A Tale of Two Crispies

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Prettybird sandwiches with crinkle fries
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Nomad chicken sandwich with fries

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.

The Location

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.

The Chicken

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

The Buns

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

The Sides

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Park City Culinary Institute Tasting Dinners

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. 

One tasting dinner remains on July 20th. Price is $45 per person. Go to parkcityculinaryinstitute.com for more info.

Ciao, Chow

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.

Eat, Drink SLC July 12th

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.

To purchase tickets, please visit http://eatdrinkslc.com/

Eat Drink SLC
July 12th, 2018 from 6:30-9:30pm at Tracy Aviary

Tickets: $90 (plus a $6 processing fee)

Website and tickets: www.eatdrinkslc.com

Alamexo Cantina: Bye Bye Lunch, Hello Happy Hour Snacks

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 Wine Dinner, June 28th

Vosca Chardonnay

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.”

Stanza is located at 454 East, 300 South in Salt Lake. Reservations can be made by calling 801-746-4441, info@stanzaslc.com or by visiting www.stanzaslc.com.

$85 Five-Course Wine Dinner includes:

Vosca Chardonnay DOC upon arrival 

Course One

Brûléed Melon, Prosciutto and Burrata with frisée salad and Cavalli balsamic

Dolfo Rose 2016

Course Two

Tiger Prawn Risotto Rucola with heirloom tomato and pecorino

Dolfo Pinot Noir 2012

– Cassis Sorbet –

 Course Three

Rack of Lamb with orzo, mint pistachio pesto, cucumber créme fraîche and oven roasted Campari tomato

Dolfo Merlot 2013

Course Four

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with roasted stone fruit, local wildflower honey and candied walnuts.

Roncus Rilolla Gialla

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UPSCALE COCKTAIL BAR & VINYL ROOM TO OPEN AT THE GATEWAY

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.”

Alamexo Cantina Remastered

Alamexo street corn
Alamexo street corn

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).

Queso Fundido with Lobster
Queso fundido with lobster

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.

Enchiladas with lump crab and gulf shrimp
Enchiladas with lump crab and gulf shrimp

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.

Plantains
Plantains with cream

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.

Stoneground Bakery, The Bakery Behind the Curtains

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Chances are, if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant in Utah, you’ve eaten bread from Stoneground Bakery. Even Stevens, Market Street, Montage Deer Valley, Robin’s Nest, Grove Market, and Oh Mai are just a few examples of hundreds of local dining spots that rely on daily delivieries of freshly-baked goods from this wholesale baker. If you’ve ever had a hot dog, hamburger, or sandwich at the Vivint Arena or a Real Salt Lake game, you’ve had Stoneground bread. Temple Square? Yep, you guessed it.

 

“Under the radar” is an apt phrase to describe Stoneground. It seems to me that nine time out of ten, when I’m eating out and think to myself “this is really good bread,” I would find out it came from Stoneground. Their ability to consistently crank out some of the best-tasting bread around intrigued me, so I thought I’d give them a visit to speak with Linda Hines, their business manager, and to take a tour of their facility.

 

Stoneground got its start as a tiny bakery on Main Street in Heber City. German-born Hans Schmerse fled East Germany and opened a small European-style bakery in 1979, and the growth of Stoneground since then has been more than Hans could have ever imagined. Stoneground has over 180 employees, serves over 770 different wholesale customers, and ships their products as far as Ohio.

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Market Street sourdough loaves rest for over 24 hours to allow the loaves to fully develop their characteristic flavor

Stoneground makes all sorts of baked breads steeped in old-school European baking tradition, including dinner rolls, ciabatta, pretzel buns, brioche hamburger buns, giant sandwich loaves, bagels, rye, pumpernickel, and hot dog buns, to name a few. Their sourdough starter dates back to before 1979.

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Brioche hamburger buns destined for greatness

The bakery seeks to set itself apart by truly being a custom shop for their customers. Stoneground meets with potential customers to formulate the perfect bread for their needs. They will make a test batch, meet and taste, and repeat this process until it meets the customer’s requirements perfectly. This specialization has resulted in a recipe catalog of more than 650 items. But you’d be mistaken to think that they just focus on the big customers. In fact, the opposite is the case. Their minimum order is $25 and they encourage frequent deliveries (their delivery charge is $0.75/order, no matter the size) to make sure that their bread is as fresh as possible, and to make sure that their breads are accessible to all customers, big and small.

 

Don’t expect to be able to buy Stoneground bread at a retail location, at least under their own name. One large grocery chain is finalizing a deal to private-label Stoneground’s bread in their stores. But historically the baker has specialized in wholesaling baked goods to local food establishments.

