Imperial House, Park City

What was once a miner’s hostel in the 1800’s at the very top of Main Street in Park City has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation to transform it into what is now the Imperial House and Riverhorse Provisions. On the main level you will find a wonderful little market featuring a selection of everything from freshly butchered elk tenderloin to various sundries, and everything in between. I was impressed in particular with their butcher case and chocolate selection.

Above the market, you will find Imperial House. The Imperial House has been renovated and is now available to rent as your own private house right on Main Street. With four bedrooms, six bathrooms, an enormous kitchen, dining area, and living room, the Imperial House is positioned to be the perfect spot to rent out for entertaining, a long ski weekend, or anything else you can dream up. I could see families renting this out to spend a week skiing, people watch from the balcony overlooking Main Street, and enjoy a catered dinner prepared in-house by a Riverhorse chef. I can also see this being a pretty wild basecamp for all sorts of Sundance shenanigans. I expect that once word gets out that there is an actual house for rent on Main Street, this thing is going to be booked up for Sundance for the next twenty years.

From Imperial House’s website:

A private staff of concierges, drivers and chefs. An enticing selection of food, beverage, and amenities tailored to your tastes. A place where your every need is anticipated and every desire fulfilled. That’s the reality at Imperial House on Main Street — a hotel experience exclusively for you.

We were invited up to experience the market, tour the house, and dine courtesy Imperial House’s in-house catering. Enjoy the photos below.

Riverhorse Provisions: main floor, groceries, butcher, chocolate, cafe. The perfect little lunch spot.

Imperial House: four bedrooms, six bathrooms, huge gourmet kitchen, plenty of living quarters to stretch out, enjoy the fire, or a movie.

In-house catering, 24 hour concierge, and all of the luxurious accompaniments that come with Park City living.

Disclaimer: we were invited guests of the Imperial House. Opinions are my own.

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The Food Truck League Launches Finder App

If you’re like me, one of the struggles with food trucks is figuring out when and where they will be. You need to hunt each one down individually on their various social media platforms.

The Food Truck League has launched an app that displays truck locations in real-time. This localized Utah app already has the largest amount of scheduled truck locations on any app in the country. During peak food truck season users can now find as many as 100 truck locations each week throughout the valley.

Food trucks have become a recent sensation in Utah, with over 100 trucks operating every day. This app gives users access to all the information they need to find and support local food truck businesses. Potential food truck customers no longer need to rely on word of mouth or sporadic social media posts to find their favorite food truck. They can now locate a truck with the click of their phone.

The Food Truck League Finder app has a litany of features that allows users to see upcoming roundups, follow a specific truck’s future schedule, or even request catering with their favorite truck. Use the map feature to find trucks near your location, or scroll through a list view showing all of the trucks scheduled for a selected time frame. Additionally, food trucks can use the app to provide periodic prizes and special offers.

“People are excited about food trucks — they love the concept, they love the food and they love the sense of community,” says Taylor Harris, a founding partner of the Food Truck League. “From the beginning, the goal of the Food Truck League has been to bring great food and communities together. We knew we needed a way to bring all the information we have to the community, and this app finally allows us to be able to do that in all the ways we envisioned.”

Holly with The Cluck Truck explains, “It can be frustrating as a new small business when people love your food truck, love your food, but your business can’t grow because your customers can’t find you. The Food Truck League Finder app makes it so easy for our fans to track when we’re near them so we can keep growing.”

The app is available now on Android, iOS, and online at thefoodtruckleague.com/events.
Throughout the spring and summer food trucks will offer promotions for any customer that presents the app on their phone upon ordering.

We Olive Salt Lake City

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Step into We Olive in Trolley Square, and be prepared for an education. On a recent visit, franchise owner Stephanie Ennis and her son, co-owner Josh Garcia, took time to walk me through various olive oils, allowing me to taste and pick up on the various nuances of each one. Stop by, and they will be glad to do the same with you.

