tupelo Park City, historic Main Street’s home for inspired fine dining, invites guests to an exclusive wine dinner featuring Ridge Vineyards. These single-vineyard wines hailing from California’s Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties will be paired with four handcrafted courses from tupelo’s kitchen on Wednesday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m.
“Ridge Vineyards produces some of the best wines in Northern California, and we know the palates here in Park City will thoroughly enjoy them,” said tupelo Park City Chef & Owner Matt Harris. “Our menu is focused on the season, and we look forward to pairing some of our autumn harvest with the vineyard’s exceptional varietals.”
Chef Harris and his team will prepare four courses and close with a decadent dessert course, each to complement a thoughtfully selected Ridge Vineyards wine. The full menu includes:
To learn more about the Ridge Vineyards Wine Dinner at tupelo, contact Christa Graff with Graff Public Relations, LLC, at 435.640.7921 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information, hours of operations and reservations are available at tupeloparkcity.com.
Guys, I know I’m way late to this one. There’s only like three days left. But if you haven’t checked out a Dine O’Round restaurant yet, I’d highly suggest it. It’s a great way to check out a new restaurant and get a sense for their offerings without necessarily breaking the bank. See the press release below.
DOWNTOWN DINE O’ROUND SEPTEMBER 28 – OCTOBER 14
Downtown’s Best Restaurants Offer Specially Crafted Three-Course Dinner Menus or Two-Item Lunches.
Salt Lake City (September 21, 2018) – Featuring the top downtown Salt Lake City restaurants, the 16th annual Downtown Dine O’ Round, presented by Nicholas & Company, begins Friday, Sept. 28 and runs through Sunday, Oct 14, 2018. Diners can sample two-item lunches for $5 or $10 or three-item dinners for $15, $25 or $35 during a two-week span that includes three full weekends.
Dine O’Round attendees may choose a three-course dinner for either $15, $25 or $35, depending on the cost of typical entrees. Sampling three selections at such a significant discount allows people to experience a wider selection of tastes than sampling a single dish. Some restaurants will choose to put one of their guest favorites on the Dine O’Round menu, while others may change their Dine O’Round menu daily or weekly.
Options range from gourmet – think Current, Finca, Copper Onion, Stanza – to more casual options. The unique concept of Dine O’Round is designed to attract new diners to restaurants they have yet to experience or to re-visit old favorites. Newcomers this year include The Daily, London Belle, Argentinas Best Empanadas and Copper Canyon.
Diners are also offered the opportunity to “win dinner for a year” via a photo contest. Because diners are fond of posting photos to the social media network Instagram, restaurant-goers can upload photos from their Dine O’Round experience and enter by using the hashtag #DineORound and tagging @downtownslc on Instagram to be automatically entered to win.
The Alliance coordinates this event each fall to bring new people downtown, as well as encourage downtown residents and office workers to explore what the city has to offer. “Downtown Salt Lake City truly punches above of its weight class when it comes to food and culture,” said Dee Brewer, executive director for the Downtown Alliance. “Our fantastic restaurateur partners have elevated Salt Lake City’s brand as a culinary hotspot with quality dining options, culinary talent and varied ethnic cuisines.”
The lunch crowd is not forgotten during Dine O’Round, as nearly half of these top-notch dining establishments offer a wide array of two-item meals for either $5 or $10. Adding lunch to the mix gives workers downtown, who often may not often venture beyond their block or building, a good reason to sample the wide range of delectable culinary options downtown.
For the second year in a row, Dine O’Round will also feature the Chef Showdown on Oct. 10. This three-course cooking challenge pits two of Dine O’Round’s top chefs against each other and features a panel of local food critics. The chefs will use special ingredients from the Downtown Farmer’s Market and offer two signature cocktails. Attendees can bid on plates with proceeds benefiting local charity.
Restaurant-goers do not need to sign up for anything, carry any cards or clip coupons. All they need to do is ask for the Dine O’Round menu from their server. However, they are certainly not limited to just the special menu: diners are welcome to add on additional appetizers or drinks to further sample additional flavors.
Dine O’ Round is made possible with strategic partnerships and corporate sponsorships with Nicholas & Company, City Weekly/Devour, OpenTable, City Creek Center and Salt Lake Chamber.
I’m a simple man that enjoys simple pleasures. Near the top of that list is a fried chicken sandwich. Confession time: I enjoy chicken sandwiches in all of their forms. Elementary school mystery patty smashed between two slices of Wonder Bread? Sign me up. Spicy Chicken from Wendy’s? I’m already there. The classic chicken sandwich from Chick fil-A? They’ve had to serve me eviction notices before.
