The main course is found at The Elements (35 E. 640 South, 435-750-5171, TheElementsRestaurant.com), where you can sit on a deck overlooking a river. Although the diverse menu has everything from a meatball wood-fired pizza to lobster ravioli to cola-glazed meatloaf, it’s hard not to go with one of the steak options. The wood-fired chateaubriand with merlot butter is a melt-in-your-mouth meat experience.
For dessert, you’ll want to soak up some Logan history at The Bluebird Restaurant (19 N. Main, 435-752-3155), which first opened on Main Street in 1914. The highlight is the imported marble soda fountain, which serves up the Teddy Bear sundae: ice cream, Oreos, whipped cream and cherries put together into the shape of its name.
There’s nothing better than finishing off a terrific meal with a cup of great coffee, and Caffe Ibis (52 Federal Ave., 435-753-4777, CaffeIbis.com), which has been roasting coffee in northern Utah since 1976, has reached perfection with the Highlander Grogg and its hint of liqueur essence.
Southern Utah: Far-flung Fancy Fare
By Joe Beatty
We’re in for a busy evening, so it’s best to relax with a brew before chowing down. One of the more scenic and diverse-of-beer spots is the Lift Lounge in Brian Head (314 Hunter Ridge Drive, 435-677-9000). There’s a huge outdoor patio for summer sipping and plenty of seats inside for the ski crowd. The alpine air has worked up quite the appetite, so down the mountain we go ...
Considering the cultured crowd that Cedar City attracts, it’s not surprising that the most popular food destinations are in old houses near Southern Utah University, like The Garden House (164 S. 100 West, Cedar City, 435-586-6110), where we’ll begin our meal with the baked brie. The soft French cheese is wrapped in phyllo, baked and served with cranberry chutney and crackers. It’s a tasty appetizer that won’t fill you up.
Sorry, Shakespeare, we’re skipping town before curtain and motorcycling to Richfield for the spinach salad at Sagebrush Grill (1345 S. 350 West, Richfield, 435-896-4444, SagebrushGrillUtah.com). A colorful way to get some veggies in, it’s topped with a house mango vinaigrette that gives a little kick.
But enough healthy stuff; it’s main-course time at Eddie McStiff’s (57 S. Main, Moab, 435-259-2337, EddieMcStiffs.com), Moab’s cavernous brewpub institution. An 8-ounce flat-iron marinated in Cuban spices and topped with a lime-cilantro vinaigrette, the Mojo (“mo-ho”) steak is a little powder keg of a main dish. For our two included sides, let’s go with the cowboy beans and the mashed potatoes—Edward Abbey would be proud.
Leaving Canyon Country, we zip southwest to St. George and cozy up to a slice of sour-cream lemon pie at Croshaw’s Pies (175 W. 900 South, 435-628-1700, CroshawPies.net). For what the place lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in baking. The sour-cream lemon is this little restaurant’s signature dessert, but there are 33 other kinds to choose from, including sugar-free varieties.
Following the sugar high, how about a nightcap? Jetpacking all the way to the other corner of the state, we end our journey at the San Juan Inn (U.S. 163 and Old Bridge, 435-683-2220, SanJuanInn.net) in Mexican Hat. Holding a rare southeast Utah liquor license and some authentic Navajo recipes, this historic spot overlooks the river and serves as the perfect place to unwind while traveling in the Monument Valley area.
Salt Lake City’s East Bench: Eats From Around the World
By Dan Nailen
The west side of the Salt Lake Valley has the well-deserved reputation of being a hotbed for various ethnic cuisines. The east side of the valley, though, has more than its fair share of international flavor. The countries represented in my east-side dream meal might not always see eye to eye at the United Nations, but they can all fit on my plate.
I start with appetizers from Aristo’s (224 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0888, AristosRestaurant.com), probably my favorite Greek place in Utah. I can’t stop there without getting into the orektika, a three-spread sampler served with pita bread, cucumber slices and olives. All the spreads are amazing, and I go for the kafteri (an addictive mix of roasted Macedonian peppers, feta cheese and cayenne pepper), along with the hummus & skordalia, a blend of “garlic, garlic and more garlic.” It’s not exactly ideal date food, but it’s incredibly tasty. You can’t skip the mithia ouzo, either, so, thankfully, the black-shell mussels steamed with ouzo, scallions, garlic, shaved fennel and feta are relatively light.
