Category Archives: Foodie

High West Distillery & Saloon–Distinctive Whiskey Deliciousness

It seems as though it has been a life time ago since my tasting trip to the High West Distillery & Saloon in Park City. The past six weeks jumped off the map in terms of organizing anything long enough to write the absolutely lovely review that this restaurant & distillery deserves. So, although long overdue, let’s have at it!

We all know that I am a wine girl at heart. When I think of a beverage to “pair” with food, it is rare that I consider anything else. However, I have always been intrigued with the idea of pairing tequila with great Mexican food or Whiskey with great comfort food. High West offers this exact experience. High West has been a distillery since the 1870’s, so they know a thing or two about whiskey. That was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was the amazing food that is served along side their signature cocktails and whiskey flights.

But, let’s start with the whiskey, shall we?

High West whiskey has always been a favorite of mine, although I wouldn’t call myself a regular partaker of whiskey in general. However, when I do drink it, I like to stick to the more high-end brands. And, the fact that High West is local makes it even more appealing. Using High West liquor and the freshest cocktail ingredients you can find will definitely make for an amazing libation experience.

The High West Lemonade was first on the menu, and recommended by our bartender. Fresh squeezed high west lemonade, double rye, and fresh mint made this a super refreshing cocktail for the middle of July (yes, it has been THAT long)!

The Dead Man’s Boots was something I couldn’t NOT order, because fresh ginger and I have a special relationship–the kind that means I don’t pass it up often. This cocktail was made with double rye, tequila, fresh lime, and ginger beer. Yay bubbles! This sucker went down smooth and light!

A little later in the meal, I had to try one more–for the sake of the review of course. The High West Silver Julep was, by far, my favorite of the evening. Cucumber? Mint? Rye? Yes, please!

And we can’t stop there, because we were at High West on the infamous “Whiskey Wednesday,” where whiskey flights and delicious food specials are presented on a menu specifically for that day. For $8, a flight of suggested whiskey was presented to our table for tasting. Good thing there were 3 of us! The Silver Whiskey got the most thumbs up for the evening–and the fact that each whiskey was served with a write up about the history of the whiskey and the flavor notes was really helpful in picking out the different flavors in each whiskey.

Now that we have covered what High West has been known for, I can’t express enough how much we all enjoyed our meals as well.

We started off with some stinky cheese that made us all happy! The Melted Mountain Cheese ($9) was pure, unadulterated heaven. It was oozing, bubbling, silky perfection and came with some amazing pickled veggies on the side. I had never experienced a pickled potato before, but I am of the thought that most things pickled are usually pretty fantastic. I was correct. The onions, pickles, potatoes, and carrots were divine and accented the creaminess of the cheese perfectly. This was my favorite dish we ordered!

I am a sucker for speciality menu items–which doesn’t make it easier for you, the reader, because usually that means that you might not be able to order that particular menu item on a regular day. But, my job is to write about the best food possible, and this dish was one of them! When someone says “pork belly,” you might cringe. Don’t. There is no reason. I had pork belly for the first time in a soup at a bar in Portland called The Victory and ever since have been a serious fan of the belly of pork.

It is rich and super fattening–which is what makes it so amazing. Pork Belly isn’t something to eat a lot, but if you can get it, try it! This pasta wore a light creamy garlic sauce with pork belly and that beautiful green stem on top is the top end of garlic, which is called garlic scape. The pork belly was definitely featured and no other flavor took over. It could have been very easy to do a rich heavy sauce with this dish, but that would have been far too much flavor explosion for one mouth to contain. So, High West did this one right by keeping everything else secondary. AMAZING.

The other two dishes ordered at the table were also fantastic. The Idaho Elk & Chanterelle Musrooms ($28) had a beautiful presentation and complementary flavors. I am not huge into game meat, but this was pretty ok. The plate was certainly cleaned by its owner and the Distiller’s Grain Spatzli with Kumquat Cranberry Relish on the side was delightful. Also, the High West Burger ($14) was perfection. Organic Niman Ranch Farm’s Beef and Rolling Hills Ranch Bison made for a hearty meat patty and the whiskey onions and gruyere added hints of smoke and good old fashioned western spices. The fries on the side were also tasty, crisp, and perfectly salted.

