Luckily, we had Diet Coke and Cheezitsâ€”real road foodâ€”to keep us alert.
We'd put off the usual Turkey Day trip because of snow and didn't leave until Friday, checking into our cabin in time to get cute and go to dinner at Parallel Eighty-Eight. Jeff Crosland, who put Spotted Dog, just down the road, on the map, is chef here; the restaurant is attached to the Driftwood Lodge, a fifties-era motel that has received a major infusion of modern hipness from the current owners.
(Interesting factoid: Driftwood's original owner was director of the Hurricane Mesa Test Site.)
Anyway, Crosland has made Parallel the destination restaurant in Springdale with a menu that explodes with flavor. We started with a red pepper soup with an "internal" garnish of shrimp and seared sea scallops sided with a goat cheese-yam mousse, the fat spice of the yam accented with the tang of the cheese, sauced with a shallot-caper beurre blanc
and a prickly pear sauce. Entrees struck the same perfect balance between intriguing and satisfying, culinary adventure crossed with comfort food. Chicken breast over couscous with mushrooms and pinenuts in a sundried tomato cream sauce, lamb shank braised with achiote and served with minted Yukon Gold mash, and filet with sweet potatoes, grilled tomatoes and bacon finished with Gorgonzola Dulce.
I do love it when a restaurant suits its setting and the food segues from that, eating at Parallel Eighty-Eight was a beautifully complementary experience to hiking in Zion, calling for me to unpack a lot of the same adjectives (sample this): exotic but quintessentially American, exhilirating but satisfying, red but browned, good...