Author: Tim Kronenberg

Seveneleven
Seven Deadly Sinz
Wasatch Renaissance
Street: 05.13
Seveneleven = C-Crime + Brother Ali
 
Funded completely out of Sev Elev’s pocket and produced by the holy Wasatch Renaissance, this full-length album has been a dream-in-the-making come true. It comes after years of shared sets in venues like Kilby and Urban Lounge, but for the first time in history, you can now spin to hear why Seveneleven is a product of Pabst, Utah nature and on-the-fence Christian spirituality complete with a set of Chums—and he’s still stuck to his guns. With beats by Burnell Washburn and a guest appearance from The Nag in “Edward 40 Hands,” this album feels homegrown. Songs like “Seven Deadly Sinz” and “The Stream” will undoubtedly fill a heart with slant rhymes and a taste of some Utah free thought—find it today from your local renaissance man. –Tim Kronenberg
Photos:

Small Multiples
Self-Titled
Self-Released
Street: 05.21
Small Multiples = Flaming Lips / Ming & Ping
No songs on this EP, put out by Craig Hartley and Eli Friedmann, sound like they belong on the same album together. This should be taken less as a criticism towards Small Multiples’ track compiling abilities, and more as a statement of their stylistic diversity and ability to change approaches on the keyboard. Songs like “Know My Name” brought me back to the space-age fades that Grandaddy used to throw in their songs, while “Sitting High” took me from the strung-out tremolo of Radiohead’s chaos to their much softer and off-putting side. If anything, Small Multiples’ lack of lyrical creativity is my largest and most frequent complaint on this release. When contemplating words like, “You don’t know where I’m coming from,” and, “You just think that everyone looks all the same… but they don’t,” it’s easier to picture your angsty teenage sister than it is to find real answers. Regardless, this first album was intended to show the band’s potential and for that, they have a head start and a fighting chance. –Tim Kronenberg

Photos:
Pat Fava, hippie jump. Photo: CJ Anderson

We live in a world plagued by threats of global warming. The uncertainties of a make-or-break snow season in Utah are a real concept to wrap one’s head around for those trying to rip the hills we’ve come to love. Instead of praying, however, it turns out that booking SLUG Games: Brighton Banks for their yearly amateur ski and snowboard contest is a surefire way to get the perfect storm, followed by the best bluebird day of the season.

A wise Jim Morrison once said, “If you book them, they will come.” Well, that happened, and all of their friends came, too, for the 18th Annual SLUG Games: Brighton Banks, at Brighton Resort, of course. Early on Saturday morning, March 10, the SLUG team finished packing prize bags full of good things from this year’s sponsors. While the SLUG team waited for the first contestants of the day, Brighton’s Park crew was putting the finishing touches on the course, which nodded to the famed Southport Banks Skatepark. Main features to the park this year included a banked launch rail to down box, a skate-style bench followed by shotgun rail, dancefloor to skate bench and a doghouse to down rail. Siiiick …

The heats to come followed a straightforward jam format, including 17 & Under Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snow, and Open Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snow, with the Open divisions featuring the day’s best riders. After warmups and rider meeting, DJ Serge started spinning beats, while a drone strike from the SLUG video crew got ready to capture the madness about to unleash. This is around when the 17 & Under kids started throwing down. There’s nothing like a 17 & Under division in 2018 to make a person feel old, because these homies showed up with game faces on. For the first heat, however, Henry Hawkins won judges’ hearts with his ability to front flip off of pretty much anything with a lip on it.

The skill of the Men’s and Women’s Open Ski was nothing but expected as well, knowing the levels of talent coming out of Brighton throughout the years. Big hitters for this heat included Sam Horton, throwing monster Misty Flips off the launch rail, clearing the down box entirely. Throwing some oozy style into the mix was Bayard Baker, using the launch bank as a manny pad and transitioning into the shotgun. Also, who could forget John K.’s blind swap, pretzel 270 off of the launch rail to down. What a world we live in, folks. The best was not necessarily saved for last, as freestyle skiing is one of the best sports to watch on Planet Earth.

