Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I recently spent a little time outside the country, and had the opportunity to use Salt Lake City International Airport as a departure point for the first time since I last left Utah back in 2002. Only in retrospect (and in comparison to the absolutely abhorrent LAX which was also part of my trip) did I realize what makes SLX a good airport; you don't really notice that you're in an airport.

At LAX, there is never any doubt that you're in an airport. You are constantly surrounded by abrasive noises that are unique to airports; announcements are constantly blaring over the PA system, construction sounds surround you practically everywhere you go, and noisy traffic if you are unfortunate enough to have to move from one terminal to another. It's crowded at all hours, and the lines to do anything are unbearable. There are uniformed officials everywhere you look, but it's still unclear where you should be moving next. Due to the construction in some terminals, many signs are misleading or blatantly incorrect. It all adds up to a complete nightmare that makes SLX seem like a dream in comparison.

There are several important factors in this. Wifi is free and easily accessible; there are also cafe-styled tables and chairs scattered around the terminals. If you clear security early, you're not stuck staring at a gate until your plane starts boarding. Also, in contrast to LAX, once you're past security, you're not confronted by too many more uniformed airport or TSA employees. Finally, the layout of the airport is considerably simpler than lesser airports, and there is sufficient (and sufficiently clear) signage to assist you in getting to the right place. This all adds up to a much more intuitive and invisible airport experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Kouing-aman

A little nibble this week from a bakery recommended to me from an overseas friend who has never visited Utah.

Apparently, Les Madeleines was featured on Food Network in a celebrity chef's "best thing I've ever tasted" segment. My friend saw that segment and compelled me to visit the bakery. I did not leave disappointed.
The Kouing-aman is a delectably buttery little pastry. It tastes delicious, but for me the real thrill was in the textural sensations when you're eating it; it's crispy and has a crunchy salt on the outer edges, and as you get closer to the middle it ever-so-gradually melts into a flakey and gooey caramel in the center. The cost is a little off-putting ($6!), but it's definitely an experience that I'd recommend to anyone at least once.

Les Madeleines is conveniently located just a block south of the Salt Lake City library.