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Best Way to Cook a Book
Slow Foods Utah Book Club
While reading a book can be an especially personal experience, breaking the book down to its essence—its spices and herbs, if you will—is best done with a group. Since March 2010, the Slow Food Utah Book Club has read one food or food-policy book a month, which culminates with a scintillating discussion and potluck—with some dishes inspired by the current book. Some readers are regulars, others first-timers. Here, it’s OK to be a slow reader.
Best Way to Get Pickled
Pickled Canners Club
Canning isn’t just for grandmas anymore. With classes named Drunken Cherries, Bloody Mary Bar or Saucy Summers, the goals of the Pickled Canners Club come into perspective: that food preservation is better with booze and friends. The crowds that made it to the several classes during the club’s inaugural season learned food safety and canning basics while noshing and imbibing. If that’s not enough, the real payoff happens comes winter, when the smell of summer can be breathed in from the canned consumables.
Best Taste of the South
Chris ’n’ Dave’s Boiled Peanuts
There’s an old adage that goes: “You can take the man out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the man.” And some folks don’t even need to be from the humid Southern climes to have the South in them—like Dave Mathison, owner of Chris ‘n’ Dave’s Boiled Peanuts, who serves up his original and Cajun-flavored treats at the Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday. His boiled peanuts are fresh, so they’re succulent and addictive, unlike the soggy, brined, boiled-in-the-shell varieties found at gas stations throughout the South. Come to think of it, maybe it’s best he’s not from the South.
Best New Brew
After a few years of obsessing over how to unlock the superfood benefits of cocoa beans in a hot-brewed drink, Crio BrÃ¼ owner Eric Durtschi created a gem of a beverage. Although it might garner comparisons to coffee—it’s brewed the same way—the caffeine-free concoction is something unto itself. The drink is slightly bitter and highly aromatic, and the longer Crio BrÃ¼ steeps, the richer and more chocolate-y it becomes. Durtschi had to invent the roasting, fermentation and processing methods, so it’s more than a new drink—it’s a drinking revolution.
Best O-Town Patio & Pizza
It’s common knowledge that, like a trout to a nymph, a fly fisherman is drawn to water. Lucky for us, caster Justin Gumm and co-owner Krissann Smith nestled their little pub and pizzeria next to the Ogden River. Along a stretch of the parkway, the patio is perfect for drinking something from the establishment’s beer list—unrivaled in Ogden, with 10 beers on tap and more than 100 bottled beers—eating some of the Wasatch Front’s best pizza or listening to a local singer-songwriter. With lush trees and the babbling river nearby, drinking a beer along the busy main street is surprisingly pleasant. A semi-permanent covering was recently built on the patio, which means more chillin’ all year.
1895 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-399-0637, SlackwaterPizzeria.com
Best Facebook Foodies
Led by volunteer director Mercedes Zel-Pappas, the Utah Co-op is as interactive as it is thrifty. Daily on its Facebook profile, the co-op asks its customers what they want, because, after all, it is their store. Unlike typical cooperative markets, this volunteer-run one doesn’t charge membership fees. And here, the customer is always right: They are the ones who stock the shelves, so to speak—at least 80 percent of the hundreds of items were requested by the customers.
4892 S. Commerce Drive (300 West), Murray, UtahCoOp.org, Facebook.com/UtahCoOp.org