Sparkling Wine Festival in Salt Lake City


One of our favorite things about the holiday season is celebrating with a glass of bubbly.  Sparkling wine is the most celebratory of all drinks!

The inagural Sparkling Wine Festival hosted by the LaSalle and Trio Restaurant Groups is the ideal way to celebrate the holidays and usher in the new year. Beverage Director Jim Santangelo has selected some of the finest sparkling wines from around the world that will be paired with each chef’s special winter delicacies. These will be available from Dec. 3 through the end of January 2016 and prices will vary by restaurant.

If you’re looking to be educated in all things bubbly and delicious, Santangelo and Under Current Bar’s general manager Amy Eldredge will also offer the next in their seasonal line of educational events, a “Winter Sparkling Wine” forum on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at Under Current Bar. The evening will include a lively discussion on bubbles and small bite pairings from Executive Chef Logen Crew. The cost to attend is just $55 for the event (or $30 without sparkling wine pairings). It’s a great value!  RSVPs are required and can be made by emailing


Jimmy Santangelo, photo credit: Adam Finkle

“A bottle of bubbles will make any occasion a celebration!” says Santangelo. “Sparkling wine is always a home run with food pairing. In fact, I’ve paired sparkling wines with each course throughout the meal. It’s very versatile….and tasty!!”

Participating restaurants include: Current Fish & Oyster, Under Current Bar, Fresco Italian Café, Café Trio (Downtown and Cottonwood), Oasis Café and Caffé Niche.


Selected Sparking wines will include:

Oasis Café: Zonin Prosecco – a lively Italian Sparkling wine bursting with white peach and pear flavors.

Caffe Niche: Sumarroca Brut ‘Reserva’ Cava, Spain 2011- This vintage Cava tastes more like premium Champagne but without the price tag.

Fresco: Adami ‘Garbel 13’ Prosecco, Italy – bursts on the palate with honeydew melon with a green apple like finish.

Café Trio(s): Michelle Brut Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA – dry blush colored sparkling wine bursting with raspberry and strawberry.

Under Current Bar: Sofia ‘blanc de blancs’ Sparkling Wine, CA – Sparkling wine in a can, with your own straw! Enjoy the holidays all on your own with this delicious juicy fresh pears, melon, and honeysuckle.

 Current Fish & Oyster: Willm Cremant d’Alsace blanc de blancs Brut, France – This sparkling wine from Alsace is made in the same methodé traditionnelle used in Champagne to produce sparkling wine. Think fresh apples, peaches and apricots in a glass.




Slow Food Utah’s 11th Annual Feast of Five Senses

Beautiful tablesettings set the mood for the meal.

Beautiful tablesettings set the mood for the meal.

When Slow Food Utah hosts a meal, you know you’re in for a treat. Their 11th annual fundraiser, Feast of Five Senses, was a showcase of Salt Lake’s finest chefs. Proceeds from the event, as well as the silent auction, fund their micro-grant program which supports farmers, food artisans and community and school gardens. Slow Food Utah is everything that’s good about our local food movement.

Chicken live pate from Tyler Stokes of Provisions with Scaia Corvina Rosso wine

Chicken liver pate with Scaia Corvina Rosso wine

The evening began with mingling, snacking and bidding on the silent auction. Our favorite bites included the organic chicken liver pate with smoked bacon, cider reduction, pickled fall vegetables atop toasted crostini from Tyler Stokes of Provisions. We both went back for a few of these. Bowman Brown of Forage had an impressive spread of tiny, delectable mushroom tarts served with small cups of earthy tea with a tiny bundle of forest plants (which was also adorable!).

So cute!! I adored this tiny soup from Bowman Brown of Forage

So cute!! I adored this tiny soup.

After a few hours of eating and chatting, it was time for dinner. The table settings were  dramatic, decorated with pumpkins, squash and pretty fall-colored flowers against a black table cloth.

“Our Family Table” was the theme of fundraiser. Gwen Davis, the head of Slow Food Utah, talked about the importance of community and sharing meals with friends and family.

