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Hotel Utah next week, Joanna Karlinsky's Meetinghouse biscuits fresh from her hands to your mouth

Eric Wolf | May 16, 200306:52 PM

Like many of you, the Hotel Utah Saloon has been on my "gotta try" list for quite some time since Joanna Karlinsky took over the kitchen. And whoah, by making it down today, did I ever pick the right time to fill up on Meetinghouse biscuits and ham-hock/blackeyedpea-stew, because today the owner, Joanna K. was indeed doing all the cooking! (I'm told Joanna Karlinsky, also owner of The Meetinghouse, is not usually the actual hands-on cook in the kitchen, although, maybe that will change after the Meetinghouse closes its doors.) AND it was further (conspiratorally) whispered to me that she will be found doing the cooking for next week, as well. So, I advise those chowhounds who have had Hotel Utah on their "gotta try" lists to run on down there this next week. It'll be the perfect time to follow up on all those recent Meetinghouse Biscuit posts. If I'm not mistaken, it is Joanna who is the genius behind the Meetinghouse Biscuits, so to have them lovingly crafted from her hand to your mouth should be quite the treat. Not to mention the bowl-over charm of seeing a lady obviously in love with good "haute"-soul food come sweeping out of the kitchen to personally serve hot plates to customers. I sat and watched her present a quesadilla to a woman at the bar with all the eager charm of a first-year cooking student. I doubt I'll ever forget that moment. I wanted to rush over and shake the woman and shout, "this is a celebrated chef! a biscuit genius! you can't know how lucky you are! people travel miles to buy her frozen doughs!" Sigh, isn't it always a memorable treat to watch famous people come and lavish honest attentions on the mouths they feed? I just love seeing great people be adorable and geniune and delightful. It gave me a whole new meaning to getting my money's worth and the good value of a meal, truly important in this economy.

Some advice: sit at the side of the bar that overlooks the kitchen and you've got a great view inside. Also, take advantage of the surprisingly high-end red wines you'll find sitting on those grungy-but-cool shelves behind the bar (another benefit of being owned by folks from the Meetinghouse). And lastly, don't be surprised if Joanna comes over to see how your food is (I'm still suicidal I didn't prepare any brilliant food questions). This is one chef who is just shockingly accessible ...

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