Tastemakers, billed as “Utah’s Premier Dining Event,” is an annual event hosted by Salt Lake Magazine featuring tasty bites, beer and wine from popular restaurants in SLC. Two nights of dining are included in the ticket price. A general Tasting Pass was $30, while the VIP Pass was $85. The VIP Pass included more food and five free cocktails in private tent.
Twelve restaurants lined the pavilion at Gallivan Plaza for General Admission guests. There were plentiful tables and chairs set up on the lawn, allowing guests to linger and enjoy the food and beverages. A cool breeze blew through the evening while Amy Winehouse and other funky music played in the background. It was a nice night to enjoy Salt Lake’s dining scene.
A sectioned off row of wine and beer sold pairings for $5. While my husband and I both ordered Devastator, one of our favorite beers from Wasatch Brewery, we were told by the lady running the area that the higher point alcohol beer was only for for the VIP guests. We decided to go with different beers and move along to the main attraction—the food. Everything we tasted that night was great, but here are a few of the best.
Eva served a tender meatball smothered in rioja sauce, with a side of bread slathered with manchego butter. It was more like a micro-meal than a taste. The red wine sauce was a perfect balance to the cheese-laced butter—a wonderful bite of comfort food.
SALT Bistro, located inside The Leonardo, offered a Savory Crème brûlée—sweet and tart made with goat cheese, topped with savory mushrooms sauteed with red wine and shredded braised pork shoulder. Micro greens added a fresh taste. I loved the sweet, salty and savory combination. Chef Zanetta Jones consistently surprises me with fun and craveable flavor combinations.
Avenues Proper impressed with two distinct options, each served in a petite tart shell. The Chicken Liver Mousse with cherry mostarda was savory, with a silky texture and a fruity punch. On the other end of the spectrum was the Roasted Beet Salad. This bright-yellow tart was almost like dessert. The tart was filled with fresh housemade cheese, sweet roasted pickled beets topped with microgreens, and a sprinkle of crunchy, housemade granola.
Another favorite dish was the Peruvian Croquette with creamed green sauce from Del Mar al Lago. Fredrick Del Mar’s take on the simple dish was delightful—his croquettes tasted like the most delicate, melt in your mouth french fry. I could have eaten at least five more.
Additional tastings were available at restaurants throughout downtown Salt Lake. A handy map to the restaurants was included on each guest’s lanyard. I wish that the website had been more clear on that fact. With some pre-planning on my end, the two-night event could have been awesome and a great deal for $30. Tastemakers has the potential to be one of the tastiest and most fun foodie events of the summer. With a better understanding of how the two-day event works, I’m looking forward to next year.
Check out more tasty photos with Talyn Sherer’s photo gallery!