Just like cheese, wine, and chocolate, tasting olive oils properly involves a few steps. Pour a small amount into a cup. Step 1: Swirl. Cover the top to trap the aromas, and rub the cup against the palm of your other had to gradually warm the oil and release the flavors and aromas. Step 2: smell the oil. Step 3: Slurp it into your mouth, incorporate oxygen to further enhance the taste. Step 4: Swallow.

According to Josh, the three things you want to taste for with olive oil is the bitterness, the fruitiness, and the robustness (high-quality olive oils contain high levels of oleocanthals, which tend to create an urge to cough. The more “robust” the oil, the more likely you are to cough after tasting). I tasted a few different types of arbequina oils, and could instantly pick out tropical notes such as banana in one, while the other arbequina was much more mellow and one-dimensional. Thus, tasting is key.

All of We Olive’s oils are sourced from family farms in California, as opposed to other olive oil companies in Utah who source theirs from Tunisia. We Olive knows their farmers, and understand the provenance of their products.

One of the struggles of the olive oil industry is the lack of consistent regulation and certification of what makes olive oil “olive oil” and what makes extra virgin “extra virgin.” While there are rules in place, there is no international enforcement body to ensure the rules are followed. Josh and Stephanie pointed out that olive oils need to be consumed within 18 months of pressing the olives in order to preserve the taste and health benefits before the oil turns rancid. But large conglomerates of olive oil producers (those kinds that you will likely find in grocery stores) frequently hold olive oils for much longer, and have been known to blend in other types of non-olive oils into their olive oils in order to increase the shelf life. All of this done, of course, without disclosing anything to the consumer.

We Olive also has a wide selection of various balsamic vinegars; some produced in California and some in Modena, Italy. They have the straightforward balsamics, and also have some more outside the box varieties, like mission fig, peach, pear, and blackberry. No artificial flavors are used in these vinegars, rather, fresh purees are blended in. My personal favorite combination was their pineapple balsamic paired with their jalapeño olive oil. It would go perfectly on a fruit salad or as a unique vinaigrette for a salad. They sent me home with a bottle of their mission fig balsamic vinegar, which I used to make balsamic-glazed pork chops over polenta with wilted spinach.

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Venture towards the back of the store and you will find the We Olive wine bar, where you can sit at the bar or a table and taste various wines alongside some delicious food. I was able to taste their cheese and charcuterie plate, featuring Creminelli salumi and prosciutto, a dish of stuffed African peppadews, prosciutto-wrapped dates (my favorite), an orchard salad, as well as a cheese and garlic flatbread. Josh is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, and has worked in various chef roles at the New Yorker and other Gastronomy restaurants, so attention to detail with food at We Olive is a high priority. Various reds, whites, rosés, mimosas, and beers are available, including local producers Ruth Lewandowski, Proper Brewing, Mountain West Cider, and Talisman Brewing in Ogden. They plan to open their patio as soon as things warm up this summer, allowing diners to sip and dine while people-watching Trolley Square shoppers.

Josh and Stephanie are also building out a strong selection of local food producers for their grocery section, and currently carry Slide Ridge Honey, Four Sisters sauces, as well as various local pastas.

The next time you’re at Trolley Square, stop by, say hi, and ask them to take you on a tasting tour. You’ll learn more about olive oils and vinegars than you thought possible. And stay for a sip or two. And be sure to check out their events page which features various cooking demos, tastings, and other events.

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I was an invited guest of We Olive. Opinions are my own.

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Taste Utah TV Series Highlight Park City Restaurants

The Park City Area Restaurant Association (PCARA) is announcing their partnership with the Utah Restaurant Association (URA) to create twelve new episodes featuring Park City restaurants for the Taste Utah TV series.  Taste Utah is an interactive dining guide featuring innovative videos of the best restaurants in Utah. The series currently focuses on dining options in Northern, Wasatch Front, and Southern regions of the state, and will soon be joined by segments dedicated to greater Park City.

