Utah Travel Tips from Kait Miller, Blogger of Real Food Gypsy

Conversations with Locals

Kait Miller is the blogger of Real Food Gypsy. Originally from North Carolina, she now calls Salt Lake City home. Kait reveals the hiking trails to go for, where to head for lunch, and why you should steer clear of the Great Salt Lake. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What should travellers know about Utah before heading there? 

In the summer, bring a jacket! It’s hot during the day, but it’s dry heat. At night it cools down a lot and there’s no humidity. It’s like the desert, so definitely bring the jacket.

What do you feel defines the cuisine in Utah? 

Utah is unique. Since it’s in the West and close to California, Arizona, and New Mexico, you may think that the cuisine is Southwestern. At least that’s what we thought when we found out we were moving here three years ago. We were so wrong! Utah is a lot like the South, where I’m originally from (North Carolina). It’s traditional American-inspired food and you can find diners and burger joints all over. What’s also unique is that there are a ton of Italian and pizza restaurants.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Utah without trying? 

This is easy! Hands down the beef stroganoff from The Copper Onion. The noodles are handmade, the beef is from Snake River Farms in Wyoming, and the sauce is incredible. Everything is locally sourced and it shines in every dish, especially this one.

I’ll also say fry sauce. It’s not a dish, but a condiment. Utah is known for it, and it just tastes better here. 

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The Copper Onion. Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What about your favourite restaurants?

I have several favourite spots, most happen to be in Park City or Salt Lake. The Copper Onion for their burger and stroganoff, HSL for their pork shank and general tso’s cauliflower, Publik for their delicious coffee and thick toast, Fletcher’s for their salmon, Alamexo for their chicken enchiladas, Harvest for a delicious breakfast, and Pizza Nono for the best wood-fired pizza in the city. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

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HSL. Photo: Real Food Gypsy

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Utah

Yes – the Great Salt Lake! It is the most underwhelming thing you could do. It stinks and it’s just really sad to look at. A complete waste of time.

Describe the perfect way to explore Utah

I would start in Salt Lake City and adventure through the canyons and mountains. There are beautiful hikes in Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons. A few of the prettiest places to hike are Lake Blanche, Bell Canyon’s Waterfall, Cecret Lake, White Pine Lake, and Albion Basin to see the wildflowers. You may even see a moose or two! Then escape to Park City to experience Main Street or some world-class skiing. On your way to Southern Utah, stop by Fifth Water Hot Springs in Provo. After you’ve exhausted Northern Utah, head down and explore the National Parks. Moab, Zion, and Bryce Canyon will take your breath away. There is nothing like it.

Name one best kept secret of Utah

Fifth Water Hot Springs in Provo. It is absolutely stunning in rain, snow, or shine, sunrise or sunset. It’s a fun experience.

What about your favourite spot for a weekend getaway in Utah? 

Park City! We love escaping there. It doesn’t matter if it’s during ski-season or summer time, there’s always a ton of outdoor activities going on. They have amazing restaurants on Main Street and all the resorts have farm-to-table dining. It feels like a vacation and it’s only a 30 minute drive from Salt Lake. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What should travellers bring home with them from Utah? 

Honey! We are known as the Bee State and there is local honey everywhere. Creamed cinnamon, raspberry, blueberry, you name it. It’s incredible.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN UTAH


The Copper Onion

Where: 111 East Broadway #170, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Beef stroganoff

HSL Restaurant
Where: 418 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Viewspork shank and general tso’s cauliflower

Publik Coffee Roasters
Where: 975 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
For: Coffee and thick toast 

Fletcher’s Park City
Where: 562 Main St, Park City, UT 84060, USA
For: Salmon 

Alamexo
Where: 268 State St #110, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Chicken enchiladas

Great Harvest Bread Bakery
Where: 140 N 400 W, St George, UT 84770, USA (and more) 
For: Breakfast 

Pizza Nono
Where: 925 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, USA
For: Pizza 
 

WHERE TO GO IN UTAH 


Cottonwood Canyon
Where: Cottonwood Heights, Utah, USA
For: Hiking

Millcreek Canyon
Where: 3800 Millcreek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84124, USA
For: Hiking

Lake Blanche
Where: Lake Blanche Trail, Salt Lake City, UT 84121, USA
For: Hiking

