October 18, 2023

Chris’s Chili


by Chris Brady

Event Manager and True Raider Fan

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A while back, I was in a fantasy football league with some buddies I met online. It was a friendly group full of banter and smack talk, and, of course, with money on the line we also got super competitive.

One year, one of our founding members wasn’t sure he would be able to come up with the entry fee because he and his wife had a newborn who was suffering with costly complications. He proposed to the league that instead of cash, he could wager some sports memorabilia, gift cards, and his secret chili recipe. We put it to a vote. Even though his “memorabilia” was an autographed John Elway football—which was an insult to a true Raiders fan like me—we decided to let him enter.

Long story short, I won the league that year. Naturally, I sold the John Elway football to get that abomination out of my house, but the chili recipe stayed, and I have made it several times a year ever since. The chili always gets rave reviews, and my wife’s family specifically requests it whenever we get together.

Working at Culinary Crafts, sometimes I’m able to use left-over short ribs or flank steak for my chili, but you can get great results with almost any cut, even a simple pack of Costco USDA Choice.

When people ask for my secret ingredient, I tell them it’s the amber beer, but really, there’s another ingredient that only I can taste: the sweet, sweet taste of victory!

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Chris’s Chili


  • ⅓ cup of olive oil
  • 5 pounds of stew meat
  • 2 pounds of pork sausage
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5-6 large dried New Mexico chilies (You can get these pods at Macey’s or Smiths)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 T of dried cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 13 oz of beef broth
  • 36 oz of good amber beer, divided (I use Fat Tire, but Wasatch's Evo, Epic's Cross Fever, or another local amber will work well.)
  • 1 shot of Jack Daniels whiskey (High West Distillery in Park City also makes some excellent whiskeys you can use.)
  • 34 oz of beans (optional - I use dark kidney beans)


  1. Cut the meat into ½ to ¼ inch pieces.
  2. Rehydrate the chilis in 12 oz of beer. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. Strain, and then puree the chilis. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over med heat for 5 min. Uncover, bring the heat to high, and brown for another 5 min. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 min until fragrant. Add the cumin and the pork. Stir until the meat browns.
  4. Add the beef, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Brown until most of the redness is gone. Add the chili puree, 24 oz beer, Jack, beef broth, tomato paste, tomato soup and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1½ hours until it has a chili-like consistency. Then add beans and cook for another ½ hour.
  5. Garnish with green onion and cheese.

(Note: For max flavor, cook a day ahead and let the flavors come together overnight in the fridge. Reheat and enjoy some great chili.)

October 17, 2023

Cacao-Bittered and Milk-Washed Antrim


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Last month, on our Bacchus bartending webpage, we shared a recipe for Milk-Washed Apple Cider. There, we promised to share the recipe for a milk-washed antrim cocktail that we made for a fabulous event using the same milk-washing technique. To make good on our promise, here is that recipe. Enjoy!

Cacao-Bittered & Milk-Washed Antrim

(makes 4 cocktails)


  • 6 oz cognac or brandy
  • 6 oz tawny port
  • ½ oz bitters (If that seems like a lot of bitter, it is! But trust us; the milk-washing process will smooth it all out in the end. Don't be afraid to use some strong flavors of bitters. We used cacao, coffee, oak, and tobacco.)
  • 3 oz whole milk
  • ½ oz lemon juice


  • 2 mason jars (or other similar container)
  • strainer
  • paper coffee filter
  • kitchen torch or lighter
  • fire-safe dish


  1. Combine cognac, port, and syrup bitters in a jar. Allow to marry for at least 2 hours.
  2. Put the milk in the second jar. Slowly pour in the liquor mix. Let rest for several minutes. Slowly add the lemon juice. The milk should begin to curdle. Stir until well mixed. Allow to stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (longer is preferred if possible).
  3. Filter the mix through a fine mesh strainer. Then strain through a rinsed paper coffee filter. The final product should be clear and golden colored. Serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon, fig, cherry, or other fruit as desired. This goes wonderfully paired with a bite of dark chocolate.

