With Antelope Island quickly fading in our rearview, we were fast on our way to Salt Lake City, Utah and on to one of Devon’s must see spots, Buds. For months & months I’ve had to listen to Devon and our friend Lisa drone on & on about a vegan buffalo sandwich from Buds in SLC. So much so, that I feared the anticipation of this sandwich would be greater than the actual product. Devon drove will excitement while I read the map with fingers crossed that we wouldn’t be disappointed.
The highways in and around Salt Lake City are both massive & intimidating. They are not for the weak of heart. Moving quickly through the mid morning traffic we searched for this eatery. Buds is actually quite small, with no indoor seating. If you didn’t know where it was, you’d never know it was there or exactly what kind of establishment it is. Buds blends in well with the surrounding buildings, inhabiting one of the beautiful refurbished red brick store fronts. The place isn’t hidden but it’s also not advertising itself with a sandwich board on the sidewalk. It seems to be one of those underground, word of mouth vegan eateries, hiding in plain sight amongst the Mormon schools & book stores. Finally, we see it on the corner of a side street & we start looking for parking. Oddly enough, we find a spot not 10 feet down the road & snap it up before anyone else can.
Walking with purpose toward Buds, there’s a familiar glow around Devon… the kind she gets when she’s near red rock, Moab or really awesome vegan food. Struggling to keep up with her, we finally make it to the door. She pulls the door open with the biggest grin across her face. She doesn’t need to look at the menu, she knows exactly what she wants even before we left for this road trip. The lady at the counter is very bubbly, with a polite demeanour. I never know if people can tell if we’re travelling, Canadian or both. She asks us how our morning is going & we both say good. Devon places our order of two buffalo sandwiches to go & I grab a Hansen’s Natural Grape Soda and start our way back outside to wait for our food.
There were a few people enjoying their food in the outdoor seating, but we chose to stand on the sidewalk & wait. I can actually see Devon vibrating with excitement over this sandwich. After a quick check in with home, via email, we were greeted by the same cheerful woman with our food all wrapped up and ready to go. I think it took all the will power in Devon to not jump up & down and do a happy dance when she was handed her sandwich. Deciding it best to go back to our car and eat while sitting on the grass, we made our way back around the corner and plopped down with our substantial sustenance wrapped smartly in tinfoil.
Seated side by side, we both sniff the package of awesome held in our hands. The savoury spices permeate our nostrils with such invitation to chomp down that I was surprised we both found the time to unwrap the sandwich first. It looks like a decent sandwich, one which we’ve attempted to replicate at home. Since I’ve never actually tasted this sandwich, each attempt made in our kitchen tasted amazing to me. I watched Devon as she opened her sandwich slowly and inspected its perfection. Taking photos of both the sandwich & her diving into it, I was amused to see her enjoyment when she announced (through food) that it did, in fact, taste the same. Now it was my turn. Taking my first bite, I was met with amazing flavour packed in a crispy baguette. We spent the next few minutes quietly enjoying our sandwiches while trying to figure out what exactly the contents of it were. I can tell you that it contains fresh house made coleslaw mixed with Ranch dressing & Frank’s Red Hot Sauce as a base for its buffalo sauce. After that, your guess is as good as mine.
I can also tell you that it is every bit as awesome as Devon & Lisa swore. Should you find yourself in Salt Lake City, vegan & hungry… look up Buds and enjoy! Even if you’re not vegan, you should still do yourself a kindness and try it.