There’s been somewhat of a resurgence of fried chicken and its many variations recently in SLC. Viet Pham opened Prettybird, an homage of the various Nashville hot chicken shops. Justin Soelberg, formerly of Avenues Proper, opened Nomad Eatery in an off-the-beaten path location near the Salt Lake airport. And Scott Evans, of Pago, Finca, and Hub and Spoke, is opening a new restaurant in the 9th and 9th neighborhood named The Birdhouse, serving (you guessed it): prime rib. Just kidding. Chicken.
So chicken’s the new hotness in town. And while Prettybird does nothing but chicken, the fried chicken at Nomad is just one of various menu items. So, loyal readers, as your humble servant I took it upon myself to visit both locations and try their respective versions of the fried chicken sandwich, and I’d like to report back on how it went.
Short version: it went very, very well.
Long version: keep reading.
Let’s start with Prettybird. Prettybird benefits from being founded by local celebrity chef (and Iron Chef winner) Viet Pham, formerly of Forage. This guy knows food. It is fun seeing Chef Pham transition from “fine dining” at Forage to the somewhat lowbrow concept of a fried chicken shop. But there’s nothing lowbrow about Prettybird. The tiny shop on Regent Street is clad in all-white, lending an aura of cleanliness and levity. What the place lacks in interior seating it makes up for an even greater lack of exterior seating: the patio had two small tables that fit 4-6 people total. Everything you’ve heard about the long lines and depressing lack of seating is true. A victim of their own success I guess. Get there early and plan to take your food to-go.
Nomad is such a bizarre location, located near the Jet-N-Go or whatever the name of the airport parking lot is. But you know what? It works. There’s certainly an underserved market of workers near the airport, and it’s a close enough drive from downtown that makes it worth the journey. And what it lacks in a convenient location to downtown, it makes up for in a trendy, upbeat interior. And did I mention it’s big enough that paying customers can sit down and enjoy their food? What a concept.
So Prettybird wins in the “walking distance in downtown” category, and Nomad wins in the “you pay $11 for a sandwich, you should be able to sit down and enjoy it” category. I give the nod to Nomad because of all of the pleasures available in life, sitting is right up near the top.
On to the most important part: the chicken. Both locations offer super tender, moist chicken thighs as their base. Both versions are brined and breaded in their own spice blend, then fried. I don’t know if this is going to make any sense, but it does in my head, so here goes: Prettybird’s chicken is more crunchy, and Nomad’s is more shatteringly crispy. I really liked both, but preferred the crispyness of Nomad’s version. But you can’t go wrong with either, as they are both mind-numbingly excellent.
Prettybird’s version is topped with house-made pickles, cider slaw, and their Prettybird sauce. You can get it seasoned with your heat preference: everything from mild all of the way up to a version that will make you regret it the next day. Nomad’s sandwich is topped with mayo, shredded lettuce and zucchini pickles, and comes with a hot buffalo sauce, either smothered on the chicken or on the side. For those of you who prefer your food more on the mild side, like myself, I highly recommend getting it on the side.
Chicken winner: Nomad
There’s really not too much to this one. Nomad’s is a bit crustier and drier, while Prettybird’s is fluffier. Both have great chew and are strong enough to stand up to the massive chicken and toppings inside. But I like fluffy.
Hot Buns Contest winner: Prettybird
Sides are offered a la carte at both locations. At Prettybird you have a choice of cider slaw, a seasonal offering, and crinkle cut fries. I went with the fries, since the sandwich already comes with the slaw as a topping. Crinkle cut fries never cease to disappoint, no matter where I try them. I’m sure Prettybird puts a lot of effort into their fries, but whenever I have crinkle cuts I can never quite get over the bad nostalgia associated with sad, soggy elementary school crinkle cuts. Just say no to crinkle cuts. They just aren’t good.
Nomad offers a variety of sides, including wings, falafel croquettes, pickled and roasted beets, house-made salt and vinegar chips, and fries. I opted for the fries, which were well cooked and cut and fried fresh. I think next time I’ll check out the salt and vinegar chips.
Fry winner: Nomad.
In my not-so-scientific analysis, Nomad wins three of the four categories (although location could go either way depending on your dining preferences).