Eat and drink well!

Non-alcoholic variation:

Replace the brandy with 10 oz of apple cider. Replace the port with 2 oz of orange juice. If desired, you can simmer the juice mixture with winter/holiday spices in advance for an extra layer of flavor. Then simply prepare as described above.

October 11, 2023

Championship Chili


by Gary James

Bar Logistics Manager

When my family was young, we rented a home in the Sugar House area in Salt Lake City. The neighborhood was old, and the homes either belonged to elderly couples or were being rented by young folks like us. The LDS ward in our area was jokingly referred to as “Newly Wed or Nearly Dead.”

Our new (old) neighbors were quick to welcome us and invite us to church activities, including their annual chili cook-off. I wasn’t an especially good chili cook, but I found a recipe that seemed interesting because it used liquid smoke, and we made a batch to bring with us. The judging was done by a panel of sweet old ladies who had obviously been doing it for 50 years. They would take a nibble, nod at each other knowingly, and say, Oh, that’s Margaret’s. I can taste the chocolate,” or “Oooo, that one’s got a kick!”

At the end of the night, no one was more surprised than me when my chili took first place. I was careful not to make a big deal of winning because the dear old ladies didn’t seem very pleased that an outsider (a young whippersnapper, no less!) had taken their prize. Still, they were gracious and kind. One of them even offered to watch our baby son if we ever needed a sitter.

The story of the cook-off and my “Championship Chili” would have ended there, an odd little tale in our family history, if it weren’t for what happened next.

Bitter-Sweet Memories

A few months later, that same kind old lady was baby-sitting our son Connor when she found him in his crib, not breathing. In desperation, she called her son who came and tried to resuscitate Connor, but our baby was already gone. The poor woman was distraught. We were heartbroken and devastated.

It’s been over 20 years since those events, but I still make our family’s Championship Chili whenever my daughter Taylor requests it, which is often. Sometimes the smell and taste and texture of certain food is our strongest link to the past. And sometimes, when we go through the motions of preparing and sharing a meal, a part of ourselves is reborn.

To this day, every time I mix up a batch of this recipe I am flooded with the bitter-sweet memories of Connor, that house, and everything that happened there.

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Championship Chili

makes 20 servings


  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 yellow or orange peppers, chopped
  • (2) 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • (2-3) 10 oz cans of Rotel Tomatoes
  • (2) 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of pinto beans
  • (2) 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 1 lb hardwood smoked thin bacon
  • 1½ lb ground beef
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin


  1. In a slow cooker/crock pot, add all chopped veggies, tomato sauce, and Rotel tomatoes. Drain all canned beans and add them to the pot.
  2. Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and fry in a pan until crispy. Add bacon and half the bacon fat into the pot. Add ground beef to the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Salt and pepper the ground beef, fully cook it, and drain off fat before adding the ground beef to the pot.
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, and minced garlic.
  4. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, then reduce heat for 1-2 hours.

Note: I also add fresh tomatoes to taste. If the smoked bacon doesn’t give enough of a smoky taste/scent, I add a dash of liquid smoke.

August 29, 2023

Shiitake Happens


by Kaleb Crafts

Co-President and Challenge Accepter

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When I was fourteen, my family took a trip to Japan, a country near and dear to my father’s heart. For a high school-aged boy, it was a life-changing experience… sometimes in unexpected ways.

One afternoon we stopped at a cafeteria-style food hall for lunch. Each tray of food was served with traditional Japanese condiments, including pickled vegetables called tsukemono (pronounced “SKAY-moh-NOH”). These particular tsukemono were thinly sliced radishes, carrots, and cucumbers with generous amounts of Japanese horseradish or wasabi. Feeling adventurous, I took a small sample of the strange-smelling condiment and popped it into my mouth. Instantly, my mouth puckered and my nostrils tried to clamp shut. Noticing the tear that trickled down my cheek, my brother, Ryan, did what older brothers have a sacred duty to do: he dared me, “I'll give you twenty bucks if you can eat that whole bowl in one bite!"