Hans has retired, and his children Derrick and Tammy run the day-to-day operations, with Derrick over the baking operations and Tammy over everything else. The company continues to grow and just last month moved in to a second large production facility across the street from their existing bakery in order to accommodate their growth.

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The family ties in management also trickles down to the employees. Second generation employees are now working at the bakery. One administrative assistant’s parents worked at the bakery, and she remembers roaming the bakery halls as a small child.

“You’ll find that a lot of whole families work here. My assistant’s mom, dad, aunts, uncles all worked at the bakery. Her mom was pregnant with her while working at the bakery. She grew up in the bakery and started in packing, production, and has now moved up to work in the office.” Linda Hines

Employees are happy and fulfilled, with master mixer Octavio Flores having 20 years under his belt, and Jesse Farlanio in packaging at 14 years, for example.

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Master Mixer Octavio Flores
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Jesse Farlanio

The company values the community, and aims to give back by developing a refugee employee development program. Stoneground works with various refugee integration centers and gives many refugees their first job in the U.S. They teach them the job skills and language skills that are so important in order to integrate into the American culture. They additionally seek to give back to the community by supporting local flour mills and other ingredient providers, with locally-milled grains coming from Utah, Idaho, and Montana, with the majority coming from Big J Mills in Brigham City.

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While you can’t find their bread for sale in stores, you can go directly to the source. Their front office shares space with a small retail store, which sells a selection of their baked goods. The selection varies, as the store is stocked based on baking overruns, but the mainstays such as ciabatta and sandwich loaves are usually easy to find. Every now and then you can find some sweet treats like cinnamon rolls as well. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 2pm, located at 1025 South 700 West in Salt Lake City.

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Linda Hines and Tammy Hines

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Upcoming Events Rundown

Here’s a summary of some events happening around the neighborhood.

Solitude Chocolate Lovers’ Festival

Chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk and chocolate covered strawberries are just a few reasons chocolate lovers will unite at Solitude Mountain Resort on Saturday, March 24. The resort’s 28th annual Solitude Chocolate Lovers Festival celebrates all things chocolate at nine stations located both on and off the mountain.

Guests begin their day at 9:00 a.m. by picking up a complimentary “Chocolate Lovers Passport” at Moonbeam Base Area or in Solitude Village. Guests will follow the map on the passport to enjoy complimentary chocolate delights and earn a passport stamp at each chocolate station. Completed passports are due by noon to be entered into a drawing for great prizes, such as a pair of Solitude lift tickets, helmets, goggles, t-shirts, and mugs from Canyon Fever. The prize drawing begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Moonbeam Plaza.

Chocolate vendors for the event include Chocolate Conspiracy, Solstice Chocolates, Hatch Family Chocolates, Utah Truffles, Honeycomb Grill, Winder Farms, Amano Artisan Chocolate, Creamies, and U.S. Foods. The event is free to the public.

For more information on the annual Solitude Mountain Resort Solitude Chocolate Lovers Festival, contact Solitude Communications Manager Sherri Harkin at s.harkin@solitudemountain.com801-536-5784 or visit solitudemountain.com.

Park City Restaurants Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

The town’s famed bars and restaurants are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a host of Irish-themed specials Saturday, March 17.

“No need for the luck of the Irish here, whether you celebrate at home or head to the restaurants and bars downtown, you’re going to have a blast no matter which establishment you choose this St. Patrick’s Day,” PCARA executive director Ginger Ries said.

Deer Valley Grocery~Café

The café is serving a delicious lamb stew and polenta, featuring tender Niman Ranch lamb, winter vegetables, rich red wine sauce and fresh herbs, served over white cheddar polenta with crispy shallots. Be sure to leave room: Irish soda bread, sugar cookies and chocolate stout cupcakes with Baileys Irish cream filling will also be available from the Deer Valley Bakery.

Empire Canyon Grill at Deer Valley Resort

Feast on a grilled Reuben sandwich with corned beef, caraway sauerkraut, caramelized onions, Swiss raclette and thousand island dressing on a house-made rye swirl bun at this ski lodge on Empire Mountain at Deer Valley Resort. Irish soda bread from the Deer Valley Bakery will also be on offer.

Fireside Dining at Deer Valley Resort

Enjoy Irish whiskey fondue and sticky toffee pudding, served with date and ginger cake and brandy toffee sauce, at this popular dinner destination at Empire Lodge at Deer Valley.

