J.Wong’s Thai & Chinese Bistro – J. Wong’s Thai & Chinese Bistro, located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, invites the community to help usher in the year of the sheep on February 21st and again on February 27th (7 p.m. each night). Each night the eatery will host a lion dance, presented by Sil Lum Kung Fu Kwoon of Salt Lake City.
As with all holidays, Chinese new year traditions vary from family to family. In the Wong family, they are proud to celebrate their Chinese heritage, but recognize that growing up in Thailand also informs their traditions. “Our mother’s family is Chinese from Thailand, so our tradition and culture might be a lot different than other Chinese from Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China,” says Jordan Wong, general manager of J. Wong’s Thai and Chinese Bistro. He says their family’s Chinese new year traditions are very simple and involve many of the fresh start ideas of the calendar new year. In preparation, they clean their house and on their new year’s eve, they feast with family. On Chinese new year’s day, they wear new clothes, resolve to be peaceful and patient with one another, and gift red envelopes filled with money to the family’s children and single adults. And then they feast again.
On Chinese new year’s day, they share a feast rich in tradition that seeks to bring balance, luck and wealth in the new year. They prepare whole poached chicken to represent the sky, a whole roasted pig to represent the earth and whole fish to represent water; using the entire chicken, pig and fish is important because it represents wholeness and unity. They also enjoy a favorite family “longevity” noodle dish; the long noodles representing a long life. This year, the menu offerings at J. Wong’s will include whole red snapper in Chinese garlic sauce, slow roasted pork and longevity lo mein. And they share symbolic fruits: apples for peace and golden oranges for prosperity. While the feast literally and symbolically fills them with all of the good things for the coming year, Chinese new year historically includes a few traditions for driving out bad luck as well.
Loud noises, ferocious creatures and the color red are all thought to scare away demons and bad luck. Firecrackers scare the bad spirits from their hiding places and brightly colored lions, dancing to the beat of loud drums, chase them away. This is especially important in the year of the sheep. A sheep year is a time to heal and values intimacy, family and close friends, themes the Wong family try to embrace every day at their restaurant.
163 W 200 S #101, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Mandarin – Ring in the year of the sheep at the Mandarin restaurant in Bountiful as well. This two-week celebration runs from Thursday, February 19th through Thursday, March 5th. The lively and colorful traditional lion dance will be performed by an 8-person troop with a spectacular performance at 6.00 p.m. on February 23rd and March 3rd. The lion makes its way through the Mandarin interacting with guests, eating lettuce for good luck and blessing the kitchen. Reservations are accepted for 8 or more people. Parties fewer than 8 may call ahead and have their name placed on the waiting list.
In addition to the regular dinner menu, a special Chinese New Year Menu for parties of 4 or more people will be offered, priced $20 per person. Chinese new year menu includes:
Chicken soong imperial lettuce wrap
Salmon spring roll with sambal aioli
Chicken creamed corn or hot sour soup
Beef with asparagus
Orange chicken noodle
Eight treasure vegetable
Steamed white and brown rice
House-made ice cream pair: lychee-rasperry and Saigon cinnamon
Cookie of good fortune
348 E 900 N, Bountiful, UT 84010
Shallow Shaft – Food and wine lovers should join Peri Ermidis (wine coordinator) and the Shallow Shaft restaurant in Alta, as they welcome back wine maker Jon Grant of Couloir and Straight Line Wines. A close friend of the restaurant, Jon returns with several vintages near and dear to both his heart and the restaurant’s wine list.
Jon specializes in handcrafted, vineyard designated Pinot Noir with a singular sense of place and time. The winemaking is deliberately minimalist; the intention is to support the wines while they convey their unique place of origin, vintage and variety.
A former wine store manager at Snowbird Ski Resort, Jon’s passion for mountaineering and skiing brought him all over the world. Before starting his own labels he worked in the cellars of many of Napa Valley’s top wineries, including Turley Wine Cellars, PlumpJack Winery, Corison Wines and Robert Mondavi Winery.
Chef Kurtis Krause will be offering a five course meal designed to showcase Jon’s variety of Pinot Noirs. In addition to three distinct Pinot Noirs, Shallow Shaft will be pouring both his Straight Line Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc.
Jon will be on hand to introduce each wine and answer any questions. Dinner starts at 6:30pm on Wednesday, February 25th. Cost is $95 per person ($45 for food, $50 for wine pairings), with additional glass pours available. Menu for the evening is as follows:
* Seafood bouillabaisse
* 2010 Straight Line Sauvignon Blanc
* Grilled romaine w/ wild boar bacon, preserved peach balsamic vinaigrette, toasted walnuts
* 2011 Straight Line Tempranillo
* Hickory smoked king salmon w/ trumpet royale, beurre rouge, potato galette
* 2012 Straight Line Pinot Noir-Marin County
* Dark cherry sorbet
* Venison osso bucco w/ pinot Noir risotto, baby carrot, dried grapes
* 2011 Couloir Pinot Noir-Londer Valley Vineyard
* Poached pear w/ sweet cream and shaved chocolate
* $20 optional pour – 2012 Couloir Pinot Noir-Campbell Ranch Vineyard
10199 East Highway 210, Alta, UT 84092
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.