Friday, August 29, 2014

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

This weekend is the 25th Annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem. It is one big party. There will be storytellers from around the nation and across the world mixed in with some homegrown talent. They all come together to tell stories in the shadow of Mount Timpanogos. The tales range from fables and fairy tales to personal stories of growing up in the Appalachian Mountains. There is something for everyone from tall tales to youth tellers. There are puppeteers, pottery, food, and music in between the storytelling hours.
Click here for more information about this weekends event.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekend Roundup

The first weekend after school starts can be kind of a hectic one. Picking up any school supplies you might have forgotten to buy, filling out paperwork, maybe even a little homework... Take a break by checking out some of the fun events happening in the valley this weekend!

The 9th Annual Dancing Under the Stars presented by the Scera Shell Outdoor Theater is an event you don't want to miss! Nationally prominent professional dancers and musicians take part in this exciting night of killer music and choreography including jazz, ballroom, hip-hop and more. The evening features award-winning teams from Center Stage Performing Arts Studios, which was recently honored with National Studio of the Year. And with a variety of special guests to add sizzle, Dancing Under the Stars is one hot ticket!

Bring a picnic and a blanket to Thanksgiving Point Gardens to enjoy the time-traveling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they attempt to fix a time rift they created. The movie begins at dusk!

In the tradition of storytelling and independent voice, Sundance has partnered with the actual Bluebird Cafe to bring a taste of musical storytelling to Utah. The actual Bluebird Cafe is located in Nashville, TN and is renowned for starting the careers of virtually every major artist in the country music business today, including Faith Hill and Garth Brooks.

Friday night's performers include Brett James, Troy Verges, and Hillary Lindsey. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

5 Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants in Utah Valley

Celiac? Paleo? Whole30? Just straight up avoiding gluten? We hear you.
It can be tricky to avoid gluten, especially when you begin to feel like it's in EVERYTHING!

And eating out can be a bit of a nightmare too for those of us avoiding those stomach ache inducing proteins. Few people can understand what a pain it is to have to spend at least 10 minutes before every meal out trying to explain to your cashier or waiter what you're trying to avoid. "Can I get a burger but no bun? If you toast your buns, can you clean the griddle off before you cook my burger so as to avoid cross-contamination? Do you batter your fries? Are they fried in the same oil as battered items?" On and on...

We totally get it. So we made a list of 5 Gluten Free Friendly restaurants here in Utah Valley. Eating gluten free isn't as difficult as it sounds when you have friends like the CVB to help guide you!

Malawi's is usually a pretty safe bet if you're worried about cross-contamination. If you tell the cashier why you're ordering gluten free and what you're trying to avoid, they can be pretty darn helpful. You can get your pizza crust gluten free but be aware that their menu is a bit limited in terms of what isn't likely to have traces of gluten (which is why it's a good idea to ask what menu items are safest) so many of the pizzas will be on your no-fly list, but the ones that are GF are pretty delish. I like the BBQ Chicken myself. 

And a note for those of you who are also avoiding dairy, they also have Daiya dairy free cheese (and they know how to melt it properly as well, which seems pretty rare). 

For every meal ordered at Malawi's, they donate a meal to a child in Africa. So if you're looking for a yummy GF pizza and some warm-fuzzy's for doing good, Malawi's is a great choice. They have 2 locations: one in Provo and another in Lehi. There's also one in the works for Spanish Fork. 

Spin Cafe is located in Heber City so if you're heading out to Sundance, Strawberry Reservoir, etc. for some time away from the city life but still need to eat GF, Spin Cafe is a wonderful choice! They have a full, gluten free menu filled with offerings like ribs, sandwiches, soups, burgers and more! You'll LOVE their onion rings - yes, gluten free onion rings! Nothing with gluten goes into their fryer so you don't have to worry at all about cross-contamination. 

They also have yummy, creamy, cold gelato (most of the flavors are GF)! 

Another Heber City favorite is Dairy Keen! The owner is celiac so they totally get it (and the employees are trained to avoid cross-contamination). Just be sure to let them know that you're Gluten free when you arrive. You can get the burgers made with a New Grains bun or sandwiches made with Udi's breads. They also offer gluten free soups in the winter! 

