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Food Theory Thursday

What is in season now? Our 10 favorite flavors of summer!

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Culinary Crafts Marketing Foodies, Event Tips and Planning, Farmers Market, Food, Food Theory Thursday, How To, News, Recipe of the Month, Recipes, Tips

Summer is the best season for eating fresh local produce. It is also the time you can buy local produce almost everywhere! With all the neighborhood farmer’s markets and produce stands you can cook with the freshest ingredients and add a whole new level to your summer cooking! Here’s our list of 10 favorite summer flavors you can find fresh right now.

Apricots
Peaches
Berries of all kinds- Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries
Beets
Carrots
Cherries
Cucumbers
Melons of all kinds- Watermelon, Honeydew, cantaloupes
Summer Squash
Tomatoes

Next week we’ll be sharing one of our favorite summer recipes for you to try featuring some of these great flavors.

MEET ONE OF OUR FAVORITE GROWERS

Strong Vertical Farms

We would love to introduce you to Strong Vertical Farms! Debbie and Grant Strong started SVG out of their home in Park City, Utah in November 2012. It was their vision to provide locally grown fresh produce to chefs and grocery stores 365 days a year by growing indoors.

Five years later, they are in their new 11,000 square foot growing facility located in Charleston UT.  They utilize state of the art systems to accomplish the climate controlled environment needed to grow indoors. The facility has the most updated water treatment, LED lighting & nutrient injection systems available in the market today. Since they grow their greens hydroponically (no soil) the water and nutrients are key to delivering safe quality produce. The water is recaptured and reused then sent through an ozonating system that kills pathogens and bacteria insuring a safe product. The byproduct of this system is oxygen that enriches the plants flavor, longevity and appearance. The produce is grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides and is NON-GMO.  The produce is sustainable, consistent and protected from weather and pests.

You can find their fabulous microgreens and lettuces at select Smiths, Harmons in Holiday and Taylorsville, and Wholefoods. And, happily, they also sell edible flowers!

Hoping you can find time to enjoy all the vibrant flavors of this beautiful season.

Grilling 101: Ryan’s favorite tips and tricks

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Food, Food Theory Thursday, How To, Recipes, Tips

Grillmaster Lessons

My love for the grill runs deep. In our family catering business, there were an array of tasks I was assigned at early ages. Most were forgettable (or unpleasantly memorable). Grilling was the first job that I actually enjoyed and felt I excelled at. I remember being 15 years old, carting around our rusty old barrel drum grills, breathing in dangerous amounts of mesquite smoke, singeing off all the hair on my hands and arms (and sometimes eyebrows), blistering my fingertips, shoveling out bucket after bucket of ashes every night….and loving every minute of it.

For me, lighting a row of 18 chimneys full of lump charcoal is as much a means to an end, as it is an end in itself. Searing 5000 fillets of trout is as much a duty, as it is a pleasure. Grilling dinner requires a long list of sometimes tedious steps. Yet rather than a chore, these feel like an indulgence. I grill to eat – I love the flavors. I grill to feed others – it’s my favorite role as a host. I also grill just to get right – you could say it’s how I ponder and pray.

Mastering the grill is long and arduous process. It’s also a fun and exciting process. I invite everyone to learn to grill. There’s something inexplicably rewarding about cooking dinner for yourself and your guests – especially outdoors over a live fire. Whether you already have an elaborate outdoor kitchen with many cooks under your belt, or whether you have never so much as roasted a hot dog over the campfire, I’d invite you to grill more. And start today.

 

What Is and Isn’t Grilling

 

I’m a stickler for proper and consistent use of language around the grill. Many outdoor cooking terms are confused, conflated, and otherwise misused. My first piece of advice is to learn the basic jargon and use it properly.

Grilling refers to a very specific type of cooking: cooking directly over an open fire, usually with a grill / grate / gridiron, and usually at a relatively high heat. Hence, a grill is a device that allows you to cook directly over a high heat open fire. These three elements are necessary conditions of grilling. Direct heat. Open fire. Potential for high heat.

