Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Find me at Chewandchat.com, or simply wait a few second and you will automatically be transferred. All my old posts and new posts are there.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Deer Valley Resort Is Tops In 9 Categories of Park City's Best

Deer Valley Resort won nine Number One awards during the  inaugural “Park City’s Best” People’s Choice Awards presented by The Park Record on Monday, July 29.
The Park Record asked 100 questions this spring in an online survey that generated nearly 1,000 responses. Deer Valley Resort received the following accolades:
#1 Best Resort
#1 Best Seafood - Seafood Buffet
#1 Best Childcare Facility
#1 Best Wedding Venue
#1 Best Place to Take a First Date - Deer Valley Concert
#1 Best Ski Run - Stein’s Way
#1 Best Athletic Competition - Visa Freestyle International Aerials (with USSA)
#1 Best Live Entertainment Venue
#1 Best Place to Work - Company with over 20 employees
#2 Best Ski Patroller- Steve Graff
#2 Best Property Management Company
#3 Best Bakery

For more information on Deer Valley, visit deervalley.com.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rovali's Giving Away Decadence Cake

Rovali's on Historic 25th Street in Ogden is giving away a whole Chocolate Decadence Cake as part of its campaign to reach 1,500 Facebook friends.  You can enter through the restaurant's Facebook page at  http://a.pgtb.me/6N2v0s. Sharing the page with family and friends will give you an extra entry. 

The winner will be announced August 5. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Taste of The Wasatch Fundraiser Aug. 4

To fight hunger in Utah, over 50 of Utah’s top chefs, restaurants and bakers will gather on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at Solitude Mountain Resort from 11:30 a.m. for VIP ticket holders and noon for general admission until 4 p.m. for the second annualTaste of the Wasatch. 
Taste of the Wasatch is the state’s most popular culinary benefit. “Funding this year is more important than ever as demand for food continues to increase. One in five Utah children is food insecure or at-risk – meaning they don’t know if they will have food to eat or where their next meal is coming from.” says event organizer Karen Zabriskie. “And right now, hundreds of Utahns are struggling with hunger. These are often hard-working adults and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days."
All of funds raised at Taste of the Wasatch will stay local and to benefit Utah Food BankUtahns Against Hunger, and TheOgden Weber Community Action Partnership. This enjoyable outdoor afternoon benefit is expected to raise nearly $125,000 to help fight hunger. Guests will enjoy live music (performed by The Staff) and a silent auction which includes weekend getaways, five-night stay at any All Seasons Resort Lodging, art, jewelry and fabulous dining experiences. Some live auction packages include the chefs themselves as they offer to cook a multi-course meal for you and eight of your closest friends.
Over 1,500 are expected to attend this gastronomic gala while enjoying fine cuisine from restaurants such as Stein Eriksen’s Lodge’s GlitretindLog HavenDeer Valley ResortThe CanyonsThe Copper Onion, Plum Alley, Les Madeleines, Pallet Bistro, Aerie and more. The now famous Utah Bakers Dozen will showcase fine desserts from more than 15 of the state’s best pastry chefs and bakers. New restaurants teaming up to help the cause this year include Caterina, Cucina Toscana, Del Mar al Lago, Luna Blanca Taqueria, Riverhorse on Main (back after six years),Vivace and Zest Kitchen & Bar.

Tickets for Taste of the Wasatch are $90 for General Admission and $125 for Reserved Seating (VIP), if purchased in advance. Group discounts are available. Tickets can only be purchased online at www.tasteofthewasatch.org. Due to changes in the DABC liquor laws, this event is open to adults 21 years of age and over. Bring your ID, e-ticket and enjoy responsibly.
Sponsors: Taste of the Wasatch is presented by Solitude Mountain Resort, Nicholas and Company, Whole Foods Market, Salt Lake Magazine and Coca-Cola Smartwater.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Zucchini & Bacon Soup

