Rush and Rush until life’s no fun

Rush and rush until life is no fun.I’ll just stop by my real estate listing before I run downtown to a meeting. From there I will get in a quick swim prior to heading to Bountiful for a listing appointment. I can make some calls on the way, and return some e-mails and texts at traffic lights. Hopefully there is a fast food joint with a drive thru that I can hit on the way for a late lunch.

My coaching call is each Thursday from 6:30-7:00pm. This starts a half an hour after Rachel gets home from her guitar lesson, and ends five minutes before I need to leave for my church assignment. I will get home late Thursday evening and then get up early Friday, do some work, get the kids to my Parent’s, do some work, go for a quick swim and head back to my Parent’s house to pick up the kids.

The rest of Friday was spent in busyness. Then I would set my alarm on Saturday morning for 6:00am so I could go grocery shopping. If I can white-knuckle it until Saturday afternoon, then I will get some relaxation in while I watch a baseball game.

Something about the “I will relax then,” “I will enjoy then,” seemed so elusive. It seemed that was because it really was. We hear the old cliche, “the grass I always greener.” We say that because we believe it or we want to believe it.

Dan Miller, New York Times bestselling author & career coach, said that the grass is greener where you water. My watering had been done on all the busyness, all the errands. I didn’t want to be doing this but I didn’t do anything to change it.

Dan also talks about what your 15% is? Meaning, what are the things you are currently doing, that you need to let go of in order to accomplish what you want?

Many of us live lives of quiet desperation; never get to what we really want; because we never have time.

I never have time because I keep doing so many things just to fill my schedule. We all have a finite amount of willpower. When I tell myself that I’ll get to that later, then I’m tired from the day. There is dinner to cook and kids to put to bed. “Maybe I will get to it tomorrow” is the all-too-common story we tell ourselves.

I had to take a painful look at myself. Painful because it hurts to put yourself on a positive path. We need to admit that what we were doing wasn’t working. Who wants to stand up and shout that to the world? What brings you joy is another thing to ask yourself.

For me, I had to realize that all my energy was being spent on work, church assignments, and watching kids. Not that I don’t obtain joy from those activities, I had to recognize that I couldn’t fit one more thing in to my schedule. Food writer event? Sounds exhausting! Watch the kids just one more afternoon? Okay, I’ll start writing again next week. Be part of the coaching call? Nope! Maybe I’ll spent another $297 next quarter and be more involved then.

It was time to draw boundaries. Next time never comes. I was sinking one drip at a time. The ship takes water on slowly–so much so that we don’t notice, or we don’t want to notice so we turn our head the other way.

Living in the deficit was so exhausting. Always focusing on what we cannot do and what we are not getting to. Maybe I’ll get to it when I retire. Ouch!

I started unwinding; some by choice and some created by the universe. I hurt my back this past month–that limited me in some things I like to do. I also received a new church assignment. When they asked, I said yes but that in order to serve, I needed to let go of my previous assignment. My old self would have said to do them both (and then resent it later). I was also working on two stressful real estate deals at the time.

It was a good time to recognize what I can do–which thankfully wasn’t everything I had been doing. Previously I would have added to the plate and bought self help books to fit it all in–straight on the road to burnout.

Enjoy your time more, or it’s all misery. Nothing I did had joy; even though I was doing all these things so I could have joy; or so I thought.


Where did that time go?

In listening to a friend give a talk in church years ago, he shared how it seems that the days are slow but the years are fast. He elaborated on that: we have so many commitments that one 24 hour routine can take a while. But then it’s time for another birthday, another Christmas, another celebration. And often, another reminder that we quite haven’t done what we set out our hearts to do. There is always next year right?

Last evening we were at back to school night for my daughter. She is 5 years old and will be starting kindergarten today. In one hour, I will be helping her get ready. This is an emotional time for me as I have spent so much time with her over the years. I often took her to preschool and picked her up; went shopping with her; wandered the neighborhood; went to visit grandparents and went to the treat store (almost daily on that last one). Often days felt long as I was in my routine with her–get up, do some work, get her up, get her ready, get her to school, do a lot of work, pick her up, feed her lunch, get her some quiet time, do some more work and then get ready for the next day.

