Dining Guide 2017 | Dining | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Dining Guide 2017

Up Your Food Game!

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on't play with your food. We've all heard the expression sometime during our lives. Yes, at its core, food is fuel needed for our bodies to motor. But food also encapsulates memories of amazing times shared with friends, a glance exchanged over a first date and the hilarity, when inspired by gorgeous social media pics, you embark on our own Pinterest-fail-worthy culinary adventures.

This year, leading with our Operation-inspired theme, we say to hell with it. Play with your food as much as you want; don't be afraid to indulge; and go out on a foodie ledge by checking out one of our city's many off-the-beaten-path eateries.

That was the mantra putting this issue together. Yes, it was a tough job, but someone had to do it, starting with the stable of City Weekly staffers and contributors who this year share their own personal faves around town—from tire shop fare to a heavy metal-inspired beer.

Do you consider the first building block of a good time out to be ambience? Check out our list of stunners and get ready to be in awe. How about dining with a side of mystery? Get a clue and be in the know of some of SLC's best secret suppers. Out to create the perfect meal from several eateries, our food critic takes a Snakes and Ladders-worthy trip across the region and selects his top picks, from memory.

We also connect four of the best bubble tea dispensaries and tip our Mr. Monopoly-style hat to some local hotel eateries. Got a sweet tooth? Well, Cavity Sam, we've got you covered with a trio of terrific cookies.

Our last stop is candy land, with a roundup of some of the state's best creameries and ice-cream shops guaranteed to satisfy your hungry hippo cravings.

And there you have it, winner. So put on your best stretchy-waisted pants and press the Pop-O-Matic; we saved a spot at the table for you.

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We Are What We Eat
City Weekly team members open wide and let you into their culinary cave.
By City Weekly staff

Not the most appetizing subhead, sure, but delirium is starting to kick in. Each year, we ask the fine folks around the newsroom to share their hidden (or sometimes in plain sight) gems and write about a particular food item that's struck a chord in the last 12 months, along with shining a spotlight on a beverage, boozy or virgin, of choice. Results this go-around were varied—with everything from potent oysters to a tall, sticky wicket. There we go again ...

Hot dogs and eggs at Victor’s Tires - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • Hot dogs and eggs at Victor’s Tires

Enrique Limón, Editor
Hot dogs and eggs at Victor's Tires ($6.99)

After hearing I hail from Mexico, many people have a romanticised vision of what the diet during my formative years consisted of. They say things like, "I bet your mom is a great cook." Well, God bless her, she isn't. In fact, the usual breakfast during grade-school consisted of Cup O'Noodles and a bologna sandwich. How's that for your hacienda fantasy? Cuisine along the U.S./Mexico border is its own animal and, lucky for me, Victor's Tires offers one of my childhood staples—huevos con weenie—in its extensive menu. Food inside a tire shop, you ask? Yup. Recently, after noticing both a tire in my car was low and a marching-band-calibre rumble coming from my stomach, the twofer choice was clear: Head to Victor's and its adjoining restaurant and take care of both. Some 20 years into its history, the brainchild of Victor Galindo and wife Elvia does it right with their fluffy eggs and thick-sliced dawgs, accompanied by beans, Spanish rice and thick housemade tortillas. The dining experience itself—one laced with the cacophony of hydraulic tools, laughter emanating from the kitchen and Dr. Phil blaring from a nearby TV—stirred up some good memories and made for a truly unique dining experience. How bow dah?
1406 S. 700 West, 801-978-9595, victorstires.net/restaurant.html

Paloma at Chile Tepín - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • Paloma at Chile Tepín

Paloma at Chile Tepín ($6.50)
Often overshadowed by its show-off cousin Margarita, the Paloma is a straightforward drink—usually made with only two ingredients: tequila and grapefruit soda—that gets the job done. Distinguished by Zagat in 2015 as one of "5 New Tequila Cocktails," it's been available since time immemorial, and delighted with its blend of booziness, acidity, sweetness and salty rim kick. Still, even in its simplicity, it's highly customizable. "I don't make them, I just drink them," server, Silvia said when I asked about any in-house quirks. Restaurant owner Carlos Rodríguez later specified his is made with Cazadores Reposado and fresh grapefruit- and lime juice over crushed ice. It's also served in a cantarito—a clay cup—for an authentic feel. Trust me on this one: Step away from your Lime-A-Rita; your new favorite summer cocktail is here.
307 W. 200 South, 801-883-9255

Stephen Dark, senior staff writer
Moroccan duck salad at Tin Angel ($14.50)
With its funky, Pioneer Park location and its intimate, jazzy style, Tin Angel's greatest culinary asset has always been its attention to detail. Its Moroccan duck salad is simply a delight for the palate, an explosion of subtle flavors that dance lightly between the pickled cabbage and cucumber, the perfectly spiced cabbage, all knitted together by a harissa and apricot vinaigrette that surprises you to the last mouthful. The duck confit is both the crowning jewel in this delicately layered dish while playing a gentle supporting role to the riot of other flavors it showcases.
365 W. 400 South, 801-328-4155, thetinangel.com

Trio's Mountain Mule ($8)
The downtown Trio is just far enough off the beaten track from the city center to feel that you're enjoying a break from running from one assignment to another. And if I 've had enough dirty martinis to want a break, then it's a Mountain Mule I turn to for a change of pace. The mix of High West peach vodka, lime juice and ginger beer wakes up my palate, while keeping me poised between the sweet and bitter. With the added touch of fresh basil to bring it truly to live, this is a drink that brings a citrusy balance at the end of a long day.
680 S. 900 East, 801-533-8746, triodining.com

Dylan Woolf Harris, staff writer
Breakfast burrito at Café on 1st ($4.99)

There are plenty of places in town to grab a breakfast burrito, but they probably won't include Café on 1st's homemade ranch-cilantro sauce. The coffee shop's flagship breakfast dish is made with egg, potato, bell pepper and onion. Breakfast burritos can be dry, but not here. Prepare to have a napkin on hand because the sauce and juices will drip out of the flour tortilla, no matter how tightly it's wrapped. If the egg isn't enough protein, you can add sausage or bacon. The eatery also offers the Bomb Burrito ($5.99) made with avocado and cream cheese, if breakfast burritos aren't your thing. Go on a Sunday morning for an enhanced dining experience with local musicians adding to the ambiance.
39 I St., 801-532-8488, cafeonfirst.com

Sticky Wicket at Under Current Bar ($10)
I don't often drink cocktails, but when I do, I prefer that they don't hide the booze. For this reason, Under Current's Sticky Wicket is a sound choice. A variation on the classic old-fashioned, this is a smoky, aromatic drink served on the rocks with orange peel garnish. It's made with Fernet-Branca, an Italian amaro, which adds a degree of bitterness to the beverage. Instead of sugar, it's sweetened with maple, and its strong aromatic punch is spearmint. Mix in bourbon rye and an Islay Scotch rinse. During the distilling process, I'm told, the smoky flavor is achieved by laying grains and peat moss on a floor and billowing smoke over it. The drink tastes sharp, so give the ice time to mellow it.
279 E. 300 South, 801-574-2556, undercurrentbar.com

Oysters on the half-shell at Current Fish & Oyster - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • Oysters on the half-shell at Current Fish & Oyster

Andrea Harvey, copy editor
Oysters on the half-shell at Current Fish & Oyster ($2.50-$3 each)

When my friends visited recently from my home state of Oregon, I made a point to take them to the best places in Salt Lake City. One of those was Current Fish & Oyster. I had heard how great it was, but had yet to try it. I grew up loving seafood, especially raw oysters. But I've always been a bit a bit hesitant to order them in landlocked Utah. Like me, it took some convincing to get my friends on board at Current. But eventually, we ordered a dozen oysters on the half-shell, and were blown away by how fresh (and relatively inexpensive) they were—even better than some I've tried in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently, they're flown in every other day from the East and West Coast. To boot, the service is fantastic and the staffers really know their stuff.
279 E. 300 South, 801-326-3474, currentfishandoyster.com

The BJ mimosa at - Pig & A Jelly Jar - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The BJ mimosa at Pig & A Jelly Jar

Pig & A Jelly Jar's BJ mimosa ($4)
Ahhhh, the mimosa. What's not to love? Especially the ones at Pig & A Jelly Jar, where, like everything else on their menu, the bubbly brunch concoctions are creative, fresh-tasting and reasonably priced. My favorite is the BJ, which is simply a small spoonful of their housemade blueberry lavender jam stirred into a glass of Champagne. It might sound weird, but trust me on this one. Neither the flavor nor texture is overwhelming—both complement the sparkling wine perfectly. Plus, asking your waiter for a BJ never stops being hilarious. If you love it as much as I do, you can even buy a jar of the jam on your way out and make it at home. Not convinced? Then try the strawberry smash. It's not nearly as fun to order, but just as tasty.
401 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 385-202-7366;
227 25th St., Ogden, 801-605-8400, pigandajellyjar.com

David Miller, editorial intern
Publik Kitchen's Hash ($10)

