RoDizio–The Return!

Can I pile this higher?

Can I pile this higher?

A number of years ago, I found a good way to make the budget all get spent before the end of the year. Let me clarify: I wasn’t committing white collar crime. I was in the leadership of the youth ministry of my church. We had a budget each year for activities. Whatever was left over by years end was deducted from next years budget. You really didn’t need it if there was some left over right? As practical as that may be, who wants to live with less?

That thinking led me taking the youth, right around December 28th, two years in a row to RoDizio. Fun get together, enjoy each other’s company and talk about the good times right? Well yeah but we are forgetting the most important part–food! It was all you can eat and these kids were ravenous. I told them to be careful at the salad bar as more meat will be coming to the table than they can handle.

Well that was years ago, I am no longer in that position, life gets busy and I had honestly forgotten a little about RoDizio. I was invited there to try their 2nd annual RoDizo BBQ Fest–their wonderful Brazilian grilled meat items along with some American BBQ classics. I went last year and I couldn’t resist again.

I mentioned in last year’s post about being part of the Kansas City Barbeque Society: judging events and talking classes from grand champions. I felt weird as most people at last year’s dinner loved the ribs; I didn’t. I also didn’t want to prejudge them this time. I was grateful to try a couple and RoDizio really made them well. That and some BBQ chicken, along with the traditional Brazilian favorites and you have yourselves a meal and a wonderful evening.

I told him to pace himself

I told him to pace himself

Restaurants come and go. I am a little embarrassed to admit that many of the places I wrote about for City Weekly are now closed. You want them to succeed and many don’t.

Even places that stay around for many years often lose their popularity. Getting good isn’t hard; it’s staying there. Places have to change things up, appeal to new tastes and keep the regulars coming back and new customers coming to. RoDizio has done just that. I was worried that when they introduced American BBQ that it was all dying; that this was a desperate attempt to stay in the game.

Oh no, the classics are still there. Honestly, the new BBQ options aren’t many and you won’t even recognize anything has been replaced. RoDizio has been wonderful, is wonderful and will continue to be for the coming years. It’s with the trip and is much more than just a meal.

Back to my story earlier of taking the Youth here: it was not only a contest (between themselves) of how much food they could eat, but how much Guarana they could drink. They asked the server not to take away the empty cans. There were over 20 on or table when they were finished.

Somehow I found room for this

Somehow I found room for this

If you think that turning in a receipt for over $300 for a youth activity isn’t awkward, it is. Yet the food, drink and time together we’re all worth it–just like my visit there last week.

#rodiziobbqfest

Thank you RoDizio and 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

TOGO’S: A California Import to the Utah Sandwich Scene

TOGO'S Triple Dip

The Triple Dip

Here in the Beehive State, we are use to having people from California move to our state. Maybe they are tired of the traffic, the smog or the lack in the change of seasons back home.

Recently there has been another move, or expansion, to Utah from Southern California. It is the Sandwich Shop, TOGO’s. I had never heard of them before until they reached out and asked me to come and have a taste. Sometimes these invitations come and you go meet with them, taste one thing, they ask if you have any questions as they are obviously pre-occupied, and rush you out the door. That is a little of what I was expecting but Ben and Bart, the franchise owner and operations manager respectively, could have not have been kinder, and could not have possibly had me try more food.

At first, I asked what TOGO’s was all about. The answer was that they are known for Big, Fresh, Meaty Sandwiches but also well known for their Soups and Salads. Their goal is to be the coolest sandwich shop in town with the best ingredients. They source their produce locally and get all their bread fresh from a sourced Baker–your choice of classic white, honey wheat and sourdough.

Turkey-Avocado

Turkey-Avocado

When they told me that I would be trying 5 sandwiches that day, I thought that it would be a little sliver of each and I would still need to go get a burger after. Not the case.

At first I had the #9-Signature Pastrami. The company has sold over 40 million of these sandwiches so there must be a reason why. This thing is loaded with thin-sliced, peppery pastrami, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onions and pepperoncinis on classic white.

That is some wonderful pastrami. It’s so incredibly tender and delicious with a kick. Mix it with the red onion and the pepperoncinis and you have some powerful flavors. It’s great that it’s on the classic white bread so that can blend into the background. No room for more flavors here.

The Clubhouse

The Clubhouse

Because a loaded 9-inch sandwich isn’t enough to fill you up, I went for round 2–The Triple Dip. This is their delicious pastrami, hot roast beef and cold turkey, with melted provolone and horseradish mayo on toasted sourdough served with their au jus dip. You can barely fit this sandwich in the frame to take a picture. The meat is reaching out for some air there is so much of it.

