For its fifth year at the Utah Arts Festival, the Epicuriosity food tent has decided to take it up yet another notch in its consistently successful and popular small plate offerings as well as adding touches of artistic décor to the venue located on the west side of the festival grounds.
Entrée items include popular proteins from previous years including cast-iron seared sea scallops, herb-crusted medallions of beef tenderloin, seared yet rare Ahi tuna, and shrimp scampi a la Grecque.
There are some nice twists to this year’s menu including a fire-grilled chicken Caeser salad with arugula, romaine, and pomengranate seeds. Another is chicken Oscar with an almond-and-pepitas crust that is served with white-tipped asparagus, snow crab, and a cilantro hollandaise.
For the third year, the Foiled Again entrees return in two versions. One contains Utah trout, asparagus, sweet onion, fresh herbs, lemon, white wine and capers while the other is a vegetarian-friendly assortment of fresh vegetables with herbs and a Thai chili glaze.
There rarely is any down time at the Epicuriosity venue, according to Robert ‘Sully’ Sullivan, chef and co-owner of Utah Food Services, Epicuriosity will open at 4 p.m. daily. Service will continue through most of the evening hours, as late as 10:30 p.m.
Part of the charm at the Epicuriosity tent comes in Sully’s gracious and generous personality and infectiously good sense of humor. Talk about mastering the heat at the venue with a smoothness that any event leader can envy.
And, in keeping with how every festival venue has upped its capacity to engage every sense, Sully asked the SLC-based In The Event company to give Epicuriosity a new look this year. The husband-and-wife company is run by Robert and GayLyn LaSpina, who have assembled quite a large, diverse portfolio of clients.
Epicuriosity’s success is easy to understand – great food smartly presented on small plates that are easy to balance even while standing among crowds. The cost is reasonable, ranging from $6 to $14 for a surf-and-turf option.
And, Epicuriosity brings exquisite desserts to the festival created by pastry chef Tim Nelson. Among the expected offerings are coconut panna cotta with ‘pineapple caviar,’ a never-miss chocolate mousse with seasonal berries and raspberry coulis, and a 12-layer caramel mousse cake.
The portions are just right and, for the price, a good deal for a festival venue. More importantly, the quality is top notch: perfectly done scallops, tenderloin at the right texture, food that is always artfully plated, and desserts that are balanced in sweetness as well as tartness.
The Utah trout packet is a pleasant miniature feast alone, and the surf-and-turf, which includes a three-ounce beef medallion, is a thoroughly satisfying deal. The scallops are served over steamed spinach and Swiss chard and confetti of prosciutto. The medallions come with purple potatoes and ginger-honey carrots finished with a merlot demi-glace. The wasabi aioli which accompanies the Ahi tuna plate has just the right pleasant kick to it.
While Utah Food Services brings elegantly simple touches to the festival’s culinary offerings, the company also is widely recognized as a sincerely compassionate, and conscientious partner who believes in the value of community engagement not just in high-profile events such as the festival but in its daily operations.
As a mentor and teacher, Sully, a transplanted Vermont resident who co-owns the company, consistently ensures that Utah Food Services, which employs scores upon scores of employees who participate in a profit-sharing program, is a local model for rigorous standards of exceptional food quality, community outreach and workplace flexibility.
The company regularly wins honors for best and ideal workplace environment, including, for example, an Achievement of Catering Excellence (ACE) award at the annual Catersource Conference and Tradeshow in Las Vegas.
Another popular culinary note returning to the festival is the Uinta Brewing Company’s Arts Fest Amber Ale (video below), which will be available only during the four-day event. This is the latest version of a brew that was created last year for the festival’s 35th anniversary and was sold out before the end of the festival. Uinta’s Crooked Line beers also are available at a tent adjacent to the Epicuriosity venue.
Given the forecast for near-record high temperatures, the Uinta’s creation should move just – if not even more so – as quickly as it did last year.
For more information about all festival events, see here.
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