Since younger brothers also have a sacred duty—to never turn down a dare—I scooped up the pile of pickles and stuffed them in my mouth. And then…FIRE! It felt like a mini volcano of acid had erupted in my sinuses. Tears streamed down my face, but I knew that if I could only manage the pain for a few minutes, the money and glory would be mine. I could practically feel that crisp twenty-dollar bill in my hand. Colors began to change as my vision blurred, but I kept chewing. By sheer power of will, I forced my esophagus to open and began to swallow. Unfortunately, my stomach didn't want any part of the hell that my mouth and sinuses had been enduring. With the help of my diaphragm and abdominal muscles, it put a sudden and violent end to the whole affair.

Lesson Learned

But here’s the strange part. Instead of leaving me with a lifelong hatred of horseradish, that experience did the opposite. I love horseradish, wasabi and anything with that unique tangy, acidic heat.

It’s strange how a person’s view of a particular food can be changed, for good or bad, by a single experience. For example, I had always told myself I hated mushrooms. To me, they had a weird texture and tasted like moldy dirt. For decades I refused to eat anything containing mushrooms, but then, one humid day in Vancouver, Canada, my narrative changed. A local mushroom expert prepared a meal for me that featured the 60 varieties of mushrooms he’d found on his hillside farm, and I knew I had to at least sample the dishes. I mustered the courage to try a pickled mushroom, and to my surprise, my love of acid and tang overcame my hatred of mushrooms. From that moment on, I couldn’t get enough of mushrooms!

I guess the moral (morel?) of the story is, don’t be too quick to write a food off or tell yourself you don’t like it. Maybe you just haven’t come across a variation or a way of preparing the food that you like. Stay open to new foods and to new ways of preparing them. Who knows? That food you’re sure you hate may turn out to be something you learn to love.

The other moral is, trust your taste buds, not your brother.

July 11, 2023

Guinness-Battered Onion Rings


by Joey Howard

Prep Chef

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My stepfather believed in a lot of things, but paying taxes was not one of them. He was retired from the Army, and he had his checks sent to PO boxes far away from our house so the government couldn’t track him down. We moved from state to state, running from the law and living waaaay off the grid.

For a while, we lived in a half-finished house in the middle of freaking nowhere in Montana, 35 miles from the nearest paved road. Once, when I was eight, the truck broke down and our parents had to walk over 100 miles into town to pick up the check. Mom took the two youngest kids with her and left the other four of us to fend for ourselves. They were gone three weeks.

We didn’t have a lot of food in the house, and after four days it was gone. We were able to catch a few fish from the tiny creek that ran through the property, but by the end of the first week it was completely fished out. My oldest brother took his 30-06 and tried to hunt, but there was no game anywhere around us, so he gave up. Then things got bad.

During the second week, we didn’t eat anything. I had blood sugar problems as a kid, so I started to get lethargic. It was like a dream where everything seemed hazy and nothing made sense. I would wake up at random times, look around, and then go back to sleep.

The Best Onion Ever!

Part way through the third week, we found a Vidalia onion in the cellar. I don’t remember which of us found it, but we were so excited that all four of us gathered around and ate the whole thing raw. It tasted so sweet and delicious!

I moved out when I was 16 and have lived on my own ever since, but I’ll never forget the experiences I had as a kid. My crazy childhood taught me how to rely on myself and get through hardships. It taught me to be patient and generous with other people because you never know what their life has been like.

It also made me appreciate food, especially when it’s cooked! And if it happens to be Guinness-Battered Onion Rings, that's the best!

