Tarahumara's salsa bar

Best Mist dish
The Campfire Plate
The molecular gastronomic 
extravaganza called Mist had the town buzzing about something besides Sundance this winter: 16 courses of over-the-top inventive foods, the likes of which this city had never seen before. Our fave was the campfire plate: charred beef with a can of beans and edible charcoal.

Best Soup Service
Chef’s Table
At this Orem institution, your soup is served in an individual, portioned china tureen, covered until your server lifts the lid so you get a full rush of aroma. 2005 S. State St., Orem, 801-235-9111, chefstable.net

Best Wine Dinner
The Paris
Happily, wine pairing events and dinners abound in Utah. This year Maison Latour held its wine dinner at The Paris, and from the pissaladière to the terrine to the oeufs en meurette to the époisse, the meal was a truly Gallic celebration. 1500 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-486-5585, theparis.net

Best Gourmet Update 
of a Trashy Classic 
Chocolot's dipped Peeps
Chocolot’s Easter-time chocolate-dipped treats combined the remembered joys of childhood with the experienced delight of adults. Watch for them next year. Ogden, 801-475-5050, sweetchocolot.com

Best Big Pigs
Finca
Finca owner Scott Evans and Chef Phelix Gardner kicked off the restaurant’s opening by roasting a whole pig. Whole suckling pigs were also roasted at Rico’s Dia de los Muertos party, the Utah State Fair and the Farmers Market pig roast. It’s getting to be a big, piggy habit. 1291 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-487-0699, fincaslc.com

In other pig news: Creminelli Fine Meats started making lardo, the pure creamy fat beloved by connoisseurs, and Mist introduced us to the joys of bacon dust. 


Best Quick Breakfast
Les Madeleines
This toaster pastry–so not a PopTart–takes the ersatz and makes it better, a reversal of the usual course of American civilization. A buttery pastry pocket encloses intense fruit jam. 216 E. 500 South, SLC, 801-355-2294, les-madeleines.com

Best Table Trend
Communal tables
Ta-ta to the four-top. Restaurant seating these days is all about singletons, eating at the bar, like we do at Copper Onion (111 E. Broadway, SLC, 801-355-3282) and Finca (1291 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-487-0699), or instant party dining at a communal tables, like we do at Pallet (237 S. 400 West, SLC, 801-935-4431) and Plum Alley (111 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-355-0543).

Best Pasta Dish
Sea Salt’s tortellini
Hand-formed tortellini, filled with ethereal ricotta and fennel pollen, served in a buttery broth studded with toasted pine nuts. Sheer perfection at Sea Salt. 1709 E. 1300 South, SLC, 801-349-1480, seasaltslc.com

Best French Fry
Tonyburgers
Handcut to medium width from fresh potatoes, twice fried—once for tenderness, once for crispness—in peanut oil, these are french fries by which all others should be measured. 613 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-419-0531, tonyburgers.com

Best Food and Wine Pairing Menu
Frida Bistro
The weekly soup-to-nuts pairing menu at Frida consists of four courses of fireworks, each one paired with the perfect wine, making the best unexpected series of flavors in the city. For instance, Hongos al Ajillo—mushrooms with guajillo, green onions and garlic—and Marietta Old Vine Zinfandel. 545 W. 700 South, SLC, 801-983-6692, fridabistro.com

Best Pure Utah Decor
Portrait of Porter Rockwell at Pallet
Along with the dusky landscapes and Flemish still lifes by artist Courtney Derrick, wife of Pallet owner Rocky Derrick, lurks a portrait of Porter Rockwell, Brigham Young’s “Destroying Angel.” Utter Utah ambiance. 237 S. 400 West, SLC, 801-935-4431, eatpallet.com

Best Salsa Bar
Tarahumara
In the case of salsa, “best” means “most.” And “most,” in the case of salsa, means nearly infinite. The salsa bar at this Midway Mexican cafe features an ever-changing array of fresh, cooked, hot, sweet, thin, thick, fruit and chile salsas. Some are mild, others are hotter than the Human Torch. 380 E. Main St., Midway, 435-654-3465, tarahumara.biz

Best Supermom Dish
Bambara’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese
It's not your mom’s mac. People are so addicted to the stuff, they get it to go. Chef Nathan Powers proves his finesse with full flavors in this soul-stirring dish of cheese-bathed noodles with a backbone of ham hock broth and generous topping of buttered crumbs. 202 S. Main St., SLC, 801-363-5454, bambara-slc.com

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