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
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
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.
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 ...
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Our food critic picks his ultimate meal, one dish at a time.
By Ted Scheffler
Here are 7 SLC restaurants with design as sexy as the sustenance.
By Darby Doyle
A Cheapskate's Guide to SLC
Think good grub means breaking the bank? Think again.
By Amanda Rock
Try the Grilled Cheese
A vegetarian reviews local hotel food.
Story and photos by Ryan Cunningham
Hot for Tots
7 places that elevate the humble tater tot to art.
By Amanda Rock
We tip our hats to longstanding, bona fide Utah eateries.
By Carolyn Campbell
The Meatmen Cometh
Inside the lost art of meat-cutting.
By Alex Springer
Where to go when you got it bad for boba.
By Amanda Rock
Make it pop
Where to go for fine food with a side of spontaneity.
By Darby Doyle
10 superlative sandwiches spots.
By Ted Scheffler
Here's where to get your cookie fix.
By Amanda Rock
Utah: Home to a bevy of frozen treats.
By Carolyn Campbell