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Fall Harvest 

Embracing the season with a few autumnal eateries.

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I like eating no matter what time of year it is, but there is something about fall menus that always gets me excited about visiting local restaurants. Sure, the mix of fall flavors like allspice, clove, cinnamon, root veggies are always going to be winners, but fall is when food can have a restorative effect; nothing quite replenishes one's autumnal vigor like a hot bowl of chili or a fresh-from-the-fryer doughnut on a blustery October evening.

We have plenty of local eateries that whip up a mean fall menu, but here are a few places I like to haunt during this time of year

Whiskey Street (323 S. Main Street, 801-433-1371, whiskeystreet.com): Though recommending chili is a lot like recommending a favorite band or beloved film, I've never had someone second-guess the Bourbon Black Bean Buffalo Chili at Whiskey Street. Not only is its alliterative game on point, but the flavors here are out of sight. Rich and layered with different notes of caramelized smoky heartiness, it's exactly what I'm looking for in a bowl of chili. It gets a nice zing from the fontina cheese crumbled on top, and pairs very well with the restaurant's pork belly corn dogs if you're famished. It's a good option year-round, but when there's a slight autumn nip in the downtown SLC air, this chili with a beer is hard to beat.

Log Haven (6451 Mill Creek Canyon Road, 801-272-8255, log-haven.com): There are some fall evenings that simply require a meal that lands on the tongue like a mixtape from your high-school crush. When an urge like this takes you, take a trip to Log Haven. Not only is the food here top notch, but there are few local eateries that immerse you in the colorful panoply of nature's autumnal glory in the same way that Log Haven does. This is the kind of place that lets you experience fall with all of your senses before giving you the chance to exercise your most important one. During the autumn months, I always opt for the grilled bone-in Duroc pork chop. It's served with sweet and sour brussels sprouts, a bit of smoked bacon, brandied raisins, pecans, and a side of smashed potatoes. Everything on the plate sings its own special song about fall, and the ambiance is the perfect complement.

Fav Bistro (1984 E. Murray Holladay Road, 801-676-9300, bestthaifoodinutah.com): Fall mornings can get a bit brisk when the frost starts to coalesce on the treetops, which means fall breakfasts need to pack an extra punch. I like to kick off such mornings with a trip to Fav Bistro for a bowl of their Thai chicken rice soup. It's got the kind of vibrant flavors that are primed to wake you up in the morning along with the powerhouse combo of chicken, egg and rice to keep you fueled throughout the day. Breakfast soups aren't as commonplace in the states as they are elsewhere in the world, but anyone who has yet to try this on for the first meal of the day will have a tough time going back to oatmeal and black coffee.

Fresh Donuts & Deli (2699 S. State Street, 801-467-8322): Doughnuts of any variety are a welcome sight during the autumn months; something about a dense cake doughnut or a maple bar just lands differently this time of year. My fall doughnut of choice has always been the apple fritter, as it combines the classic flavor of apples and cinnamon with a crispy, crenulated pastry. I used to think that all fritters were created equal, but that was before I paid a visit to Fresh Donuts & Deli. The first thing you notice is the size—these fritters are enormous—but once you take your first bite and get instantly transported to a world where the best French toast you ever had collides with the best doughnut you've ever had, you realize that some kind of pastry witchery is afoot. Fritter fans need this golden monster in their lives right now.

Normal Ice Cream (Multiple locations, normal.club): Just because the weather is getting a bit cooler doesn't mean that ice cream is off the table. I love visiting Normal during this time of year because it seems to be when the masterminds behind some of Utah's most delicious soft serve really let their creativity rip. This year, we've got Friggin Bats, a black sesame and salted vanilla bean twist with yuzu jam and bat sprinkles, and the Web of Lies, which is ube soft serve topped with coconut cake, pandan mallow fluff and a cotton candy web complete with a spider ring. If you're in need of something hot, the Count Chocula Ah Ah might be more your speed—it's a chocolate milk latte with cacao bitters and Count Chocula cereal. If spooky, imaginative eats are your thing, Normal Ice Cream always delivers.

Whatever keeps your engine running this fall, there are plenty of great autumn eats to choose from. Here's hoping this list gives you a few other options to choose from.

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