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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Park City “Dine About” Happening Now

WHAT:           The Park City Area Restaurant Association (PCARA) welcomes foodies to its fifth annual “Dine About” this fall. The two-week restaurant event features savory two-course lunches and three-course dinners at more than two dozen area dining establishments, all at an incredible value.

PCARA partnered with Stay Park City to offer exclusive lodging packages for guests during Dine About. Thanks to their unique local perspective, Stay Park City provides hand-picked accommodations situated in the heart of historic Park City, tucked in surrounding neighborhoods, and nestled in the mountains at the guaranteed lowest prices. Dine About lodging offers can be booked here.

WHERE:         Foodies can enjoy Dine About at more than 30 participating restaurants:

Baja Cantina

Bistro 412

Brass Tag

Butcher’s Chop House

Café Terigo

Cena Ristorante

Chimayo

Deer Valley Grocery~Café

Escala Provisions Company Restaurant & Bar

Fletcher’s

Grappa

Grub Steak Restaurant

Handle

Lespri Prime Steak Sushi

Park City Marriott – DEN

Park City Marriott – Timbers

Powder at Waldorf Astoria

Purple Sage

Red Rock Junction

Red Tail Grill

Riverhorse on Main

Riverhorse Provisions

Shabu

Silver Star Café

Squatters

Sushi Blue

Trio Café Park City

tupelo

Twisted Fern

Wasatch Brew Pub

Versante Hearth & Bar

Visit parkcityrestaurants.com for full menus.

WHEN:           Sunday, October 1 – Sunday, October 15

PRICE:            Two-Course Lunch: $10 and $15 per person

Three-Course Dinner: $20 or $40 per person

Shoulder Season in Park City

Some people call it shoulder season. Others call it mud season. Park City locals call it “we finally have our town back” season. And Wasatch Front locals call it “get great hotel and restaurant deals, and avoid the crowds” season.

Way back when I was a kid, I remember my family heading up to Park City in the fall. We’d check out the Autumn Aloft, and then head over to Main Street to walk around and absorb the sights and smells of fall in the mountains. Leaves changing colors and crisp air combined to make it a magical time.

Now, even though I’m a little bit older, fall in Park City holds the same special feeling. And best of all, the summer crowds have gone back to work and school, and the winter ski crowds haven’t yet arrived. It’s a chance for local restauranteurs to catch their breath, take some time off, and enjoy the city without having the accelerator pedal jammed all of the way to the floor.

For locals on the Wasatch Front, the shoulder seasons are a great opportunity to find hotels at a great discount (some priced 25-50% lower than their winter rates). Many restaurants also offer locals deals during this time in order to keep their tables full. Tupelo, for example, offers a five course tasting menu for a bargain price of $49. Optional wine pairing is an additional $25. You don’t see that kind of deal during the ski season.

On a recent weekend, we stayed a couple days at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. This hotel is ideally located at the base of the Silver Lake and Sterling Express lifts, providing easy access for those adventure seekers who aren’t too interested in riding bikes or hiking uphill. Not interested in taking a lift? No problem. There is easy access to dozens of public hiking/biking trails that will take you all over the mountains if you wish. One of my personal favorites is the Mid Mountain trail, which will take you all the way over to the Canyons resort if you are looking for a big adventure. Being on the trails in the fall with the leaves changing colors is really something special, and one of the reasons I love Utah so much.

Of course, one of the reasons it’s called the “mud season” is that you have to be prepared for all types of weather. It is Utah in the mountains, after all. Our hiking and biking plans were quickly derailed when the mountain received about eight inches of snow during our weekend stay. No problem–we fired up the in-room fireplace, headed off to the hot tub, took a dip in the pool, and relaxed in the room.

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Then off to Sunday brunch at the Glitretind we went, which was absolutely phenomenal. Fellow diners and our servers were so good to our little baby, and the buffet offers something for everyone. Seafood, salads, chicken, prime rib, crèpes, waffles, eggs benedict–you name it, and it was probably there. And their dessert table is ridiculous, and featured an aspen tree centerpiece made out of chocolate.