For me, breakfast is king. There just isn't a better opportunity to chow down. Throughout my day, my desire for a hearty meal is tainted by stress and other distractions, so right when I wake up is the optimal time for me get the most pleasure out of every bite. I don't usually have the time or money to go out for breakfast, so when I do, I like to make it count, and the Hash at Publik is always a first choice. Thick peasant toast is topped with country-style fried potatoes, breakfast sausage and caramelized onions and peppers. Two eggs are laid over the top to make a beautiful and delicious pile of grub.
931 E. 900 South, 385-229-4205, publikcoffee.com

Grasshopper boozy milkshake at Hub & Spoke Diner ($8.50)
First of all, milkshakes are the absolute best—there's just no arguing with that. And, let's be honest, adding a little booze never made any drink worse. So, when I heard Hub & Spoke whipped up a mean boozy shake, I had to check it out, and it did not disappoint. A classic grasshopper shake with crème de menthe and chocolate liqueur that satisfied both my dessert and drinking needs. The shake wasn't too sweet or too strong on the alcohol, and would make for the perfect treat on a warm night. With four other flavors, including dirty chai and salted caramel, I wholeheartedly plan on returning to sample the rest.
1291 S. 1100 East, 801-487-0698, hubandspokediner.com

Scott Renshaw, A&E editor
Mesquite Chicken Salad, Squatters Brewpub ($12.99)

As arts-coverage assignments frequently find me in the vicinity of the Rose Wagner Center downtown, I often stop in for dinner at Squatters across the street out of simple convenience. Well, perhaps that's not entirely true: I've also become addicted to their Mesquite Chicken Salad as an improbable kind of comfort food. A massive serving of romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomato, bacon, avocado, hard-boiled egg and chicken is smothered in chipotle ranch dressing, but the kicker is that it's all served on top of a plate-sized piece of Navajo fry bread. Soaking up all the flavors as you work your way to the bottom—assuming you can finish it all, which is no small task—it turns a salad into something you want to curl up in with a smile.

Squatters' Chasing Tail Golden Ale ($4.99)
Dabbling in creative adult libations is an interest that has passed me by in my old age, but my frequent dinner stops at Squatters do give me a thirst for something to pair with my chicken salad. I invariably turn to the Chasing Tail Golden Ale, which offers just the crispness I'm looking for to wash down that chipotle ranch dressing. It's hard to deny the bonus that I can also take it home with me, where it pairs just as wonderfully with a lot of things I make in my own kitchen. And sometimes, it just pairs wonderfully with sitting in a chair and relaxing.
147 W. 300 South, 801-363-2739, squatters.com

Fisher Brewing Co.’s  rye cream ale - SARAH ARNOFF
  • Sarah Arnoff
  • Fisher Brewing Co.’s rye cream ale

Sarah Arnoff, proofreader
Rye Cream Ale at A. Fisher Brewing Co. ($5)

A. Fisher Brewing Co. might be the newest brew master on the block, but they've already got a number of hits on tap. While their namesake pilsner and hoppy red are mighty tasty, every time I wander in for a Sunday brew, I find myself sipping on their golden, delicious rye cream ale. I never thought rye beers could be refreshing until I took a gulp of Fisher's. It goes down smooth and pairs well with pretty much anything the guest food truck out back is dishing out. And with the weather warming up, I'm definitely looking forward to spending some quality time with a pint or two in Fisher's beer garden.
320 W. 800 South, 801-487-2337, fisherbeer.com

Enjoying endless tapas at Finca - GREG OLSEN
  • Greg Olsen
  • Enjoying endless tapas at Finca

Custom group menu at Finca (prices vary)
You don't need a special occasion as an excuse to head to Finca with 10 or so of your closest friends—the food alone is worth its own celebration. Reserve Finca's Jerez private room for a cozy and intimate culinary experience, customize your menu ahead of time, and relax as servers bring your group plate after plate after plate of delectable Spanish tapas. Starting with the quesos and charcuterie plates is never a bad choice, and keep the momentum going with the excellent patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy sauce) and tender, mouth-watering setas (slow-cooked mushrooms). Don't even think about leaving out the seafood options as the gambas al ajíllo (shrimp in garlic chili oil) is a must. These small plates are shared family-style, and though indulging in only a spoonful or two of each might seem like a light meal, with Finca's numerous options for group menus, you will leave with your palate pleased and your belly full.
327 W. 200 South, 801-487-0699, fincaslc.com

Sulaiman Alfadhli, editorial intern
Turkey pesto sandwich at Café Solstice ($8.25)

As a full-time student and a part-time employee, I get a lot of stressful days. Thankfully, places like Solstice provide just that, along with a healthy alternative for eating the stress away. It's a Zen space that hosts both vegan and non-vegan lunch menus. My go-to is the delicious and light turkey pesto sandwich. The locally grown organic tomatoes and freshly baked whole wheat bread makes it taste even better. And the fresh salad that comes on the side makes for the total package.
673 E. Simpson Ave., 801-487-0980, cafesolsticeslc.com

Curry 'N' Kabobs' mango or strawberry lassi ($2.95)
One of the best things about Salt Lake City is that ethnic restaurants abound. For a taste of worldliness in downtown, Curry 'N' Kabobs is the place to be. Along with a bevy of delicious entrées, they offer a variety of delicious and refreshing drinks to satisfy your cravings. My favorite drink there is the sweet mango or strawberry lassi. The South Asian drink is made with mango or strawberry juice (or a mix of both) and some yogurt. What makes this lassi so special? Well, the restaurant adds hints of saffron and cardamom to give it a delicate spicy punch. Go ahead and try it, your tastebuds will thank you.
268 S. Main, 801-363-0300

Carne asada burrito at Chronic Tacos - BRENT CHRISTENSEN
  • Brent Christensen
  • Carne asada burrito at Chronic Tacos

Randy Harward, music editor
Carne asada burrito with a carne asada taco on the side at Chronic Tacos ($6.99; $2.99)

I discovered Chronic Tacos in Sugar House by about a week after finding a brand-new Chronic Tacos T-shirt at the D.I. down the road. It doesn't fit; I'm burrito-fat. But it looks cool. So why get a burrito and a taco of the same meat persuasion? Chronic's carne turned out to be so tender and well-seasoned that I like to pick out chunks to pop in my food hole. But it's even better with a chewy flour tortilla, cilantro, onions and a huge scoop of guacamole (included at no extra charge). Ditto the burrito, it turns out. I get all of the above plus salsa, sour cream, tortilla strips and Oaxaca cheese on mine—and still get to enjoy the taste and texture of the meat. That shirt's never gonna fit.
2121 S. McClelland St., 801-906-8411, chronictacos.com/salt-lake-city

The Iron Maiden Trooper beer at Green Pig Pub - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The Iron Maiden Trooper beer at Green Pig Pub

Green Pig Pub's Iron Maiden Trooper beer ($6)
Just like oldsters said about Iron Maiden back in the day, the beer bearing their name—and developed by Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson with Robinsons Brewery in Stockport, England, was initially "a little dark for my taste." Another old dude told me back when I was just a li'l trooper, "Beer is an acquired taste." When I was old enough to drink beer, I understood that to mean, "Drink it until it tastes good." So I did. And it didn't take long to develop an affinity for this malt-heavy brew made with a blend of Bobek, Goldings and Cascade hops with a dash of lemon. It's not at the liquor store and, at 4.7 percent ABV, too potent for the grocery store. So thanks to the Green Pig for stocking it. To quote Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Iron Maiden?! Excellent!"
31 E. 400 South, 801-532-7441, thegreenpigpub.com

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Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



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Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


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A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


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Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


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Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


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Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


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SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


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Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



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Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



Do you ever wish that, instead of sitting down to eat in a single restaurant, you could compose a fantasy meal consisting of dishes—appetizers, entrées, desserts, etc.—from all your favorite establishments? I do. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to pull off, even with being Ubered from location to location. But, hey, a man can dream. This would be a Sophie's Choice situation where some of my favorite menu items wouldn't make the cut, but sadly there isn't room (even in a gourmand's fantasy) for all of those I'd like to include. Hard choices must be made, if only to avoid the fate of Monty Python's Mr. Creosote, who (spoiler alert) comes to an untimely end in The Meaning of Life when, following a hyper-gluttonous meal, a single "wafer-thin mint" prompts his gruesome demise. So here we go:

Since, in my mind, every awesome meal should begin with oysters, I'd head to Market Street Oyster Bar (48 W. Market St., SLC, 801-531-6044, ginc.com) for an assortment of bluepoint, Kusshi, Northwest and Kumamoto oysters on the half-shell and a glass of crisp white wine. Next—and not solely because my partner works there—I'd enjoy the pretty drive up Millcreek Canyon to Log Haven (6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, SLC, 801-272-8255, log-haven.com) for Chef Dave Jones' outstanding appetizer: minced sushi-grade tuna tartare with a crisp miso-sesame tuile, seaweed salad, crushed avocado and pickled shiitakes. Simultaneously sweet, spicy and tart, this tartare hits all the right notes.

Tuna tartare at Log Haven - TED SCHEFFLER
  • Ted Scheffler
  • Tuna tartare at Log Haven

For a salad course—and, this is why such a dining excursion is only possible in my mind—I'd motor to Park City for the hamachi Caesar salad at Firewood (306 Main, Park City, 435-252-9900, firewoodonmain.com). Caesar salad can be a ho-hum affair, but that's definitely not the case when creative Chef John Murcko is involved. Romaine ribs are topped with a heavenly dressing, with toasted pumpernickel crumbs (in the place of standard croutons) and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and served with two pieces of smoked hamachi. Look very closely and you'll find nearly invisible pieces of salted egg yolk, microplaned onto the lettuce leaves, which impart more flavor and texture than if the yolks had merely been incorporated into the dressing, as is the tradition.

