbler

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And.. Berry Tart! Which is what I went with 🙂

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Obviously I couldn’t wait to dig in before taking a picture 😉

SATURDAY

Breakfast sponsored by The Laughing Cow and Muesli Fusion

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On the menu for breakfast was delicious bagels and Smooth Sensations Cream Cheese Spread from The Laughing Cow. I loved the savory flavors – chive/onion and garden vegetables!

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I went back to try a little bowl of muesli from Muesli Fusion and Silk almond milk. I had never tried muesli before and I may be hooked – it is basically granola without all the added sugar and fat!

Snack Break with Onnit Labs and Miss USA

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Here are Orlando and Whitney of Onnit Labs sampling their nut butters and hemp protein products. They were serving up their walnut-almond-cashew trilogy butter and macadamia cacao cherry trilogy butter on rice cakes, and blending up chocolate hemp protein shakes!

Oh, and you may have noticed that Whitney also happens to be Miss United States 2012! I had a lot of time to get to know her this weekend at dinner on Friday and out on the town Saturday night and she is seriously the full package – healthy, happy, fit, and hilarious! Um and obviously she is gorgeous 😉 Can’t wait to check out her podcast Women Against Mediocrity.

SUNDAY
Breakfast sponsored by Chobani

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Chobani was the sponsor of the entire retreat, so their products were sprinkled throughout most of our meals, but they got their moment to shine on Sunday morning!

In addition to fruit, they had a yogurt/granola/oatmeal station and pancakes made with Chobani in them.

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The pancakes were so good! Greek yogurt really made them light and fluffy. I also was super excited to FINALLY be able to try Chobani Flip, but I accidentally left it in our hotel room’s fridge! D’oh.

There was also an Omelet Bar, which I attempted to wait in line for but gave up after 10 minutes of waiting. I just went back for more yogurt and fixin’s!

So as you can see, I definitely did not starve this weekend!

A super special thank you to Lindsay, Katie and Janetha for again hosting this great event. It was so lovely meeting you all in person, and you did a great job!

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks, including details about all the cool companies at the retreat, all the fitness events {AKA a really beautiful hike}, and a post about where we stayed and what to do in Park City!

Have you ever been to a blogging conference, or another kind of professional retreat?

Did we meet at Blend?? Leave me a comment so we can stay in touch, and feel free to ‘borrow’ my photos!