New Year's Eve 2012 | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

New Year's Eve 2012 

All you need to ring in NYE in SLC

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Be the Life of Your Party
Some would have us believe that 2012 brings with it the end times for life on Earth. If that is so—or even if it isn’t—might as well treat Dec. 31 as your last, best chance to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

But how to do it right? Glad you asked. Here you’ll find a guide to what the bars and nightclubs are doing Dec. 31. Scott Renshaw takes a look at what’s new at EVE, Salt Lake City’s downtown three-day celebration, while Austen Diamond offers several suggestions on avoiding the urban mayhem with some outdoor getaways for Dec. 31. Our food guru, Ted Scheffler, reveals what countries around the globe dine on to celebrate the new year, and where you can sample those dishes right here in Utah; he also breaks down how to buy the right Champagne for a midnight toast, no matter what your budget. And Dan Nailen suggests some restaurants offering special New Year’s Eve meals, as well as brunch spots to help you slay the inevitable New Year’s Day hangover. Cheers until next year! (Hopefully.)

New Year's Eve Guide
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions




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By Scott Renshaw

It may have taken a few years, but Downtown Alliance Executive Director Jason Mathis says EVE SLC has figured out a pretty important component to creating a hip, edgy New Year’s Eve event: Don’t ignore hip, edgy people.

“We did some polling last summer about things [people] knew about downtown,” Mathis says. “The older demographic knew [about EVE SLC], but 18-to-24-year-olds really did not. And yet, part of this polling also said this is a group that really wants to come downtown. … They’re the ones who would stand outside in a blizzard to listen to cool music.”

“These are the people who want to be invited,” he adds, “and we haven’t done a very good job of inviting them.”

EVE SLC organizers took that information and entered into a conversation with the Associated Students of the University of Utah to find out what that audience was looking for. As a result, the third-annual three-day celebration built on the foundation of First Night might feel a bit different than it did in 2009 and 2010.

The new element hardest to miss will be the Temple of Boom—a 40-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide scaffolding structure designed in the style of an Aztec/Mayan pyramid in the south plaza area of the Salt Palace. In addition to being an impressive spectacle with its sheer size and spouting flamethrowers, it will be a venue for electronic-music performances.

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Students will even be part of the programming, as short films by U of U and BYU filmmakers will be featured at the Broadway Centre Cinemas along with other 2011 award-winning shorts.

Early advance-tickets sales on the University of Utah campus suggest that the effort has already seen results. While EVE SLC certainly hasn’t abandoned the idea of a family-friendly event—the BounceTown activities remain, along with the fun-for-all-ages, giant-inflatable-ball-filled Ballroom—it continues to grow and evolve.

That includes learning from what hasn’t been as successful in the past. Gone is the winter-sports emphasis from previous years, which Mathis says didn’t achieve the “wow factor” needed to justify its continuation. In Iowa or Nebraska, ski jumping in the middle of the street is “a really compelling thing to see,” Mathis says. “Here, people are like, ‘I can do that.’”

Some of the inconveniences of previous years will also be gone—mostly through simple changes in infrastructure. Construction at the Gallivan Center in 2010 necessitated a move to the Salt Palace, which permitted more indoor—translation: warm—activities for chilly, potentially snowy winter evenings.

Additionally, as the Downtown Alliance’s Danica Farley notes, “For the first time in six years, there’s no road construction [downtown],” making access easier. The new City Creek parking area offers additional space for cars, while the free downtown street parking that has traditionally ended at Christmas is extended through Jan. 1. And the new West Valley and mid-Jordan TRAX lines give more people throughout the valley a way to get to and from downtown safely, even in inclement weather.

For all the tweaks, though, the vision for EVE SLC remains essentially twofold: certainly as a way of increasing the city’s appeal as a holiday travel destination, but even more as a chance to showcase downtown Salt Lake City for Utahns who might not usually visit, providing a hub for diverse demographic groups to interact the way they do at the Downtown Farmers Market.

“What I want to see,” Mathis says, “is when people come to EVE, they have experiences with their friends, with their families or with complete strangers that they would not normally have.”

