Monday, April 15, 2013

Suprise Announcement #2

Since it's April 15th, I hope that you got a nice big tax return. Anyway, that's not the surprise.

Last month I wrote about "Suprise Announcement #1" but wasn't quite ready to announce the next suprise. Just to tease you all further, I had another post, "Announcement #1, Addendum 2."

Now it's time to fess up and get the cat out of the bag.

Announcement #2: We are moving to a Wordpress site. What does this mean? Well for a technology novice like myself, not much initially. But I have come to learn that there is a huge benefit to switching.

The new site will be www.hometownslop.com. This will allow for greater access and a whole lot of other cool things.

Now if that is a letdown to you, let me include a great recipe, especially since BBQ Season is upon us.

Smoked Pork Shoulder with a Honey Mustard Glaze

Please join me on the new site and thank you for all your support.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Taqueria El Paisa: I'll have the Goat Stew please!



Last Thursday we drove to IFA to get chickens. I was very hungry after not having lunch. This is an industrial part of town but there was a restaurant that caught my eye. It was an old Wendy's and had the look & feel that I love: authentic & inviting.

There was a sign in the window for Pork Tacos. I asked about them and was told me that they are spicy pork tacos. That sounded pretty good at the moment. Anything served on a plate wrapped in foil must be good. I peeked under the foil while driving and anticipated the moment when I could bite into it.


Chile Verde Super Burrito

The pork itself was actually not very spicy. It was served on corn tortillas with chopped pineapple, sliced onions, scallions, cilantro and lime. They provide you with some hot sauces in little containers and thankfully not already on the tacos. Those are incredibly spicy and I didn't dare pour them on the taco. One little taste of the hot sauce was enough to sear your tongue.

A few hours later I was hungry and couldn't get that food out of my mind. It was time to return. I brought Sous Chef Jesse with me. We had instructions to pick up food that was "not too weird" for our group. There isn't much that is weird to me. We went inside this time and the menu was beautiful. I stood in silence just to take in the moment.

On the quest to find great Mexican Food, I was very hopeful that that this place would have great food. I have found both disappointment and elation. Here at Taqeria El Paisa, I saw some items that I didn't recognize. Who knows what Birria is? I didn't but the picture looked great. We also ordered a Chile Verde Super Burrito, and both Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas. We had a lot of food.


Cheese Enchilada

The Chile Verde Super Burrito fit it's name; it was of incredible size. The pork was seasoned with some heat and definitely had you reaching for water after each bite. It was smothered in cheese and served with sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. All delicious and extremely filling.

Both the chicken and cheese enchiladas were fabulous. Yes they were spicy as were the re fried beans served on the side.


Birria

Birria is a spicy Mexican goat stew made with a base of dried, roasted peppers. The meat was tender and at first odd. Maybe that is just because I don't recall eating goat before but that went away quickly and I enjoyed it. The broth was powerful-spicy and a little gritty; not much sweetness here. It was a delicious dish and I am glad that I tried it to experience an authentic dish.

Will I be back, definitely! Next time I will try the Camarones a la Diabla, Ceviche Patron and Molcajete Supreme.

919 West 2100 South
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84119

Happy Eating

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Own Thai Noodle Menu!


Flat Rice Noodles in a Tom Yum Broth with Pork

It's the unique creations and options that stand out at a restaurant. Sometimes we want the comfort of the familiar and other times, okay often, we want something unique; in other words, the WOW factor.

One of the "Wows" that I have found is Siam Orchid's "Build Your Own Noodle Menu" at lunch. Most Thai restaurants have noodle options and being a lover of Thai food, I have a hard time not trying them all. If you are a person who has difficulty making decisions, this will cause you some anxiety.

Please check out the full article that I wrote about Siam Orchid's Noodle Menu

Create Your Own Thai Noodle Bowl

See you there soon!

Happy Eating

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blue Plate Diner: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Snack & Dinner

On a recent Saturday evening, I had the thought that Rachel and I should have a date night. The problem was that it was already 6:30pm. Yes, I know that is not too late to go out to dinner, but it is often too late to find a babysitter. I called Rachel's wonderful sister anyway; She and Ruby are very close. She was headed to a birthday party with kids and was happy to bring Ruby.



Due to the close proximity of where we dropped off Ruby, we went to the The Blue Plate Diner. My experience with this restaurant has been that if you go between 7:00am-2:00pm, you will have to wait for a table. I wasn't sure what to expect for dinner. Much less crowded for dinner which was nice, because you can order breakfast food all day.

The Blue Plate Diner is an institution in the Sugarhouse area. It's a little retro, counterculture joint; part coffee shop, part antique shop. There are wonderful antiques, signs, and trinkets on the walls & shelves. It's a place where no one is in a hurry to go anywhere (this is one reason why the wait can be long). Patrons seem to be enjoying their meal time; not worrying about the next appt. The perfect place for a Realtor/Blogger/Part time stay-at-home Dad.

Rachel had The Greek Bendict (spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, hollandaise, and feta cheese). I had one bite and it was delicious. The hollandaise had the perfect amount of creaminess to it. All of the ingredients were fresh and full of flavor. I know that she enjoyed it because, when the food arrived, she dug in and barely spoke to me.



That evening I was craving a burger; a big, fat, juicy, burger. I asked the waiter what he recommended and he quickly replied: "The buffalo burger with avocado, bacon, bleu cheese, and shoestring fries with cajun seasoning." I said "sounds great." And great it was.



