Last night's Celebrate the Bounty fundraiser for Local First Utah was packed with locals—people and food. About 35 food vendors and restaurants had booths set up throughout Union Pacific Depot and outside. The weather didn't exactly cooperate but heaters and heavy eating kept everyone cozy enough.
I was there as one of the judges, meaning I had to taste 35 bites in two and a half hours. That's hard work, if you can get it, if you know what I mean.
Faced with that many contenders, any half-sane judge hopes for bribes to make the process easier, but these were super-ethical types and the only half-hearted offer I got was a jar of Harmons duck butter, a mixture of duck fat and butter they were spreading on one of their excellent breads. Then I found out even that was a joke. So I ate another couple of pieces, bringing total bite count close to 40.
Some of the best bites: Tin Angel's savory bread pudding with bacon; Communal's glazed pork belly; Finca's short rib; Black Sheep's posole; Salt Lake Culinary Center's duck tostado; Caputo's Frody Volgger's reuben sandwich; Hell's Backbone squash soup.
Award for Best Presentation went to SLC Pop.
Award for Hardcore Locavore went to Caputo's.
Award for Taste went to Hell's Backbone.
My own personal award which only you know about went to MacCool's for best garnish: a packet of fingerwipes to use after eating their lamb rib.