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NYE EVE Schedule

EVE Live Music, Dec. 31
The Map, 6 p.m. (West Temple Stage)
Honest Soul, 6 p.m. (Salt Palace)
Ethics, 7 p.m. (West Temple Stage)
Dustin Christensen, 7 p.m. (Salt Palace)
Diggabeatz, 8 p.m. (West Temple Stage)
The Last Look, 8 p.m. (Salt Palace)
The Terks, 9 p.m. (Salt Palace)
Life , 9:30 p.m. (West Temple Stage)
The Anser, 10 p.m. (Salt Palace)
Muscle Hawk, 11 p.m. (West Temple Stage)
King Niko, 11 p.m. (Salt Palace)

EVE at Temple Square, Dec. 31
Broadway Show Tunes Singalong, 5 p.m. (Assembly Hall)
The Cadillacs, 7:45 p.m. (Joseph Smith Memorial Building)
Thurl Bailey & Billy Dean, 8:20 p.m. (Tabernacle)
Truman, 9:45 p.m. (Tabernacle)
Midlife Crisis 10:15 p.m. (Joseph Smith Memorial Building)
Nashville Tribute Band, 10:40 p.m. (Tabernacle)

EVE & Salt Lake Film Society, Dec. 31
Short film program, 7 p.m., 9 p.m. (Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South)
EVE and Off Broadway Theatre
Laughing Stock Improv Comedy, hourly from 7 p.m. to midnight (272 S. Main)

EVE & Clark Planetarium, Dec. 31
Starry Nights, 5:30 p.m.
Night Vision, 6:45 p.m.
U2 Cosmic Light Show, 8 p.m.
Rock on Demand Cosmic Light Show, 9 p.m.
Led Zeppelin Cosmic Light Show, 10 p.m.
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon Cosmic Light Show, 11 p.m.

EVE at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
(20 S. West Temple, UtahMOCA.org), Dec. 31
Fear No Film short films, Artist-Made Karaoke, Paint by Numbers (and Shapes), Fill in the Blank (6 p.m.-midnight)

EVE SLC
Various downtown venues
Dec. 29-31
$12 in advance, $15 at the door, kids under 10 free
Purchase from EVESLC.com or at Harmons and Maverik locations




More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions


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Start 2012 off right with noodles, grapes, carp and more

By Ted Scheffler

Although the New Year is rung in on different dates in different places—the Chinese New Year for 2012, for example, is Jan. 23—many countries and cultures around the globe celebrate the New Year with unique, and sometimes downright unusual, food traditions. They can range from grand feasts to munching on a handful of grapes. Here are some examples of how some of our Planet Earth brethren will usher in the New Year.

In China, Japan and some other Asian countries, it’s traditional to eat long noodles on New Year’s Day. Called “long-life noodles,” they are not to be broken or shortened (no vermicelli, I guess) and signify longevity and good fortune for the coming year. There are lots of places locally to find long noodles; the pork-belly ramen at Dojo (423 W. 300 South, 801-328-3333, DojoSLC.com) would be an excellent choice. Or, you may want to double down on longevity by visiting Long Life Vegi House (1353 E. 3300 South, 801-467-1111) to chow down on their chow mein. Another good choice would be a big bowl of pho (always good fortune, in my book!) at Mi La Cai Noodle House (961 S. State, 801-322-3590, LaCaiNoodleHouse.com), which is open on New Year’s Day.

Peel me a grape? I remember this custom from when I lived in Seville, Spain: At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Spaniards traditionally consume 12 grapes, one for each month of the year to come. The custom supposedly dates back to the early 1900s, in the grape-growing Alicante region of Spain, where growers created the practice to help alleviate a grape surplus. For something a tad more filling and festive on New Year’s Eve, consider visiting Cafe Madrid (5244 S. Highland Drive, 801-273-0837, CafeMadrid.net), in its new location.

A traditional New Year’s (St. Basil’s Day, in Greece) cake called vasilopita is shared by Greek families and friends to begin the New Year. But chew carefully, as there is a hidden coin in the cake, meant to symbolize good luck for the coming year for the person who finds it. I’m not sure about vasilopita, but I know you’ll have good luck finding excellent Greek fare at Aristo's (244 S. 1300 East, 801-581-0888, AristosRestaurant.com).

Black-eyed peas are a traditional dish for New Year’s Day in the southern United States, said to have originated in the town of Vicksburg, Miss., which ran out of food while under attack during the Civil War. Someone found a hidden stash of black-eyed peas, which thereafter was considered to signal good luck. The most common New Year’s black-eyed-pea dish is Hoppin’ John, which you can enjoy at Bayleaf Bar & Grub (159 S. Main, 801-359-8490, BayleafBarAndGrub.com). It’s black-eyed peas stewed with ham hocks, peppers, onions and celery, served with rice and a side of collard greens.

During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, apples are dipped in honey (in hopes of a sweet year), gefilte fish is eaten for a prosperous year to come, and loaves of challah bread are traditionally served on Shabbat, sometimes with raisins or honey added to the bread itself to make it extra sweet. After all, the land of Israel is often called the land of milk and honey. Did you know that Harmons (Multiple locations, HarmonsGrocery.com) bakeries feature fresh-baked challah on Fridays?