Round 3 was the Turkey-Avocado on honey wheat bread. This is a load of freshness with hand mashed avocadoes, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and pepperoncinis. After the Triple Dip, you switched from an ocean of meat to one almost entirely of veggies. It was quite the adjustment.

Ben & Bart corrected me when I referred to the avocadoes as guacamole. It’s not guacamole, it’s hand-mashed avocadoes. They mash about 400 of these each day and it seems that half of that is on your sandwich. The honey wheat is an artisanal bread that is very dense and packed with a healthy flavor. Other than the bread and the hand-mashed avocadoes, you don’t taste much. The turkey is almost entirely drown out by the other ingredients. If you are looking to get a couple of days worth of vegetables, this is your sandwich.  

Next up was The Clubhouse. As a self-proclaimed club sandwich junkie, this had me excited. It’s applewood smoked bacon, turkey, cheddar cheese, fat free honey Dijon, lettuce tomatoes on San Francisco style sourdough bread. You could mix all these ingredients with shredded paper and it still would taste good.

I loved the flavor profiles of the bacon, cheddar cheese and honey Dijon on that warm-tosted sourdough bread. Each one complimented the other quite well. The Dijon is house made each day, sweet and nearly addictive.

The Pastrami

The Pastrami

This sandwich doesn’t seem to be piled high, but that is because it was placed in the press to toast it. But is it ever loaded? There is enough veggies and meat to feel like you got a three-course meal. This was a great sandwich and if I could have snuck out the door with a jar of honey-dijon, I would have.  

The final sandwich to squeeze into my overloaded tummy was the Wasatch Club. What? Didn’t I just have a club? Yes I did, but this being the first TOGO’S in Utah, they were allowed to create their own sandwich for our unique taste buds. It includes bacon, ranch, turkey, avocado, provolone cheese, tomatoes, red onion and lettuce on classic white.

The item that is unique—Ranch dressing. I wasn’t aware of it but apparently that is a Utah thing. This sandwich was stacked high. How did all those flavors go together—really well actually? The ranch mixed with the bacon quite well and the avocadoes were a nice compliment, not a tidal wave. The classic white was the perfect choice of bread for it as it didn’t compete with anything else.  

Any of these sandwiches can be made as a wrap-spinach or wheat if you don’t want the classic white, sourdough or honey wheat. You can also raid the soup and salad menu. There was no room for me to have those on this visit but here is a list of soups that will be on their rotation: broccoli-cheddar, garden-vegetable, southwest chicken and clam chowder. They also have been selling out of the chunky chicken salad each day so get their early for that. Each sandwich can be 6” or 9.” That doesn’t sound like much until you get one. Each day you can feed your kids for $4.00 at TOGO’s: drink, sandwich and choice of chips or a cookie.

The Wasatch Club

The Wasatch Club

I especially love the delicious sandwiches of Caputo’s and Firehouse. If the question “will another sandwich shop make it” rings in your mind, then here is some information that I found out. TOGO’s has gone through 1200 pounds of meat in the first few weeks they were open. One customer had been there 16 times in the first 3 weeks it was open. He was likely a California transplant but nonetheless. This is the first of 14 locations in Utah. The next one will be open in 4 months. Locations to come are Murray, Sugarhouse, Lehi, South Jordan and Downtown Salt Lake.

Bart and Ben want TOGO’s to not be just another sandwich shop but for it to be an experience for you. Your sandwich maker is the same for the full 1 ½ from order to payment. You can have it done any which way you want. They also put ipad and iphone charging stations at each table. A good sandwich, refillable drink and a charging station may just consume your afternoon. Their enthusiasm is contagious, the sandwiches are good. Overall they should be a nice addition to the sandwich scene.

TOGO’s
74 West 11400 South
Sandy, Utah, 84070
(801) 456-9922

Togo's Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

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

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

 

Twin Cities: Wandering, Hell’s Kitchen and Baseball

Minnesota Target Field Dad & I

Early this summer, I knew that it was time to plan a trip. There is nothing better than a vacation with very few commitments. I have traveled with people who need to plan every minute; It sickens me to my core. I love to wander but remember, not all who wander are aimless. There is a purpose.

