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: www.facebook.com/garwoodsgingerbeer
Instagram: @garwoodsgingerbeer
Twitter: @slcgingerbeer

Happy Drinking

I Write for Fun, and for FOOD!

Belgian Waffle Inn Breakfast

The Title of this article might sound a little arrogant or self-serving. That is far from my intent. When I began this journey in 2011, it was to keep an online journal of recipes. From there it morphed into reviewing restaurants. Not for pay but for fun. I remember the looks the waitresses gave me when I would pull out my camera and snap a picture. One even said, “are you trying to make someone jealous.” My reply: “you have no idea.” I was trying to make everyone jealous. Isn’t that the point of social media?

It was when Siam Orchid first contacted me to come in and review their food that I felt the reach of the platform. When I wouldn’t post for a few days, I would get messages wondering where my next review was. And then came City Weekly. What a great experience to write a column for them almost weekly for 2 years. Not every good thing lasts but every good thing does open new doors, it’s just up to us to walk through them.

What I did love about writing for a well-known newspaper in the Salt Lake area, was that I had near instant credibility. When I would contact a restaurant, it was typically a warm welcome, a chance to eat a few entrees, and to hear the owner’s story–oh how I love this–not just writing about the taste and quality of the food, but the journey. Some restaurants never returned my call–I wrote anyway. Some contacted me and thanked me after the column was published. Some even told me the reaction to the article: how one place sold out of food for the few days following the publication (thank you Charlotte Rose’s Carolina BBQ); another had a noticeable uptick in business for 2 months after the article came out (thank you Alice’s Restaurant); another contacted me and said that I must have a lot of followers because they didn’t know where the business was coming from–until someone showed them the article (thank you Bosna); another offered to have me work there for a few days or weeks if I wanted to write a much more in-depth feature (thank you Fiana Bistro).

The highs in life don’t always stay that way forever. It was sad to me when driving through downtown Salt Lake last week that Good Dog was closed. I loved their gourmet hot dogs and getting to know the owner, Josh. In late summer, another personal favorite closed, Charlotte Rose’s Carolina BBQ. Maybe it was road construction, maybe it was a tough location. Maybe it was part of the large percentage of restaurants that don’t stay open for even a year. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to see Trae not have his place anymore.

I love pulling for them, for the little guy, for the food, for the passion. It’s difficult to watch some not make it. I admire that they tried and hope to see their next place again soon. Until then, it’s always interesting to drive with me–i’m always looking around around saying, “what restaurant is that,” or “hey, that place looks good.”

Smokin Chicken N' Ribs

On that note, time to get the brisket and ribs prepped for my growing infatuation with BBQ.

Happy Eating

 

The Old Dutch Store: Insulate my Heart for Winter

Old Dutch Store, Sandwiches & Soup 1

In the Netherlands, there’s an old folk belief that a layer of fat around your heart keeps you warm and happy throughout the winter. And though the concept is contrary to current health trends, food that contributes to such a layer certainly tastes good.

The Old Dutch Store on Highland Drive sells traditional foods from the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia that will make you happy. In addition to chocolates and sweets, the shop boasts a deli counter with soups and specialty meats and cheeses.

I ordered turkey, havarti, tomato and lettuce on a wheat roll—and, following Dutch tradition, I passed on all condiments except butter. Americans know that butter is great on toast, and now I know it’s wonderful on sandwiches, too.

Continue Reading Here

Siam Noodle Bar: Hospital food just got a lot better

Siam Noodle Bar Exterior

Rare is the day that anyone enjoys a trip to the hospital. But now there’s a good reason to visit the hospital—specifically, the Intermountain Medical Campus in Murray and its Siam Noodle Bar.

Far from typical hospital fare, this is a Thai noodle restaurant with delicious options, including a build-your-own noodle bar. Before going the DIY route, though, it’s worth trying the restaurant’s signature dishes, like the beef stew noodle soup: rice noodles, bean sprouts, bok choy, celery, green onion, cilantro and fried garlic in a clear broth—was recommended as a signature dish. The beef was falling-apart tender, and the veggies were all al dente and delicious, giving the dish a fresh, authentic taste—as though it had been cooked over a fire in a quiet mountain village.

Siam Noodle Bar Beef Stew Noodle Soup 2

Another recommended dish, the teriyaki pulled pork, was beautiful both in its presentation and in its flavors. It’s more rustic than what you might usually expect from a pulled-pork sandwich, as the food at Siam Noodle Bar is truly Asian, not Americanized Asian.

Continue Reading Here

Happy Eating

Siam Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Cafe Seoul: A Cafe On The Move!

Cafe Seoul Chicken Bulgogi

Tucked among the buildings of the Cedar Park office complex near Interstate 15 and 5300 South lies a cafe on the move. A few years and one owner ago, Café Seoul was located at 4500 South. And prior to that, the Korean barbecue and Japanese restaurant occupied a tiny location by the Century 16 Theaters on 3300 South and State.

Café Seoul does feature sushi, but I tried the entrees, which looked particularly enticing. The bibimbap (say that 10 times fast) and the chicken bulgogi are highly recommended as signature Korean dishes, and cheese tonkatsu as a signature Japanese dish.