Being of German-Austrian decent, I’m more than familiar with sauerkraut for New Year’s, which is said to bring blessings for the coming year. Pigs and pork are also a symbol of good luck, not just in Germany and Austria, but also in Hungary, Poland, Spain, Cuba and in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The idea is one of progress: Pigs continually push forward, always rooting. Roast suckling pig is a common New Year’s tradition. At our house, it was pork braised in sauerkraut—still one of my favorite things. Take a trip to Siegfried's Delicatessen (20 W. 200 South, 801-355-3891, SiegfriedsDelicatessen.biz) for schweinshaxe (roasted ham hocks) with a side of sauerkraut and their yummy spaetzle. It’s also traditional in Austria to have marzipan pigs (marzipanschwein) or pig-shaped chocolates strewn around the New Year’s table for luck.

Fish is common in certain countries for ushering in the New Year. In Italy, dried salt cod (baccal) is eaten, and in Denmark, it’s boiled cod. Germans sometimes eat carp, and herring is popular in Poland. In Sweden, the New Year’s feast often entails a smorgasbord with a variety of fish options. For Swedish hospitality, along with gravad lax, knackebread and caviar—staples of the weekend brunch menu—head up to Solitude and Kimi's Mountainside Bistro (12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, 801-536-5787, KimisMountainsideBistro.me).

Lentils are considered to be lucky on New Year’s (they look like tiny coins) and are consumed with the hope of a prosperous year to come. In Italy, sausage with green lentils (cotechino con lenticchie) is popular, and in Brazil, lentils with rice are often the first meal consumed in the New Year. One of the tastier ways I know of getting your lips around lentils is the confit de canard aux lentilles du Puy—tiny, black Puy lentils with duck confit at The Paris (1500 S. 1500 East, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net).

Just as important as what to eat for New Year’s is what not to eat. Certain cultures believe that it is bad luck to eat chicken, since the bird scratches backwards, thereby potentially causing one to dwell on the past or to be regretful. Don’t want that! Similarly, lobster is considered unlucky because they move backward. I can’t really testify to the truth of this, since I’ve never seen a lobster walk. But, better safe than sorry—eating lobster for New Year’s is said to lead to setbacks. Finally, one more German tradition: Don’t clean your plate. Leave a little food on it to guarantee a stocked pantry for the year to come.

Happy New Year!

More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions


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Champagne, Prosecco, Moscato and more for ringing in the new year

By Ted Scheffler

It’s a no-brainer to be buying bubbly to celebrate the New Year—that’s Cristal clear. However, sparkling wine shouldn’t be just a once-a-year or special-event beverage. There’s almost never a time when bubbly isn’t a good fit. It’s great for fancy food pairings or as Netflix Helper, sipping on the couch on movie night with a bowl of popcorn. And, you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a glass of bubbly; there’s sparkling wine to fit every budget.

So, here are a few of my favorites, for New Year’s Eve or any other eve. Many sparkling wines are on sale this month, so you may find even better deals than the ones listed here.

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Let’s begin with domestic sparkling wine, which, of course, isn’t called Champagne since it’s not from Champagne. A recent discovery for me—and a sparkler that’s great as an aperitif or as a dessert wine—is Barefoot Bubbly Moscato Spumante ($11.99). Frankly, I’d expected this to be cloyingly sweet, but it isn’t. The sugar level is well-balanced by lush peach and apricot flavors. This is a fun, easy-drinking wine with which to greet guests on New Year’s Eve before cracking open the more expensive stuff. Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry ($11.99) is Barefoot’s brut-style sparkler, the opposite of its Spumante, and a terrific bang for the buck for big parties. Another terrific domestic-bubbly bargain is Gruet Brut ($15.99), which comes from New Mexico, of all places. However, this is very much a French sparkler in style, a méthode Champenoise wine that tastes like the real stuff, at about a third of the price of non-vintage Champagne.

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A couple of wines from the domestic branch of Mumm should be on your radar screen: Mumm Napa Brut Rosé ($21.99) is a lively, off-dry, salmon-pink wine with hints of cherries and strawberries—a very nice intro-level Rosé sparkler. And, for a special California treat, I suggest picking up a bottle of very classy (both in packaging and taste) DVX 2001 by Mumm ($33.99). The tiniest of bubbles, along with yummy toasted brioche flavors and creamy vanilla, combine to make this a very elegant and complex wine with a lingering finish. If DVX were from France, you could probably expect to pay at least $100 for it.

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Another favorite domestic Rosé sparkling wine is Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé ($26.99). In my opinion, Schramsberg produces the best American bubbly overall, and this is no exception. Crafted from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this is a mildly creamy wine in texture, with toasty vanilla flavors, strawberries and raspberries—“Damn tasty,” as Robert Parker recently tweeted.

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While we’re still in the New World, let’s take a trip to the Southern Hemisphere. Taltarni 2008 Taché Brut ($17.95) comes from Southeastern Australia—a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (the classic varietals for most Champagne). This bubbly from down under has a fine mousse and salmon-pink color, courtesy of the red grapes (taché means “stained” in French; the wine is “stained” with those red grapes). It has good acidity balanced with concentrated fruit flavors: red currant and strawberry, primarily. For something unique on New Year’s Eve, why not serve up an Aussie sparkler?