But look, you can’t go wrong with either of these spots, and they have quickly risen to two of my favorite spots to grab a bite in the city. I will happily recommend each, with a couple caveats. Prettybird: get ready for a line, sometimes they run out, and you have a 50% chance of getting a seat. If you’re with a group of 4 or more, forget about it. Nomad: it’s just a bizarre location, that’s all. But it works. If you’re looking for some super spicy, delicious chicken and aren’t with a larger group, I’d say go with Prettybird. If you’re with a group that may prefer a bit more menu options, go with Nomad. But like I said above, go to both. Make a day of it. Because they’re both fantastic and I’m so glad to see them doing well.
Park City Culinary Institute’s Salt Lake location is hosting seasonal chef demonstrations and tasting dinners throughout the summer. Chef Jordan Miller, recently invited to cook at the James Beard Foundation, developed a tasting menu that showcased some of the very best that Utah has to offer: raw milk butter from West Jordan, local trout, pine nuts, pepperweed, dandelion, and Morgan Valley lamb.
I was saddened to hear that the growl of Chow Truck’s engine will no longer be heard roaming the streets of Salt Lake. Chow truck was the very first “non roach coach” food truck to enter the dining scene in Utah. Culinary pioneer SuAnn Chow knocked the socks off of hesitant diners with bold marketing and innovative flavor mashups. Calamari, taro root chips, lemongrass chicken, pineapple ginger tacos, brisket tacos–it was innovative for the Salt Lake restaurant scene and unconscionable to be coming from a food truck.
After a while, SuAnn sold the truck to her main chef, who then ran it for a few more years. Diners’ tastes may have shifted, marketing and social media from the truck became spotty, and you know the rest of the story.
Kudos to SuAnn for being brave and sticking her neck out to bring food trucks to our community. I remember seeing her frequently, hustling non-stop even in the freezing cold. The next time you see her, give her a hug and a hearty thanks.
Nibble, nosh, sip and swirl the evening away while listening to live music on Tracy Aviary’s cool, green grounds at Eat Drink SLC 2018 on July 12, from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Festival-goers, aged 21 and over, sample seasonal fare from many of Salt Lake’s leading restaurants and purveyors; sip from a selection of 80 wines from an international assortment of family-owned wineries; taste craft cocktails from small-batch distilleries, including several which are locally owned and operated; and enjoy local beers from award-winning Utah craft brewers. Each of the three distinct festival pods feature its own culinary mix and musical genre, allowing patrons to chart their own course through the evening.
Eat Drink SLC is a response to a new sense of urbanism in Salt Lake. As the valley changes, its tastes are changing with it. The growth of chef-driven and -owned restaurants and rise of craft beverages, urban wineries and distilleries are elevating the city’s palate. “Eat Drink SLC is a delightful way to celebrate our community’s coming of age as a culinary hotspot and raise visibility for the vibrant food and drink scene with both locals and tourists,” according to Tracey Thompson, President of Vine Lore Wine and Spirits, the event’s Presenting Drink Curator. Thompson notes that Eat Drink SLC marries food and drink in a way not found in other Utah events. “Eat Drink fosters an appreciation of the synergy between food and drink,“ says Thompson “not just one or the other but how the marriage of the two.”
Vine Lore Wine and Spirits is joined by an impressive list of award-winning Salt Lake City restaurants and food businesses. Eat Drink SLC is hosted under a nonprofit partnership umbrella consisting of Tracy Aviary and SB Dance. These two organizations represent, respectively, a place and an arts-maker that contribute to the unique character of our community. A third nonprofit – Neighborhood House – represents an organization that empowers underserved youth from Salt Lake’s west side, many of whom are from families involved in the food and beverage industry. Eat Drink SLC’s mission is to honor the entire industry’s food chain including customers, business owners, managers, servers, culinary professionals, purveyors and agricultural workers.
With tickets priced at $90, this summer evening social is an approachable, affable and appetizing night out while supporting three local nonprofits that enhance Salt Lake’s community: Tracy Aviary, Neighborhood House, and SB Dance. Admission includes all food and drink and a complementary signature wine glass. Guests must be 21 years old and over. Please buy tickets early, as the event sells out days in advance.
Alamexo Cantina in the iconic 9th and 9th district will now be open seven days a week and is adding a new “Cantina Happy Hour” menu of $4 Botanas that will be served from 3 until 6 p.m. throughout the restaurant. Each week will feature a rotating selection of small bites available a la carte in addition to the regular dinner menu. “I’m going to serve some additional treats in the afternoon – things you’d usually find in at a bar in Mexico,” said Matt Lake, owner and executive chef.