Now in a few months she will be 6 and I am saying, “where did those years go.” The last year in particular. As I wrote in the post last fall, “And So I Write,” I loved the opportunity to write my food blog for a number of years. It was especially fun to write for City Weekly where I got paid to write and eat. What a joy. That ended when the publication, like many, decided to cut back. This was last October and actually came at a good time.

My wife was getting ready to make a transition from her firm to opening her own consulting business. It took much time and energy, both physical and mental. I needed to be there for that. My real estate work has been busy. With all the commitments, I really felt pulled in too many different directions. When that happens, you are not doing your best work–on anything.

I kept telling myself that I will write again once I get pass this particular deal, project, fatigue, etc. The days have certainly been long, one phone call can make it longer it seems. And now almost a year has gone by; a year since I was writing regularly. They say that when you let go of something, either it will drop out of your life completely (which for some things is good), or the pull to do it will get stronger. I have ignored the pull to do it.

Can’t do the ignoring any longer. Yesterday, I pulled off the side of road and wrote down what my rocking chair regrets would be. The main one–“not writing.” Maybe it’s not exactly practical, but it’s therapeutic and fun for me. It lifts me up. It gives me energy.

What is the one thing you have been ignoring? The one thing you keep saying you will get to tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes.

RoDizio: A Brazilian Food Paradise

Gluttony: over-indulgence or over-consumption of food drink or wealth.

Brazilian & American Cowboy doing their pose

Brazilian & American Cowboy doing their pose


That may well be the definition of Gluttony, but I knew that going in and if there is a good definition of this word, RoDizio would be the reason to use it.

For at least 15 years, RoDizio has been a fun place to go in the Trolley Square Center of Salt Lake City. A great place to gather as friends, business associates or to celebrate a birthday or graduation. It could be just as enjoyable to see the food come by, as it is to eat it. You don’t dare place the little wooden indicator on it’s side or on red; that would stop the food from coming by. Whether you are full or not, to have the waiters come by with the delectable items on the large skewer, is like having your most admired athlete or celebrity stop by for a personal visit.

We were invited out for a Food Writer’s Dinner. They wanted to introduce us to the American BBQ items that RoDizio was rolling out. This is limited time thing from July through Labor Day. Don’t panic, there is only one Brazilian menu item that they removed to make this happen–sweet & sour chicken. If you are looking to indulge in everything from garlic sirloin, parmesan pork, tri-tip, fish, bacon-wrapped chicken, grilled pineapple, and a whole host of other items, you can. And why wouldn’t you? This is the place where happiness comes to be shared.

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In all my visits to RoDizio I have never not ordered the “Full RoDizio.” This is the unlimited variety or rotisserie grilled meats, glazed pineapple, gourmet salad bar including over 30 hot & cold items, and authentic Brazilian appetizers. There may be a menu that they hand you, but I’m not sure why you want one–maybe for the drinks.

You can have as much fun with beverages as you do with the food. I started out with a Brazilian Lemonade. These were wonderful in the past yet this time it fell a little flat. No problem. Just like the tray of meats–if you don’t like something, try another. I heard the waiter telling someone about their famous limeades, so I had a strawberry limeade. This was amazing. They certainly know their mixology. Cans of Guarana can also be brought out at your request. This stuff is as recognizable in Brazil as Coca-Cola is in America. Funny story: one of the other people at our table requested one. The waiter asked if he had ever had one. He said no. The waiter then said, “I’m going to tell you a trick, when you open it, smell it first. That will change the experience.” They both were happy!

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Having spent a lot of time around the Kansas City Barbeque circuit in the past few years, I was excited to try some of this American BBQ. Just this past month, I tried to do some competition style chicken on the smoker–learned from a past Grand Champion and winner of the Jack Daniel’s National. I fell short but RoDizio certainly knew what they were doing. The chicken was amazing. Next they brought around the ribs. They were tough and missing flavor. Don’t let that stop you from going–that was the only item in everything they brought around and everything from the salad bar, that I didn’t like.

