When friends come to town, it’s an opportunity for me to check out newer eateries I’ve been hearing about. For a taste of Spanish wine and cuisine in a modern setting, I’m trying out Finca (1291 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com), where Chef Phelix Gardner serves up a well-rounded menu of hot and cold tapas as well as entrees called raciones. The crispy papas y aioli, the cheesy ham-filled croquetas and the grilled asparagus plate known as esparragos de asador are all scrumptious.
For breakfast and lunch, there’s the informal and inviting Pig & a Jelly Jar (401 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 385-202-7366, PigAndAJellyJar.com) near Liberty Park. Here, Chef Jen Gilroy’s made-from-scratch comfort food has a Southern flair. There’s also a homey “Sunday supper” that features chicken & waffles.
For my “guac” fix, the upscale Taqueria 27 (1615 S. Foothill Blvd., Salt Lake City, 385-259-0712, Taqueria27.com) is the place to try Chef Todd Gardiner’s house-made tacos, salads and mole platters. Unique “guacamoles of the day” incorporate the usual as well as the most unexpected ingredients. Pair a gourmet taco with a top-shelf tequila, and we all agree: “delicioso!”
ZY Food Wine & Cheese (268 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-779-4730, ZyRestaurant.com) always seems to be bustling. It’s an appealing State Street hangout with a NYC vibe. Chef Matthew Lake’s American-style cuisine includes a unique cheese bar and a diverse wine list to pair it with.
But if old standbys are needed, then my vote goes to La Caille (9565 Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 801-942-1751, lacaille.com). Its eye-popping 20 acres of gardens, ponds, swans, peacocks, chickens, rabbits and a vineyard are the ultimate backdrop for any special occasion. Nothing says “Welcome to Utah” like a rural French chateau, an attentive staff in serving costumes, and a plateful of Chef Brandon Howard’s mouth-watering French cuisine.