It was finally time to let the snowboarders take the fire. It’s unbelievable how much finesse and style these guys can squeeze out of their sweaty boots, because damn … Take Jeff Hopkins, for instance, who spent his entire afternoon like it was a tribute to the Chris Bradshaw Technine heydays. This kid spins to win, reverting and tapping everything in sight, while simultaneously putting himself as high in the air as possible. While the launch bank to down box was by far the favored feature of the day by everyone, the rules state that you gotta hit everything at least once. That gave Sam Wittke no other option but to do just that, all in one run. Doing some trippy bench swivel at the top, transitioning into the bank side of the launch rail, Wittke couldn’t stop and reverted onto the dancefloor, up and over the side bench, saving just enough time to hit the down rail of the doghouse. What a gentleman.

Looking back over it all, there was never really a contest. Sure, there’s prizes and a heightened sense of people performing at the top of their game. The takeaway for this one is the instance you take your eyes off the course and start watching the people. Once this happens, you see the same people competing against each other, only they’re all hanging out, laughing and cheering their friends on. That’s what it’s all about!

Women’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Gwynnie Park, 2nd Place Lou Park

Men’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Henry Hawkins, 2nd Place Ashton Davis, 3rd Place Greyson Hawkins

Men’s 17 & Under Ski: 1st Place Carter Wessman, 2nd Place Luke Mallen, 3rd Place Alex Mallen

Women’s Open Snow: 1st Place Sam Hobush, 2nd Place Jess Kelly, 3rd Place Chloe Desdames

Men’s Open Snow: 1st Place Pat Fava, 2nd Place Treyson Allen, 3rd Place Jeff Hopkins

Men’s Open Ski: 1st Place Tucker FitzSimons, 2nd Place Kevin Bane, 3rd Place Bayard Baker

Best Trick Ski: Samuel Horton – Switch lip slide 450 out

Best Trick Snow: Paxton Alexander – 180 switch backside 540

Best Crash: Isaac Harkness 500,000,000,000 feet in the air to flat

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s event and to all SLUG Games sponsors: Blue Copper Coffee, Brighton Resort, Graywhale, Izm Apparel, Line Skis, Milosport, Pig & A Jelly Jar, Porcupine Pub & Grille, Saga Outerwear, Ski Utah, SLUG Magazine, Stage Ideas and Yelp!

Photos: CJ Anderson

Photos: @cezaryna

 

Photos: Matthew Hunter

The courses for the Supper Club Series change weekly. This week featured raw vegetables, a smoked-chicken forestiere, mashed potatoes and white-wine-and-mushroom sauce served next to an elk meatloaf. Photo: Talyn Sherer

27649 Old Lincoln Hwy, Wanship
Thurs: 6–9 p.m.
Last seating at 8 p.m.
P: 435.649.8300

Having the privilege of living in Salt Lake City, we often lose sense of the fact that we are deep in the heart of this worldly recognized Mountain West region. It is healthy, from time to time, to displace from city life, and transplant ourselves into these mountain towns to take breaks from this reality. While many travelers will find themselves in Wanship, the ambitious adventurers continue farther up the road to experience the majesty that is the Blue Sky Ranch, home to High West Distillery and Refectory.

High West is entering their fourth year of residency since having built their headquarters on the ranch. Guests are welcome to tour its facilities and take part in the Refectory’s Supper Club Series every Thursday evening throughout the winter season. By design, these evenings were created to accentuate the cabin lifestyle and its finer culinary traits through an intimate four-course set menu ($40) with loved ones and friends alike. As reservations are customary, guests arrive at the gatehouse punctually and are ushered into a shuttle ready to take the short, winding drive up to the distillery. Migrating to the peak of the distillery roundabout, the driver tells tales of Blue Sky’s equestrian heritage as well as how new renovations are expected to double High West’s bottle production in the coming year. Adjacent from the actual distillery is the Refectory, where guests are greeted and shown through a whiskey-barrel-clad hallway into the main dining room to settle in.