Moab National Park
Where: Moab National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Zion National Park
Where: Zion National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Bryce Canyon National Park
Where: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Fifth Water Hot Springs
Where: Diamond Fork Rd, Springville, UT 84663, USA
For: Hiking

Park City
Where: Park City, Utah, USA
For: Skiing

The Eating Guide to Bangkok, Thailand

Asia

Bangkok, at any time of the year, is a place that is hard to capture with a single idea. Masses throng the city centre as motorcycles zip past gridlocked cars on interweaving roads. At the same time, she never fails to draw the crowds like an immortal movie star. This is Bangkok; she never loses her verve. Back when things got too predictable, cafés exploded onto the scene, what with the thriving coffee trade in Thailand. Street grub is remade and intermixed with borrowed flavours. 

When night comes, the city is not ready to hit the sack. Incandescent lights colour bleary streets and the aroma from cooking pots forms a trail. As the world falls into a slumber, Bangkok is at her most vivacious. 

Look forward to: Street food

READ Café 

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Where: 21/40 Thanon Ngamwongwan, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
What: Pancakes
For: Breakfast

The after school coteries are aplenty at this far-flung café many miles away from the city centre. A 24 hour coffee joint within the university town of  Rangsit, READ Café’s cushy corners are where students mug and patrons eat. The menu’s to-die-for dishes are the sweet treats – pancakes dusted with granola and honeyed french toasts. 

Prik Yuak 

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Where: Chatuchak Weekend Market, Project 2, Soi 38/3 Road, Kamphaeng Phet 2, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand
What: Stir-fried crab meat and mango sticky brown rice
For: Communal dining with friends

For unpretentious Thai eats, Prik Yuak is sure to win your heart. This rickety khao gaeng (rice and curry) shop is hidden in a corner of Chatuchak. Owner Ann does the whole nine yards – stir-fried crab meat, fish curry, fried garlic squid, garlic pork liver, tom yum kung, phanaeng pork curry, eggs stir-fried with crab meat, and brown rice. The best way to go about doing this is to go  communal dining with friends. Small dishes are shared while you have your own rice on a plate. For dessert, go for the mango sticky brown rice. 

Khao Kha Moo Truk Sung 

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Where: Soi Phetchaburi 30, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
What: Pig trotter rice
For: Lunch

Synonymous with local Thai fare, khao kha moo is a down-to-earth everyman favourite. Pig trotters are braised for hours, then dished over a plate of rice and served with a side of preserved vegetables. This under-the-block shop does theirs with a bowl of bitter gourd soup. The day ends when the trotters are sold out, usually by mid-day. 

Phatsaya Village Phad Thai 

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Where: 59/79 Soi Tha Sai 1, Khwaeng Thung Song Hong, Khet Lak Si, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10210, Thailand
What: Phad thai
For: Supper

This street stall does a mean plate of phad thai with your choice of prawns,  mussels, or both. This place only opens in the night, so make it a supper visit. There are only three seats but the people just keep coming. 

P’Aor

Where: 68/51 Soi Phetchburi 5, Phetchburi Road, Thung Phaya Thai Subdistrict, Ratchathewi District, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
What: Tom yum goong
For: Dinner

The strong broth laden with prawn stock is what makes the tom yum goong at P’Aor a winner. If you are unafraid of spice, go with the option of having rice noodles in the soup. For those who go for unconventional digs, the lobster tom yum goong will win you over. Queues are wonted but they move fast; it’s not a place to sit and dawdle. 

Chatuchak Coconut Ice Cream 

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Where: Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
What: Coconut ice cream
For: A cooling dessert

Bangkok’s coconut ice cream can be found in the makeshift shops along the main street of Chatuchak Market. There are many in the coconut ice cream trade, but the fabled one comes in a husk, and includes two toppings and a cup of coconut water. Go for the sticky rice and peanut toppings – they are absolutely divine. 

Sukhumvit Soi 38 Wanton Noodles 

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Where: Soi Sukhumvit 38, Phra Khanong, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
What: Wanton noodles
For: A late night snack

Once a midnight food haunt, Sukhumvit Soi 38 has lost its lustre following a prolonged hiatus. A baa mee (wanton noodles) stall – amongst a handful of others – still stands strong, dishing out bowls of noodles into the wee hours of the night. Order a small bowl, then head next door for a mango sticky rice. 

