Best of Utah 2010: Food & Drink | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2010: Food & Drink



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Best Sandwiches
Moochie’s Meatballs & More

What was once served to those lucky few who took pottery classes has become a full-fledged deli called Moochie’s. The meatballs are delectable, the Philly cheesesteak is savory, and everything is gooey and messy. While the sandwiches are great to go (thanks to thick butcher paper), they are really best enjoyed outside on a picnic table in the sun. 232 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-596-1350,
2. Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli
3. Robin’s Nest

Best Rice Breads
Charlotte’s Bakery

Eating a gluten-free diet can be quite a challenge, especially when it seems you’ll forever be denied tasty baked goods. But Paul Reugner’s family-run, Utah-based company has dedicated itself to turning rice flour into breads, cookies, cakes and pies with all the flavor of their gluten-based counterparts.


Best Ice Cream Super-Sandwich
Smart Cookie

If you’ve spent time in the Bay Area, you might have been exposed to the gourmet ice cream sandwich treat, the It’s-It. Christian McDaniel wasn’t content to let the the Bay Area have a monopoly on that kind of deliciousness, so he created his own variation of premium cookies piled high with premium ice cream. The result is a chewy, chilly sensation that stands up to comparison with its California inspiration. 7710 S. Union Park Ave., Midvale, 801-561-1840; 743 W. 100 North, American Fork, 801-492-1711,

Best Jerky Jocks
Samak Smoke House

Yep, “Samak” is “Kamas” spelled backward—but you’ll want to fast-forward to this country store on the Mirror Lake Highway in search of its smoked chewy meat treats. Beef and turkey jerkies come in a range of flavors, from spicy to teriyaki. Try ’em one at a time, or sample a variety gift pack. It’ll keep for a while—except that you’ll be too eager to chow it all down. 1937 Mirror Lake Highway, Kamas, 435-783-4880,

Best Candy/Cookie Combos
Over the Top Cookies

What to have for dessert: A flaky cookie or a chocolate candy bar? Trick question—you don’t really have to choose. At South Jordan’s Over the Top, they’re on a mission to find a baked-goods home for every confection under the sun. How does a double-chocolate cookie topped with Andes Mints sound? Or the Whoa Baby!, smothered in Baby Ruth chunks? These are cookies not for the faint—or weak—of heart. 1665 W. Towne Center Drive, Suite B3, South Jordan, 801-495-5920,

Best Ribs
SugarHouse Barbeque

The secret to great ribs at SugarHouse Barbeque: fresh ingredients, slow smoking and a signature dry rub. Oh, and an excellent house barbeque sauce. Better yet, grab a platter so you can also sample some of their tasty sides, including sweet, smoky baked beans. 2207 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-4800,
2. Pat’s Barbecue
3. Q4U

Best Quintessential Utah Cheese
Beehive Cheese Co.

If there is a cheesy manifestation of Utah’s contradictory yet balanced flavor, it’s the Beehive Cheese Company’s latest creation: The SeaHive is true artisan cheese, hand-rubbed with local wildflower honey and salt from the ancient seabed near Redmond, Utah. The salt provides contrast to the honey and also provides a rainbow of color from the 50 trace elements in the ancient seabed. This tasty creation couldn’t be any more Utah, unless the salt was from the Great Salt Lake … and that probably wouldn’t be as easy on the taste buds. 2440 E. 6600 South No. 8, Uintah, 801-476-0900,

Best AC/DC-Inspired Jam
Butcher’s Bunches

It’s a jam with a rockin’ badass-itude, sharing its namesake with a legendary AC/DC tune. Logan-based Butcher’s Bunches “Back in Black” jam is a delicious confection made from raspberries and blackberries grown in Brigham City, then soaked in Amaretto and mixed with a seductively rich and dark chocolate from Utah’s Amano Artisan Chocolate. Jam guru Liz-Kennard Butcher initially crafted the treat for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, but it’s now on her regular roster of products.

Best Mormon Gelato
BYU Creamery

In Happy Valley, ice-cream parlors provide the after-work relaxation and sociability that bars provide in other heathen cities. And there’s no finer purveyor of ice cream in the valley than the BYU Creameries. Locally made, the ice cream is creamy, and it tastes like salvation in your mouth. You’ll be wowed by the pistachio and floored by the German chocolate crunch (with chocolate brownie nuggets). These flavors are such sweet and sinful indulgences that they might require a follow-up visit with the bishop. Multiple locations,

Best Seafood
Market Street

Whether you’re craving oysters on the half-shell, stellar clam chowder or whatever the catch of the day is, the various Market Street grills/broiler/oyster bars are the go-to choice for top-shelf seafood. It’s also the kind of place where people in jeans and T-shirts feel just as at home as people dressed for the opera. And finally, for home chefs looking for their own fresh catch, they even offer seafood counters at every location except downtown. Multiple Locations,
2. Oyster Bar
3. Takashi

Best Powdered PB

In an age of increased health consciousness, good old peanut butter has taken a beating for its high calories and fat. Does that mean no more PB&Js or peanut butter cookies for anyone trying to cut out the bad stuff? Salt Lake City-based FitNutz has reduced the staple to its powdered essence for a just-add-water substitute with no added oils that’s considerably lower in fat and calories—plus perfectly portable for camping. Try smooth, chunky or even sugar-free varieties in recipes or on your favorite childhood sandwich.

