The term “foodie” is widespread across cities and cultures around the world, especially among our fellow young professionals. Most people may associate foodies as being pretentious snobs who gawk at the idea of eating a fast food restaurant, but I see a foodie as someone who takes a particular interest in the origin, flavor, and presentation of their food, despite cost and status of the establishment.
For those of us transplanted from larger metropolitan areas (i.e., Chicago, New York, and LA), there is a certain attitude that a good food scene couldn’t possible exist in the interior region of the country, possibly because of the small population base and lack of ethnic diversity. Having lived in 5 states now, I can say that such over-generalizations are not true and the local farm-to-table culture in smaller to medium sized cities is a force to be reckoned with. I bet you didn’t know that the Pioneer Farmers Market, hosted in Salt Lake City, ranks as one of the top five in the U.S.
Thanks to the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Salt Lake City and Utah food scene has grown leaps and bounds from the franchise and filler food meccas of the West. Utah also boasts a food publication called Devour where you can get the latest on local events, restaurants, and recipes from the best local chefs. However, one of the best local sources is Yelp where “real” people write reviews, tag pictures, check in, connect others in the community. Jeffrey Steadman, the Salt Lake City Community Manager, does an amazing job leading events but also educating business owners on what it takes to being successful. In the foodie culture, the quality of food and service go hand in hand.
So, what does it take to be a foodie or would you consider yourself a foodie?
- Not afraid to be adventurous. While you should understand what you like, it is always important to let your taste palette evolve by being a bit daring in the kitchen, or the next time you go out to eat. Also, don’t let the not so hip or trendy decor stop you from trying a good mom-and-pop dive, you just might be pleasantly surprised.
- You see the preparation as an art. Having the patience and grace in the kitchen is something you would experience with an artist and a paintbrush. Paying attention to the little details can make or break a dish, so always be mindful of what you are creating.
- Let food be the catalyst for connection. Gathering around food to connect with others has been a tradition since the beginning of time. There is a certain shared experience that brings people closer together when we “break bread,” so don’t take those opportunities for granted. Be open minded and learn as much as you can about yourself and others through a shared meal together.
Charlie’s Pick Three: I couldn’t spoil it with the double digit recommendations I have gathered in my short time in UT, but I will say that the following three are highly recommended.
CREATE DONUTS - Located in Sandy, Ladonnia Jones offers everything you could imagine for your inner sweet tooth - fresh cronuts, gelato, sorbet, pies, cookies, shaved ice. The best part is you get to mix and match all the flavor combinations to your liking, and if you have trouble deciding, she will be more than helpful in providing her top recommendations.
FELDMAN’S DELI - You might say "what is so special about a deli", but when you are from NJ, a quality reuben sandwich is as paramount as filet mignon. Mike and Janet Feldman make a stellar team in providing the same quality of food you would experience at Carnegie's and Katz's, two of the most famous Jewish delis in the US. Beside sandwiches, their fixed price dinner menu gives you another taste of Janet’s cooking - with items such as S&S Brisket, Kielbasa and Kraut, and Meatloaf to name a few.
CHEF GAO - When your local Asian community raves about this place time and time again, you know it is a must for more authentic Chinese food. For one thing, don't expect to find your Orange or General Tso's chicken, but you will find plenty of other delicious options that could fit any American's palette. Don’t mind the dated decor, Chef Gao focuses on flavor full dishes, with big portions, at a super affordable price.
Charlie C. Charlie works in the aviation industry where he has worked to develop airports across the US. Charlie comes to SLC from Denver, CO where he also organized events geared toward young professionals. You can find Charlie at any cool event happening around the town. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the city and is a member of SLC's Yelp Elite Squad.
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