As the waitstaff greets us, the table is informed of what the set menu for the night will be and is asked about dietary restrictions. There is a sense of pride in knowing that there is a separately handcrafted menu every Thursday and that it will be different every time. This is around the time when the bartender makes their way around the room, educating the patrons on whiskey pairings for dinner as well as explaining High West’s extensive cocktail menu ($14 cocktails). In this scenario, the Doubly Rye! Manhattan is decided on then followed by a whiskey flight ($14) throughout the meal. As the Double Rye! makes its appearance alongside the amuse by bouche, it is noteworthy to add that the younger of two whiskeys in this double-rye blend, for the first time this year, has actually been produced in this relatively new distillery.

The amuse tonight is a crunchy rye cracker topped with pastrami, Gold Creek Fasiago cheese and a spicy whole-grain mustard. Combined, this bite delivers a sharp, crispy palate awakening that plays off the Double Rye!’s caramel notes. The first course follows swiftly. Coexisting with a mix of mountain greens, pickled beets, feta and tomato, a honey wine reduction sweetens the raw vegetables, while a local red-wine vinaigrette adds a needed acidity. It’s in these two dishes alone that the guests should continue to expect more European-rooted recipes delivered through indigenous mountain delicacies. Pair with the Yippee Ki-Yay to accentuate the fruit notes hidden within the whiskey and dressing.

In a well-timed manner, entrées and sides make their way to the table in a generous array of family-style preparation. At first glance, a smoked chicken forestiere can be seen bathing in a buttery white-wine-and-mushroom sauce served next to an elk meatloaf. Between the two main courses is a plentiful bowl of mashed potatoes, a side of gravy and a romanesco baked with gruyere. The elk is gamey enough to assert that it was once wild, yet tender enough to assert that dousing it in thick potatoes and gravy is the only way to eat meatloaf. The same also goes for the lightly smoked chicken thighs, as they could not fall off the bone more if they tried. Whatever of the mushroom sauce that is leftover should be finished with the carefully cooked romanesco, if not drunk. This is what Anthony Bourdain would be eating if he interviewed Leo DiCaprio at his cabin in The Revenant. Pair with the Rendezvous Rye to complement earth tones in this soul food.

It’d be a shame to say that this evening’s experience comes to an end, but at least it’s finished with Dutch-oven-style apple cake and bourbon whipped cream. The apples at play here are thoroughly cooked into the fluffy batter, yet firm enough to have a crisp retention. For those seeking out a nightcap, the Midwinter Night’s Dram is a taste of the best that High West has to offer, however, the scotch lover of the group might lean toward ending the meal with the Campfire whiskey. Whichever is chosen, it will have been well worth the travel and hopefully not too far from a comfy place to sleep off the winter’s cold.

The High West Distillery’s general hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For all information regarding dining reservations and directions, visit highwest.com to plan a trip, or call 435.649.8300. – Tim Kronenberg

A latte made with Publik roasted espresso beans (left) is a delicious classic on the drink menu. The Gawd Awful (right) is a cheesy, gooey and scrumptious breakfast option. Photos: LmSorensen.net

210 S University St.
(385) 522-2487
Monday-Friday: 7:00AM-9:00PM

Saturday: 8:00AM-9:00PM
Closed: Sunday

Enter nostalgia: Around eight years ago, I remember walking into Big Ed’s as a teenage SLUG Magazine distributor.  The bartender gives me a dirty look and demands ID while I promise that my only mission is to deliver this salty rag to the good people of Utah. Fast-forward to today, and I’m of legal drinking age and going to school at the University of Utah.

Since Big Ed’s opened in 1968, more students have drowned their (over-) workloads into tap beers, fucked-up conversation and more bowls of chili than any human is capable of conceiving. A little-known secret is that during finals week, the best of the 21-plus U of U crowd went to the bar between tests to work up a buzz, read the New York Times and do community crosswords over “brunch.” It was a Christmas-light-adorned, rough-barstool-filled, worst-maintained fish tank you’ve ever seen hole-in-the-wall that could, if only briefly, ease the minds of stressed out students. This is the Big Ed’s I remember, RIP.