Of course, we'd want bread with our meal. For that, Table X (1457 E. 3350 South, SLC, 385-528-3712, tablexrestaurant.com) marks the spot. I don't normally go gaga for bread, but the in-house baked sourdough here—served gratis with silky whipped butter—is other-worldly. The same is true of the focaccino at Stoneground Kitchen (249 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-364-1368, stonegroundslc.com). Essentially, it is baked, slightly charred pizza dough that puffs up like Indian poori or a Mexican sopaipilla. A server delivers the steaming focaccino to your table and deftly deflates and slices it. It's lightly sprinkled with Adriatic Sea salt, dried oregano and garlic oil, and served simply with an irresistible pomodoro sauce for dipping. Yes, bodacious bread.

Time for a fish course. No, wait—two fish courses: one hot, one not. Let's begin with the surreal ceviche at Pago (878 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-532-0777, pagoslc.com). Chef Phelix Gardner's ceviche starts with raw halibut that's "cooked" in lime juice, served with a smidgen of fresh Fresno chiles, Inca corn for taste and texture, compressed sweet potato and homemade taro chips. Wow! Kudos to Provisions (3364 S. 2300 East, SLC, 801-410-4046, slcprovisions.com) chef/owner Tyler Stokes for being one of the few restaurateurs in town to serve whole fish. His whole fried branzino with coconut cream, lime, chile jam, kale and butternut squash is stupendous.

French onion soup at The Paris - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • French onion soup at The Paris

Since this is my fantasy, let's throw in both soup and pasta courses. Let's see ... soup. It's got to be The Paris' (1500 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-486-5585, theparis.net) gratinée à l'oignon. I'd belly up to the zinc bar and ask Justin for a wine or cocktail recommendation first—what do you drink with French onion soup? This is something that so many restaurants get wrong, but with Parisian-born Emmanuel Levarek in the kitchen, you can count on your soup's onions to be perfectly caramelized and the Gruyère to have a slightly toasted crust and crunch—a beautiful bowl of soup, indeed. For a pasta course, it's going to be tough to top the ravioli at Fireside on Regent (126 S. Regent St., SLC, 801-359-4011, firesideonregent.com). If you tend to think of ravioli as overcooked, cheese-stuffed pasta sheets smothered in tomato sauce with grated cheese, think again. Although the house-extruded iteration at Michael Richey's restaurant is hearty in texture, it's delicate in taste. The perfect pasta envelopes braised chicken-thigh meat and ricotta, and the raviolis are served in a light consommé and topped with fresh minced herbs—chervil and chives. This ravioli is rad.

Rice dolaa at Mazza - BRENDEN GRANT
  • Brenden Grant
  • Rice dolaa at Mazza

Choosing a single meat course is challenging. But even given all the excellent steaks, chops, filets, shanks and such out there, one of my very favorites is a dish featuring lamb, but it's not hogging the whole plate. I'm thinking of the Lebanese-style lamb and rice dolaa at Mazza (1515 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-484-9259; 912 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-521-4572, mazzacafe.com). It's such a simple dish, yet so satisfying: Lean lamb is cooked until tantalizingly tender with Middle Eastern spices such as cinnamon and allspice, served with rice and garnished with toasted almonds and pine nuts. Alongside is homemade cucumber-yogurt sauce which adds clean, aromatic flavors. Go all out and enjoy it paired with Massaya Terrasses de Baalbeck Silver Selection wine—made with Châteauneuf-du-Pape type varietals—from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

Finally, it's back to Park City for one of the best dessert selections not just in Utah but anywhere on the planet. Tupelo (508 Main, Park City, 435-615-7700, tupeloparkcity.com) Pastry Chef Shirley Butler originally hails from England, so it's not surprising that her sticky toffee pudding should be such a hit with customers, as are her addictive buttermilk biscuits with Tupelo honey butter. One of the U.K.'s great gifts to humankind, sticky toffee pudding, is delicious in its own right, and this version is second-to-none—so moist and luxurious with silky toffee-pecan sauce. But Butler kicks hers up a few notches with the addition of unforgettable Earl Grey bitters ice cream. It's simply outstanding.

Now, maybe I have room for just one wafer-thin mint ...

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle



The Rest - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The Rest
The Rest
Experiencing The Rest smacks of clandestine nooky, from making a reservation through the ambiguous AF website, to navigating the upstairs bar at Bodega, looking for a host to guide the way and finally arriving at a low unmarked door downstairs which spills you directly into a dimly lit bar complete with bodacious, badass bartenders and a turntable wailing classic '80s Prince. Once snug in your candlelit booth, dark reliquaries and looming taxidermy give a singularly sexy old-world vibe. The food and cocktails all are decadence-meets-comfort, the dining equivalent of sharing artisan ice cream straight from the container with warped heirloom sterling spoons while wearing nothing but a ratty vintage silk robe and a wry smile. Quirky, weird and designed by owner Sara Lund for the moody misfits of our city's underbelly—all in the best possible way.
331 S. Main, 801-532-4452, bodega331.com

HSL
If Ernest Hemingway and Anais Nin got together and designed a restaurant, it might look something like HSL. Earthy, elegant and sensual all at the same time, with perfectly flattering lighting (crucial, right?) and spaces meant for lingering over spectacularly plated dishes as gorgeous as they are delectably nom-worthy. Chef Briar Handly's award-winning cuisine—along with the talents of pastry chef extraordinaire Alexa Norlin and bar manager Clif Reagle—pull out all the stops in a well-curated room filled with as much refinement as there is character, thanks to the collaboration of co-owner Melissa Gray and CityHome Collective design guru Cody Derrick.
418 E. 200 South, 801-539-9999, hslrestaurant.com

Pallet - CITYHOME COLLECTIVE
  • CityHome Collective
  • Pallet

Pallet
There's a bit of a sexy steampunk-saloon-meets-Paris-bistro vibe going on here; a feeling of sophistication and solace that imbues the place from dinner at dusk to late-night drinks with desserts. It's all classy and casual. With Bijan Ghiai's crew slinging sublime original cocktails, the ever-changing menu designed by chef and co-owner Buzz Willey and Pastry Chef Courtney McDowell's decadent deconstructed sweet delights, it's hard to make a bad call. Perfect for theoretical date No. 3, if you know what I mean.
237 S. 400 West, 801-935-4431, eatpallet.com

Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
Stepping into Mazza's cozy 9th & 9th location on a dark blustery evening is a bit like plunging into something out of Arabian Nights, all silk and sequin-studded-pillow luxury after tumbling through a desert sandstorm. Alluring, unexpected, fragrant and lush. Food meant for sharing from lover's fingertips between lingering sips of wine. And the delightful (or mercenary?) practicality of seemingly a dozen-plus Uber drivers prowling the popular neighborhood, ready for lust-distracted patrons in search of speedy retreat to more private post-dinner environs.
912 E. 900 South, 801-521-4572, mazzacafe.com

Table X
ProTip: Go for an exploratory walk-about when you're at Table X. No matter how enamored you might be by both the menu and your dining companion(s), there's plenty of eye-candy to take in at this homage to sublime architectural intention. Long black leather banquettes along one wall; on the other, three massive tufted-leather curved booths offering all kinds of privacy while simultaneously framing the view of the entirely exposed space under a historic barrel ceiling. As envisioned by architect Thomas Bath, designer Andrea Beecher and graphic artist Dallas Graham, the space is pushing all kinds of visual boundaries for the folks of Happy Valley, in the best possible way. The best part? The food matches this spirit of stepping just slightly out of the usual comfort zone, with lovely presentations of locally sourced ingredients—many of which are grown in the restaurant's own extensive on-site garden—served up in charming earthenware. Wander through the chef's dining room cozied up to the open kitchen, mosey on downstairs to the open-concept bathrooms and make out with an old flame under the exposed steel-structure staircase—all in a night's amble and nosh, Table X-style.
1457 E. 3350 South, 385-528-3712, tablexrestaurant.com

Old Spaghetti Factory
"It's a bit like a bordello, right?" my friend Amber Billingsley said when we were reminiscing about high school pre-formal dates spent canoodling in over-the-top red velvet booths at The Old Spaghetti Factory (50-plus international outlets, including three Utah locations). Dedicated in equal parts to teenage angst and bittersweet nostalgia, the quintessential "fancy" carbo-load was—and still apparently is on any given Friday night—the place to see and be seen for both the Proactiv set and families working that kids' menu for all it's worth, from coast-to-coast.
Multiple locations, osf.com

Bambara - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Bambara

Bambara
Fabulous cocktails, perfectly on-point plates and some of the best service in town: These are but a few of the reasons Bambara retains a stellar reputation among out-of-town guests and devoted locals alike. The sexiest part of the whole experience, apart from the spot's lush international ambiance and glittering historic glamour? The fact that it's housed in one of our state's premiere boutique hotels, the Hotel Monaco, a Top 5 Sexy Staycation in the SLC. I just made that list up, but go with it. You won't be sorry.
202 Main, 801-363-5454, bambara-slc.com

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Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC Dining:
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock



You work hard for your money, so you better treat yourself right. Go ahead and buy your deodorant and off-brand window cleaner at the dollar store, but when it comes to food, you deserve better than Costco hotdogs and Top Ramen. With some insight to the best restaurants off the beaten path, you can eat like royalty on a pauper's budget. Whether you're broke or just thrifty, here's a list of delicious dining options that won't break the bank.

