Myung Ga Ramen: Not Your Childhood Ramen

Myung Ga Ramen Tonkotsu Ramen

Mention the word “ramen,” and many of us will instantly have anxiety-filled memories of 10-for-$1 noodle packages at the grocery store. Your parents might have even bought a case for less than what a fast-food kid’s meal would cost.

But real ramen can be found at Japanese- or Korean-style noodle houses, like Myung Ga Ramen. It opened in February and is operated by the family behind the space’s former restaurant, Myung Ga Korean BBQ & Tofu House, which moved around the corner in late 2013.

Traditionally, ramen refers to both a dish and a process. It all starts with the delicious housemade broth. Then, a large batch of noodles is cooked and added to the broth. Veggies, meats and spices top it all off, and the final product is served to you in a steaming cauldron.

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Get Grilled at the Red Moose

Red Moose Photo #3

When the office has too many distractions and we need a quiet place to do some work, heading to a public place equipped with a Wi-Fi might be just the ticket. But if that place is a restaurant or a cafe, it sometimes means settling for either cheap fast food or overpriced pastries.

There is a place, however, where you can find an “and” solution rather than an “or” solution. Red Moose Coffee sits on a quiet corner in Sugar House, but its menu is worth making noise about. 

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Gravy Train Poutinerie: Bringing Canadian Cuisine to Salt Lake City

Gravy Train Poutinerie Truck

What are you in the mood to eat?” It’s a question that, even when we are hungry, is often followed by silence. Ultimately, we start listing genres of food: pizza, burgers, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Canadian … wait, what? Canadian? What kind of food is that—polar bear steaks and reindeer sausage covered in maple syrup? Canada is not a country we generally think of when contemplating ethnic cuisine.

There is one dish, however, that is uniquely Canadian: poutine (poo-teen), a dish of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. And just a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City, Prescott Strasters began selling poutine from Gravy Train, his formerly Los Angeles-based food truck.

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Panaderia Flores Bakery: Authentic Pastries at the other 9th & 9th

Panderia Flores Photo 1

Many Salt Lake City residents enjoy the 9th & 9th neighborhood—the intersection of 900 South and 900 East—with its shops, restaurants, bakeries and overall relaxing, eclectic atmosphere. However, you may have overlooked the wonderful bakery Panaderia Flores, because it’s found at the other 9th & 9th: 900 South and 900 West. This is also an area of shops and restaurants—many with an international flair—just two miles from the better-known coordinates.

Inside Panaderia Flores, I was hit with the most delicious aroma. The cases were packed with pastries, but nothing was labeled and there were no prices listed. Still, everything looked beautiful—and my next quandary was just how many I could eat, as the variety of pastries I purchased came to just $3.71.

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Bosna: Hearty Balkan Meals with Light Prices

Sarma: stuffed cabbage leaves with rice and ground beef

Sarma: stuffed cabbage leaves with rice and ground beef

Bosna is practically the definition of an authentic restaurant: obscure, beloved and delicious. You wouldn’t know that the building where Bosna is located is a restaurant unless you were looking for it. But on the inside of Bosna, which is now 12 years old, you’ll find a crowd watching soccer on a Croatian TV feed, and delicious, heavy food.

If you’re looking for light or pretentious food, this is not the place. But you will find hearty, filling dishes, traditionally created to make cold winters and bleak circumstances more bearable. The menu features sarma, burek, grah, gulas and—the most recognizable item—cevapi. Cevapi is a small sausage made with beef, garlic and spices, sold in carts on every streetcorner in Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia.

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Luybochka Grocery & Deli: A Small, Unpretentious Taste of Great Russian Food

Luybochka Borscht and Sandwich

In Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek, he says that “the fishing is best where the fewest go.” Whether we apply this to work or play, it’s often uplifting to get away from the crowds. This is precisely what I found at Luybochka.

Naum Shkrab has quietly run this small Russian/Eastern European grocery and Deli off of 3300 South for more than 14 years. While many restaurants go all-out with expensive décor, this is more along the no-frills style—the food commands all the attention.

Luybochka has a small menu with items such as pelmeni (meat dumplings), vereniki (potato dumplings), Russian potato salad, pirogi (bread filled with cabbage or meat), stuffed cabbage rolls, borscht and sandwiches. I ordered two pirogis, stuffed cabbage rolls, borscht and a sandwich. With the items priced as low as $1.20, it was easy to indulge.

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Luybochka on Urbanspoon

Sweet Carolina: Charlotte Rose Carolina BBQ

Carolina Rose's Sign 2

A highway drive through South Carolina’s Low Country isn’t just the means to a destination; the journey itself is an experience. You’ll pass shops, eateries and peach-cider stands. Nothing, however, stands out more than the barbecue. They know how to make it.

My nostalgia for the South is ever-present, and coming across a Carolina barbecue joint in Salt Lake City really took me back.

