BEST WORLDLY SHOPPING
If your plans to travel abroad have been given the kibosh until the economy improves, you may be cranky. One way to fool yourself into thinking you’ve been somewhere is to load up the family and drive to Draper—you know, that far-away land in the south valley? Just driving there serves as a road trip for our city-centric folk. Look for that one-of-a-kind Trader Joe-inspired food fortress on 700 East, and start filling your basket with imported pastas, olive tapenades, pickles, sausages, olive oils, nuts, cheeses, curry pastes, chutneys, salsas, crackers and breads. Hey, these well-stocked aisles aren’t just for returned missionaries, nostalgic for the international junk food of their youths (though they shop there, too); you’ll even find tasty microbrews and cocktail mixes to help wash down that worldly fare.
11901 S. 700 East, Draper, 801-572-0956, Pirate-O.com
BEST KNITTING SHOP
The interior of this renovated house is utterly and unapologetically cozy. A crackle in the fireplace, the aroma of coffee, a clutch of knitters around a big table chatting amiably as their fingers work the yarn. Even the skeins of yarn on display are warm mauves and taupes, not the prosaic purples and browns of store-bought sweaters. Services include classes for the beginner, camaraderie for the experienced, suggestions for the stumped, and hands-on help for the stalled. It’s a place Rosie Grier, one of the “Fearsome Foursome” of the L.A. Rams, would have spent his leisure hours, doing the needlepoint he loved to do. Knitting is not just for women anymore.
1365 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5648, BlazingNeedles.com
One of the only spots in the United States to get authentic Italian salami is Utah. Who’d of thunk. It’s possible because of Cristiano Creminelli who brought his salami- and sausage-making skills to Utah after meeting up with Utahn and now-business partner Chris Bowler during the Torino Olympics. Creminelli makes his salami from ancient family recipes by hand, then naturally cures them in a laborious process used by only a few others in the United States. The results are available at Tony Caputo’s Market. As superlative, but less expensive, are Creminelli’s traditional sausages, available at Caputo’s, Emigration Market and some Dan’s Foods locations in Salt Lake City as well as The Market in Park City. Creminelli has been recognized by the international Slow Food movement for preserving real food for future generations. Help his mission succeed by eating his salami. If you have only ever had commercially made sausage and salami, you haven’t eaten either.
Tony Caputo’s, 308 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8669, Creminelli.com
BEST GREEN CONTRACTOR
Aaron Johnson, AD Johnson Remodeling
It ain’t easy building green, and if anybody knows that, it’s green contractor Aaron Johnson. Johnson a veteran contractor of more than 20 years, has been leading a local revolution in encouraging green construction projects helping residential home projects become more eco-friendly and more energy efficient. Johnson has jumped ahead of the curve to start designing homes with geothermal heating, salvaged materials, solar power and many other green-friendly features. That’s because, at heart, Johnson has always been earth-friendly. Before becoming a successful contractor, he was an idealistic art major at the U. He got into contracting to help pay for school and ended up sticking with it for a career. “I’ve always kind of had a moral dilemma being a contractor and an environmentalist,” jokes Johnson, who has found his own kind of redemption in pioneering green home building in Utah. That’s all right. We’re happy to forgive anyone who can help give development in Utah a much-needed dose of green.
Lara’s Tailoring & Alteration
This little home-based tailor shop is a bit tricky to find. But once you do, pull up to the house with the wooden sign on it. Don’t be intimidated—just ring the bell. You’ll be greeted by a delightful seamstress who knows how to sew, hem, stitch and solve just about any sartorial dilemma you could throw at her. From pants to wedding dresses, Ms. Lara brings old-world style and technique to her alterations and for a very reasonable price.
3366 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5766
BEST FREE HEALTH CARE
Junior League CARE
Fare Chances are, you know at least one person who routinely skips the dentist because “flossing is good enough.” Besides, his benefits are nonexistent. These days, fewer and fewer people are lucky enough to enjoy access to proper health care. That’s why after 16 years, the Junior League’s annual community CARE fair is more important than ever. The two-day event brings together community agencies and medical service providers to offer free examinations and immunizations, physicals, vision and dental screenings, HIV testing, and other preventive measures that many struggling families and individuals would otherwise forgo.
526 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-1019
BEST SOUR MILK
Next time you’re driving through Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, pointing out the children in the old-fashioned dresses on the street to your tourist friends, keep a look out for the local dairy. There you will find polygamy’s gift to local cuisine: cheese curds. These hard little yellow balls of fat are bland to the point of tasteless. Whoever decided this pallid imitation of cheese was worthy of distributing to the outside world clearly needs to educate his/her palate with something slightly more pungent.