Smoking ribs in your pellet cooker (like the very popular Traeger models)? Delicious, but NOT grilling. Brisket for 18 hours in your offset barrel cooker? Wonderful, but NOT grilling. Using a torch to sear a filet done sous vide to a perfect and precise medium-rare? Excellent, but NOT grilling. Pan searing a skin-on chicken breast in duck fat and herbs? My mouth is watering, but still NOT grilling.

What about cooking burgers over briquettes in your Weber kettle? That’s grilling! Cooking chicken over your built-in stainless steel natural gas grill? That’s grilling! Tossing vegetables in a wire mesh basket over a log fire? That’s grilling! Tri-tip in two stages on a Santa Maria cooker? That’s grilling! Reverse searing a garlic and chocolate rubbed dry-aged Wagyu ribeye over mesquite charcoal? That’s grilling (and btw one of my personal favorites)!

Choosing Your Grill(s)

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a grill. Size? Lid? Portable, free standing, or built in? Able to BBQ / smoke using indirect heat in addition to grilling with direct heat? Adjustable fire trays? Adjustable cooking grates? Access to the fire? Available accessories? Quality of construction? Cost?

But the first question you need to answer is: gas / propane or charcoal / wood? Yes, there are some electric “grills” out there. But in general these blur the lines on whether they even meet muster for the strict criteria we outlined above. And although there are some hybrid gas and charcoal grills, you still need to be clear about what your primary and preferred fuel source will be, since different hybrids will have more or less appeal depending on your answer.

Pros and Cons of Gas / Propane:

  • Easy startup. Turn on the gas, hit the igniter. Even if your ignition system is broken, a stick lighter gets you going quick and easy. No lighter fluid, no chimneys, no heating coils, very little forethought and waiting required.
  • Easy heat management. Need it hotter? Turn the dial up. Cooler? Turn it back down. Very little practice and finesse is required to adjust and control your heat.
  • Easy cool down / cleanup. Tur
    n the gas off. Done.
  • Clean burning. Less smoke and fumes for you to breath and to float off into your local environment.
  • Limited temperature. Admittedly gas grills can get hot. And certain features (infrared burners) can ramp up the heat. But even the hottest gas grill can’t reach the temps you can achieve with a hardwood charcoal fire.
  • Limited flavor. True, gas grills create a wonderful maillard reaction with your food. And juices that drip below generally burn off into tasty vapors. Wood chips can be easily burned in a smoker box to create flavor. Nonetheless, even the best gas grills employing all these measures can’t match the wood flavor of a charcoal or wood burning grill.

As you might have guessed, the pros and cons of a gas grill are in comparison and relative to the alternative. Hence, the pros and cons of charcoal grills are generally the inverse:

  • Demanding startup. I use a chimney starter(s) for nearly all my fires. These are basically a fool proof method that require only a little newspaper and a match. Lighter fluid can also get a fire going quickly and easily. Nonetheless, these are more work and require more forethought than simply starting up a gas burner.
  • Demanding heat management. Need it hotter? You might need to add fuel. You might need to increase the airflow. You might need to sweep the ashes. Or some combination of these. Need it cooler? You might need to reduce the airflow. Or possibly remove some of the fire, or even spritz your fire with a little water. Eventually, the finesse to manage your fire will become second nature, but it requires significant practice.
  • Demanding cool down / cleanup. In general I prefer to let the fire burn itself out. This takes patience. Sometimes I need to actively extinguish the fire using suffocation or even ice / water. This can make for a big cloud of steam and soot. Either way, after the fire’s died, there will be ashes to deal with.
  • Dirty. More smoke and fumes for you to breath and to float off into your local environment. Although I’m a huge proponent of charcoal and wood fire cooking, I also support measures to protect our environment, especially improving air quality here in Utah. I think grilling on bad air days should be legally prohibited. Until we get there, I strongly encourage local readers to only grill with charcoal on clear days with no inversion.
  • Very high temperature. This is where charcoal grills really shine. Searing is a joy and at its best on a grill that is crazy hot. Gas grills just can’t compare.
  • Very rich flavor. Once you’ve had a burger cooked over mesquite coals, you can’t go back to one cooked over a gas grill or in a cast iron skillet. It just tastes better. A lot better.

