The best food, the most interesting foodies and our dream dinner, ca. 2010

best cocktail Whiskey Smash at Dakota Mountain lodge We love this mix at Spruce bar in Dakota Mountain Lodge-High West rye, lemon and mint. It warms and cools at the same time. They should have called it the "Yin/Yang," but they named it "Whiskey Smash" for equally good reasons. 2100 Frostwood Drive, park city, 435-647-5500,

best place to buy tabletop New Orientation It's not just what you see on the shelves, it's what they can find for you from classic English and French china makers like Haviland, Wedgwood and Spode. 1400 Foothill Drive, SLC, 801-582-4462,

best over-the-top decor Tuscany's mammoth glass chandelier Think 2,000 pieces of glass, 4,000 pounds, 14 feet high, 100-percent optically pure crystal, 5,000 separate LED lights, 3,200 feet of wire. But really, you have to see it to believe it. 2832 E. 6200 South, Holladay, 801-277-9919,

best birthday idea Cake for one Get yourself a personal birthday cake from Tulie Bakery. The 6-inchers are made with local eggs, hormone-free milk and as many organic ingredients as possible. Yes, you still have to sing. 863 E. 700 South, SLC, 801-883-9741

best local tequila Vida Tequila That's right, local tequila. Of course, the blue agave is grown in Mexico or it couldn't be called tequila, but the owners of this premium spirit live right here in the Ess Ell Cee. The reposado is aged in American oak, the anejo for 18 to 24 months; both sip like a cognac. Available at some DABC stores,

best new city dogs vegetarian hot dogs from City Dogs At this vegetarian food cart at the corner of 300 South and 200 East in SLC, besides dogs (Chicago-style, brats, chili and Italian sausage), you can have veggie tacos and veggie ribs (no, really!!)

best new sushi Naked Fish Temari Balls Invented by Chef Tosh, these are beautiful little bite-size rice balls topped with sushi ingredients-tuna, eel, salmon-are the best. Eat these like popcorn. 67 W. 100 South, SLC, 801-595-8888,

best new use of bacon The Goo-Ga-Borg It's been bacon's year-did you see the bacon mug filled with melted cheese? Well, try J. Wong's Asian Bistro's spring roll skin-wrapped, bacon-wrapped shrimp. 163 w. 200 South, SLC, 801-350-0888,

best sweet treat sweet tooth fairy Their sweet treats even made a guest appearance on the Rachael Ray show. For info on all locations, go to

best new cupcake replacement Doughnuts We'll never really be over cupcakes, but we're glad to see doughnuts getting their due. Meet-I mean eat-the best.

Large beignet with espresso zabaglione and cranberry preserves at Goldener Hirsch, 7570 Royal Street East, Park City, 435-649-7770,

Mini take-home party doughnuts from caterer Cuisine Unlimited, 4641 Cherry St., Murray, 801-268-2332,

Beyond Glaze Doughnuts, outpost of a national chain devoted to the intricately iced. 177 W. 12300 South, Draper, 801-571-2309,

Thickly cinnamon-crusted doughnuts from Banbury Cross, 705 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-537-1433

Italian market doughnuts with creme brulee at Log Haven, 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, SLC, 801-272-8255

best charcuterie all-stars

Vienna Bistro smoked Hungarian paprika sausage, bunderfleisch. 132. S. Main St., SLC, 801-322-0334, Creminelli wild boar salami, salami cacciatore.

Spruce pig's ear terrine, duck rillette. 2100 Frostwood Drive, Park City,

Franck's housemade sausage, pressed Kurobuto pork, 6264 S. Holladay Blvd., SLC, 801-274-6264,

Copper Onion cantimpalo, sopressata with black pepper. 111 E. Broadway, SLC, 801-355-3282,

best food trends of the year and where to experience them

Cruciferous vegetables are back on the plate-the unglamorous veg gets a culinary makeover. Try: Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and cider vinegar at Eva; roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta, pomegranate and sherry vinegar at Talisker on Main; flatbread with tapenade and cauliflower at Parallel 88; spaghetti with Napa cabbage, pancetta, cauliflower and ricotta salata at Lugno.