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For dinner, we hopped down off the mountain and headed into a small strip mall next to The Market at Park City. I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Tarahumara, has opened a second location in Park City. The original Tarahumara in Midway is always packed, but I think that the Park City Tarahumara may still be a hidden gem, because it was not very busy. The carne asada, carnitas, and enchiladas were all excellent. And of course they have their famous salsa bar with what must be 30+ different delicious salsas.

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So if you’re crunched on time, budget, or just want a quick getaway, I’d suggest taking a look at a Park City/Deer Valley vacation. You can enjoy Main Street without the crowds, fill your belly with delicious food at a reasonable price, and perhaps upgrade your hotel accommodations from what you normally budget for. It’s a delicious and affordable getaway.

I was an invited guest of Stein Eriksen Lodge and the Glitretind restaurant. Opinions are my own.

Alamexo Cantina

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During his travels throughout Mexico, Matt Lake, chef/owner of Alamexo Kitchen downtown, was always struck by a certain type of restaurant. The cantinas he encountered are vibrant, lively, and most importantly, promote a sense of community and togetherness. Families, friends, strangers gather around tables sharing various dishes and libations, telling stories and laughing together.

These memories drove Matt’s vision as he put together his newest project: Alamexo Cantina, which opened this week in the 9th and 9th neighborhood. The style of service is different than at Alamexo downtown. The cantina cuisine is reminiscent of a street market in Mexico, but in a sit-down situation.

“Everything will come family style, everyone orders and you have it all at once, mixing and matching. I don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. But I do want it to be fun. It needs to be super easy and fun,” says Lake. “The best way to get at this concept is that I wish I could pick what people eat but I can’t. I felt this was the closest way to get to that experience of just letting the chef guide your dining experience. Whatever time [of the day] you come it’s the same [price]. One menu, all day long, with a wide array of shared dishes.”

The space itself is striking, with bright, vibrant colors contrasting with the dark tables and ceiling. A large glossy Adam Finkle photograph adorns the back wall, showcasing the multitude of ingredients involved in making a molé. The centerpiece of the bar area is a large mural by local artist Harry Baldwin, and depicts the iconic Espolón Blanco label. There is a gorgeous candle wall that is interesting during the bright daytime hours, but turns into something living, breathing, and very special at night. My favorite part is that most of the front wall separating the dining room from the patio breaks down, opening up completely and blurring the line between inside and out. This will be the spot to be on a warm evening. The kitchen itself is small, and is limited to a long comal (flat top griddle) and two fryers for chips. That’s it.

“We’re limited in the kitchen. But with that limitation comes clarity,” says Lake.

For those of you who haven’t been to Alamexo downtown, or his previous project, ZY, I highly suggest you try Chef Lake’s creations out. He is, in my opinion, one of the most talented chefs in the city. He won Food & Wine’s Best New Chef award in 1996 and worked at New Heights in Washington D.C. and Rosa Mexicano in New York City, one of the city’s first and foremost upscale Mexican restaurants. He graduated at the top of the class while attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. He, along with his team, make everything from scratch, from roasting whole chickens to making the various molé sauces.

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Chef Lake
So be sure to stop by, grab some guacamole and a drink at the bar, or dive right in to some dishes to share with some friends.

Alamexo Cantina
1059 East 900 S
Salt Lake City
(801) 658-5859

Reservations not accepted

http://www.alamexo.com/cantina

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Addendum: Johnny Slice

I’m going to keep this one brief, but I felt it merited a follow-up.

Back a few years ago (ok, maybe quite a few more than that), I was a mediocre little league basketball player. The only hot streak I ever had was the record number of consecutive games in which I would warm the bench. Of course, at the end of season awards ceremony, I was always the proud recipient of the “most improved player” award, even though technically I probably didn’t improve and even more technically it was a stretch to even classify me as a player. But they needed to award me something, and most improved was all they had left at the bottom of the trophy pile.

