Last week I attended a special event dinner at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill at The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City. The dinner theme centered on Tequila, and included a four-course meal and three tequila pairings.
The first course was a shrimp and rock fish ceviche served on what was similar to a fried won ton. I didn’t know it at the time, but other than dessert, this was my favorite part of the meal. We managed to talk the waiter into giving us a second helping. The tequila pairing with the starter was a Herradura Blanco Sangrita. Made with 100% blue agave, Herradura is barreled for over two years, making it exceptionally fine-tasting tequila.
The second course was a spicy walnut spinach salad, followed by the main course of braised pork served with fresh tortillas. Topping off a delicious meal was the Ancho Chile Chocolate crème brûlée paired with a hot chocolate combined with Herradura Anejo. Both the food and tequila pairings were excellent. When I dine out, I’m always impressed by a chef who comes out to meet the people they are feeding. Chef Sam Lubing stopped by our table and I shared my favorite parts of the meal and encouraged him to put the special event Crème Brule on the regular menu.
The event went off without a hitch and the other patrons seemed to enjoy the food as much as we did. The restaurant had invited Ben Wolfe, whose title is Certified Specialist of Spirits, to be on hand to help educate us on the tequila pairings accompanying the dinner. After sensing my skepticism, Ben assured me it was a legitimate title that required rigorous testing for certification. I know lots of folks who would have enjoyed those tests. During the meal, Ben visited each table and answered questions from the event patrons. He was knowledgeable and friendly and made what could have been a routine event dinner more enjoyable.
Z’Tejas staff was efficient, friendly, and informative. When I asked for the recipe for the Dobel Diamond Smash served with the salad, Colter, the bar manager, came right over and provided it to me. We chatted about the recipe and he informed me that he had formulated each of the drinks for the evening to go with the dishes.
Whether you are in Salt Lake on a ski vacation or dining as a local, check to see if there are special dining events like the tequila dinner I attended at Z’Tejas. Their next upcoming event is on New Year’s Eve. It can be a fun way to try new restaurants, new food, new libations and to meet new friends.
Maile Keone is an entrepreneur, writer and traveler. She currently works in the ski vacation industry helping people stay in cool places.