New Operating Hours are Monday – Saturday from 3 until 10 p.m. and Sundays from 3 – 9 p.m. with the Cantina Happy Hour menu served daily from 3 – 6 p.m. “It’s a new neighborhood to us, and we listened carefully to our customers since opening,” said Susan Bouldin, operations manager. “Everyone has really embraced the Cantina and our gorgeous patio in the afternoon and evening and that’s clearly the time of day they want to enjoy the restaurant.”
The Cantina Happy Hour Menu, available from 3 – 6 p.m. in addition to the dinner menu (highlights below), will change weekly to take advantage of the freshest ingredients from local farms and ranches. Drink specials will be offered with selections changing weekly. Sample $4 Botanas offerings include:
Huarache Plantanos: corn and ripe plantain masa topped with refried black beans, lettuce, cabbage and cashew salsa
Quesadilla con Queso y Hongos: two white corn quesadillas filled with mushrooms, jalapeño & Oaxaca cheese served with salsa verde cruda
Jalapeño Rellenos: pickled jalapeño filled with beef barbacoa, topped with queso fresco & crema
Taquitos de Pollo: crispy rolled tacos filled with adobo chicken
While the Cantina will not open until 3 p.m., Lake and his crew are happy to open for groups mid-day. “It’s actually the perfect answer for us because we can’t accommodate private groups in our downtown location and have a huge call for mid-day lunch meetings and events,” said Bouldin. “We can host any type of private party during the day now and offer a truly private space.”
In keeping with the traditional Mexican values and roots, Alamexo’s culinary teams source only the finest organic and natural produces for their menu. They feature Niman Ranch and Snake River Farms meats, responsible seafood and buy from local farmers in season. All their suppliers are locally owned and operated.
At both Alamexo Mexican Kitchen downtown and Alamexo Cantina in the 9th and 9th district, they offer a wide, hand-curated selection tequilas: blancos, reposados and anejos; as well as an all-new cocktail menu, mezcals, cervezas and licor.
The dinner menu will be served from 3 p.m. until closing. The Para la Masa offerings include popular selections of their classic Guacamole and Guacamole Verde con Carnitas, Queso Fundido, Cantina Nachos or Quesadilla Grande, both of the latter having options to add shredded short rib barbacoa or chicken tinga.
The Platos Principales are served with rice and beans and include the Enchiladas Suizas with roasted pulled chicken in a tomatillo cream sauce; Enchiladas Mole Poblano with pulled chicken adobo with traditional mole poblano; Carnitas con Salsa Verde with tender pork carnitas, the Jaiba y Camarones with lump crab and Gulf shrimp, Hongos y Queso with wild mushrooms and Oaxaca cheese, and the Con Queso y Aguacate with mashed avocado and melted Chihuahua cheese.
Tacos include the Pollo y Adobo with chicken in chipotle adobo, Pescado Mixtos with wild mahi mahi filet and Gulf shrimp, Barbarcoa with tres chile beef barbacoa, Al Pastor de Alamexo with braised and pulled pork, Vegetales with roasted cauliflower and seasonal vegetables and Carne Asada with adobo marinated steak.
A Cantina Salad with Romaine hearts, baby spinach, tomato, avocado and jĭcama can be made into a meal by adding adobo chicken or beef barbacoa. Lados (or sides) include Cantina favorites of Papas y Chile Molido, smashed russet potatoes, Platanos con Crema, fried ripe sweet plantains; Elotes de la Calle, Mexican street corn off the cob with lime aioli, queso fresco and chile molido or Coliflor, roasted cauliflower with chile recado.
Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar’s first wine dinner of the summer features wines from Vosca, Roncúsand Dolfo paired with Chef Jonathan LeBlanc’s four-course Italian tasting menu on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Cost is just $85 per person (or $55 per person without wine pairings). Reservations are a must and can be made by calling 801-746-4441. Reservations may be made on www.stanzaslc.com, but a notation about the wine dinner needs to be included.
After a refreshing Vosca Chardonnay DOC upon arrival, the pairing of Chef LeBlanc’s menu includes: Dolfo Rose 2016 with Chef’s new Brûléed Melon, Prosciutto and Burrata with frisée salad and Cavalli balsamic; Dolfo Pinot Noir 2012 with Tiger Prawn Risotto Rucolawith heirloom tomato and pecorino; Dolfo Merlot 2013 with a juicy Rack of Lamb with orzo, mint pistachio pesto, cucumber créme fraîche and oven roasted Campari tomato. The dessert course will feature Roncus Rilolla Gialla with pastry chef Amber Billingsley’s Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with roasted stone fruit, local wildflower honey and candied walnuts.
