destination: Maine

I was in Boston for work and got this crazy idea to stay an extra day, rent a car and spend a day driving through New England. To pack in as much as humanly possible, I decided to drive a huge loop and see New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all in one day. I drove through beautiful forests and quaint New England towns, but the highlight of the trip was in Maine, where I stopped to see this great lighthouse out on a small island. It was my first time in Maine and it was just how I imagined it should be. It was only about 10:00 in the morning, but I was not going to leave Maine without trying some of their famous lobster. Lucky for me, there was a little seafood shack right next to the lighthouse, and so I ordered a whole Maine lobster and bowl of Lobster Bisque and ate them at a picnic table overlooking the lighthouse. The lobster bisque was rich and creamy with delicious little pieces of fresh lobster. It was still early in the morning, so the sun was hitting the ocean just perfectly and I just sat there memorized, watching the waves crash against the rocks as I ate. Definitely not your average breakfast, but it was absolutely delicious and for me the perfect meal to capture the essence of Maine.

—Zupas Aficinado


soda selection

When it comes to choosing the perfect beverage to accompany a delicious lunch, variety becomes a must. My personal favorite Diet Dr. Pepper...found only at three restaurants in Utah Valley, including Zupas. (trust me, I've been looking hard) My sister was pleasantly surprised when we had lunch the other day at Zupas and she found her favorite drink, Crystal Light. That mixed with a bit of Sprite had her on cloud nine. Cafe Zupas seems to take the cake when it comes to drink selection. Cheers!




I have yet to visit another restaurant that serves you a complimentary delicious dessert with every meal you order. One of the many reasons I love the Zupas experience!



FYI: herbs de provence

-Herbs de provence is a mixture of dried herbs from Provence (Southern France) invented in the 1970s.
-The mixture typically contains rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, thyme, and sometimes lavender flowers and other herbs. Thyme usually dominates the taste produced by the herb mixture.
-Herbes de Provence are used to flavor grilled foods such as fish and meat, as well as vegetable stews.
-The mixture can be added to foods before or during cooking or mixed with cooking oil prior to cooking so as to infuse the flavour into the cooked food.
-They are rarely added after cooking is complete.

This is one of my favorite spice blends to use. The combination of perfectly paired herbs allows you to get more bang for your buck. Herbs de Provence is one of those items I always like to have on hand.
-Zupas Aficinado


destination: Amsterdam

For me, Amsterdam is the most European of the famous European Capitals. Maybe it’s because it combines so many of the best attributes of its more famous cousins: the canals of Venice, the side-walk cafes of Paris, the architecture of London, and the reserved sophistication of Berlin. You could say it’s unlike any other European city and at the same time, just like every other European city. I had been here twice before and was captivated by the city and especially with the artwork of the Dutch Masters (My absolute favorite is “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt). I couldn’t wait to see it again, but since it was spring, we decided to first spend a day in Dutch countryside visiting its famous tulip fields. With rows of flowers as far as you can see—they seem too beautiful to be real. It’s as if you are in a painting and the artist has surrounded you with the most beautifully vibrant colors. The only reality check came for the constant rain. So, when we got back to Amsterdam we were cold, hungry and looking for something to warm to eat. Earlier, we had seen a small soup café and it seemed the perfect remedy. I had a delicious pea soup and it really hit the spot. For me, it was the epitome of Amsterdam, because it tasted like soup I had eaten so many times before, but at the same time it was like no other soup I had ever tasted. What a great way to end a great day in the European city that is Amsterdam.

—Zupas Aficinado


recipe: grilled pineapple

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
1 large ripe pineapple
1/4 cup minced fresh mint

Whisk first 3 ingredients in large glass baking dish. Peel pineapple; cut crosswise into 6 rounds. Remove core; discard. Add pineapple to dish; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove pineapple from marinade (reserve marinade). Grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to serving dish. Pour reserved marinade over. Sprinkle with mint. Serve warm or chilled.