Zucchini grows like crazy in Utah gardens.  By Valerie Phillips

Zucchini & Bacon Soup by Valerie Phillips
Last week, I picked my first zucchini of the summer, and I used it to make Zucchini & Bacon Soup on the KUTV Noon News. 
 I also wrote about zucchini in my Standard-Examiner column
Today I went over to the community garden, and two more zucchini had grown to cucumber size, almost overnight. Looks like the zucchini season is already in full swing.
As  Ron Bird and I discussed on the KUTV segment, zucchini doesn't get a lot of respect because it's so easy to grow.  We take it for granted. You wouldn't think of giving away your asparagus or snap peas that way, would you?. 
It's not just Utah that has a thing about too-much zucchini, because I've found stories from other areas of the country about trying to disguise it in brownies and leaving it on neighbors' doorsteps too.
When I was developing this Zucchini & Bacon Soup recipe for my cookbook, my daughter said, “Oh, you made some broccoli soup!” 
She was ready to ladle herself a bowlful. But when I told her it was made with zucchini, not broccoli, she put the ladle down. 
When I was developing this Zucchini & Bacon soup for my cookbook, "Soup's On!" my daughter saw it and said, "Oh you made broccoli soup!" When I told her it was zucchini, not broccoli, she was disappointed. 
 “If you would have let me think it was broccoli, I probably would have eaten it and loved it,” she said.
Truth hurts.
I’ve served this soup for a dozen book signings and  the Layton Parade of Homes, and people often mistake it for broccoli soup.
It's just proof that you can make anything taste better if you put enough bacon, butter or cheese in it.
Even zucchini is about 95 percent water, it's a good source of vitamins A, C, K and B6, and lots of minerals and fiber. 

The beauty of this soup is that it needs very little prep work. It takes about two minutes to cut the zucchini into chunks. You don’t have to chop onions or cook bacon, since you’re using dried onion flakes and ready-cooked bacon (the shelf-stable kind that is often sold near the salad dressings). As a bonus, this type of bacon has 33 percent less fat.
You just let this soup simmer 10 to 15 minutes on the stove or in the microwave, until the zucchini is tender. Then you puree it in two batches in a blender, or with a stick-style immersion blender right in the pot. Add the half-and-half and it’s done. You could use milk or fat-free half-and-half if you want to cut the fat content, because most of the rich, thick consistency comes from the zucchini itself.  
If you want, you can scoop a spoonful of sharp cheddar on each bowl as you serve it. (Makes it easier to fool people into thinking you're serving broccoli soup, if that's your aim!) 
When you’re cutting the chunks of zucchini, it might seem as though you have too much of it. But with its high water content, it cooks down pretty quickly.  
Zucchini & Bacon Soup
 Try to use small or medium-size zucchini for this soup; the large ones are pithy and seedy.
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
3 pounds zucchini (8-9 cups of chunks, about 5 medium zucchini)
1 cup chopped frozen onion (or about 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes)
3-ounce package real bacon bits (about 3/4 cup)
2 cups half-and-half, or fat-free half-and-half
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Heat broth over low heat while slicing the zucchini in chunks about 1-inch thick.
2. Turn the heat to high and place zucchini, onion and bacon in the pot.
3. When the liquid comes to a boil, turn heat to medium and cover with a lid, allowing mixture to simmer 10-12 minutes. (Or place in a large microwavable casserole dish, cover and microwave for 10-12 minutes).
4. Remove pot from heat and allow mixture to cool several minutes.
5. Puree with a handheld blender, or in two batches in a stand blender. Start with blender on lowest speed, then move to high to reduce splashing.
6. Return to pan. Add cream or milk and pepper to taste. Reheat and serve. Makes about six 1/2-cup servings.
Options: Garnish with bacon bits, fresh basil, shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese.
This recipe comes from “Soup’s On!” by Valerie Phillips (Covenant, 2012).

New Slow Cooker Book: A Lot of Crock

Slow cooking is great for summer. Photo by Valerie Phillips
Most people think of using Crock-Pots in the winter when it's cold. But a slow cooker is great to use during a heat wave like the one we've been experiencing in northern Utah the past month. It uses very little electricity, and a lot less heat than a stovetop or oven.

Last month I talked to Brenda Stanley, author of a new book, “That’s a Lot of Crock!” (Cedar Fort, $12.99), for a Standard-Examiner column.
A few years ago I did a story on Brenda's cookbook, "Zucchini Houdini." At the time, she was a TV news anchor in Idaho, and her cookbook was a departure from her mystery novels.