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To the Old World! First, from Spain, there are a couple of Cavas that I’m particularly fond of. Codorniu has been growing wine grapes and making wine in Spain since 1551 and is that country’s No. 1 Cava producer. Anna De Codorniu Brut ($13.99) is named for Codorniu’s heiress and is the first Cava to use Chardonnay in its cuvée. It’s 100 percent estate-produced and bottled in the méthode traditionelle. Made from Chardonnay and Parellada grapes, the wine is straw-colored, with fine bubbles and tropical-fruit fragrances and flavors—a Cava you can count on. Another of my very favorite Spanish Cavas—in part because it tastes more like French Champagne than Cava—is Marques de Gelida Brut ($16.99), made from Macabeo, Xarello, Parellada and Chardonnay. Thanks to Marques de Gelida’s yeasty green-apple notes, tiny bubbles and long finish, I’ve fooled people in blind tastings into thinking this was French Champagne. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better sparkling-wine value than this. And, it comes in a snazzy Veuve-colored orange and white bottle.

Prosecco—Italy’s signature bubbly—is a smart, economical choice for New Year’s Eve, or any occasion calling for sparkling wine. I love the sleek, classy, dark bottle that Stellina di Notte Prosecco ($14.99) comes in, as well as what’s inside that bottle. This is a light, fruity Prosecco that is crisp and off-dry—a delicate wine with hints of pear and melon and a touch of sweetness. One of the Proseccos I’ve enjoyed most this year is La Marca Prosecco ($13.99). It made Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the Year” a few years ago and is brimming with effervescent white-peach, honeysuckle and green-apple aromas, a creamy texture, soft and elegant citrus-fruit flavors and a little toast. For a quality Prosecco that is drier than most, I suggest Adami Dei Casel Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco ($18.99). This is a very focused sparkler, with white-flower and jasmine fragrances and stone-fruit flavors—a really classy Prosecco choice. Finally, let me suggest a terrific sparkling wine from Italy that isn’t Prosecco: Rotari Talento Brut Rosé is a steal, priced at a mere $13.99.

And, finally, to France. There is no shortage of French bubbly in our state, and I’ve written about much of it previously. Here are a handful of can’t-miss sparkling wines from the country that invented the stuff.

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Alsace and bubbles aren’t an obvious match, but I can readily recommend Pierre Sparr Rosé Brut Crémant D’Alsace ($18.99), a light, copper-colored, crémant-style sparkling wine with tangerine and clove aromas and surprisingly intense cherry and strawberry flavors for the price. I’ve long sung the praises of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut ($35.94), a terrific non-vintage Champagne priced lower than many: pale gold, with abundant bubbles and pretty pear and toasted-nut aromas. Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne ($60.99) is about as dependable as non-vintage Champagne gets, the purest expression of the Bollinger house style—in a word: classy. Ditto Gosset Grande Réserve Brut Champagne ($64.99), which comes equipped with Gosset’s signature toast and nut aromas, fine mousse, full body and classic Gosset complexity—not surprising, since this house (the Champagne region’s oldest) has been making fine Champagne since 1584. For something less predictable this New Year’s Eve, I suggest considering a “grower” Champagne from France. These are unique, artisan Champagnes, estate-grown and -bottled (as opposed to the big Champagne houses, which can use grapes from as many as 80 different vineyards). A 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut Sainte-Anne ($44.99) offers abundant and lovely mousse, a bouquet of white flowers on the nose and loads of complexity—an incredible non-vintage Champagne for the price. For a few dollars
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more, step up to another fantastic grower Champagne: Jean Lallement et Fils Champagne Brut ($53.99). This is a gorgeous wine, simultaneously subtle and complex, with beautiful floral notes, ripe pear flavors and underlying minerality. It would turn any occasion into a very special one.

Finally, as I’ve said before, my personal favorite Champagne is Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 1997 (but I’ll take any vintage). However, priced at $329.99, there won’t be any Salon flowing on my New Year’s Eve. So, if you’re pouring Salon at your party, please invite me!

More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
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Find a special dining spot for New Year's Eve

By Dan Nailen

New Year’s Eve isn’t only a night for super-size revelry with thousands of your closest friends. It’s also popular for chilling with a special someone away from those madding crowds. Here are a few Utah restaurants doing something special for New Year’s Eve. Be sure to make a reservation early at these dozen places, or your own favorite restaurant, if you want to ring in 2012 in style.