As you read these lists, you might get the impression that gas grills win out. After all, they seem to best their charcoal counterparts in 4 of the 6 key factors considered here. However, it’s important to note that those lists simply outline, and do not weigh those factors. When I fire up the grill on the patio (as opposed to sauteing on the kitchen stove), it’s because I’m after the highest heat and deepest wood flavor I can get. So for me, the two areas where charcoal grills win are the ultimate trump cards.

Perhaps the best way to put my recommendation is this: I do not own a gas grill. At my house, I have 3 grills (also 2 smokers and 1 wood oven) and they all use charcoal or wood.

When shopping for a charcoal grill, the key features you want to look for are:

  • Airflow. The ability to control the flow of air to speed up or slow down your fire is crucial. You want vents below the fire and a lid above the fire that allows you to play with different variables.
  • Charcoal grate. Elevating the fire off the floor of the grill container allows the fire to burn efficiently, allows ashes to fall away. Some grills have adjustable charcoal grates which allow you to move the fire closer to or further away from the food.
  • Food grate. Cast iron grates are wonderful to cook on – just like your grandmother’s cast iron skillet, these season in, become naturally nonstick, retain heat wonderfully, and with care can last a lifetime. That said, other grate materials can also cook wonderfully. Most important is a gridiron pattern than prevents small and delicate foods from slipping through. And thick gauge materials that can take the high heat without warping and wearing through.
  • Ash removal. This is important, but doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, often times the simpler the better – a tray or bucket that ashes fall into that is easily removed and dumped is great. You just don’t want to have to shovel or vacuum out ashes after every cook.
  • Quality of materials. You want all the grill components to be thick gauge and heavy duty enough to last for years with reasonable wear and tear. Powder coat is better than paint and enamel coating is even better than powder. It’s awfully frustrating to buy a grill with fancy bells and whistles that looks great in the store, but is dented, rusted, and falling apart a year or two later.

A wonderful charcoal grill does not need to be fancy or elaborate. The kettle grill (a bowl with domed lid sitting on a trio of metal pipe legs) has become an iconic grill image precisely because it has remained basically unchanged for so long, and because the design works so well. Indeed, if I could only have one grill and it needed to be at a moderate cost, my choice would be easy: a Weber Original charcoal grill.

Tools of the Trade

Walk into the outdoor cooking section of your local hardware store and you’ll likely be inundated with an array of grilling tools, gadgets, and assorted accessories. It can be overwhelming to decide which ones are necessary, which ones are a luxury, and which ones are a waste. Listed below are how I like to break out and consider these items.

I set out these must have tools every time I grill:

  • Chimney starter – the best way to start charcoal. Avoid all the fumes, mess, and volatility of lighter fluid.
  • Gloves and apron – You want a 100% cotton, heavy canvas, or leather apron (any poly or poly blend will melt onto your clothes when you get your grill really rolling). And thick lined leather or cotton gloves. Tip – buying welding gear in the tool section is often cheaper than the nearly functionally identical gear in the cooking section.
  • Oil & onion – Don’t use cooking spray on your grill. Don’t use a paper or cloth towel. Dip the onion in the oil, and use this to lubricate and season your grates.
  • Tongs – I like tongs that are springy enough to release quickly, but not so springy that my hand gets tired using them. I like enough teeth on the ends to firmly grasp the food, but not so sharp that they bite into and shred the food. Most important, I like thick metal tongs that won’t go soft and flexy when they get hot.
  • Spatula – Just like the tongs, you want a thick metal spatula. Thin metal will flex, bend, and break if it gets too hot while cooking.
  • Fork – Again, thick and sturdy. Built to take the heat. I use this primarily for the oil and onion listed above.
  • Rake – A tool dedicated to breaking up, moving around, and sweeping the fire. I used to use my spatula, a rake is so much better. I use it all the time.
  • Basting brush – I prefer a silicone brush and/or a cotton mop. Natural hair brushes don’t last, especially when used over heat, and start to fall apart shedding hair into the food.
  • Thermometer – You want something digital with a fast / instant read. You’ll see units ranging from $10 – $100, but you should target the $20 – $50 range for solid quality and good value. My Lavatools thermometer is my favorite I’ve tried.