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Guinness-Battered Onion Rings

makes 4 servings

(adapted from


  • canola oil, for frying
  • ½ Tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 (14.9 oz) can Guinness beer
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • kosher salt


  1. Fill medium pot with oil 6 inches deep. Heat over medium high to 350°F.
  2. While oil is heating, line a baking sheet with paper towels for finished onion rings to drain.
  3. Trim ends from onions, peel, and cut into 1-inch-thick rings. Gently separate rings, discarding innermost rings and broken pieces.
  4. Dredge onion rings by coating them in corn starch and then gently shaking off the excess.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and hot paprika. In a small bowl, whisk together beer, mustard, and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring well to combine. Batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
  6. Dip onion rings into batter one at a time, coating thoroughly. Shake off excess batter and carefully lower into hot oil. Cook small batches until dark golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes, turning once. Remove with a wire strainer and place on prepared baking sheet. (If you place the baking sheet in a warm oven, you can keep the fried onions warm as you finish your other batches.) Sprinkle lightly with salt while hot.
  7. Continue frying remaining onions in small batches. Once they’re all fried, serve immediately. Allow oil to cool completely before straining and storing.

July 5, 2023

Harvest Peach and Kale Salad


by Lindsey Christiansen

Field Kitchen Manager

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I started working at Culinary Crafts in 2002, the same year that we catered the Winter Olympics. Back then, it was very popular to garnish platters with loads of kale. We had kale under the vegetables, kale under the poached salmon, kale under everything! It was a very classy look back then, but it was only for décor. No normal person would actually eat the kale. Right?

Well, Young Living was a regular client of ours, and they were crazy for kale! I remember the first time I worked one of our events for Young Living, they ate all the kale decorations under the fruit. We had to keep sending the bowls back to be restocked—not for more fruit but for more kale! I remember thinking, “Why are these weird hippies eating all the garnish?”

Kale, the Superfood

As it turns out, those “weird hippies” knew what they were doing! Now that the rest of us have caught up on how great kale can be, we know it’s super healthy and (prepared right) super delicious. It doesn’t get soggy, so it adds a great texture as well as flavor. Plus, with its nice balance of summer and fall flavors, it always makes me feel like fall is coming.

I’ve enjoyed kale in quinoa power bowls and in lots of keto recipes, but my favorite use of kale is in this Harvest Peach and Kale Salad. My recipe is based on an idea from the website Lillie Eats and Tells, but I’ve made a few changes, including adding grilled peaches. As soon as I saw Culinary Crafts grilling peaches on our big outdoor grills, I knew I had to get that deliciousness into my kale salad and into my mouth!

Harvest Peach and Kale Salad


  • 2 peaches
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 6 cups kale, chopped into small ribbons
  • 3 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (I use a specialty cranberry pear vinegar from Baker and Olive)
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 2¼ cups grilled chicken, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries, golden raisins, or dried cherries
  • 3 Tbsp toasted candied pecans, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese


  1. To grill your peaches, wash them and slice them in half, removing pits. Drizzle a little honey over them, then put them cut-side down on a grill or pan over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and put aside to cool.
  2. Remove any tough stems from the kale. (I don’t like chewing on kale stems, but who knows? The Young Living people always ate the stems, so maybe they knew something I don’t.) Chop the kale into very small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss kale with the vinegar and salt until kale is well-coated.
  4. Mix in chicken, onion, nuts, raisins or cherries, and cheese. Heap it in a bowl and top it with your cooled peaches, sliced or cubed as you prefer.


June 27, 2023

How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Coffee


by Ryan Crafts

COO and Coffee Zealot

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One cold early morning sometime in the fall of 1997, my high school buddy Justin (who had a car) asked if I wanted to skip out on early morning seminary and go get breakfast instead. We drove to Einstein Bros. on Center Street in Provo, where I tasted my very first cup of coffee.

For many, coffee can be an acquired taste, but I loved it instantly. Admittedly, that first cup may have been enhanced a little by the sweet taste of rebellion, but there really was something about the rich and complex flavors of roasted beans that immediately appealed to me. That morning, sipping on what was, by my standards today, probably a very mediocre brew, I discovered a life-long passion.