The pommes frites at The Paris (1500 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net) have a spot on the plate alongside the appetizers. They are no ordinary fries, and they’re worth a quick stop to sit at the zinc bar and sip a cocktail or glass of wine. And as long as this is a dream meal with no thought to the stomach-expanding aspects of my plate, let’s go ahead and add the escargots classique on the side. You might not think you like snails, but these succulent guys served with a cognac, tarragon and garlic butter will change your mind.
For my main dish, I’m going to keep it on the lighter side and bring in some Mexican flavors courtesy of Taqueria 27 (1615 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 385-259-0712, Taqueria27.com). It’s listed as a “starter” on the menu, but I can’t get enough of the duck-confit quesadilla, full of roasted veggies, chipotle crema, cheese and that distinct duck flavor. You can get the duck confit in a taco, too, but I’m going to have the P.B.L.T.A. tacos instead—filled with pork belly, lettuce, tomato, avocado and jalapeño mayo. It’s far from a typical street taco, and hard to beat for pork lovers.
That’s a lot of food, sure, but we’re not stopping without dessert and a cocktail. And for those, I bring in the Spanish flair of Finca (1291 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com). For my palate, a Bulleit Rye fits the bill every time, and should work just fine with the flan, a cinnamon-flavored custard served with caramel and including just a hint of lime. Creamy and cool, it’s a perfect ending to a great meal.
South Salt Lake: Foodsta’s Paradise
By Bill Frost
Contrary to what you may have heard or smelled, the ‘hood of South Salt Lake (aka SoSaLa, or West Sugar House) has a tasty array of eateries—all within a few blocks of one another.
Myself, I’d start light with a straight-up pepperoni pie from Rusted Sun Pizzeria (2010 S. State, 801-483-2120, RustedSunPizzeriaUT.com); it has more elaborate pizzas, but even the simplest Rusted Sun selection beats most joints’ specialties. Throw in a salad, just for health’s sake.
A couple of blocks north on State Street, longtime local sandwich shop Grinders 13 (1618 S. State, 801-467-3676, Grinders13.com) is home to some of the most delicious stacks of meat in town. A 6-inch classic Italian (salami, pepperoni, ham, provolone, oil, vinegar, lettuce and mayo) is my sandwich of choice.
Nothing washes down an Italian like a fat garlic burger and a cold beer, and the Busy Bee Bar & Grill (2115 S. State, 801-466-0950) serves up a legitimately legendary one—burger, not beer—on toast, not a bun. A real daredevil pairs it with a basket of the Busy Bee’s garlic fries; I’ve tried it before, and I can still taste it.
No meat sweats yet, so off to Pat’s Barbecue (155 W. Commonwealth Ave., 801-485-5963, PatsBBQ.com) for some burnt ends—as long as it’s Friday. Pat’s weekly brisket-tips special usually has folks lined up out the door when the “Open” sign goes up (11 a.m.), and they’re definitely worth skipping breakfast for.
Heading west on the meat quest: Peruvian restaurant Del Mar al Lago (310 Bugatti Drive, 801-467-2890, DelMarAlLago.com) nails ceviche and seafood, but the lomo saltado, a dish filled with marinated beef strips with stir-fried onions and tomatoes served over french fries, is the order to beat. Del Mar al Lago also has a full bar and wine list, which helps make the soccer on the handful of overhead TVs tolerable.
For dessert, Penny Ann’s Cafe (1810 S. Main, 801-935-4760, PennyAnnsCafe.com) features a sugar-coma-inducing spread of sweets, including floats, milkshakes, cakes and cookies—but the dozen-odd varieties of pie really should be as famous as the proprietors claim. Trad flavors like banana cream and Key lime mingle with more out-there concoctions like chocolate peanut butter and Kentucky bourbon, and you can go à la mode for just a buck more. The salad earlier was a good call.