Dessert options will be presented to you at a time when you feel like you can’t even fit another sip of water. If they were simply explaining them, reason would win out and you would say “No.” They very wisely however, bring a tray of desserts around and let you pick. I chose the Rabanada: warm cinnamon pastry with a creamy center, served with vanilla ice cream and laced with caramel sauce. It’s like part of a churro on steroids. It is beyond wonderful and beyond worth it. Dessert may not be included with the Full RoDizio, but like investing money in child’s future, the happiness will pay you divdends for decades.



Dining out at RoDizio is a “not if but when” decision. Make sure if you go for lunch, that you have a siesta scheduled from 1:00-3:00pm. And make sure that if you go for dinner, the babysitter is putting the kids down to bed–you will want to do nothing but sit when you get back; sit with delight.

Happy Eating
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The Beehive Grill in Logan: A ROOTBEER Brew Pub!

The Beehive Grill Menu

As the NFL Draft approached a few years ago, an executive was interviewed by the media. When asked what he was looking for in a player, he replied: “We don’t know what we are looking for but we will know it when we see it.” How often do you want something but don’t know what it is? It could be a snack, vacation, meal or movie. There is something inside us that knows, but our mind holds us back. We have to search and experiment before the answer comes.

Last week, my family along with Sous Chefs Sam & Jesse and their family were heading to Bear Lake for the weekend. We needed to take 2 cars and I rode with these 2 up and coming culinary geniuses. You have a choice when driving to Bear Lake– either going the route through Logan, Utah or Evanston, Wyoming. Knowing that we needed to pick up dinner, we chose Logan. Nothing against Evanston; we just didn’t want Subway, Burger King, or a gas station hot dog.

In Logan, we pulled up to one place just off Main St. Sitting in the car, we just didn’t feel drawn inside. It was that moment where it would be easy to go inside and order just to get it out of the way, but you didn’t really want it. Sous Chef Sam mentioned that we had passed The Beehive Grill just a block back. We looked up the menu on our phone and the appetizer menu was enough to get us there.

The Beehive Grill looks just like a pub, because it pretty much is as they serve their own brewed beer. But you have to look closer at the sign as you walk in, “Logan’s only Rootbeer Brew Pub.” Rootbeer you say? This was sounding more delicious by the second.

We sat down at our tables to order an appetizer, get food to go and now definitely enjoy a Rootbeer. How could we turn that down if it is one of their signature items? It was sweet, smooth and dry. Something (mainly my personality) told me that this wasn’t going to be a quick stop.

Sumptuous Clam Chowder

Sumptuous Clam Chowder

The menu is loaded with sandwiches, burgers, seafood, pasta, BBQ, mouth-watering appetizers and soups. An appetizer to share turned into one each with us ordering Battered Mushrooms, Potato Skins and a bowl of Clam Chowder. With each spoonful of that delicious chowder, my urgency to arrive in Bear Lake moved slower down the priority lane. We did wake up to the fact that we still needed food to go. Oh this was going to be fun.

It felt like one of those blank check moments–where someone is wining an dining you so you can order whatever you want. Except I was the one wining and dining the others so I knew whatever we ordered would be coming out of my bank account. That was okay, it was family. We got some more battered mushrooms to go, crab and artichoke dip, BBQ pork sandwich, ribeye steak, French dip, rainbow tortellini with pesto–add chicken, triple grilled cheese and a southwestern wrap. Later on in the drive I wished that we had taken a 1/2 gallon of that rootbeer. Was it too late to turn around?

It was too late for more rootbeer, but we were so excited to share these delicious dishes with those waiting at the lake. It was hunger, it was excitement, it was delicious. All of those things conspired to make us inhale our food. What did remain was eaten for breakfast the next morning; it didn’t even need to be re-heated to taste good.

No in-depth review of each item here. Just pure excitement in finding The Beehive Grill. If the 9 items we did order are indicative of the quality & taste of this place, then I wouldn’t hesitate ordering anything from the menu.

Usually you plan the vacation and get whatever food you can find on the way there. Now I know that I am going to plan my lunch at Beehive Grill, and the vacation can come together as it was meant to be–priorities people!

Happy Eating!

Beehive Grill on Urbanspoon

Tom Garwood: From Carpentry to Beverage!