The Quest

In my late twenties, I set out to learn about coffee and how to brew it. I experimented with different bean varieties, growing regions, roasts, blends, and brewing styles from all over the world. I bought grinders, tampers, presses, siphons, funnels, filters, steamers…all the paraphernalia you can imagine. Most of that equipment is just décor in my home now, and many of the techniques and technologies I tried turned out to be more time-consuming or expensive than they’re worth. But a few of the lessons I learned, I still use, and I want to share those with you. I’ve boiled it all down into a few simple, affordable tips you can use at home to brew a perfect cup of coffee.

But be warned, once you’ve tasted how good your home-brewed coffee can be, it may spoil you. You’ll have a hard time forking over $6 at Starbucks when, for barely $1, you can brew something much better on your own.

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Ryan’s Tips for How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Coffee

1. Use Fresh Beans

As with most food, fresh quality ingredients are the key to great coffee. As soon as coffee beans are roasted, they start to lose those aromatic compounds that give coffee its distinct flavors and smells. After a few weeks, when the beans have lost those compounds, there’s only one way to save the coffee: dump out that hot mess and start over with some fresh beans.

Have you noticed that beans off the grocery store shelf don’t print the date of when they were roasted? That’s because grocery store coffee is almost always past its freshness window. Your best bet is to buy fresh-roasted whole beans from a local roaster (or, if you’re feeling ambitious, roast your own). Along the Wasatch Front, I recommend Publik, Pink Elephant, Blue Copper, La Barba, or the coffee wizardry at caffe d’bolla.

2. Grind Your Beans Immediately Before You Brew

Grinding exposes much more surface area of the beans, meaning you'll be able to get a lot more flavor out of them. Unfortunately, they’ll also start losing their aromatic compounds much faster, so don’t grind until you’re ready to brew.

One piece of equipment that’s worth investing in is a burr grinder. Unlike regular blade grinders that just bash the beans into random-sized pieces, a burr grinder mills them into a uniform size, giving your coffee a much more consistent flavor. I use a Kinu, but Helor, 1Zpresso, and Hario also make excellent burr grinders.

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3. Use the Right Water Temperature

To extract the best flavors out of your beans, you should brew with water between 195° and 205° F. Below 195°, you won’t extract enough flavor, and above 205° you’ll scorch the beans and give them a bitter taste.

If you boil your own water and happen to live above 4,000 feet elevation (as we do here in Utah), you’re in luck! At this elevation, water boils at 204°, which is right in the sweet spot. You won’t need to worry about overheating; just bring your water to a boil and pour it directly over your coffee grounds.

4. Find the Right Ratio of Coffee to Water

The more water you use in your brew, the more diluted and weak the coffee will be, so finding the right balance of coffee and water (the “brew ratio”) is one key to making a perfect cup of coffee.

Personally, I use 240 grams of water for every 15 grams of coffee, a ratio of 16:1. Experiment with that ratio and find what tastes best to you.

5. Bloom Your Beans

When you pour water over fresh-ground beans, you’ll notice that the coffee grounds appear to bubble. That is CO2 gas escaping from the beans. If you don't get rid of that gas before you start your brew, the CO2 will form a kind of blanket around the grounds, preventing them from brewing properly. To “bloom” your coffee, pour a little water over the grounds, then give them a gentle stir so that all the grounds get wet. (Use about twice as much water as there is coffee grounds.) Discard that water, wait about 30 seconds for the gas to leave, and then start your brew.

6. Let Your Coffee Cool

One thing I learned from John Piquet, the Coffee Genius at café d’bolla, is that the taste of coffee changes at different temperatures. When it’s too hot, it may smell great, but it won’t taste its best. I strongly recommend waiting until your coffee cools to around 155° before you begin sipping. Then enjoy the range of favors as it gradually continues to cool.

Eat (and drink) well!