Brenda Stanley, author of "That's A Lot Of Crock!"
Although you often think of summer as grilling season, Brenda said it's the best time to use your slow cooker. 
“It keeps the house cool, because you’re not heating up the kitchen by standing over a stove or heating up the oven,” said the author, who also writes her own blog as well as a cooking column, “Tales of the Dinner Belle,” for the Standard-Examiner.
“And in summer, you want to be doing a lot of things outside. You can put something in the Crock-Pot so you have extra time to work in the yard or do things with the kids. When you come back home, dinner will be ready.”
Stanley, who lives in Blackfoot, Idaho, owns three slow cookers. One is the classic model first rolled out in the 1970s by the Rival Company, which trademarked the name Crock-Pot. Over the years, slow-cooker manufacturers have come up with features such as removable inserts, locking lids, a keep-warm setting, programmable cooking timers, insulated carrying bags, double- and triple-pots, and a pot that can be placed directly on the stovetop for browning meats.
But most of the basic principles of slow cooking have remained the same over the many years that Stanley has been cooking with them.
Stanley, a former television news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Idaho, has written three novels as well as the cookbook “Zucchini Houdini.”
“I feel you need to write what you know, and I have a large family,” she said. “They are grown and gone now, but I had five kids, with two sets of twins born 20 months apart. I needed something that was going to be efficient and a money-saving way to feed all these people.”
She relied on a slow cooker for weeknight meals. “I refused to do the eating-out thing. I liked having family dinners when I came home from work, where I could relax and listen to what my kids had been doing during the day. The easiest way to do that was the Crock-Pot.”
Slow cookers are also budget-friendly because they can tenderize a less-expensive cut of meat, such as a chuck roast, with long, slow temperatures, as in Stanley’s Greek Beef recipe.
“The Crock-Pot was made for the chuck roast,” she said. “I found that any of the chicken recipes are honestly better if you use a chicken thigh — they’re more tender when you use the cheaper cut.”
Her book contains more than 80 recipes, from main dishes to desserts.
“These are recipes that someone might have given me a long time ago and I’ve always used; or one that just came out of necessity, where I’ve got this or that in the pantry, let’s put this together and see if it works.”
Putting the book together allowed Stanley to clear out her old files of recipes written on yellow legal pads, or old cards and notes.
“The No. 1 mistake people make is to lift the lid to check on the food, because it takes another 15 minutes to get the heat back up to the same temperature,” she said. “Also, overfilling is a mistake, because it doesn’t cook as well. Filling it up about two-thirds is the best.”
Pasta and rice can become gluey with long cooking times. Stanley recommends adding them to the pot a half-hour or so before serving time.
At her book signings, Stanley has found interest in the book from a wide variety of people.
“There are people who like to cook, but also people who don’t feel like they’ve got the time and they say their family is sick of having frozen pizza. I hope this book will help them get their family to sit down together at the table.”
Many of her recipes can be found on her website, Talesofthedinnerbelle.com. Her Mexican Chicken recipe is simple and easy to make.
“The Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs are amazing,” she said. “It’s one of my signature recipes when I have company over.”
The Hot Fudge Cake recipe is proof that slow cookers aren’t just for dinner.
All three of these recipes come from her book:
Spicy Asian Short Ribs
3-4 pounds beef short ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup carrots cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 head of cabbage, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions
Trim excess fat from ribs and place in the slow cooker. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and red pepper.
Pour mixture over ribs. Place carrots and cabbage on top. Cook on low 7-8 hours.
Transfer the cabbage, short ribs and carrots to a plate and cover with foil. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard. Turn the slow cooker to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water until smooth. Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and sprinkle with the green onions.
Mexican Chicken
20-ounce can enchilada sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Mix together the enchilada sauce, brown sugar and water. Pour into the slow cooker. Add chicken and stir to coat. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken with a fork while still in the slow cooker. Serve in tortillas with your favorite fixings, or over rice, or however you like.
Hot Fudge Cake
1 3/4 cups brown sugar, divided
2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups boiling water
Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, the flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix in milk, butter and vanilla until well blended. Pour into the slow cooker. 
Mix together remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over mixture in the slow cooker. Pour the boiling water over top without stirring. 
Cook on high about 2 hours or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let it cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Patio Project: Northern Utah Restaurants For Great Outdoor Eating

What Northern Utah restaurants have great patios? During June and July, I worked on a story for the Standard-Examiner about where to eat outside during the summer -- restaurants with nice patios, decks, courtyards, sidewalk tables, verandahs, whatever you choose to call them.