Pago
The dining gem of the 9th and 9th neighborhood is hosting a special New Year’s Eve dinner consisting of four courses for $55, with four options for each course save dessert, which is two options. As part of Pago’s commitment to the “farm-to-table” concept, the dishes will be full of produce and meats locally grown and raised. Each course also has a recommended wine or beer pairing suggested by savvy restauranteur Scott Evans and his team. Reservations recommended. 878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com

Tin Angel Cafe
The Tin Angel is offering one of its special Black-Out Menu events on New Year’s Eve, which includes a four-course dinner for $40 ($66.60 with wine pairings). You choose a tapa and dessert, the entree is prix fixe and the second course is a surprise you’ll eat while blindfolded. There are vegetarian options available for both the entree and “mystery” courses. Reservations recommended. 65 W. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4155, TheTinAngel.com

Frida Bistro
On a normal day, Frida Bistro is a million miles from the beans-and-burritos style of Mexican fare, dealing complex flavors and palate-thrilling spices. On New Year’s Eve, the charming cafe in industrial SLC is hosting a five-course dinner of special dishes not on the normal Frida menu for $50, or $75 with optional wine pairings. There will be three seatings, at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Reservations recommended. 545 W. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-983-6692, FridaBistro.com

Bambara
The Daniel Day Trio will provide the tunes at the restaurant inside the Hotel Monaco, and chef Nathan Powers will be serving up selections of his favorite holiday cuisine starting at 5:30 p.m. Bambara is also open for breakfast on New Year’s Day. Reservations recommended. 202 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-5454, Bambara-SLC.com

Franck’s
This little gem of a joint in Holladay is hosting a five-course menu for $60 per person, with wine pairings available for each, starting at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. You can find the menu on Franck’s Website in the next few days. Seating starts at 5 p.m., and reservations are recommended. 6263 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-274-6264, FrancksFood.com

Log Haven
The charming log cabin up Millcreek is offering dancing to live music beginning at 7 p.m. and is taking reservations for special New Year’s Eve dining specials designed for two, starting at 5:30 p.m. 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-272-8255, Log-Haven.com

Oasis Cafe
Chef Billy Sotelo has created two prix fixe menus for New Year’s Eve, one $25 and one $35. Both choices are full of the locally grown organic vegetables and sustainably ranched meats Oasis is known for. Oasis will also be open for brunch on New Year’s Day. Reservations recommended. 151 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com

Lugano Restaurant
Greg Neville’s place is always popular with Italian food lovers, and on New Year’s Eve, he’ll offer a five-course semi-prix fixe menu offering diners four options for each course, as well as a wine pairing for each. Dinner is $59, and the wine pairing is $39. Reservations recommended. 3364 S. 2200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-412-9994, LuganoRestaurant.com

Fresco Italian Cafe
The romantic spot tucked into the 15th and 15th neighborhood is doing a special New Year’s Eve menu featuring plenty of its signature housemade pastas and cheeses, as well as appetizers like chilled Washington oysters, entrees that include a duo of Utah-raised pork, and desserts like a date tiramisu or the infamous mascarpone cheesecake. Reservations recommended. 1513 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1300, FrescoItalianCafe.com

Tuscany
Former Jazz man Mark Eaton owns and operates this swanky joint that specializes in Italian-American cuisine, and on New Year’s Eve, Tuscany will host a four-course dinner for $50 per person. The menu will be posted on the Tuscany Website in the coming days. Seating starts at 5 p.m., and reservations are recommended. 2832 E. 6200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-277-9919, TuscanySLC.com

Faustina
Faustina has a $50 prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve that includes everything from seared foie gras to black-truffle gnocchi, roasted lamb to a blueberry souffle—with choices of appetizers, soup or salad, entree and dessert, you won’t go home hungry. Reservations recommended. 454 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-4441, FaustinaSLC.com



More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions



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Best brunch spots for Jan. 1

By Dan Nailen

If there were ever a day that even the light-drinking find themselves hungover, it’s New Year’s Day. And what better way to attack that hangover than a fat breakfast, perhaps with a side of the hair o’ the dog that bit ya. Here are a few allies in the fight against The Morning After; be sure to call your own favorite breakfast spot to make sure it’s open before you ditch the bathrobe and face the day.

