Friday, March 29, 2013
It's true, the Beehive State is pretty great. And since I have lived the majority of my life in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains I can accurately call it home. This weekend I'm going home. Home to family and friends. Home to familiar surroundings and happy memories. Spending Easter with my family is one of my FAVORITE traditions. In celebration of my westward trek I thought I'd share some of my favorite tried and true places to visit; places that have been on my A-list for years.* And while I don't always get to all of these spots when I return for a visit, I'm happy to have this trusty list at the ready.
Left Fork Grill looks like a dumpy trucker stop from the outside, but it just so happens to have the most amazing pie. Ever. Dozens of varieties to choose from and many sell out before your meal is even over. Take advice from a pro: order your pie first. You'll be glad they saved that last slice of raspberry cream for you.
Mazza Mediterranean restaurant serves up authentic flavors in a cozy setting. The sampler platter is great for sharing and the tabouli tastes as fresh as the Aegean sea air.
Nielsen's Frozen Custard**gets to the heart of the matter. A true reflection of what Utahns love. Ice cream. Home of the thicker-than-a-milkshake, spoon-required concrete, this neighborhood joint is staffed by teenagers and is packed all seasons of the year.
Ruby Snap is much more that a cookie store. Pin-up girl names, generous samples, and cookies-of-the-month make this little store such a sweet spot.
Les Madeleines is a sophisticated bakery. Its specialty is kouign-amann (pronounced queen a-mahn). This buttery, flaky, sugared caramel croissant is guaranteed to alter your existence. If you're lucky you might also find them in the South of France, but only if you visit during high season.
Red Iguana knows Mexican food. Seriously. Two locations. Outrageous chile verde. Repeat appearances on Best Of Lists year after year. What more can I say?
MARKETS & MORE
Abode/Paris Flea Market is adorable. Take the afternoon off and sort through colorful vintage furniture and clothing pieces. Reasonable prices and the varied selection make this a true find.
Cactus and Tropicals is pure class. The indoor nursery is perfect for fighting winter blues. Gorgeous floral arrangements and excellent customer service make this my go-to spot for inspiration.
The City Library (Main Branch) is an architectural wonder. Don't forget to look up! Plus they have one of the best mission statements I've ever read; you know, if you're in to that sort of thing.
Liberty Park was less than a mile from where I lived for a time. It's great for exercise and people watching. And they have a really neat Aviary right inside the park.
Pioneer Park Farmer's Market is hands down my favorite farmer's market and I've been to A LOT of different markets. While Saturday mornings are busier than they were back in 2000, I'm happy the crowds are supporting local vendors with such enthusiasm.
Red Butte Gardens is nestled on the side of a mountain. Stunning vistas, gorgeous gardens, short hiking paths and summer concerts make this the perfect spot for the entire family.
The King's English Bookstore is adorable and what beats getting lost in a local book shop?
* This list focuses primarily on the Salt Lake City region of the state.
**While you can technically get Nielsen's Frozen Custard in Virginia, I think its birthplace warrants inclusion on this list.