I spent many hours driving and walking around Davis, Weber, and Morgan counties with an eye out for oversize umbrellas and outdoor tables and chairs. And I put away a few calories too.  The current heat wave made it a little uncomfortable to check out some of these places, but it's still been pretty interesting. I found a lot more places than news space would allow. Some of those that I wrote about didn't make it into the paper. But, that's what blogs are for!  If you notice that your favorite patio place isn't listed here, please post a comment. I'd love to hear about places I might have missed.

Slackwater Pub's patio is next to the Ogden River Parkway.

My Top Pick:
Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria (1895 Washington Blvd., Ogden): This was probably my favorite of all the patios I visited. Time stands still when you're sharing a plate of nachos or a Margherita pizza with a friend, while the Ogden River drifts lazily past.  It's easy to forget that you're a stone's throw from the busy traffic of Washington Boulevard.
 I first assumed that Slackwater's main customer base would be athletic tree-hugger types, since it's located on the Ogden River Parkway and its neighbors are Bingham Cyclery and Peak Performance Running Store. 

The view of Ogden River from Slackwater's patio.
But there was a diverse mix in the dinner crowd — hipsters, oldsters, dressed up, dressed-down — and it was all good. Several bikes were parked in racks along the patio, and we watched a group pedal off down the parkway when they finished their meal. And one of my friends, Susan Snyder, said it's a favorite spot for her birdwatching group. 

Should the weather turn windy, rainy or simply too hot, the glassed-in porch offers shelter from the elements.
As a nightlife bonus, the restaurant often hosts live music around 7:30-10 p.m. on weekends. But if you'd rather stick to quiet conversation, you can always eat earlier.

2. Dancing Waters Fountain, Station Park in Farmington 
Station Park has created a pedestrian plaza that's become a great gathering spot. Every hour on the hour, the fountain spurts out a light-and-sound show, choreographed to songs such as "Rollin' In the Deep," by Adele, "Jump!" by Van Halen, or "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang. Park Stone Wood Kitchen (905 W. Promontory, Farmington) and Settobello Pizzeria Napoletana both offer a nice view of the fountain. 
You can sit outside, shaded by umbrellas; or inside, where the glass walls can retract, giving the feeling of al fresco dining with indoor comforts. All the while, the heady aromas of wood-burning stoves, baking pizza and sizzling steaks waft through the air.If you're eating at Park Stone Wood Kitchen, you'll want to sit on the east side patio to avoid the noise from the nearby kids' playground.  The fountain area has a number of outdoor tables, so another option is to get take-out from Bandidos Mexican Grill, Sugar Daisy Bakery or Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, and sit on the plaza.
Live concerts take place around the plaza area every Saturday in the summer, from 7-9 p.m. But if you'd rather avoid the crowds, you may want to eat earlier. We were at the concert last weekend, and it was packed with at least 1,000 people. 

3. The Junction, (site of the former Ogden Mall, from about 23rd &Washington to 24th & Kiesel) is another patio haven. 

Sonora Grill's patio at The Junction in downtown Ogden.
A restaurant destination is growing around The Junction's nicely manicured garden plaza. Sonora Grill   Santa Monica Pizza & Pasta Company, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Iggy's  and All the Perks Espresso Café all have outdoor patios facing the pretty flower beds. Most of them are shaded with umbrellas, and Santa Monica Pizza & Pasta Company has overhead shades on the west side that can be lowered for shelter from the afternoon sun. Heading south, Brixton's Baked Potato (http://brixtonsbakedpotato.com) has a couple of umbrella-topped tables, too. So if you've spent some time at the Children's  Museum or Salomon Center, of it you're on your way to a movie or Raptor's Game, you've got several options where you can pause and refresh. 

