H and I don't tend to do much to celebrate our birthdays but we do try to use them as an excuse to go out to dinner somewhere we don't usually go. My birthday was way back in January. We didn't go out then because the roads were so often messy and on the weekends, after skiing the last thing I wanted to do was put on jeans and go out. Too tired! But then winter segued into late winter, and late winter into spring, and H was all, if we don't go within six months of the birthday, we're not going to go. So we got organized and made reservations for an early Saturday dinner in the trendy SLC neighborhood of 9th and 9th.
It was a gorgeous late afternoon/early evening, however, so we went up to town a little early and stopped in for a pre-dinner beer at the East Liberty Tap House. What a great little place! We were there at 5 p.m., a good time to go on a sunny weekend day as it was in-between lunch and dinner rush. The ELT is a small place but there is a great deck, a lower level inside with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that were open, and then a few seats up at the bar level. Decor is spare - white walls, industrial ducting and mid-century knickknacks. We grabbed a couple seats at the bar and a friendly server brought us beers: I had a 16 oz. Proper oatmeal red (on nitro) and H had a beaker (technically, a Florence flask but we didn't dispute the terminology) of Park City IPA. We really enjoyed sitting there, watching the hipsters (so many hipsters even here - I can't imagine what Brooklyn or Portland, Oregon, must be like) and city people.
After our beers, we walked down the block to Mazza, scoring a table outside. I had eaten at Mazza a couple times before, but not for several years, and H had never been there at all. It was just starting to get busy when we were seated; the place would be nearly full by the time we left. Service was good - prompt and polite but not intrusive. We started with an order of hummus and pita (I've been making hummus at home and after Mazza's iteration, I now have to figure out how to make our homemade stuff smoother and creamier). H ordered falafel on rice and some tabbouleh; I went with a small plate combination, selecting braised, herbed fava beans, mujaddara (lentils and rice) and a fatayer (pastry stuffed with spinach, onion and herbs). The entrees seem a little expensive but you can certainly put together a filling and tasty dinner without breaking the bank.
It was fun being in the city for a change. 9th & 9th is a funky little neighborhood and there were lots of people out and about, enjoying the beautiful evening. There were dog-walkers, lots of cyclists, yoga practioners post-workout, and the ice cream shops and cafes were busy with customers. The deck at East Liberty Tap House was filling up as we walked back by to the car and we made a mental note to come back, maybe not waiting another six months to do so.