June 14, 2023

Where to Eat at Utah’s National Parks


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After a day spent exploring the hoodoos and petroglyphs of Bryce Canyon, hiking to Delicate Arch, or wading knee-deep in Zion’s Narrows, what could be better than sitting down to a fantastic meal? If you are among the millions of visitors who will enjoy the majesty of Utah’s “Mighty Five” this summer, here are some hot takes on where to eat at Utah’s national parks.

A Michelin Star Experience

Let’s be honest, Utah isn’t known for Michelin star restaurants with bite-size entrees plated with tweezers. What we are known for is excellent food, warm hospitality, and an unparalleled tourist experience. In fact, Utah is the only state in the U.S. to be awarded three Michelin stars and designated a “must see” tourist destination.

The award should come as no surprise. Utah has earned a world-wide reputation for its stunning landscapes, unmatched parks, and top-tier service and hospitality. Michelin described the state as an “essential” tourist experience, “exceptional,” and “worth a journey in itself.”

But what kind of food can you expect to find when you visit Utah’s national parks? Pretty great, if you know where to look!

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Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm.

World-class cuisine is not something you’d expect to find in a tiny town like Boulder, Utah (population 226), but that’s exactly what you can expect at Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm. Located just a short drive from both Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks (1 and 1.5 hours, respectively), Hell’s Backbone is the loving creation of two extraordinary chefs, Jennifer Castle and Blake Spalding.

Chef Castle and Chef Spalding have both been nominated numerous times for Best Chef by the James Beard Awards. (The James Beard Awards are basically the Academy Awards of the American culinary scene). Moreover, their restaurant has been nominated for Outstanding Restaurant in the Mountain West. They absolutely deserve the recognition they’ve received, and more!

When we travel to a new place, we want to taste the best that the local area has to offer, not something we could get back home. That’s what you’ll find at Hell’s Backbone: fresh local ingredients and authentic Western cuisine, all prepared with tremendous skill. Trust us, it’s worth the drive.

Just be sure to check ahead and make reservations. This season, they are open for dinner 4-9 pm Thursdays through Mondays (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays).

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Capitol Burger

On the opposite end of the formality spectrum, another exquisite dining experience near Capitol Reef National Park is the Capitol Burger food truck on Main Street in Torrey.

We know, we know; food trucks may not conjure up images of the best food around. But you should know that Chef Luke Fowles spent years refining his craft at high-end restaurants like Forage and on the TV show Iron Chef before “retiring” to his beloved Torrey to cook his heart out for locals and park visitors. And we’re so glad that he did! Featured on Yelp's list of "Top 100 Places to Eat in the Southwest" for 2023, Capitol Burger serves food that is original, unpretentious, and downright delicious. You should check online to see when and where you can catch them, but honestly, they’re not hard to find—Torrey’s not that big.

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Near the entry to Arches and only a few miles from Canyonlands, the city of Moab is the perfect place to end a day of adventuring in Utah’s national parks. The city offers several good dining options, but here are our favorites.

Moab Brewery

There’s a reason Moab Brewery has become a crowd favorite with locals and tourists alike—two reasons, actually. First, their menu features simple cooking with fresh ingredients and reasonable prices. And second, their cold, craft beers are the highlight of a day spent hiking or biking the trails of Arches, Canyonlands, or Dead Horse Point State Park. Kaleb likes their Over the Top Hefeweizen, but if you want to try something more unique, he also recommends their Bougie Johnny’s Rosé Ale. It’s an interesting mashup (bad pun) of beer and wine. Give it a taste!

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Pasta Jay’s

Smack dab in the center of town, on the corner of Center Street and Main, is the Moab landmark restaurant Pasta Jay’s. The food is nothing super fancy, but the house-made pasta is good—especially the gnocchi—and the atmosphere is fun. Pasta Jay’s happens to be directly across the street from the Moab Information Center, so it’s a great place to fuel up and get your bearings as you settle into town. Don’t bother with reservations though; they only take walk-ins.