4.  Rooster's Brewing Company and Corbin's Grille in Layton (748 W. Heritage Park Blvd., Layton) These two (separately owned) restaurants share patios that overlook a waterfall pool with pretty pond lilies — a refreshing oasis on a summer day.  During the day, the umbrellas shade the tables, and during dinner, the east-facing space is shaded by the building.
The space is put to good use on the Rooster's patio, growing hop vines used for beer making, and mint for mojitos, mint lemonade and a garnish for Triple Chocolate Mint Mousse Cake, according to Nathan Layton, a Roosters manager.
Some Roosters guests can sip one of the house-brewed beers, while teetotalers can chill with a mug of micro-brewed Roost Beer.
The patio is especially popular for Roosters' weekend brunch.  "We'll have open tables inside, but people will be on a wait list to sit outside."
And it isn't just a summer thing. In spring, customers start migrating to the patio once the weather hits 55-60 degrees, and keep coming until October, he said. 
"There's a married couple that comes in often, and they would sit outside all year long if we kept tables out there."

5. Ogden's Historic 25th Street is like Patio Alley. You'll find:

Tona Sushi's new patio on 25th Street, Ogden
Tona Sushi: The backyard patio is new this summer. Husband and wife Tina Yu and Tony Chen have installed a mister with a light spray of water from the shady tree limbs above.
"Sometimes when it gets up to 100 degrees, the mister really helps," said Tina Yu.
The patio is flanked by planters of herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, basil, peppers, and zucchini, that offer a nice ambience, as well as fresh-picked ingredients. There are also edible flowers such as nasturtiums that are picked and used as edible garnishes.
They've owned the restaurant since 2004, "it's an on-going project; we do a little here and there."
There are five black wrought-iron tables.  "Sometimes we're busy enough during the nighttime that people will still want to come out heare and eat," she said.

Lucky Slice has some tables on the west side of the building, and a large picnic table in the back.

Union Grill's patio in downtown Ogden.

Union Grill: Eight tables with a vintage vibe overlook the Union Station fountain.  The chairs have an intentional antique-rusted look.
When I visited a few weeks ago, a waitress told me it was still a work in progress, and umbrellas were going to be added soon.

Two-Bit Street Cafe's sidewalk tables on Historic 25th Street.
Two Bit Street Cafe has set up a few dark green metal tables with matching chairs in front of the restaurant, bordered by petunias in purple, red and white.

Good Life Cafe & Juice Bar have a couple of sidewalk tables with umbrellas .

Jasoh! has a nice view from the second-floor screened-in balcony.

Two tables on the sidewalk in front of Grounds for Coffee.

Roosters' patio, Historic 25th Street, in downtown Ogden.

Roosters' patio is positioned between two buildings, so you don't have west-facing sun in your eyes.
It's shaded with canopies that are strung with lights for festive nighttime dining. A tall red wrought-iron fence encloses it from the sidewalk.
This patio has a special place in my heart. My farewell lunch took place here in August 2000, when I left the Standard-Examiner to become the Deseret News food editor.  I guess I've come full circle because I'm back as a correspondent for the Standard-Examiner.

Great Harvest Bread, Historic 25th Street, Ogden
Great Harvest Bread has a few tables on the sidewalk, sheltered under bright green and yellow umbrellas.

Angelica Sweet, general manager of Bistro 258.

Bistro 258:  "We added the fencing last summer for privacy," said Angelica Sweet, the general manager of Bistro 258. "My favorite part is the lilac bushes that surround it; the scent of lilac is so great in the spring."
There's also a grape arbor and climbing ivy.
"If it's too hot, they don't like to be out here, but once the sun goes down it fills up, and it seats about 25 people."
"People really love their patios here in Ogden," she said.
"They are cooped up indoors all winter, and it feels so good ot be outside."

Bistro 258 and The Athenian patios, Historic 25th St., Ogden

Right next door, The Athenian has a similar patio.

LaFerrovia's brick-surfaced courtyard seems more secluded with the bordering bushes and pine trees.

Taggart's Grill, I-84, Exit 108. 

6. Taggarts Grill (1105 Taggart Lane, Morgan, Utah)
It's known for its rich history and even richer desserts, but this popular diner is also great for outdoor eating.
Although the address might say that Taggart's is in Morgan, you actually need to stay on I-84 about five miles past the town of Morgan, and get off at exit 108 .
The patio at the back of the log-cabin-style restaurant overlooks a grassy area with a koi pond and waterfall. Hanging baskets of colorful flowers add to the summery charm. There's a satisfied buzz of happy, hungry customers kicking back with chicken enchiladas or Taggart Burger on a Friday night.
The koi pond at Taggart's Grill.