The first course was a salad from Jennifer Gilroy from Porch (which we’ll be reviewing soon!). Combining flavors and textures, paired with a chardonnay, this salad was the perfect way to start the meal. The ranch dressing came in the form of panna cotta, made from Drake Farm goat’s milk which was totally fun to eat.

Jen Gilroy of Porch served this lovely fall salad with panna cotta dressing and crispy squash and heirloom tomato confit

The next course was made by Elisabeth LaFrond from Cafe BonAppetit at Westminster College, where the event was held. The tender raviolis stuffed with savory short rib were delicious, but I was really digging the smoky, blistered tomatoes that shared the plate. The tomatoes were a delight to pop in your mouth – smoky, flavorful and super juicy. A glass of Sierra Cantebria Riojo wine was the perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Braised short rib ravioli with blistered tomatoes and a wild mushroom demi glace

Braised short rib ravioli with blistered tomatoes and a wild mushroom demi glace

Last year, my favorite dish was created by Amber Billingsley from 3 Cups, an intermezzo of grape sorbet and a little square of sunflower brioche served in a tiny jar. This year she did it again with a winter squash gelato paired with quince sorbet topped with a dollop of marshmallow fluff and savory, candied pecans. Divine!
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Up next was meatloaf served family style from Logan Crew of Current Fish & Oyster. The presentation was gorgeous with colorful veggies and greens atop the old-fashioned meatloaf and mashed potatoes. La Valentina Spelt, a lush red wine, was served with the dish.
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A simple dish made from local pork and beef from Taylor farms, the meatloaf was flavorful, moist and utterly delectable. The accompanying vegetables and mashed potatoes were divine. Chef Crew is one of our favorites. His “simple” dishes  knock your socks off and this meatloaf was no exception.

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Since Dave had to wake up early (like at 2:30 am early) to work at the bakery, we had to sneak out a bit early. Unfortunately, we missed Romina Rasumussen’s dessert.

We were lucky enough to catch the Snail Awards, presented to members of the foodie community. Adam Kreisel, behind Chaia Cucina, was awarded as well as the lovely duo, Kasey and John Francis, from Amour Spreads.

The 11th Annual Feast of Five Senses was a wonderful evening, a testament to good food and good friends. We’re grateful that we were invited to be a part of the Family Table! It was a memorable experience, full of unforgettable food and wine, and most important, those who make the Slow Food scene in Utah so special.

The first taste of fall: Autumn Cider Festival & Tasting class on October 6

photo 2(3)Last week I was lucky enough to preview a fantastic fall event, the LaSalle and Trio Restaurant Groups inaugural Autumn Cider Festival. Beverage Director and all-around charming guy, Jim Santangelo has selected some of the finest hard ciders to be paired with each chef’s special fall creations – available from September 17 through the end of October. Participating restaurants include: Current Fish & Oyster, Under Current Bar, Fresco Italian Café, Café Trio Cottonwood, Café Trio Downtown, Oasis Café, Caffé Niche and Kyoto.

photo 3(2)I tried the special cider pairing for Current Fish & Oyster and was totally impressed! The Mint Stinger (that’s right, a mint-flavored apple cider!) from local favorite, The Hive Winery paired with a fresh oyster was a fun combination of flavors.

photo 3(1)I was so smitten, I took two photos of the tasty combination.

Along with the Autumn Cider Festival, there is a proper tasting class. I learned a lot at the preview. We tasted eight different ciders and I was surprised that each one was so unique. I was especially impressed with the Stella Artois Cidre – it was refreshing and flavorful.

photo 1(3)Santangelo and Under Current Bar’s general manager Amy Eldredge will offer a “Autumn Cider Tasting and Class” on Friday, October 6, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at Under Current Bar. It’s totally reasonably priced – just $20 for cider pairings and $15 for food from Executive Chef Logen Crew. RSVPs are required and can be made by emailing If you love fall flavors, it’s the ultimate drinky and learny experience.