Love Muffin Café

Just a block and a half north of Pasta Jay’s, you’ll find the best little breakfast spot in Moab. The Love Muffin Café is always busy for breakfast and lunch, but it’s worth the wait. Our Director of Sales (and former baker) Jocelyn recommends their great local coffee selections and says that their lattes are “bomb.” Also, their Wescial Breakfast Burrito never disappoints. The Love Muffin Café is open Fridays-Tuesdays from 6:30 am to 1 pm.

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Trailhead Public House & Eatery

Across the street from Love Muffin Café is Jocelyn’s other favorite Moab hangout, the Trailhead Public House & Eatery. Don’t miss the fresh-made wagyu beef patties they use in their burgers (although you can opt for bison, turkey, or house-made vegan patties instead). If you want to add another level of adventure to your Moab stay, order the Macho Nachos with ghost pepper cheese! Also, they have a fun selection of mocktails along with a full bar.

Fiesta Mexicana

On the other hand, if Mexican food is what you want to eat in Moab, you can’t do better than Fiesta Mexicana. True to its name, Fiesta Mexicana is colorful, loud, and festive, with authentic Mexican dishes in enormous portions. (Check out the 14-inch plate pictured below!)

Full disclosure: we have a soft spot for the Fiesta Mexicana owners and their story. It’s a family-owned business built from generations of stubborn endurance and fanatical hard work…much like Culinary Crafts. When we see the care and pride that the Rangel family puts into the business they’ve built, as well as the joy they take in treating their guests to excellent food, we can’t help but feel like we’re with kindred spirits.

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Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon

The food at the Bit and Spur is good, and the experience is ever better. With its outdoor terrace seating, the Bit and Spur offers amazing views of the red cliffs of Zion National Park. Throw in live music and a delicious Southwestern/Mexican menu, and you’re virtually guaranteed a good time. Their bar features spirits from Utah distilleries including High West, Outlaw, and Ogden’s Own. Try the Prickly Pear Margarita, made with locally harvested and roasted prickly pears.

Spotted Dog Dining at Flanigan’s

Utah isn’t known for its alcohol, but if you’re looking for curated cocktails or a superb wine pairing to complement your meal, the Spotted Dog at Flanigan’s has you covered. You can make indoor reservations, but patio dining with panoramic views of the red rock cliffs is first come-first served. And if a fine cabernet isn’t relaxing enough, you can always follow up your meal with a luxurious massage there at the resort.

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Oscar’s Café

A lot of businesses around Springdale closed during the pandemic, but we are delighted that Oscar’s is still going strong. The food there is good—standard burgers and Mexican dishes—but what we really love about Oscar’s is the feel of the place. Cheerful service, lively banter, and gorgeous views from the outdoor patio. It’s a great way to end a day of hiking, rock climbing, canyoneering, or just soaking up the sights of Utah’s national parks.

To all our guests and park visitors this summer, welcome to Utah! Stay safe, drink plenty of water, and eat well.

June 6, 2023



by Jocelyn Gillies

Director of Sales

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When Culinary Crafts opened the Tasting Room in Salt Lake, Mary asked me to make French macarons that we could give as favors to our guests.

I’d made macarons plenty of times before; in fact, I’d taught macaron classes when I was a young pastry chef. Still, they are notoriously tricky to make. Macarons are both the pride and bane of pastry chefs because they are so easy to mess up.

I baked a batch for Mary, and they turned out good, but not great. Mary took one look at them and said, “These are not acceptable.” It was quite a punch in the gut, but I knew she was right. I had to start over. I worked and worked, trying dozens of recipes and fine-tuning details right up until the day of the event. Mary looked at my macarons and announced that they were acceptable, but still not the quality she really wanted.

Now it was personal!