Squatters
The Squatters in downtown SLC and in Park City are both hosting a Hangover Brunch on New Year’s Day, starting at 10:30 a.m. and featuring Midday Mimosas, the Midday Mary and the Nooner (OJ and vodka). 147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739; 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868, Squatters.com

Fiddler’s Elbow
New Year’s Day is dedicated to the NFL this year rather than the usual slate of college bowl games, and Fiddler’s Elbow has one of the most popular brunches in town for pigskin lovers. Made-to-order omelets, Prime rib and traditional breakfast fare are the order of the day beginning at 9 a.m., along with every NFL game on one of the many TVs. 1063 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-9393, FiddlersElbowSLC.com

Blue Plate Diner
Tunes to buoy your hungover spirits, and diner grub seemingly sent from the gods to battle headaches and nausea—the Blue Plate Diner is sure to be packed solid on New Year’s Day. That doesn’t mean waiting for the corned beef hash and eggs or one of the Blue Plate Benedicts isn’t worth it. It always is. 2041 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-1151, TheBluePlateDiner.com

Ruth’s Diner
When I’m hanging and at a loss for relief, I know exactly what to get at Ruth’s Diner: the pulled-pork Benedict comes with poached eggs on green chile cheese cornbread along with that delicious pig. That’s just one of the sure-fire hangover cures on the menu at this Salt Lake City classic. 4160 Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5807, RuthsDiner.com

The Sun & Moon Cafe
If you wake up to an inversion on New Year’s Day, that won’t help the hangover at all. Head up Emigration to this classic joint and delve into an Andouille scramble or some crab-cakes eggs Benedict. They’ll get you squared away in no time, starting at 9 a.m. 6281 Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, 801-583-8331, TheSunAndMoonCafe.com

Bayleaf Bar & Grub
Given that all-American spirits like Wild Turkey and Jack Daniel’s hail from the South, you know those folks below the Mason-Dixon have battled hangovers for years. The Bayleaf has you covered with chicken & waffles, chicken-fried steak & eggs and the trash plate—a holy combo of bacon, sausage, potatoes and cheese. Get it with gravy. 159 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-8490, BayleafBarAndGrub.com

Wild Grape Bistro
Renowned for its vino and delicious diner fare, the Wild Grape Bistro also knows its way around brunch, with a slew of reasonably prices omelets, Benedicts and biscuits. 481 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-746-5565, WildGrapeBistro.com

Pago
One of the tastiest Sunday brunches in town will open at 11 a.m. New Year’s Day, offering its usual stellar menu that includes everything from Croque Monsieur to almond French toast to the oh-so-satisfying Pleasant Creek Ranch steak & eggs. A couple of specials will also be available, and as always, everything on your plate will come from a local farmer or rancher. 878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com

Market Street Grill
Don’t skip the Bloody Mary when you stop in at one of Salt Lake City’s most popular brunch spots; Sunday brunch is available at all three Salt Lake Valley locations starting at 9 a.m. The incredibly reasonable prices—$6.99 for eggs Benedict or a seafood omelet is hard to beat—make Market Street a must-go when you’re in need of some hangover relief. Please note that the Cottonwood and South Jordan Market Street Grill spots are not open on New Year’s Day. 48 W. Market St., Salt Lake City, 801-322-4668, MarketStreetGrill.com

Grand America Hotel
A contender for the most opulent and egregious brunch in town, the Grand America’s weekly Sunday-morning brunch has an insane number of options. There’s all the seafood you could imagine, an artisan cheese cart, a crepe station, Prime rib, rack of lamb and, in case you’re more of a breakfast traditionalist, good ol’ bacon and eggs. The brunch begins at 10 a.m. and reservations are recommended. 555 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-258-6708, GrandAmerica.com

Poplar Street Pub
Downtown dwellers rejoiced when Poplar Street Pub fired up its all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet. As if an endless supply of bacon and sausage weren’t enough to slay your hangover, you can also drown your headache in biscuits & gravy and made-to-order omelets. Oh, and there’s fresh fruit and granola, too. 242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2715, PoplarStreetPub.com

More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions


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Music and parties for New Year's, oh my

By Austen Diamond & Dan Nailen

Whether you’re looking for a rock show, some sexy jazz sounds or a classy night at the theater, Utah’s nightclubs and entertainment venues have a little something for everybody to help with your New Year’s Eve planning. For some of the events listed below, we weren’t able to find out the admission price. Contact the clubs with any questions, and just to be safe, you’ll want to bring plenty of cash for covers, cocktails and cabs.

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Heartless Bastards
With a bevy of DJ dance parties and local acts playing about town tonight, it’s nice to know that when the fellas at The State Room were booking this gig, they had in mind the rest of the party crowd—the ones who just want to hear some big ol’ rock & roll to blast away last year. What better band than the blues-rock outfit Heartless Bastards? Led by steel-piped lead singer Erika Wennerstrom, this scorching quartet is sure to light up the passage into the new year with two full sets. Heartless Bastards is currently taking a break from touring in anticipation of their energetic upcoming album Arrow, due Feb. 14. But they’re making a special jaunt back to SLC, where they have consistently sold out shows of late. The evening will be rounded out with grub from Este Pizza, raffle drawings and a Champagne toast at midnight. The State Room, 638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 9 p.m., $40, TheStateRoomSLC.com