Best Old-World Meat Pies
Morrison Meat Pies

West Valley-based Morrison Meat Pies has spent more than a century perfecting the kind of pies you’d find at your favorite watering hole in Scotland or Australia. Whether you prefer lamb, steak & mushroom, chicken or the original Scottish meat pie, you’ll find a flaky crust wrapping up the kind of tastiness that takes you to another time and place.

Best Park City Chef
John Murcko, Talisker on Main

Utah is lucky that Michigan-born John Murcko’s car broke down in Park City, and he decided to stay. Prior to taking over the food and beverage reins for Talisker on Main, Murcko spent 15 years working with restaurateur and chef Bill White, helping to open Grappa and serving as director of operations for Chimayo, Windy Ridge Bakery & Café, Wahso and Ghidotti’s. Now, at Talisker on Main, John Murcko really gets to strut his stuff— and for diners, that’s a glorious thing. 515 Main, Park City, 435-658-5479,

Best Gyros
Greek Souvlaki

The frills—tomato vs. no tomato, white sauce vs. red sauce, onions vs. extra onions—are just that, frills. What makes an extraordinary gyro is the meat, and Greek Souvlaki stuffs its pita bread to the breaking point with impossibly tender, carved-off-the-spindle lamb, seasoned to drool-inducing perfection. Utah’s first is still its best, nearly 40 years after Lee and Mary Paulos launched it. Grab a handful of extra napkins, because they skimp on nothing for their delicious pita-wrapped creations—least of all the flavor. Multiple locations,
2. Mad Greek
3. Yanni’s

Best Double-Shot Dessert
Mini’s Cupcakes

Cupcakes used to be the red-headed stepchildren of cakes, looked upon as something for small children too naive to know better. But a number of Mini’s colorful and flavorful creations are not for children. Yes, Mini’s has straight-laced choices like Lemon Pie and the Smore Please that don’t disappoint, but the Southern Comfort, the Guinness & Irish Cream and especially the Mocha Latte give adults a valid reason to rethink the little cupcake. 1751 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-2208; 14 E. 800 South, 801-363-0608,

Best Urban Cafe Atmosphere
Nobrow Coffee & Tea Co.

Nobrow Coffee & Tea Co. is located in a car showroom of a bygone era, so it inherited large windows and tall ceilings that connect the outside city street and sidewalk to the interior. Nobrow barely embellished anything—they left the exposed rafters and basic cement floor, plus they used simple furnishings—which serves to direct your attention to the art, some of it from the many artists who rent the back-of-shop studios. 315 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-3448,

Best Secret Rendezvous
Beehive Tea Room

For an environment that wraps people in fabric and color, Beehive Tea Room is the place. The food is delightful and tea selections diverse, but the real treat is the presentation and privacy. If you need to have a secret liaison without being disturbed, grab a pot of tea and relax here. 12 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4700,


Best Spicy Lunch Buffet
Himalayan Kitchen

One of the best ways to discover the tempting Nepali and Indian dishes offered at the Himalayan Kitchen is the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Dishes vary from day to day, but you’ll typically find a curry or two, such as chicken vindaloo or butter chicken, along with veggie specialties like aloo tamabodi, saag paneer or malai daal maharani. There are tandoor-cooked foods, basmati rice, stir-fried noodles called chow chow and, of course, tandoor-charred naan, plus much more. Remember, though: With this many delectable options, pacing is critical. 360 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2077,

Best Pizza
The Pie

From its humble beginnings as a cellar-dwelling University of Utah hangout 30 years ago, The Pie has grown into an institution with five locations spanning the Interstate 15 corridor from Ogden to South Jordan. Whether you like to build your own pie—with more than 30 topping options, from good ol’ pepperoni to oysters or smoked gouda—or sample one of the establishment’s specialty pies, the piled-high discs of deliciousness continue to satisfy. The cellar remains for the U-district faithful, but the flavors of The Pie aren’t just for college students—or a secret to remain buried underground. Multiple locations,
2. Este
3. Settebello

Best Tom Kha
Sawadee Thai Restaurant

This Thai coconut-milk soup is bolstered with big vegetables and mushrooms in Sawadee’s daily soup. Made with chicken or vegetarian, Sawadee blasts the lemon-lime flavors, and the gingery brightness of galangal for a fresh and complex flavor. 754 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-328-8424,