“We are honored to partner with the Utah Restaurant Association and participate in the Taste Utah TV series,” said Ginger Ries, executive director of the Park City Area Restaurant Association. “It is a welcomed opportunity to showcase our region’s world-class dining among incredible company in the restaurant industry across the state.”

A new Taste Park City section of Taste Utah is now accessible on tasteUT.com and  showcases 30 PCARA and URA members in four of Park City’s distinct dining districts: Historic Main Street, the Resorts, Prospector, and Kimball Junction. Each 4-6-minute episode follows hosts Katy Sine and Jami Larson to select restaurants. The duo interviews owners and executive chefs for an insider’s view on the history and vision of the establishment, along with behind-the-scenes tours and cooking tips for signature dishes from the kitchen. The interactive dining guide gives consumers the opportunity to explore the dining culture, find new dining destinations, and see what they can expect at each restaurant. Food enthusiasts are encouraged to share their dining experiences by posting their favorite restaurant photos to Instagram using #tasteParkCity and hashtagging the restaurant’s name to be featured on the Taste Utah website.

“The Taste Utah TV series provides a unique platform to promote our state’s diverse dining scene,” said Melva Sine, executive director of the Utah Restaurant Association. “We are thrilled to feature so many of Park City’s award-winning restaurants that help elevate Utah’s reputation as a must-visit food destination.”

Episodes 1-5, featuring Tupelo, Ritual Chocolate, Shabu, Glitretind, Bakery at Windy Ridge, Riverhorse On Main and The Brass Tag, have already been filmed and will be available on tasteUT.com. Upcoming Taste Park City episodes include:

Episode 6 (March 4): The Farm

Episode 7 (March 11): Silver Star Cafe

Episode 8 (March 18): Red Rock Brewing

Episode 9 (March 25): High West Saloon

Episode 10 (March 31): Cafe Terigo

Episode 11 (April 7): Myrtle Rose

Episode 13 (April 21): Yuki Yama / Wasatch Brew Pub

Slapfish coming to Utah

I generally limit my coverage of chains and franchises, but when a good one pops up on my radar, I’m glad to toot their horn.

Slapfish started as a food truck serving fresh, sustainable seafood dishes such as traditional fish tacos and fish and chips to more adventurous items like chowder fries, ceviche, and lobster taquitos. Not gonna lie, looking at their photos is making me wish they were opening a bit closer to downtown, but I think I’ll make the drive. I’m excited to try out their version of the lobster roll.

“With our menu of seasonally rotating, gourmet dishes in a relaxed setting, guests experience the quality of fine dining with the cost and convenience of faster food. Also setting us apart is the fact that we only serve the freshest fish and shellfish sourced from responsible suppliers of seafood.” Chef Andrew Gruel

Slapfish intends to open up to eight locations in Utah. Grand Opening events will happen on March 10th and 11th in their Lehi location.

Slapfish
3360 N Frontage Road
Lehi

Johnny Slice on Broadway


Throw a rock in any direction from Main Street in Salt Lake City and you’re bound to hit a pizza shop. Actually, you’re bound to hit many pizza shops. Off the top of my head, I can think of Este, Eva Bakery, Pizza Studio, From Scratch, Settebello, Oak Wood Fire, Pier 49, Pie Hole, Sicilia, and Maxwell’s. No, Sbarro doesn’t count. And I’m sure I missed a couple.

Needless to say, downtown pizza choices abound, and while each shop offers very different styles of pizza, from thin crust at Pie Hole and Este to thick slices at Pier 49, I was a bit surprised to hear that a new pizza place, Johnny Slice, opened right across the street from Sicilia and down the street from Oak, Pier 49, and Maxwell’s. That said, Johnny Slice isn’t looking to be pigeonholed as just a pizza joint, as they seek to differentiate themselves with broad menu offerings. Breakfast sandwiches, coffee, pasta, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and desserts are all served in this light and open space dominated by striking black and white tiles. The owner of Johnny Slice is also the owner of Michelangelo Ristorante on Highland Drive (but not the restaurant of the same name just up Main Street), so the breadth of Johnny Slice’s menu is not uncharted territory for these restauranteurs.

