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

Happy Eating

Skewered Thai: Ideal Location and $9.00 Lunch Specials

Right across from Trolley Square on 700 E., a new Thai joint has recently opened. My Goal to visit every Thai restaurant in still in force; albeit exhausted lately. The proximity of this place made it easy to stop by. It is so much fun to visit each Thai restaurant and taste their culinary creations. No recipes here. You will see the same dishes at the different restaurants, but incredibly enjoyable to enjoy the unique identity of each.

Skewered Thai Sign

First off, you will love the building. Previously this space was occupied by an English Market. Skewered Thai refinished the interior and it is beautiful. It’s an old bungalow home and fun to figure out if you are eating in the old dining, living or bed room.

For Lunch, Skewered Thai has “Small Bites” (appetizers), Lunch Single Dishes: a large serving of either Pad Siew, Koa Gai (Chicken Noodle Stir Fry), Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle) or Thai Fried Rice. They also have one of the greatest things to love about many Thai restaurants: Lunch Combo Specials. I’ve always wondered if they make all their profits at dinner because lunch is such a good deal. You pick 2 of the following choices: Basil Stir Fried, Cashew Nut Stir Fried, Param, Ginger Stir Fried, Pad Prik Khing, Broccoli or Asian Broccoli Stir Fried, Sweet and Sour Stir Fried, Mix Vegetable Stir Fried, Red Curry, Green Curry, Yellow Curry, Massaman Curry, Panang Curry, BBQ Pork and Grill Lemongrass Chicken.

I chose the Param: Steamed mix vegetable top with peanut sauce and Panang Curry: coconut milk, bell pepper, zucchini and fresh Thai basil. You get your choice of meat with the curry and I went with chicken.

Param, Panang Curry and Spring Roll

Param, Panang Curry and Spring Roll

If they put any unhealthy additives such as caffeine or msg in the peanut sauce on the Param, I don’t want to know about it; just don’t tell my Mom. Let me live in denial and love it. I could drink this stuff. The vegetables were great but the peanut sauce is what I will really remember.

Panang Curry: just the name sounds exotic enough to order. This curry is typically milder than Green, Yellow and Red Curries but a little spicier than Massaman Curry. It was smooth with a zing. In other words, it was just perfect. Perfectly creamy with delicious, fresh ingredients, I could have eaten this for breakfast. The kaffir lime leaves gave it a herbacious, aromatic kick. As I was getting full, I thought about saving some for later but couldn’t find the strength to leave it on the plate. It resembled the Panang Curry at Siam Orchid.

You also get a Salad and Crispy Fried Spring Roll with the lunch special. Most Thai restaurants that serve a salad, either have a peanut or  creamy poppyseed dressing. This was a mixture of the two. It was wonderful. Again, if any unhealthy additives, I don’t want to know about it.

The service isn’t exactly fast but on a rainy weekday just before Thanksgiving, who is in a hurry anyway. Not that the place is big, but I felt bad for the lone waiter taking care of every table.

Easily accessible location, quaint refinished building, delicious selection of food including $9.00 lunch specials? Give a present to yourself and spend some of your holiday budget here.

Skewered Thai
575 South 700 East

Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102

Happy Eating.

 

 

A Tale of the Twin Cities: The Sequel. My visit to Minnesota

Minnesota Target Field Exterior

Well just how do you top a day of wandering, Hell’s Kitchen and Baseball? You start by going to Hell’s Kitchen again-for breakfast as reviewed in the first post. And then time for more wandering. We went down to the mighty Mississippi River. Since the river starts in upper Minnesota, it really isn’t too mighty through the Twin Cities, but big nonetheless. Bigger than most rivers in the Salt Lake City area anyway.

Minnesota Skyline with River

Hell's Kitchen Corned Beef Hash

Hell’s Kitchen Corned Beef Hash

It is so beautiful down by the river. So green and serene. We crossed the old arch stone bridge into an older area of town. What once was factories and warehouses is now being converted into high end condos and office space. It’s the old adage of “how do we keep the old but move on to the new?”

After a nap at the hotel it was time to find some lunch. I had read from another Minneapolis based Food Writer about a Tapas restaurant on Nicollet Mall. It was called Barrio and seemed like a fantastic way to spend a Friday afternoon. As we walked up, the place was nearly full. They also have patio seating and that was also full. Nearly full restaurant at 2:30pm on a weekday? Now these are my kind of people.

Barrio

Barrio

I wasn’t sure if it was Fiesta or Siesta time at Barrio. It seemed to be a little of both and that was just fine as we had no where to be. We sat inside by the open windows. That way we could straddle the outside, loud music, party atmosphere with the quiet diners on the inside.

The first thing we got was Barrio’s Made to order Guacamole with fresh corn tortilla chips. It was chunky and had a distinct citrus taste which made it delicious. The chips were thick with that perfect ‘snap’ to them. Be careful of their salsa. It is good but incredibly spicy. Keep your ice water nearby.

Barrio Adobo Grilled Chicken Taco

Barrio Adobo Grilled Chicken Taco

I then ordered an Adobo Grilled Chicken Taco: guajillo, ancho and chipotle marinated chicken with roasted pineapple-serrano salsa. This was like a boxing match where you first get lulled to sleep by the flat, gritty taste of the marinated chicken; then the sweetness of the pineapple wakes you up and gets you excited; and then TKO-you are knocked out by combined powers of the guajillo, ancho, chipotle and serrano. It reminded me of my charming personality-changing directions (or moods) 3 times in one minute.