 Flanagan’s

This Irish pub on Historic Main Street making a weekend of St. Patrick’s Day. The celebrations kick off with karaoke Friday night, plus a day-long party Saturday: bagpipes perform Saturday afternoon, followed by a performance from Ryan Walsh in the evening, and a DJ set from Anthony Moto until the end of the night. Commemorate Flanagan’s biggest event of the year in the photo booth with fun costumes, plus swag and prizes through the night and special awards for the best Irish kilt in male and female categories. For dinner, enjoy Flanagan’s top-notch pub fare, plus two specials: grass-fed New York peppercorn steak with grilled onions, house-made peppercorn sauce, mashers and veggies; and Flanagan’s famous slow-roasted prime rib, encrusted with roasted garlic, mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables, and served with horseradish sauce and house-made au jus.

Red Rock Brewing

This buzzy brewhouse at Red Rock Junction will be serving beer specials, plus a corned beef and bangers-and-mash special, alongside Red Rock’s award-winning brews and a menu that boasts delicious classic pub fare and much more.

Red Rock is also co-hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Parade after-party in Salt Lake City. Dress in your best green and join Red Rock and Mountain West Hard Cider from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for live music and 17 vendors serving food, games, cider, beer and whiskey. Admission is free, and the Tullamore Dew “Party Trolley” will be picking up guests at the end of the parade and offering rides back to the party’s gates.

Royal Street Café at Deer Valley Resort

The restaurant with one of the best decks in town will be serving a pair of specials for St. Patrick’s Day: a corned beef sandwich with Niman Ranch corned beef, braised apples, cabbage and Jarlsberg cheese on a rye swirl bun; and Irish whiskey semifreddo, made from layers of dark chocolate and whiskey mousse and milk chocolate Irish cream mousse in a shortbread crust.

Seafood Buffet at Deer Valley Resort

Two special desserts will be on offer: Irish whiskey and espresso mousse, and Irish cream and milk chocolate mousse, each served in a glass.

Silver Lake Restaurant at Deer Valley Resort

This lodge at mid-mountain will be serving a hearty shepherd’s pie featuring braised Niman Ranch lamb, pearl onions and green beans, topped with Yukon gold mashed potatoes. Irish soda bread from the Deer Valley Bakery will also be on offer.

Snow Park Restaurant at Deer Valley Resort

The ski lodge at the base of Deer Valley Resort is serving hearty lamb and spring vegetable stew, plus Irish soda bread and sugar cookies from Deer Valley bakery.

Squatters and Wasatch Brew Pub

Wasatch Brew Pub will be tapping a firkin of traditional Irish Stout at the strike of noon this St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy a brew with elevated bitterness and a crisp, clean body and a touch of roasted malt and bitter cocoa. Both Squatters and Wasatch will also be serving traditional corned beef and cabbage in addition to their locals-favorite menu and beer selection.

For more information about the PCARA and its member restaurants’ St. Patrick’s Day specials, contact Christa Graff, of Graff Public Relations, at christa@graffpr.com or 435-640-7921.

Texas de Brazil Gets Ready to Welcome Spring

Texas de Brazil will feature Brazilian Limeaide for a limited time at $3 per glass and $12 per pitcher, from March 19th through April 15th. This tangy sipper, available in multiple flavors, is a refreshing accompaniment to any of Texas de Brazil’s churrasco grilled meats or dishes in their vibrant 50-60 item salad area.

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On Easter Sunday, April 1st, Texas de Brazil locations nationwide will open early at 11 a.m., serving its full rodizio-style dinner menu all day (regular dinner pricing) plus specialty brunch items including scrambled eggs, bacon, muffins, croissants, and Danish pastries available through 3 p.m.

Saffron Valley Tour of India Event

You’re invited to our first ever Saffron Valley + Salt Lake Magazine joint event: A Culinary Tour of India with Wine Pairings.  Proceeds of this event will benefit The Saffron Kitchen, Culinary School & Studio.

Like an old fashioned train journey through India, Lavanya from Saffron Valley will navigate you through each and every region and course telling you about the flavors, the culture and the background behind each dish.

You’ll enjoy a 7 course dinner with 5 wines that take you through the unique food quarters of India – from north, south, east and west.  We’ll have our wine expert joining us to showcase wines that pair exquisitely with each course.

Tickets are $125 / person and include 7 courses + 5 wine pairings (options for those not drinking are available).

In addition to dinner guests will be treated to henna tattoos and swag bags including a copy of the Saffron Valley Journal and a Saffron Valley spice sampler.

Net proceeds will benefit the our upcoming Saffron Kitchen, Culinary School & Studio which will be a non-profit space dedicated to helping underserved young adults develop commercial cooking skills to take them into the professional culinary world.

