Lots of media outlets have reported on the death of lunch in the past few years: The Seattle Times. The Guardian. Marketwatch. BBC. Forbes. Mainly, these articles refer to the business lunch—business folks have stopped drinking midday martinis and started eating working lunches—typing with one hand, eating with the other hand and holding the phone with another hand. Oops. You can see we have a problem.
Anyway, even though I usually eat lunch at my desk (I’m doing it now) I disapprove of it. We think better, work smarter and more creatively when we take a break from the grind to eat and converse with other humans.
Good news—both HSL (Briar Handly) and Provisions (Tyler Stokes) have opened for lunch. Both offer some familiar lunch foods but both places are chef-driven so expect creative innovation as well as inventions that redefine lunch and solve some of our problems with it.
Especially for salaried workers, the American work pace and place has ramped up since, say, the ‘60s. Americans now work more than anyone else in the industrialized world—more than the French, the Germans, or the English. More than the Japanese. A civilized lunch, seated at a table, takes more time than we can spare midday. Many American lunch foods tend to be heavy. Who doesn’t want to take a nap after lunch? Who has the time?
Take the salads at HSL. The snap-pea salad combines the sweetness of the peas with the sharpness of fresh basil and the fatty crunch of toasted pine nuts, all brightened with orange and grapefruit confit—truly exciting. When’s the last time you could say that about a salad? Here’s the next time: The fried-chicken and smoked-trout salads were a perfect balance of greens and protein, satisfying but not stultifying. Over at Provision, we saw the same approach—vividness replacing heft. The tempura coating on the green beans was ethereally lacy, adding richness without weight. A smear of burrata did the same thing for asparagus. Culture-bending steamed buns and ramen garnished with memma (Finnish ryebread), kemaboku (fish cake) and nori. Kudos to Tyler for using ingredients I had to look up.
The point is, lunch should be exciting, a reset of mind and spirit for the afternoon ahead.
HSL, 418 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-539-9999; Provisions, 3364 S. 2300 East, SLC, 801-410-4046
See more inside our 2017 September/October Issue.