Dairy Keen is a fun place to take the kiddos because there's a neat little train that goes around the restaurant! 

Looking for somewhere fancy? La Jolla Groves is a great place to take your gluten free special someone. The owners of La Jolla Groves are celiacs so they have a lot of GF options on the menu (just look for the little leaf next to the menu items). They even have a delicious gluten free dessert: Orange Creme Brulee! Ooh lala! 

Fun fact(s): Only 3 items on their menu are not GF - everything else is totally gluten free! Also, Barbacoa is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America! Basically, so long as you don't order their flour or wheat tortillas or the cookies, you're totally safe! Lucky for you GF lovers of Mexican food - Barbacoa is totally delicious! And they have a rewards card program - ask about their "Black Card" - which lets you earn free food.   


Honorable Mentions:
You can eat at a lot of places GF (if you're not too concerned about cross-contamination), you just have to get creative and a lot of times, the restaurant will have options for you if you just let them know you're avoiding gluten. The restaurants listed above were selected due to their special efforts to be gluten free friendly, however, there are other restaurants that we would like to suggest that either have items that are naturally gluten free anyway (like salads) or that have the option to switch out a regular bread or bun with something gluten free.

Cubby's Chicago Beef - Cubby's has some amazing salads (a personal favorite is the tri-tip) and they also have Udi's gluten free buns available on on request.

Mountain West Burrito - Mountain West is a fantastic choice for a salad with a little Latin flair. If you're avoiding gluten but cool with beans and fresh salsa, you're safe going with one of their salads.

Noodles & Company - Noodles is actually making some pretty legit efforts for those of us who are Gluten Free. If you want pasta - they've got gluten free pasta now! They also have a few other GF options on their menu (as well as a very helpful allergen info sheet).

Blue Lemon - Blue Lemon focuses on fresh and delicious foods! They have a pretty decent gluten free menu (and everything on it is super tasty!) Sadly, you'll have to stay away from their amazing sweet potato fries as they do dip them in wheat prior to frying.

What are your favorite Gluten Free restaurants in the Valley? Let us know! Send us a comment, post on Facebook, send us a tweet or even tag us in an instagram photo! #VisitUtahValley

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekend Roundup

What are your weekend plans? (Besides back to school shopping, of course).
Need some ideas? Well here's a roundup of some of the fun events going on this weekend:

Exciting for the young and young at heart, the Great Salt Lake Truck Show is coming to Thanksgiving Point August 15-16. Check out the various 18-wheeler trucks on display, talk to the drivers, and compete in the truck pull challenge! The event benefits the Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho and proceeds go towards sending kids with kidney failure to Kidney Kamp in Aspen Grove, UT. The truck show is free to the public but donations are accepted.

The Happy Valley Derby Darlins (Utah County's own all-woman flat-track roller derby team) is hosting a Victory Fray at The Hive in Spanish Fork on August 16th at 7pm (Tickets are $5 online or $7 at the door). Come out and cheer on the Sirens of Steel or the Daughters of Anarchy. The Happy Valley Derby Darlins serve the community by empowering women and girls, providing hard-hitting entertainment for fans, and supporting charitable causes. If you've never seen a roller derby bout then you are missing out on some serious fun!

Head out to Exchange Park on August 16th for Utah Rides for Cancer, a metric century, half century, and fun ride to honor those who have fought, are fighting, and will fight for their lives. 100% of funds raised go towards them to aid them in their fight. Registration and sign in begins at 7am.

The Springville Rotary is hosting a Sunday in the Park Car Show on August 17th. The event is free but donations are accepted and there will be raffles and steak dinners sold to raise funds for the club. The event features hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles as well as live entertainment. The mission of the Rotary foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, good will, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

And of course, we can't forget that the Utah County Fair continues this weekend with a Jr. Livestock show, 4-H Talent Show, Antique Tractor Pulls, the Taxidermy Exhibit, and more! Hosted at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds; 8am-10pm and admission is free! Come see what Utah County has to offer!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Savoring Summer: A Round Up of Utah Valley BBQ Joints

School is starting soon and everyone is scrambling to squeeze in a few more moments in the sun, playing outdoors and savoring summer's best! One of our favorite parts of summer is the barbeque! (Vegetarians and vegans, avert your eyes!) If you're also a fan of juicy grilled meats massaged with seasonings or coated with sauces, check out some of these fantastic BBQ restaurants here in Utah County!
I typically do my best to eat like a lady but when ribs are involved, all bets are off. Let's talk about the delicious beauties found at Bam Bam's BBQ (1708 S State St. Orem) tender and very meaty with just those little pops of fat that add to the overall richness of each bite! Bam Bam's has a number of different sauces that you can add to your meats (which are, of course, delicious) but you definitely don't *need* them. I would also recommend their brisket or turkey - succulent and sassy, I loved them both!