Anywho.

I wanted to post an addendum to my previous review of Johnny Slice and award their pizza the SLCeats Most Improved Player award. Except unlike my little league awards, this one is actually merited. It pained me in my initial review to praise the pizza place for everything except, well, the pizza. Truth be told, it wasn’t that great and I wasn’t a very big fan. But to their credit, it appears that ownership listened and made the necessary course corrections, because in the numerous times I’ve been since, their pizza has improved remarkably and is now among my favorite slices in SLC. The buffalo chicken pizza, laced with bleu cheese, is my new favorite.

Anyways, that’s it. Credit where credit is due. Johnny Slice is making some mean pizza now. Go and enjoy.

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Howdy Homemade Ice Cream

 

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Photo courtesy Howdy Homemade Ice Cream

“Come for the ice cream, but stay for the people” is a common saying of Tom Landis, founder of Howdy Homemade Ice Cream. This Dallas-based ice cream concept touts ice cream made in-house using high quality ingredients that yield unique results, such as the Dr. Pepper chocolate chip ice cream, a favorite in Dr. Pepper-obsessed Texas.

Oh, and the other unique aspect of Howdy? The majority of their employees have special needs related to Down Syndrome or autism.

“Our main goal and hope is that people recognize exactly what our employees can do instead of what they can’t do,” Will Nielson, son of the Howdy Salt Lake store said in a recent interview with the Deseret News. “I think when a disability or a special need comes up, often our mind starts running on to what are the limitations or the disabilities instead of thinking about (how) someone with autism, they have great retention skills, and someone with Down syndrome, they’re just naturally the most happy and loving people that you come across.”

Howdy Salt Lake is located at 2670 South 2000 East, across the street from Feldman’s Deli.  Local contractor Chris Nielson, who has a son with special needs, fell in love with the Howdy concept and brought it to Utah. The store features some local flair, offering sorbettos made by Amour Cafe, as well as a Publik coffee chocolate chip. All of the other ice creams are made in-house and feature everything from your basic cookies and cream all the way to a Dr. Pepper chocolate chip.

I particularly enjoyed the cheesecake ice cream, which is everything you’d hope it would be: rich and creamy. If you’re a fan of Coldstone’s sweet cream ice cream, this is the one for you. The Dr. Pepper ice cream was unique, but I was left wishing that a bit more of the soda flavor would have shone through. But it is a fun idea, and definitely worth at least sampling. Other favorites were the cinnamon brown sugar and the orange dream.

I love everything about the concept, from the location, the smart design, the delicious ice cream, the prices, and most of all, the wonderful smiles from everybody behind the counter. It is heartwarming to see the community coming out to support the shop, as evidenced by lines out the door when we stopped by.

Howdy Salt Lake
2670 S 2000 East, Salt Lake City

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Regent Street Beat

Regent Street continues to slowly build out as broadway shows fill the Eccles Theater. Two items to mention: Pretty Bird, Viet Pham’s new spot which will serve Nashville Hot Chicken, is scheduled to open in October, according to Pham. Although I would serve that hot chicken with a side of healthy skepticism, since a recent snoop inside indicates little to no construction activity inside.

Second shop is the Last Course ice cream dessert studio. Construction has started, and I was unable to sleuth out any additional information online regarding this spot, so keep your eyes peeled for additional information later on.

Eat Local Week 9/9-9/16

From September 9th through 16th Eat Local Week Utah, a community-wide celebration of the harvest and those who labor to produce it, is scheduled. Eat Local Week promotes local agriculture and the preservation of Utah’s agricultural heritage, and brings people together around the food they eat. Through a series of activities and events around the state, Eat Local Week seeks to educate people about resources for eating locally, and increase awareness about food production, transportation and access to healthy food for all Utahns.