Although not necessary, these convenient accessories see a lot of use on my patio:

  • Grill basket – simply an alternative to your grate. This allows you cook smaller items that don’t work on a flat open grate, while still exposing them to the open fire and smoke.
  • Wood chip soaker – this keeps your chips under the water while soaking, so you don’t have dry chips floating on top.
  • Meat hook – I use this as an alternative to tongs when I’m grilling large amounts of meat and/or large cuts of meat. This allows me to quickly move food on, off, and around the grill without the constant squeezing of the tongs. Very handy in certain situations.
  • Meat claws – great for shredding pork butt or beef brisket. Also really great for moving very large cuts. Since these don’t have a long handle, you just have to be aware that your hands and arms will be close to the fire if you use these over the grill.
  • Dedicated grilling knives and scissors – you can certainly use the knives from your kitchen. But I love having a simple set (only includes a carver / slicer knife, a flexible boning knife, a small utility knife, and a pair of meat shears) that I keep in my grilling table always at the ready.
  • Spray bottle – using water on your coals is a last resort and short term fix for flare ups and other mishaps. But sometimes a quick fix is all you need and super handy to have ready.
  • Wood grill scraper – after grilling, I use this to scrape large bits of food off the grates, and let the fire burn everything else off. I try to avoid using wire brushes and cleaning chemicals on my grills.
  • Wood planks – a great way to infuse extra flavor and/or keep delicate food (like a whole salmon) intact while moving on and off the grill.
  • Kerchief – soaking this down and tying around your neck or over your face can be a lifesaver when the heat and smoke get too intense.

Additional tools that I only use occasionally / rarely:

  • Grilling stones – fun to use, but easy to crack if you’re not careful. Also, since these create a barrier between the open fire and the food, they limit the flavor impact you get from a great wood fire.
  • Silicon mat – similar to the grilling stones. Handy for certain situations, but I rarely use these.
  • Extra lighting – great if you travel with a grill and/or don’t have enough light in your yard.
  • Grill Brush – like I said earlier, I try to avoid using these (I prefer a wood scraper and the fire itself to clean the grill). That said, there are a few occasions where a little extra grit is required.
  • Skewers – I prefer flat and wide skewers to the round style. This way, the food doesn’t roll around on the wire.
  • Cast iron pan and wok – Can open options for you over your grill, but like the stones, they create a barrier between the open fire and the food, which kind of misses the point.
  • Smoker box – especially handy for gas grills that don’t have the flavors of wood and charcoal. Also useful in a lot of indirect cooking recipes.

 

Finally some of my favorite grilling (and BBQ) cookbook references include:

  • Weber’s Charcoal Grilling, The Art of Cooking with Live Fire by Jamie Purviance (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you only buy one grilling book, feel confident about making it this one).
  • The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Editors (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In depth and exceptionally reliable information that helps you understand why certain techniques succeed, which helps you expand your own skill set and personal innovation.)
  • Charred and Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang
  • Essentials of Grilling by Williams-Sonoma
  • Feeding the Fire by Joe Carroll
  • Franklin Barbecue by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
  • Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

 

Hopefully there’s enough here to get a new griller started. And hopefully even the seasoned griller learned something new. In both cases, stay tuned, I’ll be back very soon with more Grillmaster Lessons!

Ryan

 

 

 

What’s Peaking Now? So Glad You Asked!

