Summer is always full of food and fun. Here are some tidbits of food happenings to spice up your summer:
Hatch Family Chocolates at 376 9th Ave. in Salt Lake City is doing a free outdoor movies series in the park across the street from the chocolate shop. Next up is "The Muppets" on July 28 at 9 p.m. The popcorn is free (and you can buy sweet munchies at the chocolate shop). Check the Hatch Family Chocolates Facebook page for the rest of the summer schedule. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs to sit out on the grass (801-532-4912).
Silver Star Café at 1825 Three Kings Drive, Park City, is offering a Thursday night "Plaza Palooza" series of free, family-friendly acoustic music (folk, bluegrass, rock) on the adjoining plaza. You can buy drinks and casual food from the café. There's also a Friday night singer-songwriter series for those dining in the restaurant with the café's regular menu. See www.thesilverstarcafe.com for information.
This summer Sonic is offering half-price real ice cream shakes every day after 8 p.m. Sonic is open until midnight or later all summer long.
Brio Tuscan Grille at Fashion Place Mall lets kids under 12 eat free on Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. to close. You can get one complimentary kids meal with the purchase of an adult entrée. Kids can create their own pizza or choose pasta, salmon, chicken or a cheeseburger.
A jazz group, The Daniel Day Trio, is playing music every Wednesday night on Brio's terrace, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. See brioitalian.com for informatin.
July 20 is National Lollypop Day and See's Candies will give out free samples of their lollypops at more than 200 retail shop locations across the United States. The company is also hosting a sweepstakes to win a behind-the-scenes tour of See's Lollypop Factory in Burlingame, Calif. Consumers can enter the sweepstakes through July 22.
See's has made lollypops for the past 80 years, and sells over one million pounds of chocolate, vanilla café latte and butterscotch flavors each year.
Krispy Kreme is celebrating its 75th birthday this summer by topping its original glazed doughnuts chocolate, strawberry or white icing, rainbow sprinkles and a rosette of icing. Krispy Kreme introduced its signature sweet treats on July 13, 1937, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Wendy's recently did a national survey to find out that one in three Americans have dipped a French fry into a Wendy's Frosty. Did we really need a survey to figure this out? What's next? Therapy and "Dipster intervention?"
Panda Express is bringing back its Peppercorn Shrimp to its menu this summer, which can be paired with Shanghai Angus Steak, to create a Surf & Turf plate. Available for a limited time, both entrées are less than 250 calories each.
Texas Roadhouse's CEO, Kent Taylor, said the restaurant chain is "proud to be loud," in response to a Consumer Reports survey that named it one of the noisiest restaurant chains in America.
Conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, the survey results are based on 47,565 subscriber responses and 110,517 visits to full-service restaurant chains between April 2010 and April 2011. The results were printed in the August 2012 issue.
The survey asked diners to rate each restaurant on taste, value, service and mood. Texas Roadhouse scored well in three out of the four categories, but missed a beat in "mood" because of noise. Each location features a jukebox with country music. The staff sometimes performs line dances and celebrates guest birthdays with a loud birthday cheer.
Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor. She blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com