We recently spent a few days visiting Utah. We really enjoyed getting a glimpse of the city and eating all of the vegetarian food in Salt Lake City. We were impressed with the amount of vegetarian restaurants there were, and how innovative and creative the dishes were. We didn’t just eat, we also went on a long and beautiful hike. We had hoped for the leaves to all be red and orange, but it was beautiful anyways.
Friday Dinner: Zest Kitchen and Bar
Hip, modern, vegan/vegetarian, this restaurant is perfect place to dress up and feel fancy. Entrees average $13, so you won’t break the bank, but you will feel like you did because the food is delicious and beautiful. We enjoyed the freshly squeezed juice, but they also make some cocktails that look stunning. We got the raw manicotti (pictured above), and a few other dishes.
(Image from Zest’s website)
Sleep: Hilton Salt Lake City Center
Located in the center of Salt Lake City, this Hilton is literally a block away from Zest Kitchen and Bar.
Saturday Brunch: Sage’s Cafe (best brunch we’ve had in a long time)
Aurelien proclaimed his butternut squash basil pancakes to be the best pancakes he has ever eaten. What a statement! The pancakes were a special, so I’m not sure how often they are offered, but I’m sure the other pancakes are great as well! Another vegetarian restaurant, we couldn’t decide what to order because the menu was so extensive and everything sounded amazing! I suppose that is a good problem to have.
Shop: Downtown Farmer’s Market
After our amazing brunch, we weren’t quite ready to go on our hike (we needed to digest!) so we stopped at the farmer’s market. Located in Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City, it spanned the entire park and was full of amazing vendors. I absolutely love wandering around the market, seeing what is being sold and supporting local businesses. Unfortunately, we were full and didn’t have a kitchen, but we did get a freshly squeezed green juice and tipped some great musical performers. If I lived in the area, you can be sure that I would be a frequent visitor to the market!
Hike: Grandeur Peak (8 mile round-trip, not for the faint of heart)
My main reason for wanting to go to SLC included getting at least one solid hike in. I love the mountains, and miss them living in the flat Midwest (oh wait, we do have hills, I am not supposed to encourage the stereotype of the Midwest). After some google searching, we found a hike that seemed easy enough and fit both of our requirements. Aurelien needs a view or something at the end to make the hike worthwhile, and I wanted to break a sweat and be in nature.
When reading about it, I thought it was a 3.4 round-trip hike. Turns out it was 3.4 miles one way, plus another .4 miles to the car. We hiked up 2,500 feet, reaching a peak elevation of over 8,000 feet. They say, it is one of Utah’s “easier mountains to summit”. I don’t think I’m ready to try any other summit in that case! It was also initially challenging to figure out how to get there from the sources online, so Aurelien put together a map.
Create Routes or Search for a route from millions at MapMyRide
Pros: The views at the top were incredible. On one side we could see the entire Salt Lake valley and on the other side you could see gorgeous views of the mountains. When at the top, we felt very accomplished, after 2 hours of solid up hill hiking. It seemed unreal, as we looked way down into the valley, that we had walked all the way up. Honestly, the downhill was the hardest part. My legs, that are not in hiking shape, felt weak and pains were creeping in. My poor feet! But, I survived to tell the tale, and had an appetite for our next meal, Ethiopian.
Dinner: Mahider Ethiopian Restaurant (Ethiopian amazingness)
After our hike, we were starving, so we decided to eat dinner at 5:30. We had frequented an amazing Ethiopian restaurant in the California bay area, when we lived there, and are always looking for something similar. This one fit the bill. We ordered a vegetarian combo plate (doubled the portions, since it’s normally for one person). It came with the traditional collards, lentils, vegetables and of course, injera (fermented teff and wheat flatbread, used instead of forks). Full and happy, we headed to our hotel to take a hot shower and rest our tired feet after a full, fun day!
So there you have it, 24 hours in Salt Lake City!