BEST MARKET TO DANCE IN
What distinguishes this chain of local Mexican supermarkets from the many mercados that pepper the West Valley and Glendale is not only the extremely low-priced fresh vegetables, above-average chorizo and quality of well-priced meat. What truly elevates it is the upbeat tempo of Latin music—notably the swirling pleasures of norteño—that’s piped over the aisles. As you browse the shelves, whenever the mood takes you, grab your partner, or an obliging fellow shopper who syncs into your mood, and twirl along the aisles to your heart’s content to the beat of some truly wonderful bands.
Multiple locations, RanchoMarkets.com
Ray’s Shoe Repair
When a favorite pair of cowboy boots bites the dust one more time, head to Ray’s Shoe Repair where they can be reincarnated and made good for another few years. Randy Parker, the legendary Ray’s son, is a shoe-repair wizard who fixes trashed heels, pumps, dress shoes, sandals, boots, and anything else you can find to put on your feet. His tiny cobbler shop looks like a shoe store exploded but he knows where each and every sole, heel, and upper is and whose feet they belong to. Once you visit Ray’s, you’ll never throw out another pair of shoes or boots again.
15 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-546-1804
|BEST NATURAL PROGRESSION
Sunflower Farmers Market
In these economically sour times, Sunflower Farmers Market is a ray of sunshine offering affordable organic and locally produced food for the health-conscious shopper on a budget. Founder Mike Gilliland, who also helped launch Wild Oats, cuts cost on store construction by purchasing directly from growers and paying them straight away. The result is fresh fare that does your body and your wallet some major good—or, as Sunflower’s logo says, “Serious Food at Silly Prices.” Check the store Website for coupons to save even more dough.
6284 S. State, Murray, 801-434-1501; 1375 S. State, Orem, 801-266-3566; SFMarkets.com
BEST TILE FOR YOUR MILE
Spencer Mabey at Atlas Tile
Looking for inspired craftsmanship in tiling your shower, bath area, floor, fireplace, backsplash or countertops? One look through Spencer Mabey’s photo album of recent projects, and you can’t help but be convinced of Mabey’s magic with rock, travertine, ceramic tile and porcelain. It’s veritable “slate” of hand. He’s priced in the middle and, according to satisfied customers, is worth every penny. So reserve your slot with Mabey before summer projects pull him away. Glowing recommendations don’t grow on trees in the building trades.
1074 E. Beverly Way, Bountiful, 801-556-6248
BEST ARTISAN BREAD
Crumb Bros.’ ciabatta is about as close as you will get to Italy while living in Utah. The Logan artisan bakery has perfected the art of making the “slipper” and several other authentic bread styles using flour milled locally in Logan. The bread is available at better groceries in Salt Lake City. But if you stop by the bakery, you can try some amazing pastries and cookies as well.
291 S. 300 West, Logan, 435-757-3468
BEST SPINACH MULTI-VITAMIN
Vegetable gardeners try potion after potion trying to get the tallest corn, the crunchiest carrots or the earliest tomatoes. Flower gardeners vie for the prettiest, longest-lasting blooms. Gardeners of all stripes are now learning about a new Utah product called Dino-Mite. Dino-Mite literature boasts that it is chemical free, induces special flavors, will “monsterize” your plants and is loaded with minerals, micro-nutrients and trace elements—a “super multi-vitamin” for your plants. Not only have we heard of incredible results on tomatoes, we even heard some humans consume it, though we can’t recommend that. No answer if their thumbs turned green on the spot. Available at Glover’s Nursery and soon at multiple garden shops in the area.
BEST GOURMET ROASTS
Despite its Italian-sounding name, Rimini is a local 16-year-old wholesale specialty coffee roaster whose products are served in coffee shops around the Valley including Sugarhouse Coffee, Cafe Marmalade and Baxter’s Cafe. The public can also buy freshly roasted beans right at their shop. Roasts like Milano Italian Dark Roast, Baldoria Espresso, Cascata, Espresso Perugia and Stellato Espresso. There’s the feel-good Mexican Fair Trade Organic. Plus tea, chocolate, syrups, biscotti, cups, lids, equipment, etc. A great local company that supports a grew brew.
532 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-539-1210
BEST BEER STORE
The Beer Store, Utah Brewer’s Co-op
With seven fresh-brewed Squatter’s and Wasatch beers on tap at all times, not to mention its Brigham’s Brew root beer, who needs further enticing to head in to the Utah Brewer’s Co-op? But, of course, there’s always more. For instance, you can pick up that Polygamy Porter T-shirt you’ve been wanting or a chilled liquor-store quality six-pack. And even though you can’t actually partake of the liquid wares on premises, your helpful and friendly “Beer Information Specialists” Abby and Deb are always on hand to make sure your visit is a memorable one.
1763 S. 300 West, 801-466-8855, UtahBeers.com