And, because it was Whiskey Wednesday, the small plates special had quite the gem: Blackened Kodiak Halibut with Sherry Champagne Grape Gastrique. Oh, momma! We didn’t even get a photo of this one before breaking into it. The blackened taste with the white fish, complimented by the sweet grape compote on the side was a spicy/sweet that I haven’t tasted too often. Perfect combination!

Yes, we are beyond full at this point. BUT, we couldn’t pass up dessert. This sweet treat brought a joyous tear to my eye! Metaphorically, of course. 🙂 I have a hard time passing up a donut of any kind. This was no exception. Don’t pass up the High West Grillswith ($8), which is a grilled cinnamon dusted krispy kreme donut with whiskey vanilla ice cream. Yes, the sucker is fattening beyond belief…but this is one dish that is worth every calorie!

This might be one of my favorite reviews so far. The service was excellent and every recommendation was delicious. If you are a Salt Lake local, take the 20 minute drive up the canyon and check out High West at 703 Park Ave in Park City, Utah!

And don’t forget to pick up a bottle of your favorite High West Whiskey on your way out at the General Store!


High West Distillery & Saloon on Urbanspoon

Traveling Eats–Sonoma, California

Ahhh. Wine Country! California wine country might be one of my favorite places on planet earth. The scenery, the food, the wine–everything makes you feel decadent.

We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast called The Vintage Towers in Cloverdale, which is at the northern end of Sonoma County. It was beautiful, quaint, ornate, and in the perfect place you could imagine staying if you had your heart set on doing some wine touring! They also led us to some of the most amazing food of the trip. And to top it off, I can’t forget to mention waking up to breakfasts like this stuffed french toast!

The first evening we were in Sonoma, we went into Scopa, in downtown Healdsburg–which is a lovely town full of great wine stores, shops, and eateries. Scopa was possibly one of the best places I have ever eaten. We lucked out and they had exactly ONE table left for the evening, and aparently, it can be difficult to dine at Scopa unless you have reservations. However, the food Gods were on our side…and we got a small but sturdy table near the entrance. We ordered the Prima Voce Merlot-Cabernet ($19) in a split that was served in a lovely decanter. You know a restaurant knows their wine when you are drinking it from a decanter that is specific to that blend of wine. Primo!

For the antipasti of the meal, we went with two selections, which I highly recommend: Polpette Calabrese–Spicy Meatballs with Smoked Mozzarella in Tomato Sauce ($10.50) and Italian Bread with Fresh Mozzarella, Arugula and Olive Oli ($8.50). The mozzarella in both of these dishes was so amazingly fresh it was unbelievable. The olive oil on the bread and arugula was the food that dreams are made of–and the combination of the flavors together was to die for. But let’s talk about the meatballs for a moment: they were served on a hot plate and I am pretty sure these meatballs had been mixed with the highest quality meat and spices–the sauce was spicy but flavorful and this dish melted in my mouth in a way that is near indescribable. Everyone should experience these meatballs in their lifetime–it was truly a dish that is unforgettable!

For our main dishes, we knew that pasta was going to be the selection, since the pasta was all fresh and hand made. Something about being in Sonoma and indulging in perfect wine just makes you crave a homemade pasta dish in a very calculating way. I ordered the House Made Ravioli with Stuffed Ricotta Cheese in a Tomato Basil Sauce Topped with Parmigiano ($16.50) and my boyfriend ordered the House-made Rigatoni and Sausage ($19). The noodles in both of these dishes were so perfect–you can really tell a difference from a pasta that is made that day–the texture is totally different and it holds onto so much flavor. The ricotta was top notch and the sausage in the rigatoni was smokey and rich. Both amazing dishes.

Lastly, we finished with homemade vanilla bean ice cream with a shot of espresso which was poured over the top. Add a lovely piece of hazelnut biscotti, and you have a dessert made in wine country heaven!

The next day was full of touring the rolling hills of Sonoma and visiting some beautiful wineries. We started at the north end and worked our way down. Some of our favorites were the Fritz Underground Winery–which is an organic winery that sustains itself by using the power of gravity to automatically crush the grapes…which is pretty cool. The flavors of the wines at Fritz were very earthy and understated, but completely delicious. Their Zinfandel and dessert Zin were some of our favorites of the entire day.

Our favorite winery of the trip, however, was the Ferrari-Carano winery. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen–complete with amazing gardens, grounds, and buildings. The wine was fabulous and I could have stayed in that beautiful place all day.

The Viognier was by far my favorite wine at Ferrari-Carano–so make sure you pick some up if you are ever in wine country.