There were 3 criteria that I set for this vacation: there must be great food, there must be baseball, and it must be a location where there is a direct flight from Salt Lake City. Since I have been watching the MLB Network this summer, I have closely followed the Minnesota Twins. I also know a few people from the Twin Cities and they highly recommended a visit. I called my Dad and he was in without so much as a second thought. It was booked! Now all I had to do was wait, and research food establishments.

As one good friend put it, “St. Paul is a sleepy little town and Minneapolis is full of energy.” There is a rivalry between the two cities so much so that my friend mentioned growing up in St. Paul but having been to Canada more times than she crossed the river into Minneapolis. Regardless of where we went, it all sounded like an adventure.

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at Ruby Thai-Mall of America

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at Ruby Thai-Mall of America

Target Field has been the home of the Minnesota Twins since 2010. It’s a beautiful open-air stadium tucked into downtown Minneapolis. My Dad and I booked tickets for 2 games during our visit. We also reserved a hotel that was in walking distance to the stadium. In my research I also found out that it was in close proximity to many restaurants and that the stadium also had some great food choices.

We arrived late on a Wednesday evening and stayed at an airport hotel. Nothing fancy but a comfortable bed and a shower is all you need after a flight. It was a short hotel shuttle ride to the Mall of America which is where we went the next morning. The sheer size of this place was difficult to grasp; and they are expanding it further. There is an amusement park, water park, movie theaters, lego land and hundreds of stores. We were only in about a quarter of the mall. The best part: The Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at Ruby Thai Kitchen. Medium spice to them is a volcano’s fire to me.

My Dad found a Date at the Mall of America Lego Land

My Dad found a Date at the Mall of America Lego Land

90 minutes at a mall and it was time to go. The Twin Cities’ light rail has a station right at Mall of America. After a 25 minute ride, we were in beautiful downtown Minneapolis. It’s a clean downtown with a lot of skyscrapers, stores, restaurants and a Farmer’s Market. What, a Farmer’s Market on a Thursday? They do this every Thursday during the summer on Nicollet Mall-the main commerce hub in Minneapolis. There were potatoes, onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, salsas, honey, berries and many other things. It was beautiful and went on for blocks.

Seeing how it was lunch time, food was on our mind. I had read about Hell’s Kitchen from a Minnesota based Food Writer. You may first think of the show with Chef Ramsey but that was not it. This is a place where you enter the building, go down some stairs, and walk into what feels like a gothic auditorium. This is their self-proclaimed “underground lair.” You are sure if you are going to be shown to a table or to your seats for the show. Atmosphere: check; now how would the food be?

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen

Nearly everything at Hell’s Kitchen is homemade, including ketchup, mustard, tomato juice and hot cocoa. I ordered the Walleye BLT: Toasted Sourdough Bread with homemade lemon-scallion tarter sauce, two slices of thick-cut applewood cured bacon, crisp lettuce, slabs of vine-ripened tomatoes and a Parmesan-crusted coldwater walleye filet. Walleye is a freshwater fish that is the pride of the upper midwest and Canada.

While we were waiting for our food, they brought us out some peanut butter. This is also homemade and highly raved about. It’s chunky, mixed with honey and could be a dessert. We gobbled that up with some of their bread.

Walleye BLT

Walleye BLT

Alas, the Walleye BLT arrived. It’s a ubiquitous white fish so not a lot of inherent flavor. That Parmesan crust however sure made it delicious when mixed with the bacon, sourdough bread and especially the lemon-scallion tarter sauce. That sauce was a mouth-watering delight.

Even though there were hundreds of restaurants in the area, the next morning, my dad said that if I didn’t have any objections, he would love to try the breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen. Oh yeah, I was in.

The Corned Beef Hash includes House-cured, hand-pulled corned beef brisket with sautéed banana fingerling potatoes, sweet onions and crisp celery. It’s served with two organic eggs and toast. Wow! If taste was a category in the SmithsonianMuseum, the corned beef brisket would be on display. It was perfectly moist, seasoned and incredibly addictive. I could not get enough. The potatoes were crisp and delicious. The only thing that I could go without in that meal was large pieces of celery. I think that celery is great for a flavor base (i.e. hiding it). They sure know food at Hell’s Kitchen. Hat’s off to Chefs Mitch Omer and Steve Meyer.

Even though Target Field was a 10 minute walk from our hotel, we got there early to look around and find some great food. Baseball Stadiums are beautiful edifices (except for O.co coliseum in Oakland). No matter how beautiful and amenity loaded, food is the best part of any game. We walked both decks scouting out the food. I am a Teetotaler but if you like beer, this place was a Mecca.