Laserfang
One of the best live acts in town is continually oscillating between on-again and off-again (Sound like your New Year’s resolutions?). But they are most decidedly back on, and have been since Shane Asbridge moved back to town in October. This time last year, the band released their first album to rave reviews, and it still jams. Word is that they’re going to start working on the new material soon. Aside from busting out some new cuts in the first new hours of the New Year, this show should be one crazy dance party, filled with equal parts glitter, glam and sweat. Night Sweats will help set the night on fire with an opening set. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 9 p.m., $6, TheUrbanLoungeSLC.com

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Little Big Town
The gorgeous four-part harmonies that this Alabama-originated country act puts together seem surreal in how articulate and perfectly balanced they are. With two lovely ladies and two gentlemen, who all take turns on lead vocals, their tunes are a fine showcase of Southern charm and debutante showiness. The band balances out Nashville styling with some pop-rock, as heard on their four albums released to date. Their latest, the 2010 album The Reason Why, peaked at Numero Uno on the Billboard Country Music Chart. With tunes like “Little White Church,” “Kiss Goodbye” and “The Reason Why,” it’s no surprise how. Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 8 p.m., $25-$150, EcclesCenter.org

Legends 2012
Here’s a party that is being advertised with this phrase: “It’s the dawn of a new time, a time of change.” I’m not quite sure, especially with the addition of implicit references to the Mayan calendar—and the end of the ancient civilization’s calendar—if that is a quality reason to just get plain bonkers on this holiday or not. Either way, the list of DJs at this annual event is always impressive. This year they have Feed Me—who is on the Mau5trap label—joined by Calvertron, Mark Yurm, Rokcity, Fu Ju and Dipsy, all of whom are expert in the art of bass dropping to make butts wiggle. Not enough? This DJ-induced event will have a state-of-the-art 3-D visual show to get folks’ minds off of the apocalypse and on to more engaging temporal things. The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 7 p.m., $25-$35 in advance, $40 day of show, TheComplexSLC.com

Countdown Getdown
This New Year’s Eve bazaar is the brainchild of musician and Salt Lake City native Erin Barra. “What I’m trying to do is bring this great party atmosphere that I’ve been entrenched in in New York City. It’s a classy, grown-up type of rave,” she says. An ecstatic free-for-all, the event will be DJed by spinning stalwart Jesse Walker, and folks will get their dancing (and cheap drink) on. Dancers and partygoers will be surrounded by bliss: trapeze performers hanging from the walls, body-painted beauties prancing about, an art installation and more, all capstoned by a Champagne toast at midnight. Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 9 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 day of show, BarDeluxeSLC.com

An Affair to Remember
The Marriott University Park is creating a one-stop New Year’s Eve shop with everything you could possibly need or want in a year-end celebration. Six distinct venues will be set up within the hotel, including a martini bar with live jazz, a DJ and dance floor in another spot, live tunes from the G. Brown Quintet in yet another, a movie-theater gaming station and more. There will be food available throughout and a Champagne toast at midnight, too. Individual tickets are $45, and there are room packages for $154 and $214 that include late check-outs and a Bloody Mary Brunch for two. Marriott University Park, 480 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-1000, Marriott.com

The Game’s Afoot
West Valley City’s Hale Centre Theatre is ringing in the New Year with a brand-new show, the premiere of Ken Ludwig’s comedy-thriller The Game’s Afoot. The show begins at 10 p.m. for this special presentation, and just before midnight, a member of the audience will interrupt the action onstage to lead the audience in a midnight countdown and rousing round of “Auld Lang Syne.” Before the show starts, starting at 9:15, there will be music by the band Lokalgrown as well as food and drinks. Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City, 9:15 p.m., $44, HaleCentreTheatre.org

A Roaring Twenties Celebration
Bar-X and The Red Door are teaming up for a classy New Year’s Eve party designed to take guests back in time. All are encouraged to wear clothes fitting for the Roaring Twenties, and both bars will have special, one-night-only cocktails on the menu, as well as some sexy, jazzy tunes courtesy of DJs and live performers. As a bonus, there will be free transportation between the two bars, so you can pay one cover charge and do a little bar-hopping at the same time. There will be a midnight Champagne toast at both joints. Bar-X, 155 E. 200 South; The Red Door, 57 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 7 p.m., $20

More New Year's Eve
EVE
Concerts & Parties
Champagne | SLC Dining Spots
International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions


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Five jaunts out of the city to end 2011

By Austen Diamond

Years of firsthand morning-after experience will teach you how not to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year, avoid the typical scene of drunken debauchery and stifled inhibitions and save yourself from boredom, bar tabs and blistering morning-after headaches by getting the hell outta Dodge.