Tom showing off his beverage creation at Liberty Heights Fresh

Tom showing off his beverage creation at Liberty Heights Fresh

Isn’t it human nature to have a plan, and to think that this plan is set in stone for the next few years, or decades? This past Sunday I was talking to a gentleman who told me that if his work doesn’t become more regular, he is going to go back to school and find something that is. I told him that this isn’t the world we live in anymore. We have to prepare for the ups & downs. The days of 30 years at a company with a pension and benefits are gone. Such is the story of Tom.

Tom is young, ambitious, and was kind enough to share his “Carpentry to Ginger Beer” story with me. When Tom was a teenager he worked in Carpentry. He kept doing this until he was 22, when he got a job washing dishes in a brew pub in Massachusetts. At this time he wasn’t excited about restaurants or attempting to get into cooking. It was a job that was flexible enough to allow him to go on tour with his band.

While working in the restaurant, he would finish the load of dishes from lunch and then help with dinner prep. This was involved with many items to get ready for the evening rush. The Chef noticed his increasing interest in food and threw him on the line. This was exciting for Tom–the rush of adrenaline giving you the energy to push through the evening–like a sprint to the finish line.

The job continued to allow him to go on tour with his band, sometimes for 4-5 weeks at a time; all the while sleeping in a van. Each time he returned for work at the pub, he moved up the line; eventually taking the lead on sauté. Tom felt that the prep was true cooking, and that the line was assembling. He appreciated the building blocks but 80% of it was the prep. If the prep was done right, the line moved along during the dinner rush and things didn’t fall apart.

When Tom was 25, he came to Salt Lake. He thought that it would be fun to come and hang out for the summer. He got a job doing dishes and prep at Tin Angel. Feeling like he wasn’t sure if this was what he wanted to do with his life, he went back into carpentry. It could only be best described by him. “Those three weeks back in cabinet making were the most miserable job experience of my life.” Feeling like the universe was telling him something, he went looking for a restaurant job again.

Ian Brandt, the owner of Sages Café and Vertical Diner called him back on his application. Ian started the vegan/vegetarian dynasty of Salt Lake and had a part time position available at Sages. Tom worked there for 2 months before Ian moved him to his juice bar–Supernatural Café. The concept was smoothies and meals where the ingredients were all fresh, all raw. Tom began experimenting with raw juices at home. The work at Supernatural, and his own practice gave him a deeper perspective and burgeoning interest in raw juices.

With a baby on the way, again the question of what to do with his life came up. Knowing that 20 hour days in restaurants wasn’t what he desired, he re-entered the music world. This time, not as a touring musician living like a vagabond, but a sustainable career in music focused on recording and editing. He also went back to school for musical composition and production. This occupied a good year and a half–all this time away from the restaurant scene.

While school is great, it’s also a money taker and not an immediate money maker. With that in mind, he needed a part time job. He had a friend who was serving at Pago and got him a job on the line. He liked the fine-dining, farm-to-table, wholesome food concept. It interested him with it’s modern takes on classical dishes. This got him excited about cooking again. This was a challenge, on a level that Tom hadn’t done before–really fast paced with a focus on presentation. He pushed himself and enjoyed the thrill of the rush. He worked at Pago for 8 months when he needed to return to school full time.

Part of his school requirements was a business class. I remember little from those classes but Tom took it in. One particular class taught him how to get a creative business started. His music studies focused on the theoretical standpoint–the building blocks (much like the prep work in cooking). The excitement about how to build a business with the knowledge he had gained, really intrigued him. Anyone who is of the Chef mindset, can’t sit still for long–either mentally or physically.

While dreaming and planning of what he could put together, he saw an opportunity in Ginger Beer. There was nothing like it–no market other than a international brand or two. And because it’s based on raw juice, unlike a soda, he could bring something new & unique to the food scene. Although Supernatural Foods (one stop on his culinary education) ultimately was boring, the passion he gained for raw foods and juices remained. He used his spare time (whatever there was) for business planning and to get in touch with his connections from the restaurant industry.

Many late nights and missed school classes later, we have arrived at Garwood’s Ginger Beer! When asked what makes this product unique, Tom responded that the only ingredients are organic produce and organic cane sugar. He cold presses the lemons–raw juice–as his flavor base rather than syrup or extracts. It is sweetened with a simple syrup made from the organic cane sugar.