By | A Kitchen Like No Other, Event Tips and Planning, Farmers Market, Favorite Find Friday, Food, Food Theory Thursday, How To, Sharing the Love -Vendor and Client Relationships, Tips, Vendor Love!, Vendor Spotlight

Because we as consumers see such a huge variety of produce available in our markets all year long, it’s hard to remember exactly what’s in season in our area. Culinary Crafts loves sourcing as much of its produce as possible from local growers. And, we fine tune our menus seasonally to feature local items at their absolute best flavor peak. Here’s our list of spring delicacies to be enjoyed now.

Asparagus
Rhubarb
Peas
Strawberries
Carrots
Garlic
Butter lettuce
Parsley
Chives
Arugula
Swiss Chard
Pea greens

Next week we’ll be sharing one of our favorite spring salad recipes.

MEET ONE OF OUR FAVORITE GROWERS

Snuck Farm

We’re happy to give a shout out to our neighbor and one of our favorite growers, Snuck Farm, in Pleasant Grove. They have an awesome hydroponic greenhouse and supply local grocers with their herbs, greens and other produce year round. And, you’re in luck! They’re having a plant sale on May 12th, from 8am to 1pm… here’s the info below
Save the date for the Snuck Farm Annual Community Plant Sale!

May 12th  at 8am to 1pm.
You’ll find a large variety of vegetables and flowers all ready for your garden including over 30 heirloom tomato varieties, peppers, cucumbers, squash, herbs, zinnias, petunias, hanging baskets and, well of course more! All plant starts are grown right here in our own greenhouse, using non-GMO seeds which means your plants are grown in our climate, with tons of love so you won’t find wilted or distressed plants.
This is a great way to spend some time on the farm, bring Mom for an early Mother’s Day. Listen to live music, enjoy food, fresh flowers from Local Roots Flower Farm and some of our favorite new gardening tools, linens, books, and kitchen must-haves.
Hope to see you there!

UV Magazine Restaurant Review | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

review

As some of you may know, our very own Mary Crafts-Homer writes fabulous restaurant reviews for each issue of UV Magazine!  From high end eateries to down home comfort classics, she reviews them all.  And you know you can count on Mary to let you know exactly which are the best bites!  In the current issue, she reviewed The Old Towne Grill, which is part of the historic Center Street area in Provo.  I don’t know about you, but if the cheesecake photo (above) is any indication, this place is AMAZING!  If you want to read more about what she thought, pick up a copy of UV Magazine today.  Not only is Mary’s awesome review inside, but lots of other great stuff!  Happy reading everyone!

Check out more on Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Caterer | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

Rayna2

Even though we are almost into the full swing of wedding season, some of you still may be searching for stellar vendors to make your event AMAZING!  With that in mind, I thought this ever-so-helpful advice from our very own Mary Crafts-Homer would be perfect for anyone looking for a top-notch caterer.  These “Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Caterer” are a good way to find out which caterer will fit your taste, style, and budget – so you can sit back and relax, knowing that you’ve picked the best fit for you and your wedding!  Check it out!

1.  Let your caterer know your budget up front and ask what would be the best fit for your event based on that budget.  You may want a 7 course plated dinner for all your guests but that definitely adds major cost to your bottom line – so unless your budget allows for it, let the caterer suggest other options – such as a gorgeous dinner buffet with similar food options to cut your cost.  If the caterer won’t work with your budget or tries to upsell you an event you aren’t sure you can afford – be wary.  Also make sure that you trust your caterer enough to give you ideas you wouldn’t have thought of yourself, but also make sure that they keep your vision at the forefront.  It’s your day, after all!

CATIE6

2.  Ask if there are any additional costs for labor, alcohol service, gratuity, etc. that will be added into your final total.  This is especially important if you have a tight budget and do not want to be surprised with the final bill the week before your wedding.  Most caterers will outline any additional labor costs, extra staff costs, alcohol provider’s costs, and also suggest a gratuity based on your cost.  Make sure you are aware of the costs involved and plan for your budget and there will be no surprises at the end.  Also, remember the gratuity is based on the service provided.  So your gratuity should reflect your overall happiness with the event and service.

