HEALTH & WELL
BEING Combined with RECIPE of the MONTH - August 2007
An Organically Grown Oasis
in the Desert
by Joan Gough
Owner Julie Fox
EklectiCafe is an oasis
in southeastern Utah. It comes with a refreshing water fall
and pond, exotic goods for sale that evoke the old names
of Dark Continent and Orient and mouthwatering smells that
become body and soul satisfying meals. In fact, Salt Lake
Magazine once named it The Best Oasis in the Desert.
While exotic describes the wakeme breakfast of brown rice
and seaweed, and the collectible African masks and trade
beads, homey and even nostalgic describe the Green Goddess
Dressing, the Ruben sandwich and the depression glass for
sale in the window. It is a winning combination. There is
a third aspect of the restaurant that makes it complete for
today’s customers—the techno necessities. I love
sipping a Cubano and answering my e-mail thanks to the WiFi
connection. If you don’t have your own laptop, there
is a computer you can use. On the homey side of the balance
sheet is the personable staff who are fast, friendly and
very good at their jobs.
But back to the Cubano--great hot or iced, it is two shots
of espresso with a little brown sugar, steamed evaporated
milk, topped with Mexican chocolate. This is the “Latin
Latte” as Julie describes it. Another summer favorite
is the iced white mocha.
Owner Julie Fox tells the story of the wakeme which, appropriately
enough, can be read “wake me”. “When I
was diagnosed as hypothyroid, Molly Fitzpatrick (our cook
at the time) said, ‘You need seaweed’ and she
created the wakeme with brown rice, tofu or egg, veggies
and an abundance of Nori. At first it was a special, but
people asked for it so much we made it a regular part of
story is typical of how things grow at EklectiCafe—organically.
Originally Julie opened a shop called Eklectica. She sold
coffee, some baked goods and antiques and collectibles
often gleaned as a result of her yard sale shopping habit.
The coffee has always been fair trade, organically and
shade grown. But people asked for more food and after a
couple of years, the café evolved.
Another example of this organic growth explains why you might
get a plastic orange after placing your order at the counter.
After expanding the outdoor serving area, and since people
seat themselves after ordering, a system was needed to get
the right food to the right hungry customer. Thus, the plastic
fruit. When Cheshire comes to deliver your eggs, potatoes
and toast, he just looks for the orange or calls out for
it if you have hidden yourself away in the garden.
Speaking of the garden, it’s a xeriscaped paradise
created and maintain by “the garden angel” Julia
Meyers. The butterfly bushes attract swallowtails and monarchs
in season and the red honeysuckle temps hummingbirds as does
the trumpet vine. Julia has brought together the old locals
such sunflowers and zinnias and complemented them with Japanese
maiden grass, lavender, and hosta.
Another aspect of the organic growth at Julie’s is
the menu. The current menu wouldn’t exist without the
creative genius of two former chefs, Lee Truesdell and Brittany
Sheain. Building on their legacy is Amy Stock, vegan and
vegetarian specialist, and Jesse Ferguson, comfort food and
soup master. The team is rounded out by manager Crystal Washburn,
wait staff Ali Fuller and Cheshire, pastry chef Mary Franklin
who adds vegan desserts to the menu and line cooks Jason
Millhouse and Liz Quagliaroli. There is also a silent (only
in terms of the restaurant) partner that Julie says was critical
to the café’s startup and continuation—her
husband Ken Davey who has supported her throughout the growth
of this venture.
So, the question is, “What is next in the evolution
of the EklectiCafe?” Julie speculates that after their
son Cisco is out of high school, she may add an evening meal
once a week. I can see it as the new version of a couple
of past greats, the restaurant at Pack Creek and La Cocina
here in town, where you took your chances on whatever the
cook felt like doing that night. As with those places, the
only chance you would really be taking would be on one superlative
So whether you find yourself sitting under the Japanese maple
having a Latin Latte while you check out the news of the
world on your lap top or warming up on a wintry day with
a salmon burger by the stove, you’ll find yourself
in a warm, eclectic atmosphere where the only thing better
than the exhaust smells from the kitchen is the food that
Cheshire will bring in exchange for your plastic orange.
1 glove garlic
½ C mayonnaise
½ C packed parsley leaves
½ C sour cream
¼ C green onions, chopped
1/8 C buttermilk
¼ t salt
1T dried tarragon
2 T red wine vinegar
The original green goddess contained
1 teaspoon of chopped anchovies. Another change at EklectiCafe
is to use Vegannaise to replace the mayo and milk products.