Green Jello is the state food. No lie. Despite this somewhat humiliating and comical fact, Utah does eat really well. Our one week trip back to my home state consisted of many back porch BBQs, farmer’s market meals, and local beer. I may be a bit biased when I say this but there is something about small town America food that is so genuine. Take Hi-Mountain Drug, in Kamas, Utah. Never heard of it? Not many have. But you’ve also probably never heard of a sticky bun milkshake, which Hi-Mountain Drug offers via a friendly, warm staff ready to mix ice cream with whatever else you want at a moment’s notice.
Kamas is the gateway to the Uinta mountain range, the highest east-west continuous range in the United States. There is one last spot to load up on fishing supplies, firewood and beer before you ascend into the wilderness: Samak (Kamas spelled backwards). In the tiny Samak Smokehouse you’ll find fridges stocked with smoked salmon and trout, locally caught and slow smoked to perfection. Smoked fish and a cold beer is the best way to kick off a weekend in the high mountains.
A whiskey tasting at High West Distillery was at the top of our UT bucket list. As High West whiskey gains in popularity in the competitive spirit world, reservations have become harder and harder to get, even in the summer. High West whiskey has become a staple ingredient in some of the most coveted cocktails in SF. Dinner was a mix of rustic meats and fresh local veggies. I washed my meal down with a Dead Man’s Boots (double rye, tequila, lime, and ginger). Major bite and even bigger kick.
Like any other small city, Salt Lake City, has a budding restaurant scene. Plenty of young, progressive chefs and baristas with an urge to ski the “Best Snow on Earth” call Salt Lake home. We spent an entire day eating and drinking coffee in SLC. Brunch at Blue Plate Diner put us all in that glorious, food coma state. As I’ve found, the best way to kick that coma is a giant, strong Americano, so we went to a local art studio/coffee house on 3rd and 3rd called Nobrow. Inside, we listened to a local musician work on his latest song as his little girl danced around the open floor twirling to her papa’s piano notes. Nobrow brews a wide range of coffee from around the states, including Ritual (SF born and bred) and Salt Lake Roasting Co. and has a staff of very knowledgeable, bearded baristas. Nobrow even has a skate team, so rad.
To finish out trip off with a bang, our last meal was Takashi in downtown SLC. An assortment of fresh nigiri paired with a cold unfiltered sake made for a group of very satisfied diners. The wait staff is very knowledgeable about gluten free options and were able to remix their popular rolls so that Dad could eat like the rest of us.
As we drove through the Salt Lake valley to the airport to board our plane back to OAK, the dark thunderclouds that characterize high desert summers, started to billow. So long Utah, it was a very tasty trip.