The Quest for the Holy Macaron

I decided I was going to learn to make perfect macarons—and do it consistently—even if it killed me. I tried countless variations and techniques, looking for the secret. My breakthrough finally came when my assistant pastry chef Rebecca showed me a recipe she had brought from the New York pastry school where she’d taught. After a few small alterations to her recipe, I finally hit on a way to make flawless macarons. I practiced and practiced until I could hit the mark every time, and then I went to Mary, Ryan, and Kaleb to show them what I’d found. Ever since then, Culinary Crafts has used that recipe, and macarons have been a staple for our clients.

The best thing about this recipe is that I’ve taught it to people of all ages and skill levels, and it works for all of them. Their macarons may not be absolutely perfect without a lot of practice, but they’re very, very good…maybe even good enough for Mary Crafts. And that’s saying a lot!

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(makes 32 cookies)

Note: the measurements must be exact, so I'm listing them in grams.


  • 165 grams sifted almond flour
  • 165 grams powdered sugar
  • 58 grams egg whites (for whipping)
  • 58 grams egg whites (stay liquid)
  • 38 grams water
  • 125 grams granulated sugar
  • 10 grams powdered egg white
  • 4-6 drops gel food coloring


  1. Preheat the oven to 305° F.
  2. Sift together powdered sugar and almond flour. Add egg white powder and sift with whisk until combined.
  3. Rinse a small, deep metal pot with hot water. Dry completely. (Make sure there are no fuzzies or debris from the towel left in the pot.) Pour granulated sugar into pot and add water. Gently stir with clean spatula or hand.
  4. Cook sugar on medium/high heat. DO NOT STIR.
  5. When the sugar reaches about 220°, pour the liquid egg whites for whipping into the clean bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on medium/high until your egg whites are at medium peaks.
  6. Cook the sugar to 234°. Remove from heat and pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Finish the meringue by continuing to whip 2-3 minutes, until medium-firm peaks have formed.
  7. Pour remaining liquid egg whites into almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. Add food coloring.
  8. Add the whipped meringue one third at a time into the flour mixture. Gently fold until the mix lightens and makes a smooth batter.

    Pro Tip:

    It’s important to fold the different components just enough, but not too much, or the macarons will crack or fall. To be sure you are at the right point, once the ingredients appear to be combined, run the spatula through the mixture. It should slowly come back together, looking like lava.
  9. Using a piping bag fitted with a tip, pipe the macarons 1½”-2” apart on a silicon or parchment-lined baking sheet. Smack the baking sheet sharply on the table a few times, evenly, to remove excess air and help smooth the macarons’ surface.
  10. Let dry at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour until a skin/crust forms.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate pan 90 degrees and bake another 6 minutes. Check macarons for doneness by pressing slightly on the center. The feet should move slightly and be mostly set.
  12. Cool completely before removing and filling. Fill with desired buttercream, ganache or jam. ENJOY!


Macarons can be made up to two weeks ahead and frozen with or without filling. If you’re making them a day ahead, you can refrigerate or leave them at room temperature, wrapped tightly in an airtight container. Before you freeze them, wrap them tightly in an airtight container with multiple layers of plastic wrap.

May 16, 2023

Rice Atole


By Jenna Winger

Event Manager

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When we were trying to decide what recipe I should share, someone asked my son, Jaxon, “What’s the best thing your mom cooks?” Without even thinking about it, he instantly said, “Atole!”

Rice atole (pronounced “uh-toe-lee”) is a Mexican dessert—kind of like a pudding. Jaxon’s grandparents made it for him when he was a baby, and he looooves it. In fact, it was one of his first words! And since he loves it so much, I realized I’d better learn how to make it.

My one bit of advice is to be careful that you add both condensed milk and evaporated milk. I’ve tried to leave one out and double the other, but it doesn’t work!

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Rice Atole

(makes 8 servings)

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a rice cooker, combine rice, water, and cinnamon sticks. Cook for 10 minutes, longer if needed. Rice should be soft but not mushy.
  2. Remove cinnamon sticks. Add in butter, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and vanilla.
  3. If needed, cool the atole by adding a splash of milk.

27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year