Charlotte Rose’s Carolina BBQ was opened in October 2013 by Trae Eller, a 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry. You can order barbecue pulled pork or pulled chicken as a sandwich or a platter. You get your choice of two sides, but I’d recommend getting them all and then calling your cardiologist. There’s sweet-potato casserole, cornbread, red rice, green beans, baked beans and mac & cheese. For dessert, you can try housemade peach cobbler or a brownie. There are no apologies for the fact that everything is cooked with copious amounts of butter, salt, sugar, milk and fat. It all tastes great as a result.

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Charlotte-Rose's Carolina BBQ on Urbanspoon

Robin’s Nest: Authentic Italian Sandwiches in Downtown Salt Lake

The H & H Special at Robin's Nest

The H & H Special at Robin’s Nest

While visiting Cape Ann, Mass., I walked into a quintessential sandwich shop in Gloucester and ordered an Italian sandwich. They asked if I wanted “the works.” Not really understanding, I said, “Sure,” so as to not seem ignorant. We boarded a whale-watching cruise and I took my first bite. I ignored the scenery and gorged on the amazing sandwich.

Seven years have come and gone since that vacation, and during that time, The Robin’s Nest moved from 3300 South to its current location on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City. I met the owner’s son while eating at another restaurant, and he invited me to try their gourmet artisan sandwiches.

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An Upcoming Christmas Gift

Empenadas with Guava and Cilantro Sauces

Empenadas with Guava and Cilantro Sauces at Adobos Caribbean Grill

If you were granted a day, in this upcoming Christmas Season, where you could go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner at any restaurants of your choosing, where would that be? Consider it a Christmas gift to yourself. As the Holiday Season draws near, our time seems to be filled with parties, events, shopping and rushing through work so that we can enjoy some time with our families. What often gets missed in the “busyness” of life is ourselves. We feel defeated and exhausted. It’s only when we take care of ourselves that we have joy to share with others.

As I dreamed about what where I would go, I noticed that it depended on the day and what I was craving. There are however, a few places that stand out. That I could go to any time of day or night.

For Breakfast, my car would virtually drive itself to 9th South Delicatessen. They started breakfast just two months ago. That same passion and quality that they put into their Deli Sandwiches, is now available in the am. One of the best ingredients here is their corned beef and pastrami. Randy has searched the country over finding the best source for this delectable cuisine.

The Hashed Corned Beef

The Hashed Corned Beef

I would order the Hashed Corned Beef. That delicious meat is served with Feta sprinkled Latke-style potatoes, 2 cage free eggs, tomatoes and pumpernickel toast. I was blown away that flavor could be that good. Enjoy the time at 9th South Delicatessen. It’s not just the food that is amazing, they have a near antique shop setup in that quaint bungalow.

Even though I would be full from the hashed corn beef, my mind would quickly debate the lunch options. Do I stay close? Is it time for a burger, sandwich, Thai Food, my often behavioral response. None of the above. Today I would head south to Sandy to Adobo’s Caribbean Grill. That Carne Frita with it’s boneless pork sirloin fried until crispy and served with onions and cilantro mojo having been calling my name for weeks.

This is a place where relaxed or not upon entering, you are forced to sit back and enjoy. No rush here. The waitresses know the dishes extremely well and will guide you in this culinary landscape. You will be in no hurry to return to the office; so don’t. Get some Christmas shopping done and then make your dinner plans.

Nice, quiet, delicious and relaxing are what you are looking forward to with dinner. They happen to be the same qualities you were searching for with breakfast and lunch. There is no problem with that. Three great meals in one day that are all delicious and relaxing will change (and probably extend) your life, mark my words.

Saffron Valley Toddy Shop Fry

Saffron Valley Toddy Shop Fry

Those qualities bring you to Saffron Valley in the Avenues. This is where Indian Home Style Cooking, Restaurant Favorites and Street Foods converge. There have been many restaurants started by people who open, then try to make the food good. Saffron Valley was started by a proprietor of Spices; good food could not help but to come forth. Try the Three-Saag Curry with Lamb. The meat is incredibly tender and the curry exceptionally smooth.

Three-Saag Curry at Saffron Valley

Three-Saag Curry at Saffron Valley

A Warm Gulab Jamun for dessert and the thought will come, “I could get use to this.”

Christmas will come. Presents will be opened, celebrated, trashed and forgotten. Parties will happen. If you love the people at the party, you will see them again very soon. If they are once a year people then you will see them next Christmas Season with the same bad food on their table. So take care of the most neglected person this Holiday Season-You. 3 Delicious meals and time to yourself, you may just do this again soon. It will change your life.

Happy Eating and Merry Christmas


Travel to the Regions of India through the Buffet at Saffron Valley

Saffron Valley Sign

During the Great Depression, people found a way to come up with the 10 cents for admission to the movies because it was a chance to escape their lives and dream about other possibilities, if only for a moment. In today’s world, there are many chances to escape—movies, TV, the Internet—but you can also visit other places through food.

While I haven’t been able to travel to India yet, I have found a way to “escape” there: Saffron Valley East India Cafe. There was already a Saffron Valley location in South Jordan, and this restaurant took over the old Pagoda location in the Avenues early this year. They describe themselves as “taking Indian cuisine to a new level, while still holding true to its traditional roots.”

Saffron Valley: Visit all the Regions of India in one place

Saffron Valley Food

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