One day, due to the follies of man, Mom (Linda Lin) and Pop (as they were fondly called by regulars), left a note on the door saying that they were calling it quits and never returned. After about a year of being dormant, the good people of Publik Coffee bought the space and spent that time reimagining what a future Ed’s might look like. To that effect, Publik gutted the stale image of Big Ed’s and brought light to the situation.

Easing now into Publik Ed’s, we get a breathable all-ages vision of college that every walk of life can take in. The space that once resembled a hybrid, cave-like version of Moe’s Tavern and Eric Forman’s basement was entirely dismantled and brought up to health-code longevity. Everything that came from this renovation was clearly designed to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Wraparound windows throughout the building bring in tremendous amounts of light, highlighting the restaurant’s most important centerpiece, a boxed-in coffee bar that customers can sit at or order from. Inside, customers are offered additional table seating around the space, where they can see out to the patio seating and a broad view of President’s Circle.

While the new look was designed to bring people in, the food and drink menus’ sole purpose is to keep everyone coming back. Essentially, Publik took the simplicity of the original Big Ed’s menu and recreated it with better ingredients and healthier options. A famed item from the original menu is the Gawd Awful ($7). As one of the best-conceived takes on garbage hash, Gawd Awful is a thorough layer of tater tots covered in house chili, melted cheese, pickled onions, sour cream and two over-easy eggs. Over the years, my preference has been to drown the fucker in Cholula to really make the angels sing, but I digress. This beast holds up to the girth of its predecessor, offering just the right image of breakfast’s messiest food, while marrying the perfect orgy of oddly complementary flavors. You’re getting some salt/vinegar crunch from the onions and tots, survived by a meaty-chili-homey-ness feeling, finally rounded out by eggy, sour cream and cheddar goo. Man, that’s livin’.

Moving into lunch, there’s nothing better than a cheeseburger ($8.50) done right. When it comes to “The Ed’s Burger,” we’re talking house-ground brisket/chuck patty, onion relish, secret sauce and American cheese, topped with butter lettuce and fat tomato on a fluffy, toasted bun. When you’re at the point where you’re trying to decide to (rightly) add bacon ($3) or a fried egg ($1.50) is when the realization hits that all ingredients at Publik Ed’s are conscientiously sourced and come from good places. If that weren’t enough, Publik uses no deep fryer, meaning that everything is baked, griddled or grilled. This cuts some of the temptation to order fatty sides and pushes toward items like baked tots ($3) or the side salad ($2.50), which delivers croutons, seasonal greens and a delightfully lemony vinaigrette.

Much to the awe of those who thought that the Big Ed’s beer license had died with its untimely demise, it survived—and they were wrong. As per Utah law, the “moat” was constructed in the form of a hole in the wall behind the coffee bar, affectionately labeled “Beer Hole.” Per the logic of Utah, alcohol that is poured out of sight from minors allows for the existence of an all-ages alcohol-vending establishment. This enables the Beer Hole to offer an ever-rotating beer-only selection. Naturally, those not wishing to drink are welcome to try the large selection of Publik Coffee’s hot and cold, seasonal-drink specials. While one can never go wrong with a latte, the Harvest Moon ($4.50) makes for an exceptional cold beverage. Brimming with apple and pear cider, all the while accentuating expressions of orange, clove, cinnamon and topped with soda water—who’d have thought festive and refreshing could mesh so well?

As old must eventually be replaced by the new, Publik Eds has managed save a piece of Salt Lake City history, both physically and on the palate. To that effect, there is no nobler a cause in creating a community identity than what has been done here. For this, we take our hats off to Publik Eds.

The Hamanchi Ceviche pairs well with the Mizuwari Toki whisky cocktail. Photo: Talyn Sherer

16 W. Market St.
Monday-Saturday: 4:30 P.M.-1:00 A.M.
facebook.com/postbarslc

Time and place stir up striking thoughts during this time of year as we search ourselves for what we’re thankful for. Rather than leeching onto the vein of treachery that pumps through the world, this writer has contrarily used his time by counting the choice blessings of living in Salt Lake City. Most notably on this front, we are experiencing a culinary revolution, which on this same note reads: Post Office Place has been delivered.