THIS IS AN RSVP / TICKETED EVENT ONLY.  You must pay in advance to reserve your spot. We sadly will NOT be able to accomodate walk-ins.  Due to the consumption of alcohol this is a 21+ event and you will be asked to present tickets and ID at the door. Register here.

OASIS CAFE OFFERS $30 3-COURSE SEAFOOD SPECIALS IN MARCH

 With the anticipation of spring in the air and the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, Oasis Cafe’s Chef de Cuisine Efren Benitez, has created fresh specials for March. Priced at just $30 and changing weekly to take opportunity of the freshest ingredients, the nightly three course dinner special includes a nourishing choice of soup or salad and changing entree and dessert options. Reservations can be made by calling 801-322-0404 or visiting www.OasisCafeSLC.com.

Oasis Cafe’s March 3-Course $30 Specials come with a starter course of soup or salad and change weekly:

March 5 – 11: Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and basil with a smoked sweet potato salad of corn, shallots, spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes and yellow bell pepper puree with chocolate roulade and strawberry ice cream for dessert.

March 12 – March 18: Blackened Swordfish with mango salsa, grilled zucchini, onion, potatoes, asparagus, red and green bell peppers and white corn sauce. Honey roasted pear with Mascarpone pistachio cream for dessert.

March 19 – March 25: Soy Sauce Infused Halibut with herb mixed orzo pasta, tomato fennel sauce; fennel, asparagus, roasted tomatoes and soy sauce reduction. Apple cake for dessert.

March 26 – April 1: Pan Roasted Scallops with roasted wild mushroom risotto, truffle oil, garnished with mixed herbs of celery leaves, parsley, chives, tarragon. Final course is Efren’s famous bread pudding.

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Soy Scallops. Photo courtesy Oasis Cafe

UNDER CURRENT CLUB HOSTS BIG GIN MARCH 14

Martinis and Oysters were meant to be together like star-crossed lovers. On Wednesday March 14 from 5 – 7 p.m., Under Current Bar will host a casual social event featuring Big Gin. Their founder and distiller Ben Capdevielle will entertain guests with the story of Big Gin and Captive Spirits Distilling. The public is welcome, there is no cover charge and all menu items may be ordered a la carte.

Martini selections by Managing Partner Amy Eldredge will feature Big Gin’s catalogue of London Dry, Bourbon Barred Aged and Peated Gin, paired with a variety of oysters from the acclaimed kitchens of Current Fish & Oyster.

“We are very excited to be hosting Big Gin here at Under Current. Our mission from day one has always been to carry unique and interesting products here at the bar, and we especially love supporting small, family-owned, local distilleries,” says Eldredge. “This is a beautiful series of gin, and you really can’t beat the classic pairing of oysters and martinis.”

Ben Capdevielle, owner and founder, began distilling gin as a hobby with his father, “Big Jim.” Jim learned how to distill from his father, Ted, and happily passed the tradition along to Ben. After ten years behind bars and in kitchens, Ben started making Big Gin, aptly named after his father, “Big Jim.” His company, Captive Spirits Distilling sold its first bottle of Big Gin in February 2011. https://www.captivespiritsdistilling.com/big-gin.

STANZA ITALIAN BISTRO & WINE BAR WHISKEY DINNER MARCH 15

Stanza Italian Bistro & Wine Bar’s first whiskey dinner of 2018 combines the best from celebrated High West Distillery paired with Chef Jonathan LeBlanc’s five-course tasting menu of lauded beef from Snake River Farms on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Cost is just $85 per person (or $55 per person without whiskey 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 whiskey pairing dinner needs to be included.

The pairing of Chef LeBlanc’s menu of the Snake River Farms beef and High West whiskey cocktails include five courses: Kurobuta Pork Belly paired with the Rye Boulevardier; American Wagyu Skirt Steak with a Rye Sour, an intermezzo of Apricot Orange Blossom Sorbet; American Wagyu Teres Major with a Prairie Manhattan; and a final course of High West Double Rye Brownie Sundae paired with a Boyscout cocktail.

“We deliberately selected some of our favorite classic cocktails in order to showcase the whiskey better. We kept is simple, so the high quality of the High West whiskeys really shines through and you get a truer pairing.” says Hillary Merrill, general manager. “I love American whiskey and its versatility in cocktails with the various nuanced flavors that pair so well with Chef LeBlanc’s food.”

Stanza is located at 454 East, 300 South in Salt Lake. Reservations can be made by calling 801-746-4441, info@stanzaslc.com or by visiting www.stanzaslc.com.