Tom’s philosophy with his Ginger Beer is that by keeping the ingredients in their raw state, he is maintaining the full nutritional value and exposing remarkable taste. Ginger is incredibly healthy and has many nutritional and medicinal qualities. Oh and by the way, it’s delicious!

What’s coming for Garwood’s Ginger Beer? He is partnering up with Sugarhouse Distillery for promotion. Many bars use ginger beer as a mixer and Tom’s goal is to have it on tap as a non-alcoholic option. Giving tap space away for a non-alcoholic drink will prove a challenge (it already has), but Tom is prepared to move through those roadblocks. Nothing good ever came without work.

You will also find it bottled at Liberty Heights in April, 2015. They are also hoping for shelf space at Real Foods and they are looking into some Farmer’s Markets this summer.

I know Tom. I have cooked with him. To say that this guy knows food and knows the process would be an understatement. He has taught me so much. I have also tasted the Ginger Beer and mentioned it’s deliciousness above. There are a few ginger beer options in select stores. This could even be a lemonade with a kick–it has more lemon juice than any ginger beer I have tasted! You feel the stuff, it wakes you from your early afternoon grogginess. It’s healthy and a treat at the same time.

One fun story. Tom was making the ginger beer one gallon at a time. He tried to scale it up to ten gallons by simply taking the recipe and multiplying it by ten. It didn’t work; he didn’t think it would but gave it a shot. Being newly business minded and culinary-trained, Tom went back and re-engineered the mixtrue. Don’t those things in life that we think will be a simple change, not work out so? Tom learned and made it work; oh did he ever! Meet for a ginger beer anyone?

You can find Tom and his delicious drink of choice at:
Instagram: @garwoodsgingerbeer
Twitter: @slcgingerbeer

Happy Drinking

Tomorrow Never Comes

In my early teenage years, I had a Sunday School teacher who a very dynamic man. His career had been one of financial success with business deals throughout the world. Many experiences in that arena and also with his family, had taught him some great lessons in life. He shared those with us more often than anything from the scriptures or handbook. He was kind, he was compassionate, he was wonderful. All these years later and some of those lessons still resonate with me.

He was also very heavy. Not that this mattered to us–it was just one aspect of his weight which he shared that I still remember. The extra weight he had carried for many years had really worn out his knees–they both needed to be replaced. In order for the doctor to replace the knees, he had to lose some weight. He was very open about always wanting to start tomorrow. Even though tomorrow is only one day away, it can really be weeks, months, years or even decades; it’s up to us.

For the last few months, tomorrow hasn’t come. I am not pretending to be Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, but I keep telling myself that I will do something tomorrow. That something is writing. For those of you who follow me here on this blog, you know how much, and how frequently, I would post restaurant reviews, recipes and life lessons. It was all exciting and really lit me up inside.

Back in October, I wrote about how my column with City Weekly was ending. Print media has been dying a slow death for years and the wave finally hit this publication (not in it’s entirety but a good half of the columns are gone). This really hit me hard. I couldn’t believe that I had that opportunity–to get paid to review restaurants.

When this happened, my wife was working on a transition from being an employee to an independent contractor. This plan had been in the works for months and we were making it a reality. There was so much work for her to do; so many details that took a lot of time and emotion. I told myself that I would take a few weeks of not writing and get through the transition.

Well a few weeks later we were into the Holidays–time for me to do some cooking for Thanksgiving, then it was time for me to smoke 120 pounds of meat for our church party in December, then Christmas was here, then New Years, then a visit to Florida. And on top of that, the kids are young and busy everyday so there are many demands on my time. Real estate was on fire, leading to the busiest winter I have ever had. “As soon as I get these next few deals closed, then I back to writing” I told myself.

The days turned into weeks and then into months. We all have many demands on our time. On the show Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine travels the country to help failing restaurants. He is quite fit and a reporter asked him how he stays in good shape with his busy travel schedule. He said that he gets his workout in each morning period–no excuses. Well I have been busy, but I also have been using a lot of excuses. It’s time to get things done!

This is my tomorrow. And like the first workout after a time away from exercise, it feels good!

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