Salt Lake City’s Finest Pop-Ups

Food Reviews

SLUG Mag’s adventurous foodies Katie Hatzfeld and Jacqueline Read are here to highlight some of SLC’s best culinary pop-ups. Often elusive, the pop-up is here and gone again. Many of these spots collaborate with local bars, delis and even art galleries to help provide the best food for local events. Prepare to dive into a world of warm, Japanese pastries from Tomodachi Bake Shoppe and fresh, traditional quesadillas from Xolo Masa Co. Be sure to keep an eye out for these fantastic pop-ups for your next night out!

An overhead shot of a chocolate pudding cup.
Parfe Diem specializes in making unique puddings. Photo: Katie Hatzfeld.

Parfé Diem

I sat in my car outside of Parfé Diem where I’d picked up my order, too excited to wait for the drive home, and pulled out a small, white cup decorated with pastel colors. As I pull off the lid, my eyes are greeted with the whipped peaks of gourmet pudding. Here, texture is just as important as taste—a satisfying “squish” sounds as my spoon passes through the layers of pudding, fruit and house-made wafers, like running my hand through a bubble bath, and it’s just as luxurious. The buttery-soft dessert melts on my tongue, and I hardly remember to breathe between bites.

The OG Banana ($5.95–14.95) is a mixed-up banana cream pie, the most iconic flavor that Parfé Diem has to offer. Pistachio Envy ($6.95 –15.95), their current special, brings back memories of green gelato on an Italian vacation—tart bursts of fresh raspberry balance the sweetness. Their Hot Chocolate ($6.95 –15.95) is a Mexican-style cocoa pudding with a kick of spice and raspberries, but a real chocolate lover will swoon over the Brigadeiro ($6.95 –15.95), a creation of chocolate wafers with chocolate pudding, adorned with chocolate caramel sauce and chocolate sprinkles. Want the deliciousness to last longer? Any of their flavors can be purchased as a “freeze,” similar to ice cream but almost better, as the pudding maintains its velvety texture.

Order curbside pickup or delivery through DoorDash or Uber Eats on their website, Keep tabs on their Instagram @parfediem to hear about upcoming flavors such as blueberry cheesecake and “puffernutter.” –Katie Hatzfeld





Tomodachi Bake Shoppe

Tomodachi's read bean and sesame coffee cake in a display cake.
Tomodachi’s pastries use unique Japanese ingredients. Photo: Katie Hatzfeld.

Stopping to grab a latte from Loki Coffee, a glance into the bakery display case set my stomach rumbling. Pastries are piled plentifully with frog-faced signs, the logo for Tomodachi Bake Shoppe. Playing with Asian flavors such as miso, black sesame and red bean, Tomodachi brings a unique twist to the usual coffee shop offerings, along with made-to-order cakes.

A Red Bean & Sesame Coffee Cake ($5), Miso Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie ($4) and Chai Orange Burnt Honey Scone ($4.50) caught my eye. Compared to a typical, overly-sweet cinnamon coffee cake, Tomodachi’s creation leans savory, with sweetness from the red bean filling to balance the roasted sesame flavor. The miso and brown butter addition to a classic chocolate chip cookie brings depth to the otherwise sugary snack.

The scone, a seasonal special, was by far my favorite. Filled with gingery chunks of caramelized orange, the texture was flakey but not dry. A light, sticky sweet dressing balanced the bready pastry. It took effort to pace myself and savor every bite.

“Tomodachi” means “friends” in Japanese, a nod to their goal of bringing people together through the art of baking. Their specialty is incorporating all tastes into otherwise sweet creations, mastering umami. Design is just as key—their cakes are piped with rippling corduroy icing and often adorned with whole fruits, flowers and leaves.

Visit their website for pop-up updates, but a rotating selection of their pastries is always available at Loki Coffee. –Katie Hatzfeld

Xolo Masa Co.'s homemade quesadilla in a to-go box surrounded by flyers.
Xolo Masa Co. uses multicolored heirloom corn to make authentic tortillas. Photo: Jacqueline Read.

Xolo Masa Co.

At “Bedroom Poetry,” an art installation by Ashley M. Bautista at the Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts, attendees walked in from the bustling street into a white room filled with walls of pictures, portraits and skateboards, each meticulously placed. Guests were greeted with a drink and given the freedom to roam around the exhibit, examining each display. At the gallery opening, Xolo Masa Co. provided cheese quesadillas (two for $8) made with hand-pressed tortillas.

Cisco Garcia–Garza of Xolo Masa Co. stayed busy throughout the event, hand-pressing his swirled blue-and-yellow tortillas. The pop-up’s sourcing process includes the nixtamalization and hand-grinding of heirloom corn sourced from small Mexican farms. Garcia-Garza peels his tortillas and places them onto his small grill, using his other hand to place a handful of shredded cheese on top of each of the sizzling rounds. “We plan on always having a red corn, a blue corn, a yellow corn and a white corn variety on hand, and rotating varieties depending on seasons, uses and popularity,” he says. After folding and flipping each tortilla, he plates the steaming quesadillas alongside his handmade green salsa. Packs of 12 tortillas ($5) are sold either standard in single color corn options or as variety packs.

You can find Xolo Masa Co. at a variety of local businesses during scheduled pop-ups. For the most up-to-date announcements on upcoming events, check out their Instagram @xolomasaco. –Jacqueline Read

A slice of yellow cake and a cream-topped dessert on a table.
Thank You For The Short Notice crafts Italian-inspired treats. Photo: Jacqueline Read.


Thank You For The Short Notice

Tucked underneath an apartment complex, the cute and modern Citizens Cocktails & Kitchen was home to the debut of Bitter Lovers, an Italian disco-themed installation with food provided by local pop-up Thank You For The Short Notice on Sunday, April 14. Attending guests were immediately welcomed at the door, then seated either indoors or outside on the patio while enjoying Italo disco spun by Ryan Condrick.

Guests were given a cocktail menu presented by Jordon Strang and Josh Van Gorden, as well as a food menu presented by Josef Ezra of Thank You For Short Notice, each one specially curated to complement the other. The full menu consisted of shareables, salads and Italian desserts. My friend and I opted for a tiramisu-inspired dessert, a caramelized croissant dressed up like tiramisu, complete with a mascarpone topping and dusted with cocoa powder; and the olive oil cake, a dense and moist yellow cake drizzled with olive oil and paired with a cherry blossom syrup. Both desserts were unique in both ingredients and flavors, beautifully plated and exquisitely decadent. The coffee flavors of the tiramisu mixed perfectly with the sweet crunch of the croissant and smooth creaminess of the whipped mascarpone topping. The bold flavors were the perfect complement for the mellow, smooth taste of the olive oil cake and tangy hint of cherry blossom.

Taste Ezra’s sweet and savory creations at the next pop-up for Thank You For The Short Notice (@thankyoufortheshortnotice on Instagram). –Jacqueline Read

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Table X Bread: Building the Bakery 
Food Review: Caputos Market and Deli