Panna cotta steps in for creme brulee-lighter and more adaptable to interesting variations than its rich, gelatin-free cousin. Try: Goat cheese panna cotta at Fresco; chocolate panna cotta at Wild Grape; creme fraiche panna cotta (right)at Bambara; green tea panna cotta at Log Haven.

The slow braise Chefs are taking their time and braising meat for rich flavor. Try: Wild boar agrodulce at Tin Angel; Asian pot roast with dried cherries at Sego Lily; 5-hour dry-braised pork belly with balsamic onion jam and triple creme Brie from Tiburon; short rib at Bambara.

House-made fresh cheeses Try: The ricotta at Copper Onion (in dumplings and on ragu) and Nuch's (on pizza and in calzone); the mozzarella at Caputo's by Night (on chicken Margherita and in a sandwich); the anthotyro (like ricotta) salata from Aristo's.

No more fear of frying Chefs are getting into deep fat, and customers are following. Try: Green bean beignets at Spruce at Dakota Mountain Lodge; fried artichokes, patatas bravas and fried bread pudding at Copper Onion; fried shrimp over nopales with smoked jalapeno sauce at Frida Bistro; fried green tomatoes with melted chevre at Mariposa, Deer Valley; tempura butternut squash with cinnamon-scented risotto at Wild Grape Bistro; fried halibut cheeks (with tartar sauce!) at Log Haven.

best new chocolate concoctions

Chocolate Mole Cookie (by Dough Girls) Served warm and gooey with ice cream and sugared pepitas at Frida Bistro. 545 W. 700 South, SLC, 801-983-6692,

Drunken Oreos The Nabisco cookie soaked in red wine. Yes, at Meditrina. 1394 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-485-2055,

Housemade Oreos Dark chocolate cookies with thick icing in the middle at Red Moose Roasting Co. 1700 S. 900 East SLC, 801-906-8864,

Cookies & Cream Cream Crushed Oreos and white chocolate cream enrobed in chocolate by Chocolatier Bleu at Caputo's Market & Deli. 314 W. 300 South, SLC, 801-531-TONY,

Best dentist Just guessing you might need one if you've sampled the best chocolates. Funk Dental. 1345 E. 3900 South, SLC, 801-271-3768

best news in fast food: Slow food cuisine enters the fast food race.

Masala Indian Grill: Tandoori chicken wraps, plus other Pakistani specialties, in Sugar House from Saifar Nisar, whose family operates Curry in a Hurry. 2223 S. Highland Drive, SLC, 801-487-2994,

Hayai Zushi: Drive-through sushi and teriyaki to go from master sushi chef Peggi Whiting. 307 E. 600 South, SLC, 801-364-1699,

Bocata: Settebello, the people who first brought SLC pizza perfection, now give us the artisan sandwich in City Creek's food court. 28 S. State St., SLC, 801-355-3538

Taste of Red Iguana: Salt Lake's favorite Mex eatery has an offshoot right next door to Bocata in City Creek. 28 S. State St., SLC, 801-214-6350,

best salad Chop Salad at Vinto There's more to salad than a few well-placed leaves. The Verdura at Vinto has zucchini, asparagus, peppers, corn, avocados, eggplant and tomatoes. Who says you can't fill up on salad? 418 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-539-9999,

best starch accompaniment Polenta with Braised wild boar at Tin angel We've had it with the mashed potatoes, be they blue or gold. Ditto for pasta. Nubbly sweet polenta soaks up the sauce just as well and adds a sweet, nutty taste all its own. 365 W. 400 South, SLC, 801-328-4155,