Eggs in a Hole at Left Fork Grill - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Eggs in a Hole at Left Fork Grill

Breakfast at Left Fork Grill
Start your weekday with a hearty breakfast for less scratch than a latte from Starbucks. For only $4.49, diners can choose from two options: two eggs, potatoes and toast with housemade jam; or two eggs, one pancake and bacon or housemade sausage. Splurge and order the freshly pressed orange juice served in a chilled glass. You deserve it. Left Fork Grill is something special, a classic diner owned by a properly trained chef, Jeff Masten, who purchased it in 2006 and made it a destination for those who are nostalgic for diner food but crave quality.
68 W. 3900 South, 801-266-4322, leftforkgrill.ipower.com

Second breakfast at Fresh Donut
There's no excuse to stick to your diet at Fresh Donut and Deli. Seize the day with these from-scratch, melt-in-your-mouth old-fashioned donuts for under $1 each. Choose from classics like apple fritters, glazed, maple bars and more. Score a dozen for less than a 10-spot and be the office hero, or treat yourself to one or two as a mid-morning snack. Locals in the know consider these doughnuts the best in Salt Lake City, which explains why this family-owned-and-operated bakery gets more popular (and busier) every day.
2699 S. State, 801-467-8322

Lunch at Nico's
It's hard to beat $5.99 for lunch, especially when it's this delicious and filling. Nico's, a small family-run restaurant, serves authentic Mexican food with friendly customer service. Each weekday brings a different lunch special served with your choice of meat, (or sans meat if you prefer) rice and beans and a free soda. If you dine in, you can enjoy a complimentary serving of freshly made salsa and warm, crispy tortilla chips. On Monday, dig into two tacos. Tuesday's special is one taco and one enchilada. Wednesday offers one chile relleno (possibly the best in the city) and an enchilada. An enchilada and tamal are Thursday's special. Fridays, you can taste a huarache—masa covered with your choice of meat—and other tasty toppings. Craving Wednesday's special on a Thursday? No problem, just pay a buck more.
1458 W. North Temple, 801-364-0363

Pie Hole - NIKI CHAN
  • Niki Chan
  • Pie Hole

Dinner at Pie Hole
The Pie Hole is known for late nights and cheap slices. Graffiti covers the walls, mountains of empty PBR cans are stacked high, and the arcade and pinball machines are ready to be played. It's the destination after the bars close, but it's also a great place to indulge in a few slices of New York-style pizza on your lunch break. Prices range from $2.09 for a slice of cheese pizza, to $2.64 for the slice of the day. Wash it all down with a Pabst, sold by the can for only $1. Try the popular potato-bacon pie or the vegan slice of the day—they're all good. Hit them up Monday for lunch where you can score two slices and a fountain drink for $5.
344 S. State, 801-359-4653, pieholeutah.com

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham



Hotels are places where people sleep, take showers, then leave. It's one of the most basic services a business could offer. What hotels provide on top of that, however, determines their true savvy. It starts with free soaps and shampoos—customary at even the dingiest of chain motels—and progresses to continental breakfasts, pools, minibars and other such comforts. Suddenly, guests feel so pampered, they start to wish they never had to leave.

Then there are those hotels so desperate to entrap their guests that they add restaurants. Do not be fooled: Nine times out of 10, a hotel restaurant is a fake restaurant. It's an amenity, an illusion of luxury. A veritable sheep in wolf's clothing.

But just as hotels con their guests into paying for counterfeit fine dining, I have conned City Weekly into paying me to patronize and review these afterthought eateries. To be sure, I was sincere in my effort to critique bad hotel food—despite being a vegetarian with the dietary preferences of a 12-year-old. But it was rarely the food that grabbed my attention.

JB’s - RYAN CUNNINGHAM
  • Ryan Cunningham
  • JB’s

JB's Restaurant
JB's, attached to the Plaza Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, is across the street from Temple Square. When I dined there on the Saturday of LDS spring conference weekend, I felt underdressed in my heather-gray hoodie.

The establishment is well kept, but it looks old. The décor shares the aesthetic vision my mom had for her living room in 1992. Emily was my server. A sleeve of tattoos was partially concealed under her long-sleeve T-shirt. I ordered the Cajun shrimp pasta without shrimp, and Emily didn't flinch. She smiled, fetched my Diet Coke, and proceeded to explain the local transit system to the elderly South African couple seated in a nearby booth. She even grabbed transit maps from the hotel lobby and gave them directions to the Amtrak station.

The pasta was about as Cajun-spicy as a caucasian man from Utah would pride himself in handling. I made a point of finishing the large-portioned meal, which was a misguided decision I later regretted.

JB's emptied out quickly as the evening conference talks neared. As I left, the waitstaff was regrouping from the conference rush. I overheard a server say, "I think they like to go out for milkshakes afterward."

Rating: Six?

Sunny’s Bistro - RYAN CUNNINGHAM
  • Ryan Cunningham
  • Sunny’s Bistro

Sunny's Bistro
Sunny's Bistro is tucked into the Airport Inn Hotel near the western dead-end of North Temple. Drive any farther, and you might end up on an airport runway.

On a sensory level, the dining space is crowded by the adjacent indoor pool's chlorine fumes and cacophony of giggly splashes. Everything else feels more like a typical American-style Chinese restaurant: tile floors, unpretentious furniture, kitschy decorations.

Jennifer, my server and the restaurant's proprietor, seated me. I told her I admired the bistro's logo, a cartoon girl in a red kimono. "Isn't it cute? My sister designed it on her Mac," she said. Sunny, it turns out, is their mother's name.

I ordered kung pao tofu from Jennifer, who asked if I was vegetarian. She offered a vegetarian egg roll in place of the customary pre-meal soup, as it had beef stock—a courtesy rarely extended to me at restaurants.

I got a fortune cookie with my check. It read, "An unexpected visitor will bring you good blessings." Thus far, the prophecy has failed to actualize.

Rating: 10, 23, 29, 20, 32 & 35.

The Garden Grill - RYAN CUNNINGHAM
  • Ryan Cunningham
  • The Garden Grill

The Garden Grill
The Hilton Garden Inn's restaurant inconspicuously blends into the hotel's lobby on the first floor. It has a dining area conjoined with a bar, where a TV showing the NCAA basketball championship game drew traveling businessmen like moths to a porchlight. The scene felt a bit like a new-money millionaire's mancave get-together.

Alec served me at my table in addition to manning the bar. He looked like the rugged love interest from a made-for-TV movie on the Hallmark Channel. For a brief moment Alec seemed as transfixed by the game as the bar's patrons, and I wondered if he had forgotten about me. Why, Alec? I recalled my newfound role as a restaurant critic, and I mused on the idea of writing a scathing review. I could pen such a lashing that the Hilton Garden Inn would shudder at every inference of my name. Oh, the power I now arbitrarily wield without any justifiable qualification!

Alec, it turned out, deserved no such treatment. He cheerily served my tri-colored veggie tortellini, which I inexplicably paired with a Michelob Ultra.

North Carolina beat Gonzaga to claim its sixth national championship.

Rating: 4 Seed, At-Large Bid.

Oak Wood Fire Kitchen
The Peery Hotel, rumored to be haunted, has been a downtown Salt Lake City mainstay for over a century, but I suspect it was only recently when they decided to serve wood-oven pizzas. That's the featured dish on the menu of the Peery's street-level restaurant and bar, which looks anything but antiquated on the inside. The dining room has four gigantic TVs all playing different sports channels. A faux fireplace, framed by stacks of real firewood, takes up most of the far wall.

I had a tag-team of servers: Jaxon and Jill. I'll be honest: I couldn't get over the novelty of being served by a Jack-and-Jill duo. There I sat, munching on a four-cheese white pizza watching the rebroadcast of a collegiate softball game, and all I could think about was, "Jack and Jill! What a coincidence!" My powers of observation, admittedly, were compromised. Apparitions could have been floating about the room, knocking over salt-and-pepper shakers, and I would've been none the wiser.

Rating: Silver.

H Bar - RYAN CUNNINGHAM
  • Ryan Cunningham
  • H Bar

H Bar
The two employees at the front desk of the Hyatt House looked embarrassed when I entered the lobby. Some emotional trauma had affected one of them, who was crying. The other was consoling her when they both looked up at me. The crying employee turned and walked into a back room, while the consoling one—herself teary-eyed—swallowed hard and said, "Hi there! What can I do for you?"

"Hi ... Can I dine in?" I asked.

"Alone in the lobby of a hotel in Sandy that you're not even staying at? Sure, weirdo," I assumed she thought to herself.