Buffalo meat is leaner than beef which I often interpreted as being less flavorful. Not so here; it is sweeter and doesn't leave the greasy feel in your mouth. It's also not "gamey," which is what I worried it would taste like. The bacon was thick and crisp, the blue cheese was an explosion of flavor, and the avocado and red onion tasted very fresh. I have no doubt that Blue Plate purchases organic vegetables.

You wouldn't think of The Blue Plate Diner as a dinner destination but it most certainly was. Come here, come often and enjoy the moment. You will get lost in your food experience and likely miss your next appointment. But if you are honest with yourself, you want to blow off that appointment anyway.


Happy Eating.

Blue Plate Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thai Siam: Imaginative and plainly Addictive!



Okay, so I borrowed the "imaginative and plainly addictive" directly from Thai Siam's advertisement. How can you turn that down? Any restaurant willing to state it like that should be known by all and have advertising on the side of blimps.

Last week I was going to be meeting a friend for lunch. He needed to stay close to where he works which is in Draper. I thought of Guadalahonky's and Las Glorias but having eaten there recently, I was looking for something else. Just then I remembered seeing Thai Siam in Draper. They have a location near downtown Salt Lake and it had been quite a while since I had been there. This would be the next step on my journey to eat at every Thai restaurant in the valley.



This location recently opened but it still looked closed when I drove up. Even at the front door, it looked dead. Thankfully the front door was unlocked. I was having that panic of "what do I do" if they are not open? My mind was set on Thai food.

Most Thai Restaurants have great lunch specials where you get two lunch entrees for a good price. How could I go and eat Thai food and not order Tom Yum Gai? It would be like driving to Disneyland, showing your kids the entrance, then turning around and going home.

In addition to the Tom Yum, I ordered the Gai Pad Gra Prow-Thai Basil Stir Fry. When the stir fry came out, I was a little nervous. It did not appear to be appetizing; it looked like ground beef with bell peppers in a broth. It actually was chicken with fresh hot peppers, bell peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, onions, garlic cloves and Thai basil. It wasn't spicy at all and actually tasted a little sweet. Overall a really good dish. The fresh Thai basil adds a component of freshness and earthiness. The chicken was really moist and flavorful.


Tom Yum Soup close-up
Now for what should be the best part of every meal, the Tom Yum Gai. The moment I take the first spoonful is when time stands still. It's likely one of the most anticipated moments in life. This one was a curve ball. I am use to the Tom Yum that burns and makes you cry. This one was sweet which was totally unexpected. It was really delicious. Sometimes the best moments in life are the unexpected ones.

While eating this lunch, I was so immersed in the experience that I totally tuned my friend out; a common problem. I'm not sure which business deal we shook hands on but this much I do remember, Thai Siam has some great food. I wrote in a review about Siam Orchid about how no two Thai restaurants are the same. Each is unique and leaves you happy. And since Thai Siam is "addictive" I will see how soon I can return.


Thai Basil Stir Fry. It might appear scary but unlike some in-laws cooking (which also appears scary), this tastes good.

12147 South Factory Outlet Drive
Draper, Utah, 84020

1435 South State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115

Happy Eating

Thai Siam on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sammy's Famous Pie Shakes: The Powers of Ice Cream and Pie Combined!



A few weeks ago I went into Sammy's Pie Shakes to review for an upcoming City Weekly article. What struck out most to me was their "famous pie shakes."

My friend asked the worker what was so "famous" about their shakes. He replied, "Well, we blend an entire piece of pie into every shake." That was enough to throw my diet away for the day. My exercise for that afternoon also suffered but it was well worth it.

City Weekly: Sammy's Famous Pieshakes

Please tell me what you think right on the CW site.

Happy Eating

Monday, April 1, 2013

Garden Expresso Cafe: An Off-The-Beaten-Path Culinary Treat!

Last Friday a wonderful Title Rep took me to lunch. She recommended Garden Espresso Cafe in Murray. I have never heard of the place and wondered if it was a coffee shop serving a pre-packed sandwich. When I arrived at the Title office and got a tour of their new facilities, everyone was talking about the restaurant we were going to for lunch. I began to have some optimism.

As we arrived, it had a distinct French Cafe feel. Everyone was relaxed and in no hurry to leave. Another thing I noticed, was that along with myself, there were 3 other males in the place: another Rep. from the title company, a home warranty Rep. who came with us and the Cafe's Owner. They didn't throw us out however.

It was a soup & sandwich cafe with a smaller menu. The soup of the day was roasted garlic and tomato. Having attended a soup class two weeks ago, I instantly knew what I was going to order. I decided to have a sandwich with the soup; club sandwich on sourdough with a spicy mayo.

The food was delicious. Roasted garlic and tomato soup is a wonderful creation. The minced garlic was flavorful but not overpowering. There must have been a lot of butter (which I am in no way against) that really finished off the soup with a creamy, rich flavor. The atmosphere was very welcoming and relaxing. I could see why people were in no hurry to leave.

Tucked just off Vine Street, east of 900 E. in Murray, you may never know this was here unless you were looking for it. If you are in the area, don't just drive on by. Stop, get a sandwich, a cup of soup and bring a book. Stay a while. Next time I will be sure to do the same.

Garden Espresso Cafe
917 Vine Street
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84121
(801) 266-0997


Happy Eating.
Garden Expresso on Urbanspoon
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