The alley of Market Street Downtown has contemporarily been associated with an immersion of all things good in the SLC food scene. Ask most anyone around where the sushi fix is, and the answer will always be Takashi. With intrinsically creative restaurant owners like Tamara and Takashi Gibo, it was only a matter of time before they would acquire the space next door to expand their legacy.

Digging deeper into Takashi’s roots, Post Office Place has all the colorful flavor spectrums of Japanese, Peruvian and French fusion, disguised in crisp-white lines and minimalistic ambiance on micro-dose psychedelics. This is the appropriate way in which to play off of flavor palettes by ordering cold plates like Hamachi Ceviche ($10) and the Chicken Liver Pâté ($10). These plates pair well with the Mizuwari Toki cocktail at the bar ($10). Noteworthy for Post Office is their extensive use of Japanese sodas, liquors and, most importantly, “whiskies,” where the idea of whisky as a product spans many countries, attributing them to their respective names and deliverances. The Japanese have taken the best aspects from all styles and shaped whisky profiles never before seen.

The Antichucho
The Antichucho. Photo: Talyn Sherer.

The Mizuwari cocktail has a cleansing effect on what’s to come, combining the Toki Whisky by Suntory with Genepy des Alpes (Chartreuse) and soda. Diving headfirst into the pâté is recommended, as its buttery-iron-rich flavor meets a thin layer of Japanese-whisky-gelatin spread over baguette crackers, purposely delivering an immediate, sensory overload to the tastebuds. It is almost genius to go right into the Hamachi ($10), based off the traditional ceviche marinade of leche de tigre. The fish is raw and marinated in lime juice, red onion, cilantro and aji amarillo peppers. The element of fruity acidity in this dish acts as a neutralizer to the heavier overtones of the liver with harmony. At this point, the red onion and thinly sliced peppers act in place of what ginger does to sushi, offering a spicy equalizer and what older generations call “a coming to Jesus.” As the Mizuwari brings all of these sensations to a sound stability, the guest is able to continuing riding this roller coaster until nothing remains on the plate.

As is any properly run kitchen should, Post Office Place unpretentiously boasts using all aspects of the the animal, creating both culinary creativity as well as a food-conscious environment. In this capacity, the diner is able to experience the textures and flavor profiles less in touch to Western norms. To the effect of hot dishes and organ meat, Anticucho Al Corazòn ($10) is one for the books. Marinated in a dark aji panca chili paste then grilled, this beef heart is given a perfect outer char and pulled off the flame just in time for inner tenderness. As simple as it seems, the heart is the most used organ in the body and one of the more difficult cuts of meat to avoid overcooking. As a nod to the animal, head chef Tommy Nguyen has used his years of experience to grill the heart to perfect tenderness while delivering a mild but bold, smoky spice tinge to the plate. As with the ceviche, this dish comes plated with a small salad of pickled scallions and red onions, used both to bolster the complexities of Peruvian chili paste and add sharp-crispy accompaniment. While this is maybe one of the more popular dishes on the menu, those wishing to have a less adventurous cut of meat laid before them may also choose the Anticucho Al Pollo ($8). In a certain respect, the chicken is just as expertly crafted and served with a chimichurri cilantro smear of sorts. Both are delicious. Working again with the light and dark sides of taste, the Little Bird ($11) should be ordered at the bar to join this dish. A combination of Manzanilla Sherry, Kiuchi No Shizuku (distilled white ale cask-fermented with coriander, hops and orange peel), Calpico soda, lemon and yuzu. Working with all of the earthy profiles from the meats and marinades, the Little Bird brings to the softer, fruitier edges to the table.

Where many restaurants in Salt Lake City can be called exceptional, Post Office Place is extraordinary. Whether it’s the largest Japanese liquor and beer selection in the state or that they’re reminding this generation of the Japanese influence on Peruvian culture, it is commendable and executed with precision. We can all be thankful for that influence.