I ordered a pesto-and-veggie grilled-cheese sandwich with tomato bisque soup, which was served to me by the chef herself. As I dined, the crying staffer slowly pulled herself together at the bar. The entire time, I mentally speculated at what might have happened to her. Did someone close pass away? Did she lose a pregnancy? I wanted to offer some token of acknowledgement, but as the solitary screwball enjoying a grilled cheese dinner in the midst of her personal hour of anguish, I didn't feel well-positioned to inject my condolences. In this fifth visit, I finally felt like an imposter: a schlubby writer wolf in a sheepish food critic's clothing. I left a 100-percent tip and didn't look back.

My newly minted food-critic recommendation: Try the grilled cheese at the Hyatt House H Bar if you're ever in Sandy.

Rating: Fine. Everything's fine.

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



5.png

Hot for Tots:
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock



According to my recent (and unscientific) Twitter poll, 57 percent of people prefer tater tots over french fries. Golden fried orbs of potato bits have won over the hearts of Utahns, whether it's from childhood nostalgia or the fact that they're delicious and versatile. Dress them up or dress them down; we are hot for tots! Aside from that Ore-Ida bag in your freezer, where can you score some tots? From Salt Lake City's hottest cocktail bars to a fast food drive-thru, we've got you covered.

Campfire Lounge in Sugar House has the most extensive tot menu, serving them plain, smothered or even taking the place of fries in their fish (or shrimp) 'n' tots. You can't go wrong with Tot-zzas ($8), loaded with pizza toppings like savory sausage, marinara and melty, stretchy provolone cheese. Tot-zzas are meal-worthy, fun to share and even more fun to pronounce.
837 E. 2100 South, 801-467-3325, campfirelounge.com

Bourbon House Totchos - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Bourbon House Totchos

Another tot dish loaded with goodness comes from the Bourbon House. Totchos ($10) rival Tot-zzas with an equally fun name, plus they're just as tasty. Like nachos, these craveable tater tots are cheesy—covered in fontina, cheddar jack and queso fresco. Roasted jalapeños, a drizzle of crème fraîche, roasted tomatillo salsa and a sprinkling of green onion make them fancy.
19 E. 200 South, 801-746-1005, bourbonhouseslc.com

Since we're talking upscale tots, you have to try them with garlic aioli ($4) at Copper Common. You won't find a more sophisticated tot dish than this bar snack of six perfectly executed housemade tots, each with a delicate drizzle of garlicky goodness.
111 E. 300 South, Ste. 190, 801-355-0543, coppercommon.com

Ice Haüs’ sweet potato tots - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Ice Haüs’ sweet potato tots

On the other end of the flavor spectrum, you'll find sweet potato tots ($6) from Ice Haüs in Murray. Sweet and savory, these taters are served with cinnamon-honey butter, and pair perfectly with hearty burgers and draft beer.
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-2127, icehaus.com

The Garage on Beck - JOSH SCHEUERMAN
  • Josh Scheuerman
  • The Garage on Beck

Sweet potatoes are also featured at Garage on Beck. Try Marsha's Hot Sweet Tots ($5), a clever combination of regular potato and sweet potato, all spiced up. Shout out to their fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes, which are also round, warm and made of spuds.
1199 Beck St., 801-521-3904, garageonbeck.com

If you need a quick tot fix, or if you're under 21, hit up your local Taco Time. They're called Mexi-Fries on the menu, but we know tots when we see them. Choose from plain ($1.39-$2.49), lightly dusted with spices; or feast on an order of Stuffed Mexi Tots ($2.49-$3.99), chock-full of creamy cheddar cheese and diced jalapeños.
Multiple locations, tacotime.com

Where else can you get a side of history with your tots? The Capitol Café, located inside the Utah Capitol is open to the public and offers reasonably priced eats, including tater tots for only $1.89. Drown 'em in fry sauce, grab a table and enjoy some compelling people-watching. Maybe you'll even catch a few state officials chowing down on burgers and tots. Wander the Capitol grounds, admire the statues and monuments and drop in on one of the hourly tours while you're there.
350 N. State, 801-538-1095, utahstatecapitol.utah.gov

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell



When you think about it, a classic restaurant is like a familiar friend you're always happy to see. "A good classic restaurant is consistent," Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association, says. "You know that when you go there, everything about your experience will be great, both from the food and the service side." Utah, she continues, is fortunate to have many classic restaurants in several categories, including traditional, casual and fine-dining. "While Utahns like cooking on their own, there is nothing else like going out to dinner and having someone else bring delicious food to your table and do the dishes afterward," she says. "Dining can be your destination. Regardless of what kind of food you like, we can accommodate you with the wide variety of restaurants we have here."

Yet, she adds, becoming a classic restaurant isn't easy. "Thirty-five percent of restaurants go out of business in the first year, and 70 percent close their doors during the first five," she says. Still, Utah boasts the third-fastest-growing restaurant industry in the nation, employing more than 100,000 people. "We call the restaurant industry the industry of opportunity," the expert continues.

When it comes to homegrown classics, everyone has their own venerable faves. Here are some of mine:

From outside the entrance of Maddox Ranch House in Perry, you can already smell the homemade rolls made daily with Brigham City flour. They are presented alongside corn bread and raspberry butter. Since 1949, this steakhouse with a drive-in attached has offered steak and chicken. Signature dishes today include shrimp, steak and bison. "They have the best turkey burgers and turkey steaks. No one in my world does it better, and I've tried them everywhere," Sine says.

Little America Coffee Shop is a Salt Lake City mainstay with a reputation for turning its tables more than any other restaurant in the state, Sine points out. "You can walk in there almost any time of the day or night and have a conversation." Favorites here include baked halibut, prime rib and the hot turkey sandwich. The rolls are airy, delectable and delightful, served with jams and jellies. Housed in a classy, downtown hotel, this coffee shop has been offering its reliable comfort food since 1979. Prior to the hotel tower's construction, the Little America Hot Shoppe eatery thrived on Main Street for many years.

According to Sine, local restaurant group Gastronomy truly brought the fresh fish market to Utah.

The Golden Veggie burger at Hires Big H - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • The Golden Veggie burger at Hires Big H

Market Street Grill opened in 1980. Today, their three restaurant locations continue to do an amazing job presenting fresh seafood. Their delectable clam chowder, grilled-to-perfection salmon, flavorful halibut-and-chips and delicate sole filet are among a long list of seafood dishes that make any occasion special. For those wanting to replicate some of those dishes at home, their markets sell fish that they say is as fresh as any coastal city's.

Want to hobnob with the Beehive elite at bargain-basement prices? Hires Big H is a gathering place for the likes of Mitt Romney, Jake Garn and Gov. Gary Herbert, co-owner Mark Hale says. Since 1955, Hires has prided itself on freshness—hamburger buns are baked overnight and the burgers are pattied every morning. Tomatoes and onion rings are also prepared on the same cycle. "We have our own commissary where we produce all of our sauces," Hale says. Order a Big H hamburger, a mug of root beer and a serving of fries, and you'll swear you've gone to Archie and Betty heaven.

Lamb's Grill opened in Logan in 1919 and moved to Salt Lake City's Main Street in 1939. Manager Tony Hellstrom says the famous lamb shank, braised all day long, is a signature dish, as are the blackened salmon, fish and chips and, at night, rack of lamb. "Lamb's is a venerable institution," Hellstrom says. "There is a lot of business going on here—businessmen and politicians eat here regularly. Even John Saltas of City Weekly dines at Lamb's."

There you have it. Crowd-tested, publisher-approved.

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer



If this article caught your attention because the thought of comparing the work of butchers to the work of artists stirs up feelings of righteous indignation deep within you, then you have already proved my point—good art has always been provocative. On the other hand, if it caught your eye because you're looking for an argument with which to burn your vegan friends when they give you shit about indulging in a juicy ribeye, then I must disappoint you. I'm not here to absolve you of your gastronomic guilt—that will have to remain between you and your dietary deity.

Upon spending time with a few locals who've made careers out of doing our carnivorous dirty work for us, I'm really not sure how else to designate their craft. For Adan Bonilla and Cecilio Villalobos, their jobs at a local Texas Roadhouse gave them a shot at $20,000 through an annual meat-cutting competition; and for Philip Grubisa and his posse of ex-chefs who operate Beltex Meats, one of Salt Lake City's only whole-animal butcher shops, it's about preserving a trade that is on the verge of extintion. There's a name for people who have honed their unique skillset into a competition-ready arsenal, and it happens to also be the name for those who seek to perpetuate nearly forgotten practices.

They're called artists.

STEVEN VARGO
  • Steven Vargo

The Competitors
It's barely 10 a.m. when I arrive at the Texas Roadhouse in Taylorsville. Steakhouses like this cater to the dinner crowd, so they typically spend their daytime hours getting everything prepped for the dinner rush. Admittedly, I feel a bit guilty ringing the service bell to announce that I have arrived to disrupt their pre-service prep by pulling their two finest meat cutters away from their morning duties. For the time being, the dining area is clean and eagerly awaiting a Saturday evening's worth of diners. While I'm in the middle of lamenting the fact that there will be peanut shells all over the place within about 12 hours, restaurant manager Brad Allen arrives with a warm greeting. He's quick to mention how proud he is of the fact that not one, but two of his meat cutters were skilled enough to qualify for Texas Roadhouse National Meat Cutting Challenge.