This year, Eat Local Week has expanded to include opportunities across the state. For example, over 10 restaurants in Moab are offering menu items with at least three local items. A documentary film, Food Chains, which tells the story of farm labor in the United States and advocated for the dignified life for farm workers and creating a more humane, transparent food system, will be screened in English and Spanish in Salt Lake. In Kaysville, farm-to-table dinners provide a unique option to experience food at the height of the harvest season.

The Liberty Park Farmers Market will launch their Double Up Food Bucks, a three-year old nutrition incentive program that helps low-income families take home affordable fresh fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers, joining the Downtown Farmers Market and farm stands across the state who have participated for three years. Both the Downtown Farmers Market and Liberty Park Farmers Market will feature events and promotions surrounding local food. Events are listed below and at:

http://www.eatlocalweek.org

https://www.facebook.com/eatlocalweekutah

“Eat Local Week” is my favorite week of the year, because it really does challenge us to learn more about where our food comes from, and how much we grow and produce right here in our own state,” says Alison Einerson, Downtown Farmers Market manager.  “From local meats to produce to dairy and cheeses, you can find virtually everything you want to eat made right here in Utah. Food is truly a resource that binds us all, and connects our state rural and urban communities.”

A cornerstone of Eat Local Week is the “Eat Local Challenge,” which challenges people to eat and drink food that is grown or produced within a 250 mile radius of their home for one week. Now in its 10th year, the Eat Local Challenge is an opportunity for Utahns to garner a closer connection to food sources. eatlocalweek.org contains several resources to where to shop for local food, as well as recipe ideas.

Utahns are encouraged to craft the challenge level of their choice: a strict option—no coffee, no chocolate, no olive oil, is one example. Alternatively, participants can choose specific food groups that are easy to obtain locally (produce, meats, dairy) and stay truly local to them for a week. Spice Kitchen will offer locally sourced pre-made meals during Eat Local Week. Spice Kitchen Incubator is a project of the International Rescue Committee IRC) in partnership with Salt Lake County.

The goal of the challenge is to engage people to discover how much food we grow and produce in our region, and to show how changing small daily habits can have a profound effect on our health, our economy, and our diet. The Eat Local Challenge is a unique opportunity to learn more about local food and to foster creativity around what and how we feed ourselves, at the height of the harvest season.

Eat Local Week events include the following:

Saturday, September 9th

Taste of the Market & Perfectly Wild Produce Contest

Downtown Farmers Market, 8 am-2 pm

Saturday, September 9th

Wasatch Community Gardens Annual Tomato Sandwich Party

Grateful Tomato Garden, 11 am-2 pm

Saturday, September 9th

Taste of Harmons Rooftop Party

Harmons City Creek, 6-10 pm

Monday, September 11th

Free “Food Chains” Film Screening. Proceeds benefit Comunidades Unidas.

Pre-Party at 6 pm (Pago), Screening at 7 pm (Tower Theater)

Tuesday, September 12th

Quickle (Quick Pickle) at the Tuesday Farmers Market

Pioneer Park, 4 pm

Tuesday, September 12th

Starting and Maintaining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Enterprise

Youth Garden Project, Moab, 1-5 pm

Wednesday, September 13th

Free “Food Chains” Film Screening in Spanish, followed by panel discussion with Jorge Fierro of Rico Brand

Sorenson Unity Center, 855 W California Ave, 7-9 pm

Wednesday, September 13th

Taste of the Sugar House Farmers Market

Fairmont Park, 5 pm

Thursday, September 14th

Farm to Table Dinner

USU Botanical Center, Kaysville, 6-7 pm

Friday, September 15th

Taste of the Liberty Park Farmers Market

Liberty Park, 4 pm

Saturday, September 16th

Fermentation Festival at the Downtown Farmers Market sponsored by Catalyst Magazine

Pioneer Park, 9 am-1pm