A collection of Dewdrop products pleasantly displayed by creator Amy Dewey! Photo: John Barkiple

Local performers, artisans, DIY engineers, chefs and crafty innovators come together for the 10th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival at the Gallivan Center. This-three day weekend, Aug. 10–12, will encapsulate the craftsmanship that our city cultivates while celebrating Utah’s movers and shakers. Spread across the breadth of these pages are peeks into some of what this year’s DIY Festival will feature. Bring your family, friends, lovers to enjoy what this year’s festival has to offer! Visit craftlakecity.com to learn more about this community enriching event!


An underlying theme for all creative types is the ability to fill the voids in our lives by manifesting solutions. When considering the story of Amy Dewey and Dewdrop Herbal Tea Co. (dewdropherbalteaco.com), we see just that. “When I was in my late teens, I struggled with sleep and started drinking herbal teas to help with that and anxiety,” she says. “I wasn’t happy about using packets of tea filled with additives and artificial colors and flavorings—but those were my options. As I got older and got my education, I became more aware of what I was putting in my body and I started creating my own. In 2014—after brainstorming with the people in my life—Dewdrop was formed.”

The thing about necessity is that it doesn’t need to be complicated—that’s how Dewdrop operates. Simplicity says it all. The key here is sourcing organic, all-natural, high-quality herbs, spices and fruits (locally when possible). Throughout this process, Dewdrop works to create new blends while maintaining the quality standards of their existing favorites, boasting 11 different herbal teas and beginning to introduce green, black and chai tea blends as well. This is all done with careful avoidance of artificial colorings and sugar. “I love taking a bunch of time and making different blends. Some turn out great; others take time. I’m not satisfied until they all taste perfect,” says Dewey. This attention to detail is ultimately aimed toward optimizing the lesser-known benefits of herbal teas—anywhere from regulating inflammation to memory function, cholesterol, anxiety and more.

As Dewdrop prepares to market the brand nationwide, their tea blends can currently be found online, faithfully at the Downtown and Wheeler Farm farmers markets, all Harmons locations statewide and, naturally, the Craft Lake City DIY Festival. “I feel that this event gives me and Dewdrop more motivation to progress and do it myself,” says Dewey.

Sharlie displaying one of her treats! Photo: John Barkiple

Local performers, artisans, DIY engineers, chefs and crafty innovators come together for the 10th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival at the Gallivan Center. This-three day weekend, Aug. 10–12, will encapsulate the craftsmanship that our city cultivates while celebrating Utah’s movers and shakers. Spread across the breadth of these pages are peeks into some of what this year’s DIY Festival will feature. Bring your family, friends, lovers to enjoy what this year’s festival has to offer! Visit craftlakecity.com to learn more about this community enriching event!


For the emerging apprentice chef, the time right out of culinary school becomes one in which to immerse yourself into the world of restaurants, finding your passions and absorbing all of the knowledge that the chefs working above you in the kitchen will bestow. Like many before her, this happens to also be the similar story to Sharlie Weber of Sharlie’s Treats (sharliestreats.com), who has paid her dues through the many posts making up the professional kitchen. Weber has managed to merge her found passion for pastry into a savory twist, while maintaining classic cooking methods. “Although I had interest in pastry, at that time, I felt that cooking would help me to have a broader mind and understanding of food,” says Weber.

Taking what she’d learned from culinary school and fine-dining work in New York City, Weber would eventually make her way back to Salt Lake City, apprenticing and eventually working at Forage under chefs Viet Pham (Pretty Bird), Bowman Brown (Elda in Biddeford, Maine), as well as a former pastry sous chef at

Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. This is where she was able to hone her now-primary craft—the art of savory macarons and other desserts, using ingredients found in nature. It’s time to develop the palate for salmon-skin-flaked Miso Macarons and treats made with spicy Gochujang chili paste. Other preferences from Sharlie’s Treats orbit within the borders of shortbread-s’mores cakes and custom jobs. “I use as organic and natural as possible,” Weber says. “I believe in eating REAL food—I use as few ingredients as possible.”

Returning for another year showcasing Sharlie’s Treats at Craft Lake City’s DIY Festival, Weber is charged and ready to go. “I feel that the people that attend are people who truly appreciate the art of food,” she says. “It feels good to be appreciated and understood. I hope to excite many with an adventure for their taste buds this year again.”