This recipe reminds me of having this dish at a backyard barbecue while living in Hawaii. I quickly learned that the grill isn't just for meat...this pineapple was delicious! To top it off, the grilled pineapple was served with a scoop of macadamia nut ice cream. Now that's how you do dessert in the summer.
-Zupas Aficinado



technique: cutting a pineapple



FYI: asparagus


-There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius's third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III.
-Asparagus is a vegetable native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
-Asparagus originates from the ancient Greek or Persian word “asparag” which means sprout. It was given this name because it is one of the earliest , if not the earliest , harvestable fresh vegetable in many parts of the world.
- Three seasons pass before the asparagus plant can be harvested. In its first season of growth, a crown forms with six inches of root. In the second season, the crown grows into a fern. Asparagus can be harvested in its third year, and reaches its prime after 6-8 years, when it can yield as much as one to two tons per acre when grown commercially.
- The asparagus plant is a member of the lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic.

Stay tuned for a fantastic Spring Asparagus Soup recipe that will be featured in our restaurant.


destination: Northern California

According to Gourmet Magazine and the International Culinary Travel Association, California is the top destination for travelers whose vacation plans include food festivals, wine tours, and other culinary pursuits. 

Culinary activities include but are not limited to cooking classes, dining at some of the most highly regarded restaurants in America, visiting farmers markets, gourmet food shopping and attending food festivals. Wine activities included touring a winery, driving a wine trail, tasting locally made wines and attending wine festivals.

My vote for making the most out of a culinary trip to Northern California lies at the
CIA (Culinary Institute of America). Here you can tour their teaching kitchens which are among the finest professional education facilities in the world offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, minutes from world-class vineyards and some of the best dining experiences you may ever have. Plan in advance and make reservations at one of their world renowned restaurants and don't miss out on an opportunity to take a culinary class from the finest professionals in the industry. 


recipe: avocado mango salsa

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, diced
1 tomato, seeded, diced
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño chili, minced
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, diced

Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl. (Can be made 3 hours ahead; refrigerate.)
Stir in diced avocado and season to taste with salt and pepper.


technique: cutting an avocado



H: Herbs

In my opinion...nothing will change your cooking
more than fresh herbs.

The use of herbs and spices date back prior to recorded history. Many early records reveal a mixture of medicinal and magical uses for herbs. But herbs were also used to mask unpleasant household odors and to enhance the taste of dull foods. The use of culinary herbs is a feature in one of the first recorded cookbooks from the first century epicure, Apicius. In England (1699), John Evelyn wrote Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets which went into great detail of 73 salad herbs and their uses.

Today there has been a great surge of renewed awareness in herbs. A revival of the culinary arts and various ethnic cuisine has prompted new interest. Health conscious cooks have found that herbs contain no calories or fat - a fact of great importance to those on weight loss diets. Doctors even recommend the use of herbs and spices in salt-restricted diets to enhance flavor without adding sodium content. Adventurous cooks have found that raising their own herbs can be quite fulfilling as a hobby with the end results in cooking as just an added bonus.


Top Ten

With spring comes warmer weather, more hours of daylight, and a variety of fresh ingredients — all of which makes us want to start cooking with fresh ingredients again. We've come up with a list of our top ten spring ingredients. Look for these to start popping up in your local grocery store, or better yet...on our menu. Bon Appetit!
1. Asparagus
2. Strawberries
3. Apricots
4. Peas
5. Rhubarb
6. Spring greens
7. Artichokes
8. Avocados
9. Grapefruit
10. Leeks



Spring has Sprung...almost

Although the calendar date reads April 1st, it feels like December 1st! I don't know about you, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of getting excited for Spring cooking. Each time I went to the grocery store (which was often) this past week, the anticipation would build up as I would walk through those electric doors hoping to see a produce section full of beautiful bright spring fruits and vegetables. The result: not the picture perfect image I'd imagined in my head, but what I did find was beautiful asparagus; both baby and fully mature stalks. This sparked interest and I did a little research on this delectable spring delight.