Where to Eat in Salt Lake City, and Why

India House dishes are beautifully presented.
India House dishes are sensational.

We stumbled upon India House in Sandy, Utah via one of those restaurant business card displays you often see in hotel lobbies.  They were offering a 10 or 15 percent discount, so we thought we’d give it a try.  Sandy is about 15 minutes south of downtown Salt Lake City.

If you are traveling along the I-15 corridor in Utah you will find a lot of chain hotels and franchise restaurants.  Think Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, or Chili’s.  At home and when traveling, we prefer small, local, ethnic restaurants, whether Thai, Afghan, Indian, Mexican, or whatever.

India House is an unassuming family run restaurant, with the most diverse selection of naan I have ever seen.  They run a lunch buffet on weekdays for $8.99, including soup, salad, dessert and an array of fragrant vegetarian selections and chicken kormas.  You can also order from the menu.  The dishes are flavorful and reasonably priced.

I can recommend the Peshwari Naan — a homemade bread with a marzipan like filling.  The lamb saag and butter chicken are delightful too.

But don’t take my word for it — read the reviews on Yelp here.

India House has two other things to recommend it:

1) It is part of at the Rewards Dining program — allowing you to earn frequent flyer miles for eating out.

2) It is next door to an eclectic antique consignment shop — really 20 shops in one as they rent space to various vendors.

Earn 2,500 Delta SkyMiles Miles for Eating at India House in Salt Lake City

It was a great surprise to discover that we had earned United Mileage Plus  frequent flyer miles for our lunch at India House.  This restaurant participates in the Rewards Dining network.  You can register to earn miles with your choice of frequent flyer programs.

Early in the year is a good time to take advantage of bonus offers for signing up with various Rewards Dining programs.  Different airlines have different offers.  The most lucrative offer right now for new sign-ups is with the Delta Skymiles rewards dining program.

New members of the Delta Rewards Dining program earn 2,500 bonus miles after spending $30 at a participating restaurant. Register by March 1, 2015.

Salt Lake City is a Delta hub so 2,500 Skymiles could come in handy.

Sandy Antiques Mall
Sandy Antique Mall
Photo by Joel Shprentz

Sandy Antique Mall

India House Restaurant and Sandy Antiques Mall
India House Restaurant and Sandy Antiques Mall

The Sandy Antique Mall is next door to India House.  It’s an agglomeration of several buildings that seem to go on forever.

Vendors specializing in everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to antique furniture and gadgets have “booths” here.

It’s fun to browse because you never know what you might find.

Many of the restaurants in the Rewards Dining program are unremarkable but India House is definitely worth seeking out.

Do you participate in the Rewards Dining programs?

Five Fun Things to Do with Teens and Tweens in Salt Lake City

Tracy AviaryTeens and tweens can be tough customers to please on a family vacation.  We are back from a week in Salt Lake City where we discovered some fun attractions that appeal to this age set.

Salt Lake City and Utah in general are an outdoor lover’s paradise — but these suggestions mostly focus on quirky attractions of the urban variety.

The Tracy Aviary  

We enjoyed a stroll through this bird zoo at the southeast corner of Liberty Park.  Liberty Park is an 80 acre retreat  in Salt Lake City that offers all manner of outdoor recreation.  The Tracy Aviary displays 400 birds representing about 135 different species in a tranquil wooded setting.

The Aviary is an old-time zoo with large, attractive enclosures.  Our teen was captivated by the strange, beautiful and diverse birds on display.  Plan about an hour for a visit.  If your family includes younger children, they might enjoy the retro amusement rides,including a ferris wheel, adjacent to the aviary.

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Part 3: Check Inn to 20 to 40 Percent Savings with CLC Lodging

Check Inn CLC Lodging

If you’ve ever wished your small business could take advantage of the discounts on lodging that big corporations negotiate with hotels . . . you may be in luck!

If you have a small business credit card such as one of the Chase Ink MasterCards, there’s a little known benefit that can save you 20 to 40 percent on lodging costs.

I stumbled upon several seldom-publicized travel savings opportunities which I discuss in a three-part series of articles.

Part 1: Visa SavingsEdge

Part 2:  MasterCard Easy Savings

Part 3:  Check Inn – CLC Lodging

The MasterCard Easy Savings program offers cash rebates for certain everyday business purchases.  You need to register your business MasterCard (such as the Chase Ink credit cards) in advance.

One of the most attractive benefits of the EasySavings program is free membership in the Check Inn Card program run by CLC Lodging.

This program offers pre-negotiated “corporate discounts” of 20-40 percent on lodging with 17,000 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s How it Works:

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How I Saved $1200 on a Roundtrip Ticket

Last week, I needed to book a roundtrip flight from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Washington, DC (IAD) in a big hurry and airfares were through the roof:  $1297 on United Airlines to be precise.

No way, Jose!  Instead, I purchased the “economy” class ticket for 37,500 United Mileage Plus miles, a $7.50 fee, and a $75 close-in booking charge.

I “earned” the miles by opening a United Mileage Plus credit card with Chase Bank, by   accumulating some frequent flyer miles from a few long-distance flights.

Dulles International Airport Image by Metropolitan Washington  Airport Authority
Dulles International Airport
Image by Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

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Old World Luxury on Priceline – Part 2: Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City

This mini-series explores stellar properties available through Priceline’s opaque bidding process.  

Part 1:  The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Part 2:  Little America -Salt Lake City, Utah

Part 3:  Destination Resort Overlooking the Hudson River, Tarrytown, NY

There are no guarantees in life, and certainly no guarantees on Priceline, but if you do your research you can often land a very good deal at a top-rated luxury property.

Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City
Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City

The Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City is one such gem that frequently pops up on Priceline for the lowly price of $53 per night.  

This is probably the classiest hotel I have ever stayed in.

The corridor walls are covered in brocade fabric.  There is a large fireplace in the wood-paneled central lobby and there are several elegant shops.

The rooms are enormous and comfortable, with real wood furniture, real wool carpets, and beautiful draperies and upholstery.  There is a dressing table and an enormous tiled bathroom with a large tub and a separate shower.  Rooms with king sized beds have a separate living room area.  It is just a very classy place.

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Romancing the Triple Bump

The Sundance Film Festival was wrapping up in late January and the Salt Lake City (SLC) Airport was swamped. My United Airlines flight to Washington Dulles (IAD) was booked solid and the gate agent was looking for a volunteer to give up their seat.  Usually when these opportunities arise I am too busy to take advantage…but this time I had some flexibility.

Salt Lake Plaza Hotel
View of Temple Square from Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

I volunteered my seat and the agent booked me on the same flight the next day.  She issued me a voucher for $400 good for future travel on United, $20 in food vouchers, and booked a hotel reservation at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Angling for Last Minute Rental Cars on Priceline

In January, I found myself stranded in the Salt Lake City (SLC) airport.  My flight was massively delayed, and I had free time on a snowy day.    I wanted to get up to the mountains, so a four wheel drive rental car was in order.

I have often snagged great last-minute hotel deals bidding on Priceline, but had never tried for a car at the last minute.  With “name your own price” hotel rooms, you can bid up until 11:59 pm on the night you want to stay.  I have literally placed late night bids from the parking lot of a hotel and even from the business center in the lobby.

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