Besides enjoying the sunshine (where? read this about great patios), set yourself up for more food fun by making these recommended reservations and buys.
1. Buy Tastemakers Salt Lake City tickets
I know we're sponsoring it and all, but that's not why I'm recommending itâ€”we're not hte only sponsors. I see this as the seed of Salt Lake Cityâ€™s own downtown food event that can grow over the years and become a destination as more and more people realize what great food we have in this city. It'sÂ a stroll-and-taste showcasing 16 restaurants with live music right in dowtown SLC. A (cheap!) $20 passport gets you tastes and sips at all participating restaurant, PLUS special deals throughout the summer. Buy yours here.
2. Eat some nitro ice cream at the new Sub-Zero
Some call it a passing fad; others (myself included) think that liquid nitrogen ice cream will be a permanent option in the roster of frozen delights. Come see what everyoneâ€™s talking about at Sub Zeroâ€™s new Murray storeâ€”its grand opening is this weekend.Â Murray Sub Zero Ice Cream, 5612 S. 900 East Murray.
What was formerly a chain steakhouse has become part of the LaSalle Group of restaurants, meaning chef Billy Sotelo oversees Executive Chef Dave Hesterâ€™s menu. On Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m., heâ€™s cooking up special dishes to go with Epic beers in a five-course tasting menu. Cost is $40 for the dinner and $25 for optional beer pairings. A taste of the menu:
Black and Blue Elk Tartar: Quail egg yolk, watercress, black truffles, brioche toast; paired with Imperial Red
Grain-Scented Hanger Steak: Fingerling potatoes, chimichurri, wilted arugula; paired with Spiral Jetty
Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Rockfish: Hush puppies, spicy tartar, gaufrettes; paired with Brown Rice Ale
Pistachio and Amano Chocolate Nib Tart: Oreo crust, Amano ganache; paired with 825 State St. Stout
4. Reserve seats at Zuccaâ€™s Simcic Winery dinner
On Tuesday, May 17 from 7 to 9, winery owner Marjan Simcic and chef Elio Acanu will host a six-course pairing dinner featuring Simcic wines from the Slovenian-Italian border. Zucca as one of only a handful of US restaurants where Simcic is holding these tastings. FoodÂ is $ 45; wine is $ 20 for 12 pours.Â Â Â Call 801.475.7077. A menu sample:
Chilean Seabass Crudo: Blood orange caviar, baby radishes, arugula, sardinian honey vinaigrette; paired with Simcic Pinot Grigio 2008
'Susci Italiano:' Ahi tuna, arborio rice, zucchini tempura, moscatello vinegar, horseradish foam; paired with Simcic Ribolla 2009
Duck Magret Risotto:Â Caramelized apples, foie gras emulsion; paired with Simcic Teodor Bianco 2007
Coffee Rubbed Tenderloin: Tomma cheese sauce, wild mushroom fricasee, crispy shallots; paired with Simcic Pinot Nero 2007
5. Sign up for a wine class in the latest WSET series
The Wine and Spirits Education Trust is the largest wine and spirits education and certification program in the world. Here, the courses are only available through Jimmy Santangeloâ€™s Wine Academy of Utah, a division of his Virtual Sommelier. I tookâ€”and passed!â€”the intermediate course; it was challenging but enormously interesting to anyone with the slightest interest in wine. This session for the first time Santangelo is offering the entry-level foundation course which you can take as aÂ one day extravaganza or as 3 hour-long classes over 3 weeks.
6. Taste some new wines
Jimmy Santangelo, the Virtual Sommelier and WSET instructor, recommends this Rioja: the 2007 Ramon Bilbao Crianza, 100% Tempranillo grapes for $16.99. Tasting notes: Medium body;Â ruby color; aroma of raspberry seed with a touch of wet leather (thatâ€™s a good thing); a finish of red berry and cherry skin-like tannin.â€
Tracey Thompson, veep of Vine Lore,Â calls this her new â€œBBQ wineâ€â€”The Chook Shiraz-Viognier 2009 from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek for $16.99. Tasting notes: Â Medium-full body; garnet purple color; it has intense cherry and crushed blackberry aromas; high acidity and medium-firm fine tannins; long finish.â€