This year's competition was in Kissimmee, Fla., in March and drew 113 competitors. Meat cutters qualify by competing locally, and their spot in the national competition puts them in the running to net $20,000 for themselves, along with the Meat Cutter of the Year title. It's no easy task—each competitor is given a 40-pound side of beef that they then must cut into prize-winning steaks. Judges are looking for the right combination of uniformity, yield and speed. Winners of the first round qualify for the semifinals, where they can move on to the finals and a real shot at that sizable prize money. Utah typically has a few competitors that make it every year, but it's rare to find a single Texas Roadhouse with two cutters talented enough to join the tournament.

It's not long before I meet the pair, who have been dutifully prepping their workstations within the frozen walls of the restaurant's meat coolers. Adan Bonilla is a towering presence on his own, and the fact that he spends 8 to 10 hours a day slicing up steaks could make him intimidating if he wasn't so damn pleasant. Cecilio Villalobos—or "Chilo," as his beef brothers call him—is the elder of the two, and carries himself like the steakhouse veteran that he is. Adan participated in the competition last year, and he even made it to the semifinals. It's Chilo's first, and though the two of them are technically competing against each other, it's easy to see there's no bad blood.

SARAH ARNOFF
  • Sarah Arnoff

Both men started off at entry-level positions within the ranks of the chophouse after they moved here from Mexico, and worked their way up to the prestigious title of meat cutter after a few years on the job. "I practiced every day to prepare for the competition," Bonilla says. "If I win, I'm planning on sending my kids to school."

My first meeting with Bonilla and Villalobos took place just before the big event, and it was clear that they were already getting a bit nervous about competing on a national scale. Bonilla, who had vied before was a bit less fazed, but his counterpart had reservations about what to expect.

After watching these two make short work of a few slabs of beef, I start picturing them repeating these same careful motions while a panel of judges critiques their form. I can spot a good steak when I see one, and I must say that these two know what they're doing. Deep down, I start to get a glimmer of hope that at least one of our guys will be able to take home that cash prize.

A week later, I met with them after the competition to get their spin on the event—but mostly to see how well they did. "I tried everything I could," Bonilla says, "but I picked a bad piece of meat. I thought it looked good, but it wasn't on the inside." Neither made it to the semifinals, but by a small margin. "The goal was to get at least 88-percent yield, but I only got 82," Bonilla says. Chilo recalls feeling a bit overwhelmed once the competition started. "It was confusing because it was my first time and there were so many new people there," he says.

Regardless of this minor setback, both Bonilla and Villalobos remain solid professionals. "It's sad that we didn't get to the second round, but next year will be better," Villalobos says. Bonilla sees it as motivation to improve his performance at his home base. "I want to continue to do my best here, too," the meatman muses. "I love my job and I want to give quality to the customers."

Philip Grubisa - JOSH SCHEUREMAN
  • Josh Scheureman
  • Philip Grubisa

The Traditionalists
Thanks to years of watching horror movies, butcher shops always make me a little nervous, which isn't necessarily fair. In fact, when I came to Beltex Meats to spend the day with owner and professional butcher Philip Grubisa, the environment was a lot like that of a neighborhood bakery. It's a small shop that Grubisa and company built from a renovated home across the street from Liberty Park, and the storefront makes good use of the building's natural light and exposed brick. Even though it's only been there for just over a year, Beltex feels like it's been a neighborhood mainstay for generations.

A Miami native, Grubisa moved to Utah in 2007 while the woman who eventually became his wife finished her undergrad at the University of Utah. "I've been a chef for the past 13 or 14 years, and I always found myself as the butcher in most of these settings," he recalls. "Years ago, I met a gentleman in South Carolina who turned me onto the idea of purchasing the whole animal as opposed to just purchasing steaks. It's a big undertaking, but it's financially viable if you can make it work." While this idea initially started because it made fiscal sense for his restaurants, Grubisa came to learn how much buying whole animals helped farmers. "Farmers and ranchers aren't in the ribeye business, or the New York strip business—they're in the beef business," he explains.

For those who think that adding the words "whole animal" to a business is a hipster marketing ploy, I know a 50-pound Boer boat that would disagree. As we continue our interview, Grubisa proceeds to break down this lean bit of livestock and describe the best way to cook each cut. All of Beltex's beef, pork and goat come from local farms, such as Pleasant Creek Ranch, which produced the goat currently occupying the butcher's attention. "Marketing plays a big part in how consumers buy meat," Grubisa says as he unsheathes a gigantic hacksaw. "If the rancher is using great practices, there are cuts on the animal that are tender and delicious and great for certain cooking applications. We don't know about those cuts because they usually have weird names."

At this point, I'm amazed at how quickly Grubisa has assembled some familiar-looking cuts on his butcher block. We've got some goat chops for grilling, a neck roast just aching to be smoked or braised, and a bit of goat belly which would later be sliced into goat bacon—incidentally, goat bacon now occupies the top tier on my must-try list. "Goat is the most-eaten animal in the world, but we have to be salespeople about it here," Grubisa says. "I like to hire former cooks because they can talk about how to apply a certain cooking application to the meat that we sell."

While Beltex is a great place to pick up steaks, pork chops and sausages, it's also worthwhile to take a look at their other products. I spotted several jars of ready-made Bolognese sauce made with a mixture of beef heart and pork. They also use livestock bones to make soup stock, and dog owners can even pop in and get some gourmet ground beef for their canine buddies. Grubisa is also a bit of a charcuterie nerd, and Beltex boasts one of the most impressive selections of cured meats I've ever seen. After packing up the last of his goat meat, Grubisa leads me to the basement, where he and his team have built a fully functional curing chamber. He proudly opens the door to reveal racks upon racks of salami, pepperoni and chorizo. The aroma is intoxicating.

JOSH SCHEUREMAN
  • Josh Scheureman

"We want to get the choosy customer," Grubisa says as he locks up his curing chamber and swifts me back upstairs. "Because we're getting such a well-raised animal, everything goes up in price—but good food might cost a little more. The picky customers are our best customers." It's this statement that made me pause while munching on a bit of Beltex's fiery chorizo. Thing is, today's food consumers approach grocery shopping as an outward expression of their lifestyle choices. The ability to conscientiously choose locally sourced beef over something factory-farmed has become synonymous with the ability to choose DIY artwork on Etsy over mass-produced pop art from IKEA. In the same vein—or in this case, beautifully marbled fat—consumerism on a local level is no longer about buying the product itself. It's about buying the effort that went into the product.

That being said, it remains tricky to define that metaphysical magic that happens when someone makes the effort to create something special out of the mundane; whether it's through tradition or through competition. But, isn't that why we invented the word "art" in the first place? You chew on that. I'm going back for some more chorizo.

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Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



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Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
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A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
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Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
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Hot for Tots
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Confirmed Classics
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By Carolyn Campbell


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The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


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SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


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Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


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Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


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Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


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Brain Freeze
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SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock



Bubble tea, boba tea, boba—whatever you call it, we like it. This tea-based beverage comes in a plethora of flavors and styles. Every variation has two things in common—yummy, chewy balls of tapioca called "boba," and they're all tasty. Stab the oversized straw through the plastic top and slurp it up, baby. Need some fun in a cup? Check out these popular bubble-tea destinations.

Gossip Tapioca opened in 2003 with an extensive menu. Keep it simple with a Jasmine milk tea, make it complicated with multiple fruit jellies and flavors or choose one of the favorites, like Tropical Fruit Mix ($3.75) made with mango and coconut pudding, diced fruit, boba and coconut milk. One of the most popular drinks is Da Bomb ($4.25), an orange, mango and banana smoothie with boba. They also offer funky flavors like red bean and avocado.
1629 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-886-2868, gossiptapioca.weebly.com

If you like it a little nerdy, check out Watchtower Café. Salt Lake City's only café dedicated to gaming and comic books also offers boba. You can be a basic bitch year-round with the Mary Jane—a delicious combination of red bean, vanilla, pumpkin spice and boba. The BB-8 is a blended beverage made with Thai iced tea, caramel and boba, topped with whipped cream—just as sweet as the cute little robot himself.
1588 S. State, 801-477-7671, watchtower-cafe.com

Lua-O is an unexpected gem in Fashion Place Mall's food court. They serve pho, bahn mi and other Vietnamese eats, but let's talk about their drinks. Choose from mango, strawberry, taro or piña colada smoothies studded with chewy boba for $4.50. It's a perfect treat while you're indulging in some retail therapy.
6191 S. State, 801-265-9034, lua-o.com

Tea Factory in Chinatown is a fine destination to get your boba fix. This little shop located outside Salt Lake City's largest Asian grocery store offers a wide selection of beverages including tea (with or without milk), yogurt-based drinks and slushes. You can add pudding or fruit jelly to your drink, as well as boba. Be sure to try the Original Milk Tea ($3.99) and pick up one of the freshly made, red-bean-filled buns to snack on. Hit up the Tea Factory before browsing the supermarket and you've got the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon.
3390 S. State, Ste. 19, 801-809-3229

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


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Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


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Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle



There's something a bit naughty about a pop-up event's unconventionality, even if you've registered to attend months in advance. It's a particularly kickass combination of side-eye curiosity and clandestine camaraderie; though the venue and theme might be disclosed, there's often a lot of surprise elements in play. Intangibles of the individual chef's culinary personality and a mishmash of guests adding to the comfort-zone-dodging context all make for an evening with a bit of mystery thrown into the mix. From cutting-edge molecular gastronomy served in after-hours gallery spaces, to classic soirées in elegant mansions—laid-back fun to black-tie formal—there's a little something for everyone popping up in our salty city.

