SLC residents may be familiar with well-known bakeries Tulie, Gourmandise, or Les Madelines, but this may be the best SLC bakery that you have never heard of….until now of course. Awesome food can stir up strong emotions and feelings in one’s self. I’ve had many spiritual experiences involving food in this town. I think that is what chef Adalberto Diaz was thinking of when he came up with the name Fillings and Emulsions. Was he channeling his inner Bee Gees, or his inner chef? I’m guessing the latter, because Diaz has created truly extraordinary delights that had me returning 4 hours later for more!
Odds are you won’t happen to drive by Fillings and Emulsions. It is tucked away between Main St. and State St. just West of Salt Lake Community College in the Liberty Wells area. Strolling up and walking into the bakery, I knew that I was in for a treat. FE (Spanish for “faith”) has a modest size display case with a huge kitchen in the back where all the magic happens. They don’t try to mass produce medium quality creations and then leave them for days in the display case until they sell like other places.
FE provides a selection of scones, coffeecakes, brioche, custards, tarts, cheesecakes, breads, scones, and macarons. You can see the entire menu with the different flavors here. I went with a scone, brioche, coffeecake, macaron and a bourbon pecan pie. I was pretty excited with my selection that I got to go, and felt like a train robber holding a bag of gold coins as I made my way to my car. It was a tough decision, eat all the evidence, or take them home and share with my wife and kids. hahaha
This tart looks like a million dollars and tastes like a billion. It was a glorious mix of everything amazing of a warm pecan pie all wrapped up and delivered into a little pint size wonder. Everything from the crust to the creme fraiche to the pecan stuffing was out-of-bounds awesome. I literally took the first bite, handed it off to my wife who took a bite, who then passed it around to our other kids. By the time it got back to me there were 8 eyes in the room looking up at me longing for more. Don’t go to Fillings and Emulsions without trying one of these.
I feel a bit guilty with the quality of this picture because it really doesn’t do the coffeecake justice. What I loved about this one is there was a hunk of chocolate and dulce de leche goodness on top, and then another layer that was stuck in the middle. Coffeecake is good, but there is a reason it is traditionally paired with a cup of joe. Diaz blends the ingredients in a way where everything works in amazing fashion. This is probably the best coffeecake I’ve ever had. His others flavors sound fun too; apple and orange, raspberry chocolate, and mango lime!
The scone was thick like a biscuit with delicious cranberries mixed in, but topped with a smooth orange glaze. One thing that this place does well is they offer pastries that aren’t overly rich and sweet. For this reason, my wife dubbed Fillings and Emulsions her favorite for pastries like the scone. Yes it is a pastry, but it you don’t feel like you just had dessert when you eat it.
We had a debate about which pastry was our favorite, and this was one was the winner. I loved how the sweet Guava filling mixed in with the creme cheese, all in a brioche pastry. Was thing baked in a magic oven or something? It was awesome!
Perhaps one of the funnest and most popular item on the Fillings and Emulsions menu is the macaron. I was under the false impression that the macaron was more related with the macaroon, and because I shy away from the coconut texture of the macaroon, I have really never tried macarons before. The only thing I knew about them is there is a lot of preparation work that goes into making them just right. It is not a matter of just mixing together some batter and throwing it in the oven. Macarons are almond dough based sandwich cookies that are filled with buttercream, jam, and/or meringue. Diaz has a lot of fun flavors here including passion fruit pineapple, pistachio black cherry, strawberry lemonade, dulce de leche, and marshmallow blackberry. My favorite was one he made with buttercream, it tasted just like a delicious brownie. Macarons are my new favorite little pastry.
Finally we come to what is officially my favorite thing from Fillings and Emulsions. I love the locally owned restaurant, and that is what I review 90% of the time on this site, but what I really love is a subset of the locally owned restaurant and that is when people come to Utah and bring flavors, and techniques from around the world. I would probably classify this meat pie as a sweet empanada. They were dusted with sugar, and have a flaky crust, and are then filled with a delicious ground pork. Adalberto instructed me to eat it with the sugar side down, because that is how it is supposed to be done. Remember when I talked about those spiritual experiences? That is what happened as I was wolfing down my meat pie. Absolutely glorious! Even as a write this review, my mind keeps wandering to the two extra I have stored in my refrigerator. I’m going to have them for breakfast tomorrow. Heating them up only takes 5 minutes at 350 in an oven. Keep in mind the meat pies usually aren’t ready in the morning, but Diaz usually announces they are ready on his Facebook page, and they go quick. I bought the last 4 of the day.
So there you have it. A wonderful bakery prepared by a true master of his craft. Adalberto Diaz has been doing this for over 30 years, he was even named pastry chef of the year in 2012 by the American Culinary Federation. The service and attention here are top-notch, and the pastries are in a class of their own. Come and come often, just don’t buy the last meat pie until I’ve had mine!