Their kitchen serves up breakfast sandwiches like a sausage and egg, bacon and egg, veggie, and ham & cheese. Breakfast is served all day, and you can wash it all down with a hot coffee or a freshly pulled espresso. At $5.75 for a sandwich, it seems a bit on the steep side for an early morning bite on the way in to the office, but the sandwiches aren’t tiny, either.

The French toast is made with house-baked focaccia, cinnamon, powdered sugar, and real maple syrup ($6.75). Add a side of warm berry sauce for another 75 cents. A dining companion reported that the French toast was tasty and was cooked well, and just what you would expect from French toast: soft on the inside and with a nicely griddled crust.

Pizza can be ordered by the slice, or whole pies can also be ordered. By the slice pizzas are waiting and ready to be warmed upon order. I think the pizzas are good. Not great, but good. Pizzas range from your standard cheese, pepperoni, and Hawaiian, and branch out into more creative territory with their Mediterranean (white sauce, bacon, garlic, spinach, feta, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers) and PP&J (pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeño). I tried a variety of slices and found the sauce to be a bit one-dimensional and too acidic for my tastes, while the pizza crust was decent, but a bit too reminiscent of a bagel in the chewiness department. At the end of two pieces my jaw feels like it just completed a set of bench presses. A little crunchier and a little less chewy would work wonders.


Their version of the roast beef sandwich was a real standout. Thin-sliced deli roast beef is heaped onto a fresh hoagie roll, topped with a generous portion of roasted peppers, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and parmesan cheese, and placed into the oven to get all melty and crispy. The sandwich ($8.50) is served alongside a pickle and a delicious cup of au jus that is a perfectly salty, beefy accompaniment to the rich and hearty sandwich. You can also jazz the sandwich up further by topping it with an assortment of peppers and giardiniera from their condiment bar. A combo option for $2.50 adds a bag of chips and a soda, but unless you just returned from a Strongman competition you’re not going to have room. This sandwich is hearty, and packs a deliciously agonizing gut-punch that will have you questioning your life decisions for a few hours after. I recommend it 100%.


I have only visited during lunch hours, but they seem to understand the importance of quick turnarounds during the crazy downtown lunch rush. Every time I have stopped by, the kitchen has been staffed with no less than 5-7 employees, a kitchen manager expediting, and an extremely friendly and helpful restaurant manager running food and bussing tables. Pizza slices and sandwiches show up within five minutes. Prior restaurant experience shines through in their service during the lunch rush. Unfortunately, dining buddies have reported this same prompt service to not quite be the case on nights and weekends, where an order of French toast and an egg sandwich took about 30 minutes to arrive, and an order of spaghetti and meatballs on another night took about the same amount of time.

Johnny Slice is serious about being open when it counts, opening at 7:30 during the week, closing at 11pm and remaining open until 2am on the weekends. Capturing the after-bar crowd will allow them to shine long after other pizza joints have closed up shop for the night.

Some serious money seems to be invested into the remodel of the old Pepper’s sandwich shop, showcasing a brand new kitchen, a large, open, bright dining room, and beautiful hand-lettered signage on the windows. I really love the black and while tiles throughout, as it makes me feel like I’m in an old-school pizza parlor. The dining area is spacious, and could easily accommodate a band for some extra weekend fun. Additionally, you can reserve a private dining room for parties, which seats 12. It’s obvious through the quality and details in the remodel that the owners care about the space, care about downtown and intend to be here for a long time.

With pizza and dining choices abounding in downtown Salt Lake City, Johnny Slice is a delicious and worthy addition.

Johnny Slice
12 W Broadway, Salt Lake City

(385) 415-2924

johnnyslice.com

1484973108313

Park City Food and Wine Classic Tickets on Sale

Tickets are now available for the 13th annual Park City Food & Wine Classic from July 6 – 9. Utah’s Wasatch Mountains will welcome internationally-known chefs, vintners, sommeliers, brewers, and distillers to offer an unforgettable experience of food and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and live music paired with access to world-class mountain recreation including hiking, mountain biking, cycling, fly fishing, and more.