They had many more delicious looking tacos but I was craving something smooth and lite to finish out the meal. For this I went with their Fresh Corn Chowder. It’s served with roasted corn, poblano peppers and garnished with queso fresco and cilantro, drizzled with some finishing oil. Wow-this was farmer’s market fresh corn cooked perfectly with delicious peppers giving it a slight kick. The queso fresco and cream gave it that smooth component.

What a great meal. Minneapolis was proving itself to be a food Mecca. I love that there is so much good food here but you don’t feel like you have to dress up and eat at white table cloth restaurants. You can get so much in a casual atmosphere-so much high-end, fresh food cooked by culinary magicians. Barrio for all!

Would you pay $55 for seats on the 6th Row? I would do it again tomorrow

Would you pay $55 for seats on the 6th Row? I would do it again tomorrow

After that delicious meal, it was time for wandering and a nap prior to baseball. I was excited for tonight’s game as we had 6th row tickets, just past third base. It was a little surreal being that close to the field. We sat down, got comfortable, then got up to search for food after the 2nd inning. My dad went straight for Kramaczuk’s. It sounded great but I was looking for the intangibles-I didn’t know what food I was looking for but I would know it when I found it.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

During the game the night before, I had noticed Wild Rice Soup on the menu at some of the concessions. While visiting Minnesota, a few times I heard about Northern Wild Rice. It’s popular and grown in the swamps and bogs in the land of lakes, despite the 3 month growing season of the upper midwest.

The soup was thick, creamy, reminded me of this Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe and served in a large portion. I joke that there is nothing like going to a baseball game to get your $8 hotdog and $6 soda. Consider it a novelty. The Wild Rice Soup wasn’t much cheaper but it was nice to not have a hotdog. It was missing a little pizzazz-some Thyme would have made it all the more succulent.

The soup, a bag of peanuts, bottle of water, 6th row at Target Field; now this is how to relax. One thing to add here is that this is beer country. I don’t drink myself but if you do, this is the place to go. I saw a lot of money changing hands when the beer salesman would walk up & down the aisles. During the 7th inning, when the beer vendors yell “last call,” it’s a license to print money. Here is your summer job that can pay for college.

Wandering brought us to the original Kramarczuk's Deli

Wandering brought us to the original Kramarczuk’s Deli

On Saturday morning, it was time to wander. Whether on vacation or at home, wandering seems like a daily activity. It is done with a purpose however. We wandered down across the Mississippi River into old Minneapolis. We found ourselves in a quiet residential neighborhood with a lot of historic homes & churches. It was the quintessential Americana. No breakfast places were on our path so we continued our walk.

Eventually we found Wilde Roast Cafe on St. Anthony Main just in front of the mighty Mississippi. The place looked like a high-end wine bar but the smell was captivating and the environment relaxing. I went with the Classic Benedict almost entirely for one reason: roasted breakfast potatoes or smoked Gouda hash browns. Okay, I have never eaten smoked Gouda, but sometimes the name tells you all that you need to know. In this case, it was telling me to try them and try them fast.

Benedict with Smoked Gouda Hash Browns

Benedict with Smoked Gouda Hash Browns

After “The Best Shisha in Town”-I’m not really sure what this is but it seemed to fit right into a neighborhood located next to a large college campus, we wandered back, got some rest and it was time for 3 games in 3 nights.

Strong customer base with the University nearby

Strong customer base with the University nearby

Tonight at Target Field it was Loon Chili and Garlic Fries on the menu. I’m not sure if I wanted the fries more because the aroma drew me in or because they are served in a souvenir baseball helmet. Either way, it was worth it. I’m not sure the person sitting next to me on the plane the next morning appreciated my culinary indulgence, but I sure did.

The Twins lost that night – a pretty common occurrence for them. Despite the loss, the chili packed a spicy yet delicious punch, the fries were addicting -aromatically and to the taste, the people wonderful, the wandering superb and the best of all: quality time spent with my Dad. That wasn’t just for the game Saturday but a great wrap up to the trip. My Real Estate calls were being taken care of and blog posts prepared beforehand.

Garlic Fries at Target Field

Garlic Fries at Target Field

People close to me had asked before I left on this trip: “What are you going to do” or “what is there to do in Minnesota?” What they are really saying is “how can I go on a trip when every moment is not planned out?” It is human nature to plan a head. Yet the best experiences in life are those raw moments when you let the day unfold as it was meant to be. Allow yourself to take that breath – a time where you find out who you really are and what you really like. Let the feelings of “busyness” subside and enjoy the blessings of Wandering.

This is to remind my siblings that they will have to fight over 2nd place

This is to remind my siblings that they will have to fight over 2nd place

This is my Tale of the Twin Cities. Now what is your Tale and where?

Happy Travels

 

Sharon’s Cafe: The Local’s Joint

Sharon's Special

Sharon’s Special

The “wow” factor in life is the difference between expectations and experience. Going to Sharon’s Cafe for breakfast at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, I expected the place to be quiet, with the breakfast crowd having cleared out; my experience was quite different. There were many people there, nearly every table full. Everyone seemed to know each other as they intently solved the problems of the world. It was a locals hangout, for sure—and it was a beautiful sight, even if I felt like an outsider at first.

Sharon’s Cafe serves breakfast and lunch comfort food in an inviting atmosphere. You can get breakfast, lunch or the daily special any time from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast is an assortment of omelets, pancakes and platters. Lunch is burgers, salads, soups and sandwiches.

Please Check out the article:

Sharon’s Cafe: Have the Special at this Locals Hangout

Happy Eating

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