Since the building is nestled up against the mountainside on the west, the patio is shielded from the setting sun at dinnertime. East side trees, a partial roof, table umbrellas and the canyon breeze all help cool things down in the daytime. 

But be forewarned: at 6 p.m. on a recent Friday night, there was a long waiting line out the door. I came, I saw, and I decided I'd better find somewhere else if I wanted to get dinner that night. 

Harley & Buck's chef, Craig Bonham.

7. Harley & Buck's, at the Wolf Creek Golf Course in Eden, Utah.

Ironically, the night we visited Harley & Buck's happened to be the only stormy day in June! We tried to sit out on the patio, but gusty wind changed our minds, so we sat in the sports-bar room that divides the two balcony patios.  But the picture windows gave us the same beautiful view.  The smaller patio has elegant wooden tables. The bigger side, which wraps around the building, uses black wrought iron furniture, with colorful padded seat cushions on the high bar chairs.

Both sides offer stunning views of  the Wolf Creek Golf Course, Pine View Reservoir, and the surrounding mountains. It's a nice backdrop for a Kona Coast ribeye steak that Kim ordered, served with creamy mashed potatoes (I stole a forkful!). I started out with a half-size Eden's Best Salad, a sweet/savory mix of spinach, apple, raspberries, feta and almonds. And then I went for the Monday night Burger Bar.  
Although the menu can get pricey, you can stay on budget by paying attention to chef Craig Bonham's nightly specials, at http://harleyandbucks.com. Monday night is a Burger Bar, with prices starting at $7 for a quarter-pounder that you can pile high with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, chiles, lettuce, tomato slices and other toppings.  It comes with "endless" fries too, although if you can eat more than the original pile on the plate, you'd probably need to walk home from Eden to work it off. 
Harley & Buck's is open from 5-9 p.m., seven nights a week. Should you want lunch, the Blue Coyote on the ground floor below is from 9 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset, serving Wolf Creek's golf crowd. Its patio, shaded with canvas sails, offers a nice view of the valley as well.

8. Bella's Fresh Mexican Grill (2651 North 1850 West, Farr West) When I asked to sit on the patio on hot June afternoon, the hostess at Bella's talked me out of it, saying it was too hot. I asked to see it anyway, and found that she was right.  With a temperature of 103 degrees, the large canopy sails can't offer enough protection against the blazing sun.

But in the evening, when the heat subsides, the stucco-and-brick-walled courtyard has just the right ambience for sizzling fajitas and other Mexican specialties. You can add to the festive feeling by with an order of Guacamole Fresco made right at your table in a molcajete (mol-ca-hay-tay), a very heavy, mortar-and-pestle type tool made of lava rock.

The courtyard seats about 150, according to owner Joe Cottam, and is sometimes booked for concerts, high school reunions, weddings and quincineras. But if you want to sit there for lunch, wait until the summer heat wave subsides.
"We put it on the wrong side of the building," he told me. "That west side gets so hot." 

"We've been here since 2003, and we've always had the patio," said manager Terri Strand. "We've tried to make it shadier; we've even tried a mister out there to cool it off, but it didn't work when it's this hot."

9. The Oaks (750 Ogden Canyon)
If you're willing to put up with the road construction in Ogden Canyon, the chances are good that you won't have to wait for a table on this popular patio. Business is down by about 30 percent since the construction began, according to owner Belinda Rounkles.
The patio is an idyllic setting, next to the Ogden River and the mountainside. And when it's hot in the valley, it's ten degrees cooler than downtown.
"It's so nice and quiet, you've got the river and birds chirping," said Rounkles. "You don't even realize you're just off the highway."
When she and her husband bought the restaurant in 1981, it only offered a takeout menu. They built the patio a few years later.
"That was the best idea," she said. "People love to come out here.  Sundays are our busiest day, and people will wait for an outside table even though we'll have the majority of our indoor tables open."
Large groups often reserve the two big covered tables next to the river. Since The Oaks opens at 8 a.m. every day, guests can come for breakfast, lunch or dinner.