UTAH (ABC4) – In recent years, food blogging has grown in popularity as social media use has ramped up. It’s no secret that food is universally loved. Food bloggers around the globe acknowledge that appreciation and make a point to pay recognition to the best-of-the-best in terms of restaurants, cafés, and all venues food-related. Food blogging is a common practice in big cities, but what about in smaller, more rural areas? According to one Utah food blogger dubbed ‘Mile High Food Fairy’ on Instagram, “there are actually a ton of food bloggers in Utah.”
Thirty-one-year-old Amber is a Utah-based “tooth fairy by day, food fairy by night” as noted in her Instagram bio. When she’s not treating children as a pediatric dentist, Amber is roving the Beehive State to unveil its hidden gems — foodie edition. With a following of over 50,000, it’s safe to say that Amber is a successful self-made food critic. Her page showcases top-quality photos of everything from ice cream and donuts to Mexican street corn and thick, sloppy burgers. After just one look, your mouth will be watering.
When speaking to Amber, ABC4 was eager to find out what her favorite places to eat in Utah are.
“I’m a big fan of Thai and Indian food, and I love desserts.” Amber noted Baan Thai at the Traverse Outlets in Lehi as her favorite Thai joint, while Little India, a fairly new restaurant in American Fork, is her favorite Indian spot right now.
“In terms of desserts, Doki Doki in Salt Lake is my favorite. They do these Japanese-style desserts, like crepe cakes made of 20 thin layers of crepes. They have this passion fruit one that’s amazing. They also do soft-serve ice cream with taiyaki, a fish-shaped soft waffle.” Other dessert spots Amber loves include MoMo’s Gourmet Cheesecakes in Provo, Spilled Milk in Salt Lake, and Pie Flight in Salt Lake.
For the best breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in the Salt Lake area, Amber says Dali Crepes is her go-to for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. “He does breakfast crepes and savory crepes, there’s a chicken alfredo crepe that’s really really good. It’s a cute place in general.”
For dinner, Sapa Sushi takes the cake. “Sapa is my favorite sushi restaurant by far.” Amber highlights a few other spots she felt deserved recognition, like Skewered Thai across from Trolley Square, and Hero Hotpot in Chinatown. “I feel like it’s the most authentic hotpot place in Utah.” Outside of SLC, Amber says the queso tacos from La Casa Del Tamal in West Valley City are a must-try.
Following food talk, Amber went on to share how her blog came to be. Back-track four years ago, Amber had just moved to New York City for a year’s stint and was becoming familiar with the foodie scene. From there, she started small by taking her own food pictures and posting them to her personal Instagram page. “I was using Yelp a lot too and became Yelp Elite, so I started doing some food and restaurant reviews and began taking more pictures, trying to make them look all pretty and posting them to my personal account,” she said.
The city-dweller found herself trying new restaurants based on NYC foodie accounts she followed. “That’s how I was finding places to go in New York.”
After her stay in the Big Apple, Amber transitioned to Denver, Colo. for two years. “While I was there, my friends were pushing me to create a separate Instagram for my food posts,” she shared. In the end, Amber had to be persuaded by one of her friends to make the food page, which her friend had told her she’d help run. “She actually created the account, but it just became my account only. Basically, someone else had to create it for me,” she laughed.
The inspiration for her account’s name, @milehighfoodfairy, comes from Amber’s profession as a pediatric dentist and her home in Denver, the ‘Mile High City’ when she created the page. “I just never ended up switching the name when I moved to Utah,” she explained.
Amber has been a Utah resident for two years now and has had her food account for around four years. “I had about 10,000 followers when I moved to Utah. Once I moved, I lost a lot of Denver followers but gained a lot of Utahns, as I was posting more Utah-based content. My page really started to grow once I started to recycle my TikToks onto my Instagram. I feel like Instagram reels mirror early TikTok, and people like that. By February, my page had really exploded.”
Anyone sifting through Amber’s foodie account will notice her immaculate photography skills. When asked if she has any photography experience she replied, “No, zero experience. I just got a couple of photography books, watched some YouTube videos, and just played around with my Canon camera and just kinda figured out what worked. Even when using my phone camera I always just try to capture what looks visually appealing.”
So, what goes on behind the scenes? Amber explained that she usually goes on her food expeditions by herself, though her friends do join in sometimes. “They’ll play my hand models,” she joked.
Before leaving Amber, we asked her what her blog has done for her personally. She divulged that she’s gained a great sense of community and belonging through her Instagram.
“I think the biggest thing it’s done for me is connect me with new people. Whether it be other foodies in the foodie community, or just getting to know business owners and learning about their backgrounds and their stories. I’ve become friends with the owner of Doki Doki for example… So yeah, the coolest part is just getting to know these awesome people that own these awesome local shops and getting to form relationships with them, and then also getting to know other food bloggers too… That’s a big part too because I feel like as an adult it can be a lot harder to make friends, I mean you’re not in college anymore. So, through the foodie community, we all have something in common. We love food and we love supporting local businesses and that brings us together.”