CATIE2

3.  Ask if the food is prepared on-site or in a kitchen off-site.  Culinary Crafts prides itself on preparing their food at the event site (which is one of the reasons it is SO delicious and fresh).  This allows you to plan for how much space the caterer will need to prepare the food and plan a layout where they will have their “back of house” or prep area.  You don’t want to be figuring this out on the day of – you’ll have more important things to focus on!

ACE8

4.  Ask if they are a full service caterer or not.  Meaning, are they just going to show up and make sure the food is taken care of?  Or are they going to make sure that the layout is the way that you (the client) have envisioned?  And that the cake shows up?  Or that the rental company has delivered the chairs and linens you ordered?  Culinary Crafts will make sure all facets of the event are taken care of from layout to set up to execution.  Of course, a wedding planner would do this as well – so if you have hired one, Culinary Crafts will work closely with the planner to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  One less thing to worry about on your wedding day!

ChanningHancock9

5.  Ask other wedding vendors and past client about their experience with the caterer you are considering hiring.  No matter what the reputation is of the caterer, you should ask vendors and clients you know and trust about their experience with the caterer to find out if they would recommend them or had any problems with them.  It’s always important to know who you are doing business with.  It’ll make sure you are happy in the long run!

Happy planning everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Photo by Logan Walker, A Pepper Nix Photographer

Bon Appetit’s Food Trends for 2013 | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

Recently, Bon Appetit honed their culinary prowess to predict the top 25 emerging food trends for 2013 – which as you may guess is totally up my alley!  While I am truly loving the diversity on the list, I gotta say my fav one was #23: Blond(ie) is the new Brown(ie)!  Now, please understand that I am a die-hard choco-phile and I will never let my brownie love go, but I am truly excited to see blondies make a resurgence.  Especially since I know Culinary Crafts’s pastry chef, Jocelyn Ball, has a kick butt recipe for Salted Caramel Blondies – yes I said salted caramel blondies – that are heavenly!  I am thrilled to see blondies make a comeback – and will happily indulge in them throughout their rise in 2013!  Happy eating everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Photo via Logan Walker, A Pepper Nix Photographer

Salt Lake Bride & Groom Love! | Food Theory Thursday

By | Featured: Culinary Crafts in the Press, Food Theory Thursday

Reposted, with permission, from Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom Magazine

And the Award Goes To: Culinary Crafts Wins Big at the CATIE Awards

Utah’s own awarded Caterer of the Year by the International Caterers Association

The film industry has the Academy Awards, the music industry has the Grammys, the television industry has the Emmys, and the event catering industry has the CATIES. The Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence Awards are held annually to “recognize achievement of exemplary food production at an event”–in other words, food presentation that’s as pleasing to the palate as it is to your other four senses.

At this year’s CATIE Awards, Utah-based Culinary Crafts cleaned up big time. And we mean BIG time. Culinary Crafts was awarded Caterer of the Year by the International Caterers Association. Yup, our very own Culinary Crafts snatched up top honors at the event, beating out catering companies from as far away as South Africa. And that’s not all: Culinary Crafts also won the ACE award at this year’s Catersource conference, one of only five awards given out each year (four in the U.S. and one internationally). No caterer has ever won both of these awards, let alone a caterer from Utah.

 

ICA Award Mary, Kaleb, Ryan

We caught up with Mary Crafts, CEO and president of Culinary Crafts, to get her reaction on the big win:

I was dumbfounded when we won the Caterer of the Year award! I had my shoes off at our banquet table because I was not expecting to win–when they announced our name I thought, “I have to get my shoes on!” I was so shocked, I could hardly speak. It was amazing to be there and to win these awards. My first thought (after thinking about my shoes) was, “Text the team!” Everything we do is a team effort. These awards are for the many people at Culinary Crafts who work every day to bring excellence to the company and make sure we’re the best around.

We’ve always championed the incredible talents of stellar local vendors like Mary Crafts and the Culinary Crafts team, and we’re thrilled to hear the international community is taking notice now, too!

