Part of the fun when traveling is trying local food, and Ryan and I made sure to do just that in Salt Lake City last week. Though my meals were provided at Alt Summit, Ryan’s were not, so both days, we left before the hotel lunch was served, and went in search of new places to try.
We stayed at the Airport Inn, which wasn’t anything special, but it did have a delicious Chinese restaurant in the lobby. We ate our complimentary breakfasts at Sunny’s Bistro each morning, and came back for dinner a few times. The food was delicious, and when I was feeling sick and achy from the heavy smog, the Hot and Sour Soup was really comforting on a cold winter’s night. Also, the waitresses were incredibly sweet and helpful, and they put up with a lot from out-of-town guests. It’s worth stopping by on your way to or from the airport.
Thursday was the first day of Alt and the weather was terrible. Ryan braved the cold and ice-covered sidewalks while I was in a session, and found Stoneground for us to try. I was wearing heels and had to hold onto him for dear life while crossing the parking lot, so I forgot to take a picture, but once we were in, I relaxed and enjoyed a delicious pizza. Ryan was impressed with the local beer on tap, too. Stoneground is also an art space and features local artists’ work on its wall, so the atmosphere is very calm and relaxing. I wish we had time to go back, but maybe next year.
Ryan soon found his home-away-from-home at Epic Brewing Company, and we spent as much time there as we did at the Grand America Hotel. Seriously. We stopped by after our lunch Thursday, and Ryan bought a few bottles of beer and scheduled a tour for Friday. I took the tour with him the next day, and found it surprisingly interesting. Epic is local to Salt Lake City, and became so successful so quickly that it has practically outgrown its current space, located in the middle of a city block, and is now building a facility in Colorado.
The beer laws in Utah are strict (much like in Texas), and beer is only sold on tap at restaurants, or in bottles at the State Liquor Store. Bottles of beer can be purchased from Epic, but to sample a beer, you must also buy a meal from their tiny restaurant (a guy behind a counter making sandwiches on a press) while you sip from sample-size glasses, which range in price from forty cents to a dollar. Even though I’m not a beer drinker and had no plans to sample it, I had to buy a sandwich, too. Since we had just eaten lunch, we both nibbled at our meals, and took them back to our hotel for dinner. The sandwiches were actually quite delicious, and the beer must be, too, since Ryan bought a bunch of bottles and shipped them home via UPS. Epic Brewing Company’s story is really amazing, and I know Ryan found it very inspiring. I guess it was his version of Alt Summit on a smaller scale.
Squatter’s was the second brewery we tried, but after touring Epic, I found this place very pretentious and unimpressive. Squatter’s also brews on-site, like Epic, but it had a chain restaurant feel to it, and I kept asking Ryan if the brewing equipment in the window was real. The food tried hard to be good, but we were disappointed, and the atmosphere was contrived. It felt a lot like Chili’s to me, only decorated in a beer-brewing theme. The restaurant is downtown, so it was really crowded, and seems to draw a good business. I guess I just prefer the simpler style of Epic Brewing.
Ryan and I both love hamburgers, so we decided to try Guzzi’s, a small, local hamburger place with a big reputation. This place most definitely lived up to the reviews, and we were not disappointed. Guzzi’s is housed in a tiny building, and there are only three tables and a small bar inside. We got lucky and beat the lunch crowd, so we were able to enjoy our burgers and fries in peace. There are only five or six burgers on the menu, and everything is cooked to order, the way your grandmother used to make hamburgers. I asked for mayonnaise on mine, and the waitress, who resembled Flo from Mel’s Diner, politely informed me that the buns are fried in mayonnaise, so that was plenty for me. Most of the diners were local workmen, and it is only open for lunch. But it’s near the Grand America, so if you are at Alt and you get hungry for a burger, I can definitely recommend Guzzi’s.
On our last night in Salt Lake City, I was dying for a delicious dessert, so Ryan found Gourmandise, a lovely local bakery. We both ordered yummy sandwiches, of which we ate half, and then I got to choose my dessert from the enormous cases at the front of the restaurant. We split a huge piece of Black Forest Cake, and I also splurged on two macarons. Everything was freshly made and tasted wonderful, and I most definitely want to go back one day!
It was fun exploring Salt Lake City, even in the snow and fog, and there are many wonderful restaurants there!
(I’m skipping my normal Friday links this week to wrap up my posts on Alt Summit and Salt Lake City. I hope you enjoyed them!)