Ah, 1999 ... It’s a vague memory now, but I seem to recall that it was a time before the War on Terror was on everyone’s lips, before the economy went into the crapper—a time when some of us actually had a little extra dough to spend on Champagne for New Year’s Eve. Well, I say: For this New Year’s Eve, let’s turn back the clock and party like it’s 1999! Let’s go BIG!
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a lot of green, but why not indulge yourself and splurge—even if it’s only on calories, multicourse meals, fancy foods at home or other delicious thrills. Here then, are a few tantalizing options for living large on New Year’s Eve—some pricey, some not so much.
How about great food to go for New Year’s Eve? Let someone else do the cooking. In this case, Oasis Cafe (151 S. 500 East, OasisCafeSLC.com) and Executive Chef Billy Sotelo. Oasis is offering holiday curbside service with three-course meals to go, priced at $25 for two people and $50 for four, delivered to customers’ cars 20 minutes after placing an order by phone. Call 801-322-0404 and choose items from the curbside takeout menu, including selections like wild mushroom strazzopretti pasta in cream sauce; chicken breast with corn risotto and avocado salsa; grilled Atlantic salmon with Gorgonzola polenta cake and seared veggies; or Mediterranean salad with either grilled salmon or roast chicken, Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted red onion, hummus, olives and roasted-garlic vinaigrette. Takeout orders also include a dessert choice and house salad or a quart of Oasis’ tomato-fennel soup.
How would you like to have Valter Nassi of the newly opened Valter’s Osteria (173 W. Broadway, 801-521-4563, ValtersOsteria.com) cook for you on New Year’s Eve? Well, you won’t find him that evening at the Osteria, but he’ll be cooking up a special “by invitation only” dinner at a secret location, with By Invitation Only and Justin Kinnaird as your host. Dinner is $100 without wine or $130 with wine—not a bad price for New Year’s Eve! How do you get invited? Well, simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell ’em Scheffler sent you. Meanwhile, visit Valter’s Osteria for dishes such as his famous chicken scaloppine piccata or the killer lasagna: pasta al forno Vera with his mom’s homemade meat sauce.
I like to splurge on seafood for New Year’s Eve. And, while caviar might be too rich for my budget this year, king crab legs aren’t. That’s because Wasatch Front Market Street Fish Markets (multiple locations, GINC.com) are running a sale (while supplies last) over the holidays, selling Alaskan red king crab for $19.99 per pound—regularly $32.99 per pound. Get some to take home to enjoy with a cold glass of bubbly. Of course, if you can afford caviar, Market Street has you covered there, too, with fresh Petrossian caviar available at its fish markets and at The New Yorker (60 W. Market St., 801-363-0166) during the holidays.
Or, you might want to serve up one of the best hams you’ll ever get your lips around for New Year’s Eve, and then look forward to having some left over for scrumptious sandwiches during football-watching on New Year’s Day. Award-winning and acclaimed artisan salami maker Cristiano Creminelli is now offering Italian-style holiday hams: Creminelli prosciutto cotto. This cooked ham, made from heritage legs of pork, has an amazing flavor and flaky texture, rich and succulent, but with less sodium than most hams. Normally $110 for a 6-pound ham, Creminelli.com is selling them during the holidays for $95, with a free 11-ounce jar of Pepper Lane Apricot Pepper Jelly thrown in. The pre-cooked ham can be served cold or hot and is bound to be the hit of your New Year’s Eve shindig. Leftovers are also terrific as a pizza topping.
Maybe you’re eschewing Champagne this New Year’s Eve. My suggestion: head to Liberty Heights Fresh (1290 S. 1100 East, 801-583-7374, LibertyHeightsFresh.com) for natural, nonalkalized Askinosie Cocoa Powder for the ultimate cup of hot cocoa. It’s incredibly bright and rich tasting, from the first small-batch chocolate maker in the United States to produce natural cocoa powder.
Park City dining is synonymous with “splurge,” but there are a few smokin’ deals up in ski town, including dinner for under $21 at Red Rock Brewing (1640 W. Redstone Center, 435-575-0295, RedRockBrewing.com) at Kimball Junction, with menu selections such as surf & turf with a petite sirloin topped with sauteed shrimp and scampi butter; salmon in parchment with sliced fennel, orange, white wine and lemon; or porcini and truffle ravioli with sherry cream sauce. Finish up toasting the new year with Red Rock’s Drunken Float, made with Red Rock’s housemade root beer, vanilla Häagen-Dazs and a shot of High West Distillery Double Rye Whiskey. Also, the Grub Steak Restaurant (2200 Sidewinder Drive, 435-649-8060, GrubSteakRestaurant.com) in Park City will feature a prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve, priced at $49.75, with Caesar salad or wild rice & mushroom soup; surf & turf with cold-water lobster tail and slow-roasted Prime rib; and, for dessert, chocolate-lava cake with vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.
I, for one, plan to take advantage of the cheap $15 three-day passport tickets for EVE SLC (various downtown locations, EVESLC.com, see p. 33 for more) this year. I can’t wait to see acts like Nick Waterhouse, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, enjoy films from the Salt Lake Film Society, and make visits to The Leonardo, Discovery Gateway museum and Clark Planetarium, just to name a few of the goodies an inexpensive EVE passport ticket buys you. And, while I’m enjoying New Year’s Eve in downtown SLC and during the days and nights preceding it, I’ll catch up on visits to my favorite downtown restaurants, including Caffe Molise (55 W. 100 South, 801-364-8833, CaffeMolise.com), Atlantic Cafe (325 S. Main, 801-524-9900, AtlanticCafeMarket.com), Plum Alley (111 E. Broadway, 801-355-0543, PlumAlley.com) and as many more downtown meals as I can stuff myself to the hilt with prior to midnight on the 31st. You know, I’m gonna eat like it’s 1999.