“While backpacking Europe a couple years ago, I was blown away by the wonderful wines being produced along the border of Italy and Slovenia. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to form a relationship with some of these winemakers, and to help in making their delicious product available in Utah,” says Hillary Merrill, general manager. “These wines are very dear to my heart, making this an especially exciting dinner for me.”
The Salt Lake craft cocktail game is growing, thanks to La Barba Coffee co-founders Josh Rosenthal and Joe Evans, with the exciting announcement of Seabird Bar and Vinyl Room. Seabird, set to open doors this fall, is part of a rapidly growing number of new and unique tenants at The Gateway.
Seabird will be located next door to La Barba, which began serving customers earlier this month.
“Seabird is exactly the kind of concept we’re excited to bring to downtown,” says Jenny Cushing, Vice President of Leasing at Vestar. “What they can do with coffee is second-to-none, and now, they’re going to bring that same level of quality and uniqueness into the cocktail scene. We’re so excited for it to come to life here at The Gateway.”
Seabird will feature lavish seasonal renditions of craft cocktails, while music is played from a classic turntable. “We’ve just started construction on a Seabird location in Draper,” says Josh Rosenthal, co-founder of La Barba and Seabird. “Once we signed the deal to come to The Gateway, we knew it would be another perfect location for us.”
One thing I’ve always respected about Chef Matt Lake is that he’s not afraid of change. After his first SLC restaurant, ZY, wasn’t performing up to his standards, he took one weekend to completely redecorate, rebrand, and the following Monday the city was introduced to Alamexo downtown.
Though not as dramatic a change, Chef Lake has listened to customer feedback at Alamexo Cantina, and has introduced a brand new menu. Shared plates as originally envisioned for the cantina are still available, however diners are now able to order their own entrees as well. Some classic dishes from Alamexo downtown have also found there way to the Cantina menu. And what started as one menu for both lunch and dinner has morphed into two separate menus. Those that enjoy adult beverages need not fear: Alamexo Cantina continues to offer its top-shelf selection of various tequilas as well.
On a recent visit I was able to try the larger entree portions, as well as some of the classic dishes. Queso Fundido with guajillo-marinated lobster was a rich, gooey revelation and is highly recommended (and coming in at a similar price as the guacamole, I think it’s a no-brainer which one I would choose, despite my love for a huge bowl of guac).
Fans of Alamexo downtown will be happy to see that Chef Lake’s famous Enchiladas Suizas are now on the cantina menu. These are my go-to enchiladas, and they never disappoint. I also tasted the Enchiladas Jaiba y Camarones (enchiladas with lump crab and gulf shrimp, baked in a roasted habanero cream sauce). Rich, sweet, and spicy, these delightful enchiladas hit all of the right notes. I had a hard time choosing between the seafood enchiladas and the Mole Poblano enchiladas. Mole Poblano is my all-time favorite mole due to the sweet, rich, chocolately notes. I had the server bring me out a small taste of the mole Poblano, and I would suggest it for only the biggest spicy fanatics out there. It was a bit past my comfort level.
Some of the other classic cantina side dishes remain. The street corn, cut from the cob and covered in lime aioli, queso fresco, and chile molido, remains one of my favorite dishes. And the Platanos con Crema remains on the menu as well, although the new versions are large chunks of plantain that are then fried, as opposed to the old “crab cake” style plantains from the old menu, which were diced up and formed into patties, then fried. I preferred the old style, but plantain lovers will really enjoy the new version as well.
In celebration of the new menu, and for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration, Chef Lake is rolling out a few specials for Cinco de Mayo. Both Alamexo Cantina and Alamexo downtown will feature carnitas tacos with salsa verde, avocado, and jalapeno escabeche. Another special menu item will be enchiladas enfrijolatas with achiote chicken and asparagus. Both locations will also feature a special drink menu, including one named Medicina Botanica: Espolon reposado, ginger agave, lemon, and a Wahaka mezcal float.
In the mood to win a free dinner to Alamexo Cantina? I’m giving away $100 for the cantina (drinks and gratuity are not included) to celebrate the new menu, and to celebrate SLCeats reaching 1,000 followers on Instagram. All you have to do? Go to the SLCeats Instagram page and leave a comment on the giveaway post. That’s it! I’ll pick one commenter at random and the $100 is yours!
Disclaimer: $100 gift card provided by Alamexo Cantina. I was an invited guest to try the new menu.