Moonlit Snowshoe Hike
A moonlit jaunt up the summer road at Alta will unleash one’s inner Romeo. The hike from the resort’s upper parking lot is wide, with a mellow uphill gradient, so as to avoid avalanche danger. Plus, winded hikers wouldn’t be able to coo to their lovers. The moon will be waxing to about half full on Dec. 31. Alta Ski Area upper parking lot, Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com

10th-Annual FreezeFest
People who like rock and mild suffering will want to head down south for Freeze Fest 10. The slot-canyoneering festival lasts from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3, with the bulk of activities on New Year’s weekend. The whole shebang’s capstone is the several-hour frigid journey through the icy waters of the Black Hole on New Year’s Day, which might require wetsuits, prayers and whiskey. Check out a forum on Bogley.com for more info. Sandthrax campsite, 30 miles south of Hanksville, Highway 95, by White Canyon, around Milepost 28

Ski Tour

For those who want to stay closer to home, Tyson Bradley—Utah Mountain Adventures owner and guide—recommends a jaunt for tourers of all levels. He advises to get a leg up at Alta Ski Resort off of the Supreme chairlift to head into the backcountry. Ski down to Lake Catherine and have lunch, followed by a hike up Wolverine Peak for a great view of the Wasatch. Then ski toward Brighton to the lake district before the last climb to Twin Lakes Pass. The tour ends by skiing back to the Alta base. “It’s certainly one way to work up an appetite for doing whatever people might do later that night ... or to work off what happened on New Year’s Eve,” Bradley says. Alta Ski Area, Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com

Ice or Fly Fishing
If you’re looking for something a little tamer that still sounds adventurous, try ice fishing on Strawberry Reservoir. Ice fishing does, however, tend to have a lot of drinking going on, says Brandon Tillotson, guide manager at Western Rivers. Folks set up collapsible ice shelters, drill a hole in the ice, drop the lure ... and wait. Crazy stuff. Tillotson prefers a little more adventure with his fishing. He recommends that fly fishermen snowshoe into the middle Provo River, just below the Jordanelle Dam, to catch some lunkers. “It’s nice in the winter because you aren’t fighting crowds, and it’s banker’s hours: Get there late and leave early,” Tillotson says. Strawberry Reservoir, Wasatch County, Highway 40, 435-548-2261, Wildife.Utah.gov/Strawberry; Middle Provo River, just below the Jordanelle Dam, http://wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots/detailed.php?id=1156189279

Fire & Ice
To seriously get away and get some serious vertical in, there are a couple options. The ice climbing in Joe’s Valley can be inconsistent. However, when it’s good, it’s really good. Give yourself three days to fully experience the bliss of using an ice axe and crampons. Or, with the same time allotment, take a sojourn to the warmer climes for rock climbs around St. George—Virgin River Gorge, Welcome Springs, Black and Tan Wall, Green River Gorge, etc. are all quite excellent and sunny. Joe’s Valley, Castle County, Highway 20; St. George, Washington County

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Rocky Mountain highs on New Year's Eve

By Dan Nailen

One of the benefits of New Year’s Eve landing on a Saturday is that the skiers of Utah can hit the slopes on both Saturday and Sunday while packing a night out on the town in between to ring in the New Year.

Of course, complete exhaustion might make that late night impossible, especially if you’re bound and determined to schuss your way through New Year’s Day. But even if that were true, some resorts are offering you a chance to celebrate without waiting till midnight to toast 2012.

Snowbird (9600 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-933-2222, Snowbird.com) is hosting a New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks show, and you only have to last until dusk Saturday night and make it to the resort’s Plaza Deck to gather around a bonfire and watch the action.

Snowbird’s Little Cottonwood Canyon neighbors at Alta (Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-359-1078, Alta.com) are having their own torchlight parade and fireworks show, and they’re inviting you to take part. Just be sure to bring goggles and a headlamp or flashlight, and “you must be able to hold a snowplow down the entire cat track” between Watson Shelter and the base of the mountain. If you want to join the parade, Alta will start loading the lifts at 5 p.m. on Saturday. If you just want to watch, hit the Goldminer’s Daughter before 6 p.m., when the parade starts.

At Canyons Resort (4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-649-5400, TheCanyons.com), there will be a free fireworks show at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and you can watch some athletes tear up the resort’s terrain park beforehand for free. And if you’re up Ogden way, Powder Mountain (State Road 158, Eden, 801-745-3772, PowderMountain.com) is extending its night-ski operations extra late, so you can buy a night pass and ski from 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. while ringing in midnight on the mountain.

Deer Valley (Snow Park Lodge, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 800-424-3337, DeerValley.com) isn’t even making you wait until New Year’s Eve to celebrate the New Year. The resort is hosting its torchlight parade on Friday, Dec. 30, at dusk. The ski school runs the show, doing some smooth, synchronized ski moves down the Big Stick run, which is best viewed from the Snow Park Lodge deck, where you’ll find free hot cider and cookies during the show.

More New Year's Eve
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Concerts & Parties
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International Food Traditions
New Year's Day Brunch
Resorts & Excursions


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