Paris Travel Tips from Lindsey Tramuta, Parisian Journalist

Conversations with Locals

Having lived in Paris for more than a decade, ailurophile Lindsey Tramuta is well-versed in the ins and outs of the city and chronicles her Parisian life on her blog. She is a writer for Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times. Lindsey talks about why you should skip Chartier, where to get the best pastries in Paris, and about the museum you can’t miss. 

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Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

What do you feel defines Parisian cuisine?

Parisian cuisine today isn’t hemmed in by Escoffier, heritage or ethnocentrism but rather an openness to outside influences and cultures. The food scene has never been so refreshingly diverse.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Paris without trying? 

As a pastry fanatic, I’m keen to cite a handful of exquisite desserts or treats. The chocolate and pistachio escargot from Du Pain et Des Idées, the Lily Valley from Carl Marletti, the ricotta cheesecake with seasonal fruit from Acide which is also available at Fou de Pâtisserie, the Ispahan croissant from Pierre Hermé, sablés from Bontemps Pâtisserie. As you can see, it’s impossible to narrow the selection to just one speciality!

What about your favourite restaurants?

Many of them are concentrated on the east side of town – Tannat, Le 52, Anahi, Le Richer, Café Méricourt, La Fontaine de Belleville. But I do have a few favourites elsewhere – Kitchen Ter(re) on the left bank and Balagan near the Tuileries Gardens to name a couple. 

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Café Méricourt. Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

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Kitchen Ter(re). Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name one Parisian dining etiquette most travellers miss

Making a concerted effort to speak French, at least greeting restaurant staff in French. It isn’t all that difficult to show them you’re trying your best.

What is one travel tip you would give to travellers heading to Paris?

Go beyond the obvious. My book dives into so many other neighbourhoods that are worth exploring. 

Name one best kept secret of Paris

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. It’s in all the guidebooks and yet it never seems to earn the attention it deserves. It’s unusual, for one – it’s the hunting and nature museum. On top of that, it feels like a cabinet of animal curiosities. It’s fascinating! 

What do you feel are the most common misconceptions about Paris?

There are two – that it’s a city that never changes and that Parisians are unfriendly. I’ve had plenty of chilly service in London and New York! 

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Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Paris

Please please please stay away from Chartier off the Grands Boulevards. Go to Bouillon Pigalle instead. Chartier has terrible quality food, comically poor service, but because it’s an institution, it still gets traction. 

What’s your favourite day trip to take from the city? 

I love going to Chantilly for the day, walking around the gardens and visiting the Château

What should travellers bring home with them from Paris?

Something French! The new gourmet food hall from Printemps department store, called Printemps Du Goût, offers a selection of 100% French products so you can be sure to take home something, whether it’s caramelised hazelnuts from the south of France or a small jar of regional honey, truly unique. 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS


Du Pain et Des Idées
Where: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
For: Chocolate and pistachio escargots

Acide Macaron
Where: 24 Rue des Moines, 75017 Paris, France
For: Ricotta cheesecakes with seasonal fruit

Carl Marletti
Where: 51 Rue Censier, 75005 Paris, France
For: The Lily Valley cake

Pierre Hermé
Where: 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France (and others) 
For: Ispahan croissants

Bontemps Pâtisserie
Where: 57 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France
For: Sablés

Tannat
Where: 119 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
For: French fusion food

Le 52
Where: 52 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France
For: Tradtional french food 

Anahi
Where: 49 Rue Volta, 75003 Paris, France
For: Argentinian food

Le Richer
Where: 2 Rue Richer, 75009 Paris, France
For: Bistro food

Café Méricourt
Where: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris, France
For: Brunch

La Fontaine de Belleville
Where: 31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris, France
For: Breakfast

Kitchen Ter(re)
Where: 26 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France
For: Set menus

Balagan
Where: 9 Rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris, France
For: Shakshuka

Bouillon Pigalle
Where: 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
For: French food
 

WHERE TO GO IN PARIS


Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Where: 62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
For: Museums

 

Printemps Du Goût
Where: 21-25 Cours de Vincennes, 75020 Paris, France
For: Local French products