The Classic kicks off July 6 with Wine on the Mountain, an exclusive event to sample exquisite culinary creations, spend one-on-one time with wine experts, and enjoy live music in an intimate setting at Montage Deer Valley. Historic Main Street’s Stroll of Park City takes place July 7 with offerings from Park City’s extensive collection of award-winning restaurants and local retailers. Stroll VIP tickets allow guests to enjoy 30 extra minutes and skip the lines. The Toast of Park City on July 8 features an impressive selection of premium wines, beer, spirits, and gourmet food purveyors, along with live music on the lawn of the DeJoria Event Center near the Uinta foothills. Toast tickets include complimentary round-trip transportation from Park City.

Tickets can be purchased online at parkcityfoodandwineclassic.com. Be sure to check the website frequently for updates on additional culinary events as they are confirmed for this year’s Classic.

Event proceeds benefit the People’s Health Clinic, a nonprofit healthcare provider that serves uninsured individuals and families in Utah’s Summit and Wasatch counties.

High West Named Distiller of the Year

High West Distillery received Distiller of the Year in Whisky Advocate’s 23rd annual awards. The award exists to recognize excellence in the world of whisky. The publication noted: “High West delivers innovative and delicious whiskeys, expands the definition of what it is to be a distiller, and pioneered a successful new paradigm for craft distilling.”

We’re speechless to receive such a great honor. It is a testament to the hard work and passion the team here at High West puts into making our endeavor successful every single day. I’d like to give a special thanks to my co-founder, Jane Perkins. We’d be nowhere without her. -High West co-founder David Perkins

You can find out more about the distiller of the year award by clicking here.

 

Desert Edge Brewpub

 

We’ve all either lived this story personally, or seen it played out on the TV or movie screen: two siblings, one flashy, flamboyant, loud and exciting, and the other stable, staid, quiet and, well, at times not so exciting. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

The Salt Lake dining news tends to be dominated by sibling #1: new restaurants, tons of money put into stunning design, the flash, glitz and glamour of new, new, new.

But sibling #2 is the bedrock to the SLC dining scene. The Camry to our Teslas. These restaurants tend to be steady in their menu approach and not very interested in causing too many waves with their regulars via wholesale changes in menus or approach.

One of those dining mainstays in Salt Lake is Desert Edge Brewery, located in the upper level of Trolley Square. Desert Edge is owned by the same group that owns the Red Butte Cafe, Stella Grill, and Martine, and the pub has been around in one form or another since 1972, expanding into a full craft brewery in 1995.

The restaurant’s menu offers a wide selection. I remarked to my wife that this is a great place to bring family or large groups because everybody is bound to find something on the menu that interests their taste buds. For appetizers, you will find everything from bruschetta, crab cakes, and nachos, to spring rolls and asian chicken skewers. There is a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, with the guajillo chile pulled pork sandwich and the grilled sirloin and gorgonzola sandwich both catching my eye. Sometimes when a menu covers that much ground, execution tends to suffer, but that isn’t the case at Desert Edge, according to my recent visit.

Those interested in salads can choose from a wide range, from the basic chef to an asian salmon salad, featuring a peanut-plum vinaigrette. On a recent visit I tried the crab cakes and avocado salad ($10.95), which were executed well, with just the right amount of spice.

Pasta salads are featured prominently on the menu, with their pasta made in-house (except the farfalle). These salads are accompanied by light and tasty house-made focaccia. The house “everyday” salad, featuring zucchini, yellow squash, feta, olives, and tomatoes, didn’t blow me away, but was a decent rendition.

