Monday, March 30, 2009

Mesmerizing Sculptures

Yesterday, Chuck wrote about our early morning excursion into Zion National Park to photograph sunrise on the canyon walls. After two hours of driving, walking (well, Chuck walked – I hobbled on my bad foot), and photographing, we were ready for breakfast and lots of it.

After a web search, I learned that our reasonable options--for reasons of either quality or price--were few; we chose to eat at the Historic Pioneer Restaurant located in the Historic Pioneer Lodge in Springdale, UT. (I am not sure what makes it so historic other than, at one time, it was owned by the movie actor Cache McCall, an actor so obscure that a Google search failed to find one entry about him.)

The breakfast menu offers the usual: dinner-plate sized pancakes, French toast, three egg omelets, eggs with meat of your choice and potatoes, and a breakfast buffet. I sent Chuck past the rooster on the wheel hub on the wall to scope out the buffet (remember, I am hobbling), and he returned with the comment that it would be O.K. if it were three dollars cheaper. So back go the menu we went; there we saw the list of three Pioneer Skillets. All begin with a base of Pioneer Potatoes (see a pattern developing here?) which are cubed, skin-on potatoes mixed with onions, peppers, and seasonings (always a secret).

Chuck chose the Chicken Fried Steak Skillet, which was a generous serving of Pioneer Potatoes topped with a large piece of meat and covered with gravy. And, one scrambled egg was the final addition. Chuck chose the toast over the English muffin or biscuits. Even though he forgot to ask for the gravy on the side, the batter on the steak stayed relatively crisp throughout the meal, and the cubed steak itself was tender and had good beef flavor. All in all, a satisfying meal.

I chose the signature Pioneer Skillet. I said in the opening paragraph that I wanted lots of breakfast. Boy, did I get it and then some. This started with the same Pioneer Potatoes, and then the kitchen added two strips of very good crisp and smoky bacon and two excellent and mildly seasoned sausages. On top of the potatoes was a mélange of vegetables – carrots, celery, onion, green and yellow squash, green pepper, broccoli, and cauliflower – mixed with about a half cup of cubed ham. This was topped with cheese which in turn was topped by two eggs over easy. I knew I was defeated before I began. When our server checked on us five minutes after bringing the food, I told him then I was going to need a “to go” box. The following morning I had an equally large second serving of the Pioneer Skillet—at home.

Incidentally, the Pioneer offers a Veggie Skillet which contains everything in the Pioneer Skillet, except the three meats; it is also available without the cheese and eggs.

The Historic Pioneer Restaurant offers straightforward food at slightly high prices. I don’t plan to hurry back, but I did not leave disappointed and will give this restaurant 3.5 Addies.

Exiting the Pioneer Restaurant, we noticed the sculptures displayed on the lawn outside the Worthington Gallery across the street. We picked up a brochure describing the Wind Sculptures™ of Lyman Whitaker. The sculptures are fabricated from copper, steel, and stainless steel. An applied patina advances the natural weathering of copper.

The lawn must have had a display of nearly 50 of the Wind Sculptures™, varying in style (some 37 choices are listed in the brochure) and height [as many as seven choices, from Small (60 inches high) to X-Huge (256 inches high)].

The effect of watching just one of the sculptures silently spiraling in the breeze was hypnotic; the effect of viewing an entire forest of the slowly-rotating sculptures was overwhelming.

I thought that the sculptures with water trickling over stones or into a tiny pool produced a relaxing environment, but I think even those soothing sounds could become annoying after an extended period of time.

Conveniently-placed benches invited us to view the spirals while seated so that falling asleep would not result in toppling over from a standing position. Each completed spiral seemed to remove one degree of tension. Soothingly amazing.

In the brochure, Mr. Whitaker describes the effect of these sculptures: "...(they) offer a comforting release from our fast-paced lives with their calm serenity and playfulness."

Note: I believe the sculptures shown in the photos above are entitled: (1) Oval Twister, (2) Single Helix Oval, and (3) Single Helix Star.

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