Last week I donned a heavy coat and scarf and made my way to the snow kissed streets of Utah. I was there for a conference and as an added bonus got to hang out with my friend and fellow gluten-free blogger Michelle of My Gluten Free Kitchen (check out her blog if you don't know her, she is a FANTASTIC GF baker!).
During the day we talked about blog strategy, social media tools, and attended the conference. We had a ton of fun meeting other bloggers, shopping, and even riding a Ferris wheel at a store called Sheels (side note: why don't we have rides in our malls here in Cali??).
But my (perhaps somewhat biased) favorite activity was checking out the gluten-free food scene.
Here are some of my favorite gluten-free finds in Utah:
Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant
http://mahiderethiopian.com · 1465 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Did you know that Ethiopian cuisine offers many gluten-free options? Most of the dishes that I've tried are intensely spiced stews and slow cooked meats, lentils, and veggies. Here, I ordered the beef and chicken combination of yedoro wot, yesega wot, and yesega alicha. I had read that their injera is actually not gluten-free. When I asked the owner about that he told me that for some reason they are not able to achieve the bubbles in the crepe-like bread like they used to when they operated a restaurant in California. So instead of the injera I ordered my entree with rice. The stews were accompanied by a tomato and pepper (possibly jalapeno?) salad, and a homemade cottage cheese that reminded me a bit of cotija. Bursting with flavors of cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and other new-to-me spices like ajowan, this is a restaurant that I would definitely return to!
Sweet Cake Bake Shop
http://sweetcakebakeshop.com · 457 E 300 S, Salt Lake City · (801) 444-3288
This dedicated gluten-free bakery was situated a short drive away from downtown Salt Lake City. We loved Sweet Cake Bake Shop so much that we went not once but twice. The first day Michelle was lucky enough to snag the last two gluten-free cinnamon rolls. She loved them so much that she preordered two more for the following day. She wasn't going to take the chance of them selling out. :) My favorites were the red velvet cookie and a banana bunt cake.
The Pie Pizzeria
http://www.thepie.com · 10627 S. Redwood Road, South Jordan, Utah · (801) 495-4095
I wish more places did gluten-free as well as The Pie Pizzeria. They do all the right things: they have a separate prep area (allegedly a whole 'nuther room!), oven, separate utensils, and even separate ingredients. When they serve you your pizza, they bring it to you in a sealed box labeled with a Gluten Free sticker. This ensures nothing contaminates it during the preparation or the serving process. We tried a Hawaiian pie with ham and pineapple, as well as their cheesey breadsticks. While I suspect the breadsticks were actually made on the same type of pizza crust, I have to admit that they were all the right kinds of ooey gooey cheesy and melty. And to top it off, I happily washed it all down with a nice cold Red Bridge Gluten Free beer and listened to Eric Malizia cover a wide range of tunes on his guitar.
http://www.eleanorsbakeshop.com · 9495 S 560 W Building D, Sandy, UT 84070 · (801) 563-7466
We stopped at Eleanor's dedicated gluten-free bakery for lunch one day and I was immediately wowed by their creative take on arepas. I ordered a pastrami arepa with honey mustard, provolone, and banana peppers and Michelle ordered a turkey and cheese arepa.
In contrast to the amazing Venezuelan arepas at our local Pica Pica, these arepas had fillings typical of many sandwiches. Absolutely satisfying. Way exceeded my expectations! Following lunch I went back and snagged a lemon bar (I'm a zesty citrus whore, if you didn't know). It too was delicious. Nice, thick, snappy crust and a soft subtle lemon filling.
Despite not being able to find coffee--like ANYWHERE--I was super impressed with Utah! It was my first time there and I can't wait to go back and see what else they have to offer! Maybe I'll wait until it warms up a bit though. ;)
What's your favorite gluten-free business to visit in Utah? Let me know in the comments!