$85 Five-Course Wine Dinner includes:

Kurobuta Pork Belly: jalapeño-corn maque choux, parsnip puree, pepper jelly

Paired with Rye Boulevardier: Double Rye, sweet vermouth, capelletti

American Wagyu Skirt Steak: Rendezvous Rye chipotle chimichurri, cilantro-pesto whipped potatoes, vegetable pearls

Paired with Rye Sour: Rendezvous Rye, lemon, honey, bitters lab habañero

Apricot Orange Blossom Sorbet

American Wagyu Teres Major: American Prairie glazed pearl onions, smoked cannellini beans, roasted red pepper preserve

Paired with a Prairie Manhattan: American Prairie, Ransom vermouth, Angostura

High West Double Rye Brownie Sundae

Paired with a Boyscout: Campfire, Chocolate bitters, simple, orange

CURRENT FISH &OYSTER NEW $12 LUNCH SPECIALS

Bringing back one old favorite and introducing two new offerings, Current Fish & Oyster’s executive chef Alan Brines has created some $12 lunch specials to complement the weekday mid-day menu. A guest favorite, Current’s Chicken & Waffle with white cheddar-green onion waffle, jalapeño and maple syrup joins two new dishes: Cauliflower Sandwich, with arugula, white bean purée and green romesco; and the Roasted Pork Sandwich with slow roasted pork, lemon aioli and arugula, both of which come with house-cut fries or salad.

“We wanted to do something special and new for our lunch patrons,” said Andrew Cliburn, general manager. “These $12 specials make dining regularly easy on the pocketbook while offering a wider arrange of choices for our frequent diners and new ones alike.”

Always with a highlight on freshness and high-quality ingredients, the cuisine is straightforward with a spotlight on healthy choices and sustainability. The lunch menu, served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. each week, entices with the best of East and West Coast oysters, along with the best chowder in town, crab cakes, grilled calamari and chef’s addictive smoked clam dip with house-cut chips.

Salad offering include the hearty seafood cobb; healthy grain salad with heirloom grains, legumes, root vegetables and curly kale; Current’s grilled chicken salad with golden raisins, candied pecans and Beehive cheese; or Caesar and house salad courses.

Lunch specialties include guest favorites of Current fish tacos, delectable fish & chips, poached tuna melt, grilled chicken sandwich, the “un-common” burger or a grilled fish sandwich with the freshest catch of the day. The seafood bar boasts shrimp cocktail, two-minute ceviche, green lip mussels, grilled oysters and the best East and West Coast selections available daily.

Patrons can pair their lunch selections with Day Drinks of the Brown Derby, made with honey, grapefruit and bourbon; or The Kid with herbs, lemon and gin; or the Antoinette with vodka, Elderflower, grapefruit, lime, rhubarb bitters and sparkling wine.

As always, Current boasts a beverage program that is purposeful in its overall direction, the entire menu has an innovative, flexible and changing focus, based on seasonality, new finds and education. Inspired and nuanced, the menu includes white and red wines on tap and a nice array of white, bubbly and reds by the bottle and by the glass. A signature cocktail menu with a nautical slant, distinctive craft beer and cider offerings round out the beverage menu. Sherry is offered – not your grandmother’s cooking wine. These are the real deals, extraordinary, with endless flavors in each glass.

CAFE NICHE’S NEW $30, 3-COURSE CASUAL DINNER

Café Niche’s Chef Andy Morrison has been playfully at work in her kitchen coming up with some new taste delights. She is offering her new $30 dinner menu of three courses nightly for dinner Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. with offerings changing weekly. Cost per person is $30 and does not include beverages, tax or gratuity. Wine pairings will be offered tableside by the knowledgeable staff. Café Niche is closed for dinner on Sunday evenings.

Chef Morrison’s March dinners start with a choice of daily soup or Niche salad and end with dessert choices of Affogato — espresso, daily gelato and a house made cookie; or her sumptuous house made sorbet.

Weekly entrée selections for March 2018 include: vegan nachos, lamb burger, lemon saffron chicken and a hearty chicken pot pie. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 801-433-3380 or by visiting www.caffeniche.com.

Café Niche’s March 2018 3-course menus:

March 5: Vegan Nachos: butternut cashew sauce, multigrain tortilla chips, black beans, jalapeños, roasted peppers, pico de gallo, cilantro and green onion. Diners have the option to add blackened salmon.

March 12Lamburger: lamb and beef patty, mustard aioli, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Teleme cheese and sumac; rolled into lavosh cracker bread

March 19Lemon Saffron Chicken: lemon saffron chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes, campanelle pasta, Feta cheese, lemon oregano vinaigrette

March 26: Chicken & Sausage Pot Pie: chicken, sausage, mushrooms, peas, herbs, promontory cheddar, nutmeg spiced pie crust, side salad

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