Continue Reading Here

Cafe Seoul on Urbanspoon

Puro Pero: Sandy eatery dishes up authentic Peruvian cuisine

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

It’s nice when a place stays around long enough to make it part of your routine.

Puro Peru in Sandy just celebrated 18 months in business in a rather obscure location where you might not expect to see an eatery. But the restaurant must be doing something right—and that something is a little taste of Peru right here in the Salt Lake Valley.

Puro Peru sports a festive atmosphere with Spanish music, soccer on TV and a stage for weekend entertainment. The restaurant’s atmosphere perfectly complements the authentic cuisine. The waitress recommended the lomo saltado (jumping beef) as a way to try some true Peruvian food. It’s a sautee of sirloin, tomatoes, onions and french fries, cooked in vinegar and spices, then dusted with fresh chopped cilantro and served with rice. The vinegar gives it some mouthwatering tang, while the red onion gives it a delectable sweetness. It’s a beautiful dish, both visually and to the palate.

Continue Reading Here

Puro Peru on Urbanspoon

Qaderi Sweetz ‘N’ Spicez Market: An International Trip Within City Limits

Qaderi Market

There’s nothing like jumping on a plane and heading to a new land. There are new sights, sounds, customs and tastes to explore.

If, however, your time, money or even courage are limited, all you need to do is travel to Qaderi Sweetz ‘n Spicez Market on Redwood Road or State Street for an international experience.

Qaderi is a family business, launched 20 years ago at the Redwood Road location, and carries foods from 25 nations to satisfy your appetite and curiosity. You’ll find a huge array of oils, sauces, rice, flours, breads, teas, chutneys, relishes and veggies, plus a vast spice collection.

Continue Reading Here

Happy Eating

Fiana Bistro: Majoring in Food!

Chefs Chaz & Brandon from Fiana Bistro

Chefs Chaz & Brandon from Fiana Bistro

What an honor to meet Chaz and Brandon and write a feature for their Bistro–Fiana at the University of Utah. Link to article here.

College memories get better with time. The fun experiences—athletic events, social activities and spontaneous road trips—are what we remember, replacing our memories of stressful project deadlines, final exams and overall anxiety. Sadly, one memory that often remains is of raiding vending machines or trying to find a meal among bad student-union options.

Well, now, more than a decade later, I’m returning to the University of Utah—not for an advanced degree or a football game, but for Fiana Bistro.

Fiana is the brainchild of Brandon Price and Chaz Costello, two creative culinary minds who opened the bistro in the Sorenson Biotechnology Building in late 2012.

This isn’t a place where you have to settle for processed options. You have your choice of freshly made pizzas, sandwiches, salads and daily specials. Get that sandwich on a baguette, brioche, French-style sourdough or whole-wheat bread studded with fennel and caraway; all breads are made in-house, even the pizza dough.

Fiana New York Doll Pizza

Fiana also gets 70 percent of its vegetables—radishes, sorrel, heirloom tomatoes, kale, chard and more—right on campus, from the Sustainability Resource Center. These veggies provide freshness that you might not typically associate with campus food. The Kale Caesar salad is packed with flavor—recently picked kale sprinkled with Parmesan in a creamy dressing—and paired well with the New York Doll pizza, with pepperoni, roasted red peppers, onions and fresh mozzarella.

Price and Costello have made Fiana a destination eatery on campus, not just something you rush through before your next class. It’s working-class gourmet: affordable, high-quality, unprocessed, from scratch and hyper-local. Even if you’ve earned your degree, it’s time to return to the U—for studies of the culinary variety.

FIANA BISTRO
36 S. Wasatch Drive
435-671-7158
Facebook.com/FianaBistro

 Fiana on Urbanspoon

Vito’s: A Philly on Picturesque Main Street

It was an honor to meet Vito and write about his restaurant. Link to article here; also posted below.

Vito's Exterior

Often, it’s the simplest things in life that work their way to greatness. Vito Leone started as a Bountiful street vendor in 2007, serving meatball subs, sausage sandwiches and ravioli from a food cart. Eventually, he started appearing at farmers markets and graduated to a 20-foot trailer. Leone now has a permanent location on Bountiful’s picturesque Main Street.

But even with the brick & mortar location, Leone is still the man behind the counter, calling many of his customers by name, taking orders and cooking them up himself. He can serve you 10 different types of Philly sandwiches: blue cheese, cream cheese, deluxe, tomato, mushroom, jalapeño, garlic, Alfredo, Italian and classic. You can choose between 7-inch ($8.50) or 14-inch ($13.50); both options come with chips and a drink.

Philly Cheese at Vito's

I had the classic Philly, with thin-sliced steak, powerful peppers, onions and Swiss-blend cheese all melting onto a stoneground Tuscan roll. It was a lesson in excellence.

One other example of Leone staying true to that old-school sensibility is his low-tech cash box on the counter. There are no checks or cards taken here—it’s the Vito Leone way, which he’s followed for years because it’s worked for him. He wants to focus on food and leave the business side to us.

If you walk in and find your wallet short of cash, don’t worry. The on-site ATM is well used—because once you smell the aroma, there’s no way you are going to want to turn around and leave.

VITO’S
100 S. Main, Bountiful
801-953-8486

Vito's on Urbanspoon

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