Kramaczuk's Sausage-Target Field

Kramaczuk’s Sausage-Target Field

Ultimately my Dad & I both decided on Kramarczuk’s Sausage stand. They haven’t been there for all 4 years of the Stadium’s existence but I have heard great things. Wasyl and Anna Kramarczuk were originally from Ukraine, immigrating to the United States in the late 1940’s. They were a little bitter and rustic but delicious. I loved it with some grilled sweet onions. Their philosophy is: “Every sausage, every loaf of bread, every piroshky is still made by hand from scratch, with the finest and freshest ingredients.” They might not actually be made at Target Field, but they are made locally and have become a Minneapolis landmark.

Time with my Dad, delicious sausage, temperature in the low 70’s and a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 9th inning made for a special evening.

Next Up: Barrio, Wild Rice Soup and the Mighty Mississippi

 

 

9th South Delicatessen: Happiness in Corned Beef Form

A Reuben in Jersey City

A Reuben in Jersey City

Sandwiches, the ultimate portable food, can be enjoyed anywhere. But a quiet room in a quaint bungalow in Salt Lake City’s 9th & 9th neighborhood is the place to enjoy the self- proclaimed “best pastrami and corned beef in the country.” That might sound like hyperbole, but 9th South Delicatessen backs it up.

You can get the corned beef in A Reuben Is a Reuben Already and the A Reuben in Jersey City sandwiches. Go for the pastrami in W. Weinstein’s Wow Pastrami or Mt. Nebo’s Pastrami. These are not movie titles, but the massive size of the sandwiches might keep you there for the length of a movie. And the time spent with a great sandwich, side salad and sour pickle in a relaxing location could just be the best part of your day. 

Please check out the article:

9th South Delicatessen: Finding Happiness in Corned Beef

The Hashed Corned Beef

The Hashed Corned Beef

Happy Eating

Saffron Valley: East India Cafe

Saffron Valley Sign

For those of you who had been to The Pagoda in the Avenues, you know that it was a great place with exquisite food. About 3 years ago, The Pagoda changed hands and the new hands couldn’t make it work. Enter Saffron Valley.

With a location in South Jordan, Saffron Valley was poised to make the leap and expand to the Avenues; bringing great food back to the Pagoda location. They bill themselves as “taking Indian cuisine to a new culinary level while still holding true to its traditional roots.”

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

If you are there for lunch, enjoy the delicious buffet. It’s the best of Indian home style cooking, restaurant favorites and street foods of India. Regular items include Chicken Tikka Masala, Coconut Korma and Vindaloo. There are many other dishes, all worth a taste. They first time that I had the lunch buffet, I could barely move after. Self discipline did not play a role that day.

I was invited to join them for dinner and was overwhelmed by the selection. “What will I do? I want everything” was my thinking. Thankfully Kannan, the wonderful manager at the Avenues location, helped me pick some things out. He brought reason back into the equation and he was the perfect person to do it. Having run restaurants in India, he knows the food better than most. Both his Father and Grandfather had restaurants so he grew up in the business.

Toddy Shop Fry

Toddy Shop Fry

We began with one of the “Street Food Starters.” He recommended the Toddy Shop Fry. You have your choice of fried shrimp, calamari or sardines; all in their special spiceblend. I went with fried shrimp. That delicious, plump shrimp was coated in a colorful breading; it almost glowed. There was a hint of spice but what I was most impressed with was the quality of shrimp. It made everything else that I have had (which I thought was good), lower on the scale. These were perfect for dipping in their Mint and Tamarind Chutneys.

Arriving right around the same time as the Shrimp Toddy Shop Fry was the Garlic Naan. It was thick with a crusty exterior, soft interior and a powerful but not overwhelming aroma of garlic. It was this aroma that hits you as you get out of your car. I’m sure people walking buy who were not hungry at all, would immediately find room to eat once they smelled this aroma. The Garlic Naan was delicious by itself; but even better dipped in the Tamarind Chutney.

Three-Saag Curry

Three-Saag Curry

For the entree I was torn between a selection of delicious Wraps, Dosas, Curries and Clay Oven Grilled Kabobs. With Kannan expert guidance, I chose the Three-Saag Curry with Lamb. It’s a light & delicious sauce made with mustard, swiss chard & spinach; served with steamed basmati rice.

