Tag Archives: Park City

Mac & Cheese – Ultimate Comfort Food

Comfort food. It means different things to different people.

I have a friend who thinks of fried chicken as comfort food. To be completely honest, she thinks of fried chicken, period. In her world, fried chicken is its own food group on the pyramid.

For me, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Like most people, I grew up on the blue box of Kraft mac and cheese.

I’m all grown up now, and I want a better mac and cheese.

I found one at ZOOM in Park City, Utah.

It isn’t so gourmet that it loses the homey comfort of pasta bathed in cheese, but it’s gussied up enough to make the Kraft mac and cheese seem like child’s play.

I love the fat, ribbed shells, the gooey, herb-flecked cheese sauce, and the crunch from toasted bread crumbs.

I even found the recipe in a cookbook I bought. The book is called Park City Cooks: An Eclectic Collection of Park City Recipes.

All the proceeds from the cookbook go to The Peace House, a non-profit organization that provides education, shelter and support services to women who are victims of domestic violence.

The recipes are from members of the Park City community, and in the back of the book, there are a few recipes from the local restaurants, including this recipe from ZOOM.

ZOOM is owned by The Sundance Resort (Robert Redford’s remarkable property about 35 miles from Park City).

As I licked the plate clean, I thought to myself “I’d love to have that recipe.” And lo and behold, it appeared. I love when that happens.

Now you can have it, too.

ZOOM White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

from Park City Cooks

12 Servings

1-1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs from crustless French bread
3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese (about 1 pound)
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 pound macaroni

Mix the breadcrumbs, Asiago and paprika in a medium bowl.

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for three minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, then the mustard and pepper.

Cook until thickened, stirring often, about 1o minutes. Stir in the cheddar and parsley.

(The topping and the sauce can be made 1 day ahead, stored separately. Cool the sauce slightly, then cover and refrigerate. Refrigerate the topping, too. Re-warm the sauce, stirring frequently and thinning with more milk if necessary before proceeding.)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 15″ X 10″ X 2″ glass baking dish.

Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender, but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain the macaroni well.

Return the macaroni to the drained pot; stir in the sauce. Season to taste with salt.

Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crumbs are brown, about 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Park City, Utah

Where to buy the Park City Cooks cookbook:
La Niche
(435) 649-2372


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A Temporary Vegetarian

I’m doing something I’ve never done before.

I’m eschewing meat. On purpose.

There is no ulterior motive, and no need to get alarmed — it’s only temporary. How hard can it be?

Blame it on my working vacation in a mountain town filled with fit granola heads, and restaurants with plenty of menu space dedicated to veg-heads.

And I don’t have to review a single one of them, so I can order what I want, like a bowl of yellow curry with tofu and mushrooms at Squatters Brew Pub.

Blame it on my temporary housing, in the home of a lovely vegetarian, who has a pantry stocked with grains, beans, and nuts, and shelves stuffed with vegetarian cookbooks. (That’s her own cookbook in the middle, the blue Chocolate Snowball.)

The surprising thing about eating strictly vegetarian, to me anyway, is that it’s just not that hard. A piece of cake.

Breakfast has always been an easy meal to drop the meat, what with all the oatmeal and egg options, including one of my favorites, huevos rancheros from Loco Lizard — not to mention the smoothie kick I’ve been on lately.

Lunch and dinner, on the other hand, always seemed like meat meals to me.

But I’m finding I don’t have to struggle find something appealing without meat, like a juicy avocado, tomato and sprout sandwich with smoked Gouda from The Back Door Deli.

Of course, this — like all fairy tales — will come to an end.

Because at the end of the day, I’m a bacon-loving, steak-eating girl. Life without meat just doesn’t sit right in the saddle for me.

Maybe that’s why my temporarily vegetarian mouth and my permanent carnivorous brain had a failure to communicate just two weeks into this little experiment.

You see, I ordered a bowl of French Onion Soup at The Foundry Grill at Sundance Resort without blinking an eye. Delicious, caramelized onion soup with a toasted crostini and melted Gruyere — vegetarian, right? Wrong.

I had reached a turning point:

I could drop the charade and return to my flesh-eating ways, or I could dust myself off, wiped the sherry-drenched, rich veal stock off my chin, and climb back on the vegetarian horse.

In the end, I chose the latter (right after I drained the soup bowl) and, for now, I’m back on the veg-train with another week to go.

But I was wrong about one thing.

Giving up meat is lot harder than I thought, after all. It’s not a piece of cake (and I probably couldn’t give up cake for very long, either.)

How about you? Have you ever given up meat? Did you stick with it, or revert back to your old ways?