Five Star BBQ Facebook
Want something a little more smokey in the rib department? How about the smoked ribs at Five Star BBQ (70 N. Geneva Rd. Orem)? With those trademark pinkish bones that you see with smoked meats, you can't go wrong with these ribs! I know a well-smoked piece of meat when I taste one - and these ribs are definitely well-smoked! And don't you dare forget to pair it with the amazing smoked beans!

Sean's Smokehouse Facebook
Looking for something other than red meats? Have you even tried the smoked turkey at Sean's Smokehouse (222 E SR 73, Saratoga Springs)!? It pairs perfectly with everyone of their delicious sauce (which are basically a taste-tour of the country) and, I could seriously eat it all day! The smoked chicken is pretty fantastic as well but... I personally love me some turkey! They also have a Ghost Chili Wing Challenge, if you're tolerant to insane levels of spiciness and wanna step up to the plate.
Speaking of smoked meats, have you ever seen Poor Boys BBQ & Dawgs (865 Highway 198, Payson)? It's kind of hard to miss seeing as how there's a line of smokers right out front and beware when you step out of your car because the smell will make you drool! Do not skip the smoked sausage! If you don't really like sausage, it's only because you haven't tried these. If you're dining with littles, they have yummy, hand-dipped mini corndogs. And for desert, I would go for the peach cobbler (assuming you haven't completely stuffed yourself at this point).

Oh dear, I've gone and made myself hungry! Run, don't walk, to these fantastic BBQ joints before the summer's over (and then keep em in mind for fall and winter when you're missing those good ole' flavors of summer).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Salmon Suppers and Onion Days

If you've never heard of the Payson Salmon Supper, you've been missing out on a delicious 60 year tradition in Payson, UT. The Payson Salmon Supper took place on August 4th when the town of Payson held it's annual cookout with over 4,500 pounds of fresh Alaskan Salmon. You can read more about the event in this article from Salt Lake Magazine. 

If you missed out (put it on your calendar for 2015) and you still want to experience the best that Payson has to offer, then get ready for Payson City Golden Onion Days! Taking place between August 29th and September 1st this year, the 84th annual Payson Onion Days will feature a variety of events, activities, performances, and more! You can learn more about what Payson has in store by visiting their website

Did you attend the Payson Salmon Supper? What did you think? Will you be attending next year? Do you plan on attending Payson Onion Days at the end of the month? What are you most looking forward to? 

Let us know in the comments below! (Or tell us on Facebook!)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekend Roundup

It's the second week of August and school starts again soon! If it feels like summer went by way too fast, we agree! Now we're determined to get as much as we can out of the remaining days of summer!

This weekend, get ready for a S'mores Party at Utah Lake on Saturday Night (August 9th, 6-10 pm) hosted by Macey's and the Utah Lake State Park. Bring your favorite S'mores recipes and come spend an evening around the campfire.

Other activities will include a paddle board competition and a scavenger hunt. Admission is free!

One of the best parts of living in Utah is spending the summer at all of the festivals throughout the state!

This weekend, you can choose from celebrating Alpine City Days, Lindon City Days, or Salem Days! See what each of these fun and unique Utah Valley cities have to offer!

And last but certainly not least, Seven brides for Seven Brothers is playing at the SCERA Shell theater! If you're a fan of musicals (or you're just in the mood for a rip roarin good time while you watch the attempts of Millie, a young bride eager to civilize and marry off her six rowdy brothers-in-law).

And guess what! We're giving away another 2 tickets to the show! Enter the contest below by midnight on Sunday for your chance to win! (Winner to be contacted on Monday).