As I sat down to write this review, it occurred to me that I've done quite a few lunches lately for this column, including this week's effort, a visit to Salt Lake's Lunaberry.
There are a couple of reasons for this, mostly related to the time of year. It's harder to bundle up and haul my toasty-warm self outside in the cold, dark night, which seems to start at about 5 p.m. these days. Also, I tend to dash out alone in the evenings to do Thanksgiving/holiday shopping, which kills a lot of possible dinner times. Besides which, thanks to the many obligations associated with this time of year, date night with my husband hasn't exactly been regular.
But we do manage to sneak out for lunch, and with only one kid in tow it's ALMOST a date. The frequency of lunches lately, however, has me thinking it might be good to outline the differences between lunch and dinner when dining out.
First, there's price. Many of your nicer, sit-down places raise prices at dinner (and, presumably, provide larger portions, though not always). Menus may be more extensive at dinnertime, and lunchtime staples like sandwiches may not be found on the evening menu.
Also, the ambience at some restaurants changes dramatically from day to night: from brisk, bright and businesslike to slowed-down, social and even romantic.
The only thing that might change at Lunaberry at night is the crowd. The dining space, painted in shades of sky blue, raspberry, mango and apple green with groovy translucent tables, would still be bright and energizing. There's not much you could do to the simple menu, which consists of crepes, frozen yogurt and beverages.
But in contrast to the groups of women and the occasional business person who stopped in for lunch, I'm picturing evenings of teens and twenty-somethings out on the town stopping in for dessert and coffee. Probably families drop in during the in both day and early evening for the healthy, kid-friendly food.
At lunch, my husband had the pineapple ham savory crepe, a flavor-filled combination of honey-cured ham, pineapple, bell peppers, onion, cheese and mango yogurt sauce. His wheat crepe was lightly crisped on the outside and neatly folded to keep in the fillings. I had the mango chicken crepe, a simpler but no less flavorful mix of chicken, mango, spinach, cheese and mango yogurt sauce.
We also tried a couple of dessert crepes. I wanted the crepe filled with orange, grapefruit, yogurt and powdered sugar, but it was not available. Instead, we had the "dark chocolate" crepe filled with oozy semi-sweet chocolate, bananas, strawberries and almonds; plus the "very berry" crepe with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, yogurt and dark chocolate.
Due to the generous amounts of super-fresh fruit in the dark chocolate crepe, it actually tasted less chocolatey than the berry version, whose dark, sweet-and-sour tastes accented the chocolate's fruity finish. Both were delicious and rich and good for sharing.
We also tried the frozen yogurt, which is as "yogurt-y" if you'll allow the expression, as any I've tasted. It's fresh, tart and unadorned save the addition of peach and mango flavors and any toppings diners like. On the mild peach variety, we had chocolate crispy rice cereal and strawberries, and on the more strongly flavored mango, pineapple and glistening, dark-red pomegranate seeds.
Savory crepes $5-$6; dessert crepes $4.50-$5.50; frozen yogurt $2.50-$4.50; yogurt toppings $1 for one, $1.25 for two and $1.50 for three; smoothies and beverages $1.50-$4.50.
Where: 358 S. 700 East
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: On the Web at www.lunaberry.com; catering with live crepe-making available
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: email@example.com