The lamb was near perfect, okay it probably was perfect. It was incredibly tender and a beautiful medium rare. That Three-Saag Curry was smooth and coated your mouth. Anything made with butter and cream will do that. I ordered it with a spice level of medium and that was plenty hot. Either it was the delicious lamb or smooth curry sauce that made this dish hit the top of the charts; maybe it was both.

Dessert was Warm Gulab Jamun with vanilla ice cream. I wasn’t sure that I could eat any more, but just the sight of these spongy dough balls soaked in syrup was enough for me to make room. It’s like a thick, doughy scone with a lot of cream and flavor. Even the ice cream had a hint of spice.

Warm Gulab Jamun

Warm Gulab Jamun

There are some great Indian Restaurants in Salt Lake. Before eating at Saffron Valley, I thought that I had found the best Indian Food. After eating there, the bar has been raised. They are wonderful in every aspect.

If you want to try cuisines from the different regions of India, they have a buffet every Sunday that does just this. Whether regional buffet, weekday lunch buffet or a dinner with many spectacular options, I will see you there soon.

Happy Eating

Saffron Valley East India Cafe on Urbanspoon

Lucky 13: The Pigpen Burger today, and another for Tomorrow!

Lucky 13 The Pigpen Burger

Just across a dirt lot, west of Spring Mobile Ballpark, sits a bar & grill. You may not notice it if you are in a rush to a game, or on your way home from work. But once you taste the burgers, you’ll forget about going elsewhere for a game—or going to work altogether.

Lucky 13’s burgers include the bacon stinky cheeseburger, the fungus amongus, ring of fire, the nut butter burger (peanut butter on a burger, anyone?), the breath enhancer and the pigpen, among many delicious others.  Please check out the article:

LUCKY 13: A BURGER FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK, AND MORE!

Happy Eating!

Bucket O’ Crawfish

Bucket O' Crawfish FoodMy Aunt is part of a little gang of lunch foodies. They are always excited to find new restaurants and she happily passes some suggestions on to me. One that she had heard about but had not been to was Bucket O’ Crawfish in West Valley. Just the name alone makes you crave some Cajun seasoning. I put this stuff on cereal; there is nothing like spicy cocoa puffs.

If you have ever heard of a Crab Boil or Crab Bake, it’s where they cook the crab, crawfish, sausage, potatoes, corn and other culinary delectables in a big pot, then dump it on the picnic table. You eat with your hands. It’s messy, it’s plentiful, it’s delicious. One of the reasons that I traveled to Louisiana last year was to experience the food. Would Bucket O’ Crawfish be a similar experience?

Their menu breaks it out into steps. The first being, “WHATCHA HAVN” with choices including shrimp, clams, mussels, snow crab, dungeness crab and crawfish. Step 2 is “CHOOSE YA’ FLAVOR:” Cajun, garlic butter, lemon pepper or crazy mix (all of the above). Step 3 is “SOME LIKE IT HOT:” mild, medium, hot and crazy hot. From here you can pick some sides: corn, potatoes, bread, Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, steamed rice, sausages and you can even order some extra sauce.

They bring the food out in bags and you dump it on your picnic table which is covered in plastic. We ordered shrimp, clams, mussels, snow crab and crawfish in the crazy mix flavor, spiced medium with corn, potatoes, bread, steamed rice and sausages for our sides. It sounded like a lot of food but would it be enough for 8 people?

Who is more creepy?

Who is more creepy?

The first bag of food they brought out was the crawfish. We actually passed the bag around just to inhale the aroma. It was sweet, spicy and opened up senses that you never knew you had. The mussels, shrimp, clams and snow crab arrived with the sides. It was time to throw caution to the wind and enjoy.

The food really was amazing. It had the perfect level of spice. We had fun pulling apart the crawfish and finding the meat. Everything really had a great taste to it. My absolute favorite was the sausage. It was made with alligator. Straight from the bayou, it was moist, tender and a bit sweet.

Given that this is high quality food that is mostly imported, it can be a little pricey. The other downside is that the food goes fast, and you still have room for more. Most restaurants serve a good helping of starch of carbs to help fill you up. When you spend $18 per person with tip, you hope to be a little more full. Other than that, it really was a great experience and they know how to make delicious food.

The crawfish bag still had about 2 cups of sauce in the bottom. I was thinking of what I could make with that. Yes, I probably looked weird carrying a bag of Cajun sauce out of a restaurant but that weekend, we made a delicious Gumbo.

Bucket O’ Crawfish
1980 West 3500 South
West Valley City, Utah, 84119

Happy Eating
Bucket O Crawfish on Urbanspoon

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