Filed under Restaurant Journal, Travel Eats

Park City Eats – Chimayo

What is the difference between a Southwestern restaurant and a Mexican restaurant?

Price. I’m kidding. Sort of.


There are differences between Mexican and Southwestern restaurants, but there are also strong parallels. There are all kinds of different flavors of Mexican restaurants because Mexico itself is very diverse.

Northern Mexico shares ingredients with our American Southwest: Corn, beans, squashes, chiles. These ingredients are also Native American ingredients. No wonder  “defining” cuisines gets confusing.


Chimayo, located on Main Street in Park City, is a Southwestern restaurant that draws heavily on Mexican and Native American ingredients — with some American West mountain ingredients tossed in  — prepared and presented with haute French techniques.


That’s why you’ll find elk and berry reduction sauces right along side enchiladas and guacamole. Or a spinach salad ($16) with watermelon and chards of carnitas (twice-cooked marinated pork).


Spice-rubbed chicken breast (served supreme style — a French presentation with the first joint of a wing attached) is stuffed with goat cheese and served with a pressed rice pilaf painted sunny yellow from turmeric and studded with green beans ($28). The menu description says “Nacho Grande style” with nary a tortilla chip in sight.


Enchiladas ($27) get haute treatment, too. Roasted vegetables (red pepper, onions, carrots, corn) are rolled in hand-made corn tortillas and served atop highly seasoned black beans and a duo of sauces (tomatillo and roasted tomato).


You might be shocked at the prices ($27 for enchiladas?) I’m not.

First, this is Park City, a ritzy mountain town on par with Vail, Aspen and Jackson Hole. Second, the quality of ingredients and the amount of labor that goes into each dish is extraordinary.

You wouldn’t blink at a fancy French restaurant serving bouef bourguignon — an inexpensive cut of beef — for $30, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a haute Southwestern restaurant charges $28 for a chicken dish — an elaborate chicken dish.

At the end of August and through October, most of the high-end restaurants in Park City print 2 for 1 entree coupons in the local paper, taking a bite out of the sticker shock.

368 Main Street
Park City, UT
(435) 649-6222


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Park City Eats — Purple Sage


The romance of the American West is alluring and I can’t seem to resist restaurants that belly up to the bar with “Western Cuisine.”

Purple Sage, smack dab in the middle of Park City, Utah’s Main Street, calls itself “An American Western Bistro.”

What the heck is Western cuisine? I think of it as a cross between cowboy cooking and Southwestern foods — steak, game, trout and barbecue, chiles and corn.

I think of restaurants that started the movement. Although both chefs have since sold their restaurants (their concepts live on through their cookbooks) I think of  Mark Miller’s Red Sage, Robert McGrath’s Roaring Fork.


Purple Sage’s cuisine fits neatly in the gussied up American Western cuisine. Starters like barbecue chicken tamales and blackened sea scallops ($14, pictured) capture the spirit of the West (albeit with the modernity of flown-in seafood.)

The scallops, dusted with red corn meal and spices and drizzled with barbecue sauce, surround a mound of greens dressed in chipotle vinaigrette, smoky from chipotle and bacon. The scallops are plump, juicy and just barely done, the way they should be.


Grilled veal meatloaf ($24), smothered in a tomato-green chile sauce, features two slabs of firm yet tender meatloaf studded with poblano chiles and onion. I only wish the sauce had come underneath the meatloaf instead of on top, so I could see the perfect diamond-shaped grill marks.


Meatloaf wouldn’t be the same without a pile of mashed potatoes, and these are laden with garlic, butter and cream. The accompanying Brussels sprouts are flash fried in butter, resulting in crispy edges, taming the usual bitter taste. It’s a lot to swallow, portion-wise and price-wise. At least the generous portion means there’s enough to take home for another meal.


Pan-seared halibut ($17) is geared toward a lighter appetite. Topped with peppery arugula salad, the fish sits on top of hominy “hummus,” a textured mix of pureed hominy, cumin, chile powder and lemon.  Utah pan-fried trout is another “light” option, not counting the jalapeno-lime butter sauce.

Desserts include home-style chocolate bundt cake, root beer float and butterscotch pudding — exactly what you might expect, given the theme.

Park City is a mountain town in the West. It should — and does — have a restaurant that embodies it’s location. Plenty of Asian and Italian restaurants pepper the historic Main Street, but Purple Sage makes the scene seem a bit more authentic amid the glitter and glam of this former mining town-turned- “suburb” 20 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Purple Sage
434 Main Street
Park City, UT
(435) 655-9505


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