Holiday fun, food, drink, crafts, music & more
This past weekend, my wife and I ventured down to the Made in Utah Winter Fest which is presented by Utah Stories and The Gateway. The Made in Utah Winter Fest is a community-driven, free to the public, and family-friendly market that showcases some of Utah’s top artists, musicians, artisans, and product makers including breweries, distilleries, restaurants, food trucks, and other local businesses in Utah.
Naturally, I was at Winter Fest primarily to scope out the food and drink options, which were plentiful. But we also enjoyed perusing crafts, jewelry, health products and such which ran the gamut from wine barrels turned into furniture by Mitchell King of Rocking K Barrelworks and Albrea’s original weighted blankets, cocoons, wraps and scarves, to Beehive Buds CBD, Zia Zensations, Cat’s Pajamas Glass, Amanda Green Pottery and many more. Free live music is another attraction of Winter Fest, and if you didn’t make it this past weekend, you have the next two weekends to take in the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of Winter Fest 2019. The free Festival will continue this weekend, December 14 & 15, and next weekend, December 21 & 22.
It’s impossible to detail all of the great food and drink options at Winter Fest here in Utah Bites, but here are some highlights from last weekend.
Sobe Eats Culinary Concepts is the brainchild of the three Soberanis brothers: Salvador, Fernando and Victor. In warm weather, they specialize in gourmet tostadas. But now that there’s a chill in the air, Sobe Eats’ winter concept is banh mi tortas with various fillings, a brilliant idea that tastes every bit as good as it sounds. Melding together the Mexican torta with Vietnamese banh mi is a stroke of genius. In addition, Sobe Eats also cooked up a damned cooked grilled cheese sandwich.
It sounds like this would be impossible in Utah, but Winter Fest attendees are allowed to stroll The Gateway grounds – or at least, the area where Winter Fest takes place – while sipping on cocktails, wine, beer and such which is available for purchase. Those banh mi tortas from Sobe Eats pair perfectly with cold brews from Saltfire Brewing or maybe a hard cider from Mountain West Cider – they’re gluten-free.
One of my favorite Made in Utah food vendors is German-born Petra Vigil, who bakes strudels, pretzels, cookies, cakes and seasonal pastries. The products she bakes for her business called Petra’s Backstubchen (backstube means bakery or bakehouse in German) are developed from her mother’s recipes and cookbooks that she brought with her from her native Germany. Everything Petra bakes is delicious, but I think her stollen and strudels are out of this world!
Also other-worldly is the Senegalese cuisine found at the Balabé food truck, owned by Ibou Fall. Menu items from Balabé range from a rich peanut butter stew of veggies and tubers called mafé or tiep jenn – fish with fried rice and vegetables – to a classic Senegalese curry named thiou and lamb with fried rice known as jolof. And, you’ve gotta indulge in mbourou fass, a Senegalese cream-filled toast topped with whipped cream, Nutella and bananas.
Craft cocktails made from locally distilled spirits is a big part of the Made in Utah Winter Fest fun and the mixologists there offer up a dizzying array of festive cocktails using products from Sugar House Distilling, Distillery 36, Waterpocket Distillery, Ogden’s Own, Beehive Distilling, Holystone Distillery, New World Distillery, Hammer Springs Distillers and Outlaw Distillery.
Of course, not everyone at Winter Fest will be sipping cocktails and such. Another terrific local vendor participating in the festival is Daily Rise Coffee, with a tempting selection of both hot and cold brews available.
If you’re just looking for something to snack on during Winter Fest, or perhaps some supplies for hiking, skiing and such, Red Canyon Co. has all sort of trail mixes to fit the bill. We picked up a few bags of Red Canyon Co. trail mix to use as Christmas stocking stuffers.
Personally, I love a good Chinese-style dumpling, AKA potsticker. And it’s hard to beat the plump, delectable dumplings at Happy Dumpling. The pork-filled dumplings I tasted were some of the best I’ve ever had, but Happy Dumpling also offers vegetarian and chicken dumpling options. Happy Dumpling is a Salt Lake City-based outfit that delivers handcrafted dumplings straight to your door. Or, enjoy them at Winter Fest. These dumplings made me very happy!
Shiro Kuma is a pan-Asian frozen dessert shop in West Valley City that sells snow cream and bubble waffles. If you’ve never tried a bubble waffle, now is the time! They are delicious, traditional Hong Kong street food made from Shiro Kuma’s special homemade egg batter. By the way, Shiro Kuma means white bear (AKA polar bear) in Japanese.
I’d never encountered Guacamaya Juice before. It turns out the Guacamaya Juice produces tizana, a fruit drink made with fresh lemon, pineapple, peaches, apples, passion fruit, watermelons, melons, pears, bananas, and mangoes. They also offer cocada: real organic coconut that’s made into a slushy.
Let’s face it: We all love fried foods, right? At least, every now and then. Well, if it’s friable food, Fry Me To The Moon food truck probably serves it. You’ll find everything from corn dogs, loaded cheese fries, chicken strips and onion rings, to mozzarella sticks, donuts, scones, fish & chips, and more. Oh yes, you can also get a fresh salad at Fry Me To The Moon.
Lovers of crepes will want to get acquainted with Dali Crêpes. The crêpes come in a wide variety of savory and sweet flavors, including Nutella, raspberry, banana, mango, turkey-avocado, Black Forest ham, veggie, Caprese and plum with walnuts, to name a few. Best of all, owner Dali Blazic strives when possible to support other local Utah food producers and artisans using locally-made ingredients when he can.
And speaking of sweet things, Laughing Gargoyle Bakery specializes in Greek pastries such as baklava and koulourakia, but they also offer chocolate chip cookies, Christmas cookies and lots more, including gluten-free cookies, which my wife loved.
Well, as I said, this is only a smattering of all of the wonderful Made in Utah vendors you’ll find at Winter Fest, and the all-local winter market and festival continues during the next two weekends at The Gateway. At Winter Fest, there is truly something for everybody.
Culinary quote of the week:
Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted mostly. — Robert Louis Stevenson
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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