restaurant review

bistro 412 – park city, utah

by jani on February 18, 2013

Bistro 412 is one of our favorite restaurants in Park City, Utah. I have loved escargot since my first trip to France in 1966 and HB has been fond of this delicacy for most of his adult life. This restaurant serves  escargot, topped with a delicious pastry crust. Although the menu is eclectic, there is a strong French influence running throughout, including French music in the background.

bistro 1(1)Many visitors enjoy sitting in front of the outdoor firepit –  people watching or just relaxing with a favorite beverage. It was an especially popular spot during the Sundance Film Festival.

bistro 2(2)

bistro 3The interior has an engaging quaint charm that transports you to a small sidewalk Parisian café… a lovely setting for your afternoon or evening meal.

bistro 5The servers are efficient and very knowledgeable. My favorite item on the menu is a poached pear salad with goat cheese. Our waiter suggested adding grilled shrimp… it was delightful. I will definitely order this one again. It also comes with roasted beets… a perfect choice!

sundance film Collage 2Bistro 412 is located at 412 Main Street.

If you haven’t tried the Bistro 412, we highly recommend you do! What are some of your favorite restaurants in Park CityAny comments are always welcomed!


el gallo giro, molcajete and nopales

by jani on February 4, 2013

My good friend is from Mexico. The other day, when she saw me making my daily smoothie, she told me that she makes her own drink with pink grapefruit and nopales. No, I did not know what nopales are. After she explained that it is a type of cactus, I nearly freaked out. What? Cactus? I know I’ve seen these in grocery stores, but they sort of look like they’re from the alien  category, so I never had a desire to venture further, until now.

My friend’s favorite Utah Valley (sorry to all of my out-of-state or out-of-country readers… you will need to do your own search for a venue serving nopales) Mexican restaurant for Molcajete is in Provo, Utah. It is called Molcajete because it is named after the volcanic stone dish and pestle which has been used in Mexico for thousands of years. We were anxious to try this exotic-sounding meal; El Gallo Giro did not disappoint! The Molcajete comes with your choice of meat (we chose chicken, beef and shrimp) with the grilled nopales on the side. It was absolutely delicious. And if it takes me an eternity. I will learn how to make this dish!

Gallo 4(1)

Before we were even served the Molcajete, our darling server from Bolivia, prepared the best guacamole that I have ever eaten in any restaurant. She prepared it fresh at our table.

Gallo Collage 1

I even took my chance and ate the spicy chile de arbol, served here in a very large Molcajete. No problem with the fire in my mouth, as I had a delicious horchata to put out the flame! I usually don’t enjoy horchata, but at El Gallo Giro, even these cinnamon flavored rice drinks are great!

Gallo 7

Lead by owner, Zulema Ortega, the staff is so very helpful and the service is friendly and attentive. Best of all –  the meal is very reasonable.

Gallo Collage 2

 HB and I made a stop at our local Williams-Sonoma on our way home to pick up our very own Molcajete. We will need to cure it for a week, adding about a teaspoon of rice mixed with salt… grinding it in well – and then we will begin our fun!

Gallo 8

I think my husband counted about 35-40 times, “That was so good!”,  from my side of the car. It actually became an almost “What About Bob?” moment! I discovered that I absolutely love nopales and better yet, they are filled with lots of fiber and have great nutritional value. We plan on adding them to our scrambled eggs for a yummy Southwest breakfast… I’ll let you know how that turns out, so stayed tuned!

What’s your favorite Mexican food? Have you used a molcajete… or eaten nopales? I’d love to hear! 


Whenever I think of a British high tea, images of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins come racing to my mind. Poor Audrey Hepburn was looking so famished as Colonel Pickering and Higgins were enjoying their… “Then say ‘cup,cup,cup,cup, of,of,of,of’. By Jove, Higgins, that was a glorious tea!”

Visiting different tearooms throughout the U.S. and Canada has always been on HB’s and my itinerary. What better time to enjoy British high tea, than during the inspiring 2012 London Olympic games! We’ve enjoyed this tradition at The Empress Hotel, Ye Olde England Inn,  the White Heather Tea Room and Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, to name a few. But we have always loved the quiet, dignified ambience of The Grand America Hotel afternoon tea in downtown Salt Lake City.

 The three-tiered silver platter arrived featuring finger sandwiches, scones and the usual scone condiments. The tea sandwiches were delightful. We had ham and cheddar on marbled rye, smoked salmon crepes with horseradish, cucumber olive salad and our favorite… chicken mango on white bread.

As we sat down, we observed a large goblet with an unusual dried pod sitting at its base.  Our charming hostess, Danealle Plascencia, explained that is was a blossom tea flower from China. She added hot water, and after a few moments passed the little pod blossomed into a beautiful and intricate flower with a bright red center, floating in the glass.

Our favorite tea plate has always been the scones with  clotted cream, fresh homemade jam and lemon curd. These  baked sweet biscuits are q perfect fit with a cup of  hot tea. HB chose the herbal mint lemongrass while I enjoyed the fruity chamomile. There is a variety of traditional English teas to select from and several choices of hot chocolate flavors.

When the dessert platter arrived… we were in heaven! The paté de fruits (gumdrops) were raspberry, green apple, and mango. We loved the subtle favors of the citrus madeleines, linzer cookies, and strawberry pistachio gateaux. With no more room for dessert, we boxed up the lemon cream tartlets and praline gateaux. That was a good thing, as we probably would have purchased every one of their praline gateaux, being filled with the most decadent chocolate you can imagine (with a distinctive crunch in each bite)… oh my, how we enjoyed these!

The harpist was excellent, playing soft and gentle melodies… a perfect complement to our peaceful, serene and satisfying afternoon.

We have been frequent visitors to the Grand America and always enjoyed their afternoon tea. This is indeed a special treat any time of the year – but in keeping with the English tradition of high tea, the Grand America did not disappoint.

I would especially like to thank managers Roberto Martinas and Zeljra for attending to all our needs. Service at the Grand is always exemplary.

I’d love to hear any comments. Have you or your family engaged in anything British during these Olympics you’d like to share? 

*Disclosure: Thanks to Grand America for sponsoring this post. The ideas and content are my own.