These were just a few of my favorite wineries that we visited. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery was also wonderful as well as the Quivira winery. But I really don’t think you can go wrong in Sonoma County…every second a new winery shows itself and we could have stopped at 30 other ones that we passed along the way. It is truly a magical place full of beauty and bounty.

After a long day of tasting wine, we finished our day at the restaurant up the street from our B & B called Piacere. Piacere was no where near as modern or hip as Scopa, and the food wasn’t as great–however, there was a down-home Italian feel to this place that was very much appreciated after a day of galavanting around wine country. We ordered the lasagna (on special) and the eggplant parmesan ($13.95) with a side of fettucini alfredo–and ate every last bite! Sometimes all you need are the basics to end a lovely day.

Sonoma was really such a highlight of our vacation–everything was brilliantly delicious and heavenly. The flavors of Sonoma are my favorite and hopefully someday I will be able to follow the fresh Italian flavors of Sonoma with an actual trip to the wine country of Italy!

Traveling Eats–San Francisco

It is no secret that San Francisco is known for its many different cultures of food–from China Town to Little Italy, this city has amazing food written all over it. And, while we were there, we tried a little bit of it all.

Our first day in San Fran, we spent most of our time at Fisherman’s Warf and Pier 39. I know, we are total tourists, but we wanted some fresh seafood and to see the sea lions! For a quick lunch, we stopped by the Crab Stand for some fresh clam strips. I am really not a huge fan of anything breaded or deep fried, but sometimes on vacation, you just gotta let go! And I have to say, these were some of the most delicious and fresh clam strips ever. Even the breading was light and crisp. Oh, and don’t forget the tartar sauce and mini bottles of wine. This made for a great, quick lunchtime snack.

That night was all about getting the most fresh seafood piled on our table as possible. Right on the warf by all of the fresh seafood stands, there are several smaller restaurants–it was quite difficult to narrow down which place was going to be the best, but we ended up at Sabella’s and LaTorre’s. I am pretty sure that we would be getting the same crab and shrimp anywhere on the warf, but this place was pretty great. Well, actually, let’s just say the seafood was pretty great. We had a full crab and peel-and-eat shrimp that were spectacular–the clam chowdar was ok and the salad with bay shrimp was alright. But the crustaceans took the cake and put us straight into a seafood coma! Be prepard to spend some $$ at this place as well. We spent about $100 when all was said and done, but the seafood was definitley worth it. You can’t get anything that tasty in Salt Lake. 🙂

The next day we experienced foods from all parts of the world. We started the day in Chinatown and found the most amazing Dim Sum eatery called You’s Dim Sum. For about $6 we got fresh potstickers and dim sum that will make your mouth water. The atmosphere was nothing to brag about–all the tables and chairs were mismatched and there was hot sauce in a tupperware container on the table that I am pretty sure would have melted my soul–but the food was excellent.

Later that afternoon we made it to the Little Italy part of the city where we found the most amazing coffee shop, Cafe Greco. I am a fan of Illy coffee and espresso, and I am a firm believer that coffee shops who stick with this brand are usually the bee’s knees. This was a great little afternoon spot for kicking back, sitting on the patio, and people watching.

Cafe Greco also is right up the street from a delicatessen that sort of blew my mind. Molinari Delicatessen, was by far, one of the coolest places we went to. I have never seen anything quite like it in Salt Lake City. This is probably due to our strange liquor laws and the fact that we can’t just sell wine in an Italian store like a normal city. The shop held all of my favorite things under one roof. I was in heaven. My boyfriend ordered a pricuitto and fresh mozzarella sandwich and I stared at the cheese and olives for a good half hour. I could put a bed in the corner and live in this place! AMAZING!

We ended the day with some sushi that was recommended to us by locals at a bar we had gone to the night before called, Nara Sushi. It was pretty ok. Nothing that really blew my mind–and the atmosphere was more like what you would find in a strip mall and not a highly recommended sushi restaurant. The sushi was good–the sake was good. But nothing was really amazing. I think my boyfriend enjoyed it quite a bit, but something was a little lackluster. I have a feeling there are better sushi joints in the bay area. 🙂 Just my opinion…which is kind of what this site is all about!

Overall, the eats in San Fran were optimal. Get yourself some fresh seafood and spend an afternoon checking out the Molinari Delicatessen. Ms. Maven says so!

Next up: Sonoma! 🙂