best meat dish Carnitas at Frida Bistro You know how carnitas are so often little, dried-up pieces of meat? Usually, they've been cooked way ahead and stored for a while. Result: Wood chips. Frida's kitchen uses bigger (and fresh) pork chunks and glazes them lightly. Result: Succulence wrapped in a tortilla. 545 W. 700 South, SLC, 801-983-6692,

best appetizer Egg in the shell at forage In the beginning was the egg. There couldn't be a more poetically apt appetizer than the egg served at Forage, barely scrambled and replaced in its own shell with a tiny dollop of sherried maple. 370 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-708-7834,

best bread Naan from Kathmandu You can't stop eating it; thin, soft, with a slight tandoor char, this is the Best. Naan. Ever. We want to eat it with everything. 3142 S. highland Drive, SLC, 801-466-3504,

best first course Calamari at Chow Truck Flash-fried with cilantro leaves and lemon slices, and proof that mobile food is good food.

best chicken dish Sous-vide airline chicken at Communal "Sous-vide" sounds a lot better than "cooking in a bag." There's more to it than that, but not much: Place the food in a plastic bag and cook it at a low temperature a long time. Very carefully. The intense chicken-ness of Communal's sous-vide bird will astound you. 102 N. university ave., Provo, 801-373-8000

best seafood dish Mussels at Copper Onion These mussels win "best" by acclamation: Everyone who eats them is completely swept away-the mussel morsels are so moist and the broth elevates "everyday" black pepper to ambrosia status. 111 E. broadway, SLC, 801-355-3282,

best veg Roasted asparagus at J&G Grill It doesn't get any simpler, and it doesn't get any better: Roasted asparagus with lemon zest and olive oil on a hot plate at J&G Grill. 2300 Deer Valley Drive East, park city, 435-940-5750,

best potato Pago's pillows with caviar Pago's golden puffed potato pillows are the perfect resting place for roe, blanketed with creme fraiche. 878 s. 900 East, slc, 801-532-0777,

best dessert Dessert wine sampler at Martine What a simple, brilliant idea: A trio of sweet sips as dessert: Kourtaki Samos Muscat '07; Marques de Caceres Satinela '07; and Elderton Botrytis Semillon '07. 22 E. 100 South, SLC, 801-363-9328,

best spots to eat with the kids

Pirate Island Pirate ships, skeletons and servers who say "Aaaargh!"Try the restaurant's 24-inch pizza: The Kraken. 959 S. 700 East, Orem, 801-221-9646,

Johnniebeefs Kids' meals are served in classic car trays for less than $5. Feed the big Utah family with 12 all-beef corndogs for $26. 7194 S. Union Park, Suite A, Midvale, 801-352-0372,

Mayan Adventure Take the family for the atmosphere, eating in a tree and watching cliff divers in action, not the gourmet experience. 9400 S. State Street, Sandy, 801-304-4600,

The Pie Pantry Restaurant at Cherry Hill A day at Cherry Hill's water park is only complete once you've tried the cherry pie at the Pantry. 1325 S. Main, Kaysville, 801-451-5379,

Cisero's Ristorante Kids love coloring on the white paper tablecloths while eating spaghetti and meatballs for less than $10. Wine by the glass for the adults. 306 Main Street, Park City, 435-649-5044,

Dream dinner guests

We'd like to have a fascinating foodie dinner party and invite these guests to talk about what's new on the table.

Francis Fecteau Self-made wine expert and broker and Utah's connection to fine organic and biodynamic wine.

Roseanne Ruiz The taste talent behind two of the year's big food success stories, Vinto and the Chow truck.

SuAn Chow Drives the Chow truck now and has had her fingers in all kinds of things since closing the family restaurant Charlie Chow.

M/M Russell taylor Owners of Taylor Made organic beef in Emery, Utah, but also other meats, available from Bell Organics.

Kevin & Celia Bell Urban homesteaders who garden and tend bees, chickens, lamas and goats in their city backyard.

Adam Kreisel Cutting-edge chef who breaks the ice for every new food trend first. Last seen at Caputo's; next gig-??