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Festa Italiana: Celebrate Italian culture in Salt Lake City on September 19-20

Festa Italiana


Salt Lake City, ready yourselves for two days of Festa Italiana. The inaugural street fair is hosted by Italian American Civic League and will feature Ricci Martin, the son of famous Italian crooner, Dean Martin as well as Utah Opera performing excerpts from Tosca. A celebration of all things Italian, there will be music, art and most importantly, your favorite Italian restaurants ready to serve up authentic Italian eats. “It is our goal to give a little taste of Italian-American culture to everyone who attends the festival.” says Nick Fuoco, the event chair. They also have fun events planned like a bocce ball tournament.

Festa Italiana poster


Located in front of the Rio Grande Depot on 300 S. and 400 W. (and conveniently close to Caputo’s Market and Deli!) the festival  will run Saturday, September 19 from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and Sunday, September 20 from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Admission is free and a portion of proceeds will support Catholic Community Services.  Follow their Facebook page for more information. (I’m waiting patiently to hear what my favorite Italian restaurants will be serving!)

Please share this with your friends – the more the merrier!

Stay tuned for a recap of all the food we ate and Italian culture we enjoyed!  It’s sure to be an eventful weekend. We can’t wait!

Red Kitchen: Table X Pop Up Dinner

The Blackberry and Borage Popsicle was a wonderful way to start the evening

The Blackberry and Borage Popsicle was a wonderful way to start the evening

An invitation for Table X by Red Kitchen appeared in my email a few weeks ago. I’d been following them on Instagram and was intrigued by their minimal, elegant esthetic.

This dinner would be focused on local, vegetarian fare. The venue, Meet Me on 33rd was gorgeous and cozy – a stylishly decorated house made into a comfortable meeting space. A small group, eight folks beside us, immediately delved into conversation. We were greeted by the chefs with a Blackberry and Borage Popsicle, a small frozen treat with a flavorful punch. The blackberries came from their garden, dotted with thyme and served with Cava Extremarium Brut.

Both Dave and I were already impressed with Red Kitchen. After all the guests had a moment to get acquainted, we entered the dining room. The table was dressed with fresh cut blueberry branches and candles, welcoming and comfortable.

table decor

The menu for the evening

The menu for the evening

Potato cooked in coals with duck eggThe first course was a fingerling potato cooked in coals and filled with a duck egg. It was a satisfying, delectable bite and set the tone for the dinner – simple and delicious.

Bread and butter were served along with triangles of chickpea socca.

bread and cultured butterChickpea soccaThe next dish was my very favorite. Described as “corn with tapioca and sorghum” on the menu, the toasty flavors of the popcorn-ed sorghum mingled with the sweet and chewy tapioca balls.

My favorite dish - corn with tapioca and sorghumCorn with tapioca and sorgumThe next dish was a perfect square of summer squash with kelp and shiso.

Summer squashAnother favorite bite was the buckwheat pancake tied into a tiny bundle and filled with charred cauliflower. It was also adorable!

Buckwheat pancakeDave was worried that he would have to eat actual cauliflower when he saw the menu. Luckily, it was made into a rich creamy sauce to dip the delicately crispy flaxseed crackers. This dish was delicious and fun to eat!

Flaxseed crackers and cauliflower dipEggplant and tomato was the next course. A petite fairytale eggplant dressed the plate, along with tomato and a tart green apple relish.

fairytale eggplant and tomtao with relishFor dessert, a zucchini ice cream was served along with crunchy sunflower and honey granola topped with crystallized blossoms.

zucchini ice cream

fresh milk and blueberryThe meal ended with warm blueberries were served with fresh milk curd- a luxurious bite.

It was a memorable meal, each course was skillfully executed and paired with an interesting white wine. Keep Red Kitchen on your radar. They’ll be doing more pop up dinners in the future, and a restaurant in Salt Lake City is in the works. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Taste of the Wasatch – Sunday, August 2

One of many plates

One of many plates

It’s our absolute favorite event of the year. Taste of the Wasatch has it all – food, wine, beer and live music against the scenic Solitude Resort. And what’s better than that? It’s all for a fantastic cause.

phone 20141 427 - Copy “All of us, from the organizing committee, to the volunteers and chefs, are thrilled to be involved in this event that benefits our community 100 percent,” says event organizer Karen Zabriskie. “Funds raised stay local, directly benefiting Utahns Against Hunger, The Green Urban Lunch Box and 3 Squares, Inc.”