Patatas Bravas Al & Son: the only way to eat a potato. Photo: Talyn Sherer

THE EKLEKTIK
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City
385.528.3675   ||   theeklektik.com

Monday–Wednesday: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thursday–Saturday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Summer took its sweet time getting into gear this time around. But now that we’re finally swinging full into the feels of patio hangouts, late-night bike rides and bonfires, it’s important to remember the food filling you up before these potentially booze-soaked kickbacks. Restaurateurs Aliza Levy and Sion Croudo have lived through the summers of Mexico City and San Diego, and it feels only right to highlight their recent Salt Lake City endeavor, the artful Latino-fusion flavors that comprise The Eklektik.

Photo: Talyn Sherer
Photo: Talyn Sherer

The eclecticism concept takes hold by picking and pulling from all ends of the world. It’s no surprise that the now year-old restaurant’s atmosphere would be tastefully doused with an artsy sensory ambiance, upon one of the holiest grounds in Utah dive-bar history—what used to be The Woodshed. Entering the dining space, the youth in this writer yearns for questionable motifs, punk shows and Big Buck Hunter. Filling that void is a homey yet simultaneously whitewash-clean vibrance that beckons one to tour the art before sitting down to read the menu. This pull is experienced through a giant window transfusing reality from the screen of an iPhone camera, a wall of world travels, a mural of Frida Kahlo bleeding rainbows of paint through her eyes and completed by bits of severed mannequins throughout the room. It’s in this structure of chaotic beauty that we are now ready to take a seat at our equally unique table, surrounded by multifaceted varieties and colors of chairs. It’s time to eat.

First Things First is the title of the appetizer menu, and we kick off the meal with tamarind-infused tea ($3), Nonna’s Tomato & Basil Cream soup topped with goat cheese ($9) and a side of hibiscus flautas to keep it light (Veggie Trio $15 in Our Veggie Side, Never Been Here Bonanza in Shareables $21). For those who have never enjoyed the delights of drinkable tamarind, done right, it brings out everything refreshing that one could want from a hot summer day with just enough sweetness to balance out the palate. Adding depth to the cool liquid at hand is the soup. Roasted bell peppers, a plethora of chopped herbs and a melted slice of goat cheese turn this soup into a richly complex play of texture and soulfulness that could easily be enjoyed at any time of year. A general gustatory problem with eating full vegetarian is that the fatty aspects of all their dishes need special attention, as it must be added for the average human to be content. The goat cheese from the soup keeps your attention, but lightly fried flautas in olive oil seal the deal. Eating hibiscus sounds weird to me, as I’d imagine it may to most people, and, being a carnivore, I’m still perplexed as to how The Eklektik has managed to make a flower taste like a giant pulled-pork taquito. Vegans, take note, because everything you thought you knew is a lie.

Now, entrées. Moving any further, it’s important to note that this restaurant is best experienced with friends. Everything up to this point has been prepared and served unpretentiously with an authentic appreciation for the potential of every ingredient. Be prepared to get communal with those at your table, because nothing should be left untasted. This is a good time to order the Patatas Bravas Al & Son ($13, in Shareables). Again, veggie people, this patata should be the only way people eat a potato—fried up and covered in a rehydrated red-chile paste of garlic, tomatoes and peppers turned saucy. With just the right amount of heat to forget that you’re in Utah, the layers of chile at play here are from a chef who knows the roots of classic Latin American cooking and how they made their way into a New Mexico chile colorado and, apparently, the Beehive State. It’s incredibly inexplicable that the righteousness of such a bittersweet sauce is able to fuse this simple dish into a mending of the heart.

Photo: Talyn Sherer
Photo: Talyn Sherer

At this point, the tea is close to cubes, and there’s a need to finish the night off with more sugar. Now is the time for Zita’s Citrus Tiramisu ($9) and probably a cup of coffee. Not to say that baking talent in Utah is being misused, but what Utah may sometimes lack in baking technique, Eklektik picks up the slack with dangerously accurate stabs of lime zest in their cakes. There’s just something to revel in how delicately these cake layers are stacked between an airy mousse, speckled in neon-green citrus.