The restaurant has recently rolled out a new rotating specials menu. They have given creative control over to their head chef, who sets a two week menu that features ingredients that are more seasonal in nature. Right now as we enter the cold winter their specials feature deliciously rich balsamic braised short ribs with a tarragon demi sauce ($16.95), an italian meatloaf with onion demi sauce, and a spicy pasta dish featuring chicken and spicy italian sausage ($11.95).

Of course, there is plenty of selection when it comes to alcohol. Pilsners, hefeweizens, pale ales, and stouts are all on offer. Many of these can be found as a nitro version, and some are available cask-aged as well. The brewery crafts their beers to be a bit more aggressive in terms of hops, but they try to maintain an appropriate balance for the many different styles of brews. There is also much deeper wine selection than is typically available at brew pubs, with Desert Edge offering a selection of cabernet, malbec, merlot, syrah, and a nice selection of whites (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, rose) as well. The servers know their stuff, so ask them and they will be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Prices, especially for the rotating menu specials, are beyond reasonable, in my opinion. I’m not sure where else you could find an herb-rubbed new york steak in a red-wine shallot pan sauce for $17.

We have been guided by the belief that we can do it our way, break some of the rules and give our customers a great experience. We are a ‘regulars’ establishment. We provide excellent food value by design. No corporate operation could sustain our high food costs. We just don’t have to answer to the bean counters, so we don’t. -Desert Edge website

I was struck by the high quality of ingredients, the care that went into the preparation and presentation of the food, the breadth of the menu, and the prices. In a day and age where the flashy, brash sibling gets all of the attention, sometimes it’s nice to get to know the low-key counterpart. Desert Edge may be low-key when it comes to marketing budget, but is definitely not low-key when it comes to food.

Located in Trolley Square, 551 S 600 E, Salt Lake City. (801) 521-8917.

Kitchen hours Monday through Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Saturday 11:30am to 11pm; Sunday 12pm to 10pm.

Disclaimer: I was treated to a complimentary dinner by Desert Edge in order to try their new rotating specials menu.

 

 

Beltex Meats

Beltex Meats in Salt Lake City is a rarity along the Wasatch Front. In a world where the majority of consumers get their meats from grocery stores who focus more on their profit and loss statements than they do on the provenance of their products they sell, Beltex meats stands alone as a diamond in the rough.

Beltex is a whole animal butchery, which means they utilize every part of the animal in order to promote responsible consumption and minimize waste. The owners of Beltex saw that as residents in the area become more interested in purchasing humanely-raised, sustainable products, existing suppliers weren’t necessarily able to accommodate the demand. So Beltex stepped in to fill the gap, first at farmers’ markets, and now at their own shop. What does humanely raised mean? According to Beltex it means that their animals are pasture raised, with lots of room. Their products are never treated with antibiotics or hormones. They know each of their suppliers personally.

Beltex was founded by a chef, Philip Grubisa, which makes sense when you see that their cases not only feature meat, but also meat pies, charcuterie platters, sandwiches (Saturdays only), sauces, ready-to-cook meals, and other items not typically found in a butcher shop. Philip cut his butchery teeth while working at Spruce in the Waldorf Astoria in Park City, then moving on to open Talisker on Main with Briar Handly. Prior to opening Beltex, Philip trained at the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat in Denver to certify in professional butchery.

I stopped by on a Saturday morning while the crew was preparing one of their surprising successes: sandwiches. Beltex offered a cuban sandwich one day, and it was so popular, they now offer a rotation of sandwiches on Saturday only. Despite their sandwich success, they limit their production to 50 sandwiches, and once they sell out, they’re out. “We’re not a sandwich shop. We’re a butcher shop that happens to sell a sandwich,” Grubisa says.

Philip has taken care to create a unique space to sell Beltex products. Their shop is located in a renovated house just across the street from Liberty Park on 9th South. Prior to the renovation, this house was a dilapidated mess, and Grubisa hired Brach Design Architecture to update the space to what you see now.

Beltex is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm.

511 East, 900 South, Salt Lake City. (801) 532-2641. beltexmeats.com

Click on the photos below to open the gallery.