Here's how some of the best of SLC's pop-up scene are keeping lucky guest's WTF-O'-meters humming, with events that are diverse and delicious.

Chef Katie Weinner - ANNE STEPHENSON
  • Anne Stephenson
  • Chef Katie Weinner

SLC POP
Chef Katie Weinner, slcpop.com
Since 2012, Weinner has been delivering multi-course dinners that are as innovative and boundary-pushing as they are appetizing. (Think mini clotheslines pinned with translucent slices of charcuterie, edible paper "ransom notes" printed with savory and sweet ingredients in a rainbow of colors, smoke-filled jars exactingly assembled with miniature nosh-able foggy landscapes.) But don't let the precision and whimsy of the plates fool you. "Guests can expect five to six stellar courses. People will definitely leave satisfied," Weinner says. "I've never had anyone leave hungry." The chef has staged her popular pop-ups at venues around town, starting with her first dinner at Caputo's Market & Deli, then onto the now-shuttered NATA Gallery. After surviving eight episodes on Bravo's Top Chef Season 12 in Boston, Weinner returned to SLC ready and rarin' to find suitable spaces to host (usually) twice-monthly events. Her favorite part of the experience? Being able to source ingredients and research techniques specific to a particular season and place, while still pushing the culinary envelope. "I love finding cool products and sharing them with clients," she says. "It keeps me energized finding what's in season and figuring out visually interesting ways to present them." It's a compelling strategy catering to the culinary-curious; Weinner estimates that 80-90 percent of each dinner's guests are return clients who appreciate tasting something completely new at each event. A feast for the eyes, palate and senses, one spectacular plate at a time.

Chef Noor al Sham - VINCE CORAK
  • Vince Corak
  • Chef Noor al Sham

Spice Kitchen Incubator/Pop-Up
Multiple awesome locations, spicekitchenincubator.org
Celebrating the culinary diversity of our city is one of the many things that draws and keeps SLC's vibrant scene. On April 29, our community is at it again with a pop-up event from Spice Kitchen Incubator, showcasing the food of Chef Noor al Sham at Eggs in the City (1675 E. 1300 South, 801-581-0809, eggsinthecityslc.com) for a five-course Syrian meal with dishes from zingy fattoush salad to decadent baklava. According to event organizers, "Spice Kitchen Incubator is a project of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in partnership with Salt Lake County. It is a business incubator that brings together refugees and other disadvantaged community members interested in starting a full- or part-time food business. Spice Kitchen Incubator ensures participants receive technical assistance and training, have affordable access to commercial kitchen space and learn the steps to establishing a successful food business." Win-win in our books. And pocketbooks.

Secret SLC - COURTESY SECRET SLC
  • Courtesy Secret SLC
  • Secret SLC

Secret SLC
Curated by Baya Voce, secretslc.com
Secret SLC is kinda like Fight Club: The first rule is that there is no Secret SLC. Or, to be more precise, the VIP cocktail party you are invited to next month will be completely different from the avant-garde chamber concert your friend might have attended last year. Although Baya Voce, Secret SLC's organizer coordinates some public events—like the New Year's Eve party that gave many of us serious FOMO from the social media coverage—the group's experiences are meticulously curated by Voce based upon a strategic guest list. Past standout events include a 20-person connoisseur-driven dinner parties, an FBI agent's tutorial on lie-detecting and hundreds showing up for the Utah AIDS Foundation's 30th anniversary White Party fundraiser. "I wanted to bring an element of surprise and curiosity," Voce says. "For most events, people will receive an email or hand-delivered invite from us and get very little information other than the date and time. I base the guest list entirely upon making connections specific to that event." Also of note is that attendees have no idea what they'll be in for until they show up. A former professional matchmaker, Voce believes that face-to-face conversations are what really bring people together, and she networks with leaders all over the city in different fields to collaborate on ideal guest lists. This summer's only public Secret SLC event will be on June 3; check out their website to pre-register for this party and to request an invitation for future ones. They may or may not get back to you, which is all part of Secret SLC's mysterious mission.

Raclette Machine - ZARA AHMED
  • Zara Ahmed
  • Raclette Machine

Raclette Machine
Zara Ahmed & Abby Pfunder, @raclettemachine on Twitter
To satisfy that jones for melty, gooey cheese porn, look no further than Ahmed and Pfunder, the ultimate fromage-fix enablers behind Raclette Machine. You can even say that their entire relationship has been based on cheese: They met at California's Cowgirl Creamery years ago, worked together at Richmond, Utah's Rockhill Creamery, and at their 2014 wedding in San Francisco held a raclette party for the reception. Ahmed fell in love with raclette—named for both the Alpine cheese perfectly suited for uniform melting and the technique of toasting the entire exposed surface of a raclette cheese wheel to scrape off a perfect portion for each guest—while she lived near Lyon, France, working as an English instructor. Since the couple's move to SLC, they started catering raclette events and have hosted pop-ups in private homes. Last March, Raclette Machine put on a killer pop-up at Amour Café, and plans to host more events there and at other venues around town. "We love supporting local cheesemakers, like using Rockhill's Wasatch Mountain Gruyère, which is a great raclette cheese," Ahmed says. They also feature events with everything from very traditional French service with potatoes and cornichon to mixing things up with a modern twist, incorporating toppings from local purveyors like Salsa del Diablo and Amour Spreads.

The McCune Mansion - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The McCune Mansion

Culinary Crafts
Various locations, culinarycrafts.com
For when a fabulously formal approach suits your mood, highbrow events hosted by Culinary Crafts combine refined foods with rarified environments. Case in point? The Spring Fling for Foodies, slated for Friday, May 12, at Salt Lake City's spectacular McCune Mansion. In partnership with the power-fundraisers of Pure 400, the group is also planning a Park City pop-up at Big Moose Yacht Club later this summer. Thinking ahead, their annual harvest event will be at Snuck Farm in Pleasant Grove in October.

Chef Tom Call - HARRY CLARK
  • Harry Clark
  • Chef Tom Call

Visiting-Chefs Series
Finca, fincaslc.com
Finca's visiting-chef events have been captivating local diners since January, when former SLC-based Chef Tom Call (formerly of the Trio restaurant group and Grand America Hotel, and owner of his own pop-up business, "Made by Tom") returned to the city while taking a quick break from San Francisco's One Market where he is currently chef de cuisine. Restaurant owner Scott Evans described his motivation for the series in a recent social media post, saying that after thinking about it for years, he decided to pull the trigger based on his expansive circle of culinary contacts, adding that the experience "allows both chef and restaurateur to push culinary limits and feature food and wine that truly inspires."

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler



I don't know who first put a hunk of meat or cheese between two slices of bread, thereby inventing the sandwich, but I'm grateful for it. My earliest memory of eating as a kid is munching on a grilled cheese. Since then, I've developed a fierce fondness for a serious assortment of sandwich styles: cheesesteak, gyro, sub, hoagie, grinder, muffuletta, bahn mi, panini, torta, bocadillo, döner, pistolette and shawarma, to name a few. So, narrowing so many super sandwiches down to a list of my 10 favorites was not easy, but the research was mighty tasty.

With a selection of more than 20 different sandwiches, the Robin's Nest (311 S. Main, 801-466-6378, robinsnestslc.com), named for owner Robin Paluso, is heaven for sandwich lovers. The Heritage—Paluso's tribute to her Italian father—is an excellent Italian hoagie-style sandwich. But the one I keep returning to is the Egg-Straordinaire. A good egg-salad sandwich is getting harder and harder to find these days. Thankfully, this one fills the bill with homemade egg salad, red onion, green peppers, lettuce and melted cheese on wheat bread (add bacon for a meaty kick).

The Philly at Este Deli - DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle
  • The Philly at Este Deli

Whenever I find myself back East, I always make time for a stop at DiNic's to get their famous roasted-pork sandwich. Este Deli (1702 S. Main, 801-487-3354, estepizzaco.com) owner Dave Heiblim prefers the roast pork at Paesano's, "The place our roast pork sandwich is based on," he says. Paesano's uses roast suckling pig for its pork sandwiches, while Este favors braised pork shoulder. Juicy, tender pork is shredded and served hoagie-style with garlic, roasted red peppers and the classic accoutrements: sautéed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. The Philly cheesesteak at Este is damn good, too.

If I'm being honest, I'll confess that I'm not a big fan of City Creek Center. But if, for some reason, I'm forced to be there, at least I can look forward to a stupendous sandwich in the food court at Bocata (28 S. State, 801-355-3538, bocatasandwich.com). What's unique here is that the sandwiches are made from pizza dough and cooked in a pizza oven, sort of like a calzone. Quality ingredients like slow-roasted leg of lamb, meatballs, roasted tomatoes and turkey are all cooked from scratch, in-house. My personal fave is the porchetta sandwich, which is fennel-rubbed, slow-roasted Italian-seasoned pork with tangy, roasted red bell peppers and a green garlic sauce.