Congratulations Mary, Ryan, Kaleb, and the entire Culinary Crafts family! Mary, we’re popping a bottle of champagne can of Diet Coke in your honor!

Thank you to Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom Magazine for the shout out and again!  You are the best!  We are just so thrilled to be able to bring this prestigious honor home to Utah and thank our team for being the amazing people that brought us here today!

Check out more on Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering on www.culinarycrafts.com!

Check Us Out! | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

Have you checked out the Culinary Crafts website lately?  You definitely should because we are constantly updating, adding, and posting new events, photos, and all around good stuff!!!  You can sign up to receive the recipe of the month and newsletters from Miss Mary Crafts-Homer, check out the best of the best events, find out more about our venue The Tasting Room, meet our super talented staff, and just take in all of the glorious food and decor that we have to offer!  Not to mention we have stunning photo tours for all of the best venues in the valley and we’ve even added new event videos to our wedding and corporate galleries to boot!  If you haven’t gone to www.culinarycrafts.com in awhile, you are missing out!  Happy surfing everyone!

Check out more on our website www.culinarycrafts.com!

Culinary Crafts on 100 Magnificent Sites for Chefs! | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

Well, we are just tickled pink this week.  Not only are we nominated for the ACE award, but Culinary Crafts’s website has been added to the “100 Magnificent Sites for Chefs” list!  This list compiles sites that they deem all “aspiring chefs would do well to follow, since they’re at the top of the culinary heap or moving fast in that direction.”  From celebrity chefs, to regional cuisine, tofood stylists, and even culinary organizations and magazines, this is a list we feel just thrilled to be a part of!  Take a look – and thank you so much for the accolades!!!

Check out more Utah County, Salt Lake City, and Park City catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

 

Finca Restaurant Review | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

Recently, our Mary Crafts-Homer tried out a new restaurant from the culinary powerhouse that’s behind Pago called Finca.  We love Pago‘s farm to table initiative, commitment to green living and reclaimed furnishings, not to mention the creative and innovative food offerings they are always coming up with!  Lucky for us, the people of Pago have opened another divine place with the same principles!   Finca is sure to become a foodie haven and culinary hot spot and we simply LOVE it!  We enjoy all of the small plates and tapas for sure.  Plus, Mary has started eating a modified vegan diet and was super stoked to see that there were so many options for her and her dining companion!  The attention to taste and detail is truly welcome to any one searching for a mouthwatering meal.  From the Ensalada de Remolacha (a beet salad with pickled strawberries, house ricotta, and greens), to the Gambas tapas (rock shrimp with garlic oil, lemon, and chile), to the Cordero de Asador (grilled local lamb belly with cider braised apples and squash puree) I think I would end up ordering the entire menu and rolling out of there in a heavenly food coma.  SO YUMMY! As if that weren’t enough to peak your interest, I have also heard about their attention to high end mixology and spirits, which sounds like a welcome addition to Salt Lake City – not to mention Finca was awarded Best Mixologist and Best Wine List by Salt Lake Magazine recently, so you know they got something great going.  The are really trying to bring their cocktail servings up a notch and have a truly innovative cocktail menu – not to mention they make their own tonics in house, can carbonate any cocktail per request, and have more infusions than you can shake a stick at!  Another great thing about Finca (and Pago) is that they both employ a cruvinet wine system that basically keeps the wine in a controlled environment that maintains the freshness of the bottle as well as if it were just opened!  This allows both Pago and Finca to be able to serve a greater selection of wines by the glass, which is great for anyone interested in pairing lots of wines with different dishes – or for a connoisseur who wants a great glass of wine every time!  So, if you are looking for something new and innovative, or would just like to treat yourself to a fine night out, DEFINITELY check out Finca!  Happy eating everyone!

Check out more Park City, Utah County, and Salt Lake City catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Logo, restaurant interior, and Farm to Table Logo from www.fincaslc.com.  Tostada image from Best of Salt Lake Restaurants and Hamburger image from Future RD Eats