However you look at it, this state is well-versed in attracting an endless variety of cultures who leave their marks in our culture through heritage and creative expression. Over time, this ecosystem has cultivated and reshaped its identity into the melting pot of ideas, which transform and continue to make us reevaluate the next step. If there’s a word for that, it’s Eklektik.

Photo: Chris Kiernan

We’re getting back into that time of year. Utahns have started to swap out their automobiles for two wheels and open air—it’s bike season! While there are those of us who do this as a hobby or to shed some pounds, some of us have already been mapping out their LOTOJAs, alleycats and criterium (crit) races for months in the making. Looking closer at Utah cycle competitions, the race with the most buzz is easily the fixed-gear crit.

Going back 25 years or so, crit races are nothing new for Utah. Throwing a fixed-gear into the mix, however, is still in its early years. To boil down a traditional crit to its basics, think GT racing on a road bike. Competitors are given a course of varying difficulty with swerving corners, hairpin turns and hills. Starting off as a pack, racers fight for the best time for a number of laps, which takes home gold at the end of the day. This sounds relatively nonthreatening in concept. Now take away the rider’s brakes, and you get a fixie crit.

Bringing the fixed-gear crit to Utah was the brainchild of Javier Campos and of Jeff Hepworth of Loyal Cycle Co. in Farmington. Campos, having already competed in traditional criterium races throughout the years, was inspired by fixed-gear crits like the Brooklyn Red Hook and San Francisco’s Mission Crit. Having hosted their first race last summer at the Farmington Festival Days, Campos and Hepworth are gearing up to bring two more events this summer. Farmington’s Festival Days race, making its second annual appearance on July 12 at the Legacy Event Center, has them excited. “It’s really nice having the city involved because they take care of a lot,” says Hepworth. City involvement for any event is always a benefit, seeing as how it covers almost everything from course construction, insurance costs, food vendors and more. The second event of 2018, happening in late August or in October, is still very much in the planning phase. This is no surprise, especially when these homegrown events take more time, money and energy than a city-run festival. The big issue right now is finding a location that works for staging such a technical event.

Photo: Chris Kiernan
Photo: Chris Kiernan

Campos notes that this will either be in the streets of Salt Lake City or, once again, at the Legacy Event Center in Farmington.

Having the course already mapped out for Festival Days at the Legacy parking lot “is also nice,” Hepworth says. Fixed-gear races are tricky to create and design because they have the potential to be more dangerous. “First-year racing is always the hardest to ride—hosting lots of riders without the developed skill set. For bike messengers, dodging cars is one thing, but hitting hairpins correctly—especially when you’re in a pack—definitely takes some skill,” says Campos. For this reason alone, many fixed-gear crits are held on weekends in empty business parks and large parking lots like Legacy’s. The course is able to be designed a little wider while also minimizing the risk to spectators or property. For Festival Days being a larger community event, safety is key. With that in mind, the course will be flat and relatively easy to get the hang of. Riders are also welcome to show up early and take some test laps. “We get a lot of first-year crit racers, and this is an all-ages event,” says Hepworth. There is also talk of adding a women’s division after seeing lots of interest in fixie crit racing at events like Salt Lake City Bike Collective’s Women, Trans, Femme (WTF) Night (hosted every Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m.).

With so much community interest in fixie crits, the next question is how to train for a new kind of race style. For Campos, the key is muscle memory. With a traditional course being about one kilometer long and a race potentially lasting for 20 laps (around 45 minutes), high-interval training is important. This means being able to slow down enough to go around sharp corners and sprint out of them quickly. For those trying to win, the results often come down to which of the final riders can sprint to the finish line the fastest.

While this sort of competition sounds intimidating, Campos and Hepworth make it clear that these events are all in good spirit and that everyone is welcome. The first fixed-gear crit race of the year will once again be at Farmington Festival Days on July 12 between 5:30 and 7 p.m. Registration is $15, and everyone is encouraged to come early, ride the course beforehand, try some food trucks and see friends. To keep up with the second event this fall, updates and anything to do with bikes, check out @loyalcycleco on Instagram to stay in the loop.