Now let's talk tuna. As with egg salad, a good tuna-salad sandwich also is a rarity nowadays. Well, you can wrap up your search here, because Feldman's Deli (2005 E. 2700 South, 801-906-0369, feldmansdeli.com) makes the best in town. It begins with solid white albacore mixed with scallions, celery, lemon juice, salt, pepper and celery seed. The huge-portioned tuna salad is served on fresh bread with lettuce, tomato and onion, but the key is, owner Michael Feldman says, "it's made fresh every day."

Cost was a key factor in my sandwich search, and although it might not be the most gourmet, one of the best bargains I found was at Harmons (multiple locations, harmonsgrocery.com), where the breads are baked in-house. I really like, for example, their caprese sandwich with mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto on fresh bread. But the best bang-for-the-buck is the half-sub sandwich (which is as large as some chains' whole subs), priced at a mere $3.50. We usually grab an armful of them for the kids when we go on hikes.

Knowing that buying a sandwich is helping to fight hunger (other than your own) makes it taste especially good. That's the case at Even Stevens (multiple locations, evenstevens.com), whose slogan is "a sandwich shop with a cause," where money for making sandwiches is placed in a special Sysco foods account. At the end of each month, Even Stevens' nonprofit partners access the account, order sandwich-making ingredients, and volunteers build sandwiches for the hungry. That makes their Mihami Vice, Capreezy, Pot Roast Dip, Báhn Belly, Hummazing Vegan and other sandwiches even tastier.

The Chicago Dog at Johnniebeefs - TYSON ROLLINS
  • Tyson Rollins
  • The Chicago Dog at Johnniebeefs

Johnniebeefs (6913 S. 1300 East, Cottonwood Heights, 801-352-0372, johnniebeefs.com) is a fast-food, Chicago-style hot dog emporium with a brain-blistering tubesteak selection—some 30-plus—as well as sandwiches and burgers. The dogs are made with 95-percent-lean domestic beef and the buns are imported from the Windy City. Is it a sandwich? A brat? A hot dog? A burger? Whatever it is, the Dytka is a meat lover's dream: a beef hamburger patty and a bratwurst sausage with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, tomato, sauerkraut, tomato, pickle and celery salt on a seeded bun with deli mustard. Where's the beef, you ask? Right here.

Grove Market’s Big John - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Grove Market’s Big John

Size matters. If the size of your submarine sandwich is a deciding factor, prepare to do battle with Big John. That's the name of the popular, oversized and underpriced deli sandwich at Grove Market (1906 S. Main, 801-467-8860, grovemarketdeli.com). The Big John features seven deli meats—salami, ham, corned beef, pastrami, bologna, turkey and roast beef—piled 3 to 4 inches high, then topped with both Swiss and American cheese, plus mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and pepperoncini on a thick, airy ambassador roll (or on rye, French, sourdough or wheat bread). Trust me, there will be no room for dessert.

I spend a fair amount of time every year in Philadelphia, so I eat a lot of cheesesteaks. There are some good Philly-style cheesesteaks in Utah, but none is better than at Vito's in Bountiful (100 S. Main, 801-953-8486). No website. No credit cards. Continuing the theme, it's open just a few hours each day, and yet, the line of hungry patrons awaiting their custom-made oozing creations is always a long one. Get there early, as the man himself, Vito Leone, closes up shop when he runs out of meat for the day.

There are so many excellent sandwich options at Tony Caputo's Market & Deli (multiple locations, caputos.com) that it's painful to have to settle on just one favorite. I love the Soprano, the Meatball, Old School, Fior di Latte and others. But there's one that's tough to find west of New Orleans: the Muffuletta. With flavors straight from NOLA's Central Grocery, it's a classic combination of ham, mortadella, Genoa salami and provolone, with spicy olive salad on a grilled ciabatta roll. Olive lovers will go gaga for this great muffuletta.

div.jpg
1.png

Gourmet Grazing
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler



2.png

Alluring Appetites
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle


3.png

A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock


4.png

Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham


5.png

Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock


6.png

Confirmed Classics
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell


7.png

The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer


8.png

SLURP!
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock


9.png

Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle


10.png

Breaking Bread
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler


11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock


12.png

Brain Freeze
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell



11.png

Humble Crumble
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock



When I tell people I'm addicted to gas-station cookies, they think I've lost my mind, or they flat-out don't believe me. Who can blame them? Gas stations aren't known for fine food. Until now.

With tempting sugar cookies dressed in colorful frosting, and classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal, My Cookie Fix (multiple locations, mycookiefix.com)has what you're craving. No preservatives or artificial flavors here—only goodness made with real sugar, butter and cream cheese. Using a treasured family recipe, Karissa Peterson founded the company inside a Chevron gas station located in Draper. The cookies sold like hotcakes, and Peterson knew she was on to something. My Cookie Fix now sells at over 70 gas stations throughout northern Utah. At $1.79 a pop, you can afford to live large, or at least buy yourself a top-shelf cookie now and then.

My guilty pleasure is the sugar cookie, and theirs are feather-light, melt in your mouth and come in a variety of delightful flavors—truly the best I've tasted. Here are my three favorites:

My Cookie Fix’s - coconut crème cookies - GRANT HANSEN
  • Grant Hansen
  • My Cookie Fix’scoconut crème cookies

I had to rethink everything I knew about gas-station food after my first bite into the coconut crème. It wasn't the cloying, fake flavor I was expecting. The texture is heavenly and the flavor unique. A light dusting of coconut crumbles atop the frosting add visual appeal and true coconut flavor.

The orange cream is a dream. Its vibrant orange frosting is eye-catching and the genuine citrus flavor is just as intense. Speckles of orange zest in the frosting will make you forget you're eating a cookie. Just kidding—but, really, this flavor bomb will blow your mind.

The traditional sugar cookie is a cute flower decorated with white frosting and a pretty pink center. Perfectly moist and simple in flavor, it's made with the best ingredients. The frosting is light and fluffy, and not too sweet. You can't not appreciate the mad skill that goes into these blissful baked goods.

Other noteworthy cookies include the strawberry cheesecake, snickerdoodle and the old-fashioned. But ultimately, you can't go wrong with anything from My Cookie Fix—they're all delicious. The next time you're in a gas station, look for the coveted cookie case and get ready for the incredulous looks when you explain that you're addicted to a gas-station cookie.

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Ice cream is Utah's guilty pleasure. According to insidermonkey.com, ours is the seventh-highest ice cream-consuming state in the nation. Worldwide, by the way, the United States is the second-highest ice cream-consuming country (we've got your number, China).

Traditional ice cream is just one variety of chilly deliciousness found in the Beehive, as sherbet, sorbet, gelato, frozen custard and frozen yogurt are always just a frosty stone's throw away. Here are some local favorites:

Nielsen’s frozen custard - SAM GRANT
  • Sam Grant
  • Nielsen’s frozen custard

Nielsen's Frozen Custard (378 N. Main, Layton, 801-547-0775, nielsensfrozencustardut.com) has been watching after your waist since 1981. Well, sort of. Custard is made from milk rather than cream, and therefore has fewer calories—but just as much flavor. Their pumpkin custard in the fall, and caramel topping year-round, are out-of-this-world delicious. Even The Wall Street Journal declared that it's "where God goes to get his ice cream." Besides Nielsen's, there's Culver's frozen custard (culvers.com), with seven Utah locations, enticing flavors-of-the-day and tempting mix-ins.

Rockwell Creamery’s handmade ice cream - SAM GRANT
  • Sam Grant
  • Rockwell Creamery’s handmade ice cream

In a return to traditional ice cream, Justin Williams founded Rockwell Creamery (43 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-318-5950, rockwellicecream.com) in November 2015. "I wanted to make handmade, fresh ice cream," he says. And that he does, as everything is made from scratch—flavorings, extracts, you name it. "We hand-make our own cookie dough, our own peanut-butter cups, and our salted caramel is real salted caramel," he says. Among his 15 flavors are "unique honeycomb ice cream made with our own honeycomb candy, and homemade muddy-buddy ice cream filled with homemade muddy buddies." The décor at Rockwell is a return to tradition, too—back to "the era of the 1900s ice cream truck." In the mood for seasonal fare? They've got that, too. When Utah raspberries are in season, Williams makes raspberry cheesecake ice cream. "We use local fruits as part of our mission to use fresh and local and the best ingredients," Williams says.

Former pastry chef of Salt Lake City's Frida Bistro, Peter Korth created a Mexican-inspired dominico plantain split recognized by Food Network magazine and the Cooking Channel. After a stint in Los Angeles, he decided to return to Utah and make a difference in the local ice-cream scene. Upon his return at the end of 2015, Korth brought along a trend he'd noticed in the Golden State—old-fashioned ice cream with unexpected, unique flavors. He now has 42 original recipes under his own belt through PJK's Creamery (801-347-5648, pjkscreamery.com), which you can find at the Downtown Farmers Market. Black pepper ice cream with tequila-pickled cherries, breakfast-cereal ice cream featuring Cap'n Crunch and Lucky Charms marshmallows, and a Mexican hot-chocolate ice cream with jalapeño and pepita brittle crunch are all in the delectable roster.

The appeal, he says, is evergreen: "Ice cream is popular here in Utah, no matter the season." Sure, some locals still miss the days of parlors such as Fernwood's and Snelgrove's, but thanks to these innovators, our taste buds' future seems bright—bright and icy.

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Brain Freeze
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