Dave worked really hard on this plate.

Dave worked really hard on this plate.

Over 1,500 expected attendees will participate in this gastronomic event while enjoying cutting edge fine cuisine from restaurants such as Stein Eriksen’s Lodge’s Glitretind, Deer Valley Resort, Avenues Proper, La Caille, Luna Blanca, Trio, Meditrina, Red Iguana and more. New restaurants joining the event include Harbor Seafood and Steak, Current Fish and Oyster, R and R BBQ, Porch, Taqueria 27, Bistro 222 and The Annex by Epic Brewing. The now famous Dessert Booth will showcase fine desserts from more than 15 of the state’s best top pastry chefs and bakers.

Tickets for Taste of the Wasatch are $90 for General Admission and $125 for Reserved Seating (VIP), if purchased in advance. Group discounts are available. Tickets can be purchased online at

Last year we enjoyed General Admission with two camping chairs (that have never been camping) and a nice shady spot. The difference between General Admission and  VIP (besides some $$) is that you can enter a half hour early and enjoy dining at a table under a large white tent.

Check out my coverage for SLUG Magazine about last year’s event.

We brought two chairs and found a lovely, shady spot.

We brought two chairs and found a lovely, shady spot.

Savory Salt Lake, a fundraiser for KUER 90.1

R & R's Barbeque offered a Chicken Fried Brisket with Country Gravy. Taken with a shot of aged gin from Beehive Distilling

R & R’s Barbeque offered a Chicken Fried Brisket with Country Gravy. Taken with a shot of aged gin from Beehive Distilling

KUER 90.1 is a popular public radio station in Utah. It’s our source for NPR, jazz and news with a focus on community. To reward their supporters, they throw a hell of a party called “Savory Salt Lake” with tasty bites from some of Utah’s best restaurants and beverages.

Guests were expected to vote for their favorite dishes with plastic golden coins. Celebrity judges included Ty Burrell, the dad from Modern Family and owner of Beer Bar and BarX, his wife Holly, RadioWest’s Doug Fabrizio and Vannesa Chang, general food nerd.  

R & R Barbeque offered bites of savory chicken-fried steak, served with a tender micro-biscuit made from scratch, drenched in a rich country gravy and drizzled with something sweet. They won the Audience Award for this dish.

The Tree Room at Sundance Mountain Resort offered a delectable and fresh Ahi Tuna Crudo

The Tree Room at Sundance Mountain Resort offered a delectable and fresh Ahi Tuna Crudo

There was a lot of food to pick from and we had fun sampling each unique offering.   There was a lot of care in each dish – each bite was a work of art. One of my favorites was the Ahi Tuna Crudo from The Tree room at Sundance Mountain Restort; it was fresh, flavorful and light.


Salt Bistro served a Savory Goat Cheese Creme Brulee with Braised Beef Shoulder, Red Wine Mushrooms and Micro Herbs

Salt Bistro served a Savory Goat Cheese Creme Brulee with Braised Beef Shoulder, Red Wine Mushrooms and Micro Herbs

Another dish was the Savory Goat Cheese Creme Brulee with Braised Beef Shoulder.  Mushrooms sauteed in red wine added another layer of flavor.  Both of us really enjoyed the flavors in this bite – tart, sweet and savory. Chef Zanetta Jones from The Leonardo’s Salt Bistro always comes up with fun and inventive flavors. Whenever we see her at foodie events, we can’t wait to see what she’s come up with!

Savory Salt Lake was a fun event – we got to taste excellent food and drinks and mingle with some of our favorite chefs.  We were graciously invited to share the evening with KUER’s supporters. (Thank you!)