Friday, September 30, 2011

Mo's Chowder

Earlier this Summer we had the wonderful opportunity to road trip to the Oregon Coast with Rachel's brother and family. The drive wore us all out, especially Ruby, but it turned out to be a great trip.

Ruby was sleeping one evening while we were staying at a beach house in Depoe Bay so Rachel and I snuck out for dinner. We drove around for a while not sure where to go. Tim's garmin kept giving up suggestions close in proximity but nothing sounded quite right. We then decided to drive a few miles to Lincoln City and eat at Mo's Chowder.

As soon as you enter Oregon, the ramblings about Mo's begin. "The place is fabulous" everyone would say; "Try the chowder." How can your turn that down?

The parking lot was packed with every Tourist staying within ten miles. At the front door they are very quick to greet you with a friendly "welcome to Mo's." You wait in line and then are escorted to your table. Ironically you are practically sitting at the same table as other people. We made fast friends with the couple next to us. They also gave us suggestions on what to order and also what neighborhoods were safe in Portland (we were heading there in a couple days).

One item on the menu kept sticking out to me. See if you could resist this description, Bouillabaisse: Oregon Bay Shrimp, Salmon, Cod, Yaquina Bay Oysters, Clams and Crab Legs simmered in a light tomato broth served with a piece of garlic cheese bread. Yummy! I loved it; took the rest home and ate it for breakfast (not kidding). The tomato broth had a spicy bite to it. Every spoonful was heaven.

For an appetizer I got a bowl of chowder. It is called Mo's Chowder after all and they push it on you like a car dealer selling a warranty. My advice: the chowder was famous at one point but that was must have been decades ago. It is bland with too many large chunks of potatoes. Stick with the Hot Shrimp Artichoke Dip as an appetizer.

For those traveling to the Oregon Coast, definitely eat at Mo's Chowder. The place is an institution and worth the experience alone. But please spend the $4.50 for a bowl of clam chowder on something else.

Happy Eating.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Subtleties of Food

Last week I was making another batch of corn & black bean salad. I shared this recipe along with my story/unwillingness/stubbornness in following recipes on a previous post here. Typically I improvise a recipe or create my own as I prepare any dish; including any that I have made in the past. As I shared in the post, I explained how for many people, this can be aggravating. They want exactness. It works well for me to improvise. Maybe to me, following a recipe is allowing someone to have authority over me; not going to happen :-)

Anyway, back to the corn & black bean salad. I was adding the vinegar, salt, fresh ground pepper, and cumin. I like food to have a kick to it; a wow factor. Whether it be spicy, bitter, sweet, salty, I like to overdo things. Maybe it's a personality disorder. I had Rachel try some. Before she could even give me her feedback I said that I was going to add more vinegar. She said "No, it doesn't need it. Sometimes the subtleties of food are what make it good."  What? Subtleties? Isn't that just another word for bland?

Fortunately I listened to her and left it as it was. I knew that the ingredients would marinate together in the fridge and come out very flavorful. It did. I was grateful for the insight.

Here's to the subtleties of food (and to listening to your spouse).

Happy Eating.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Citris Grill

A couple of weeks ago a good friend inquired about going to lunch. He left it up to me as to where we would meet. Since he lives in the Holladay / Canyon Rim area, I was thinking of restaurants in the neighborhood. Citris Grill came to mind. I had not been there in a while and remembered thoroughly enjoying the food.

The atmosphere inside is very calm and comfortable. You could stay there for a couple hours without feeling rushed to leave. The food has always been wonderful and includes great appetizers, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pastas, wood fired pizzas, and entrees. There is always a daily special. On this particular outing I ordered the daily special which was a pork tenderloin sandwich. After ordering, I had second thoughts. Maybe I should have ordered the citris hamburger or the southwest chicken wrap. Too late. I engaged in conversation and waited for the food.

When the sandwich came out and I began eating, I was ecstatic. The pork was tender and moist with a chipotle aioli on a soft bun. I loved it and enjoyed every bite. I only wish I had ordered one to go for dinner.

Some of the items on the menu I would highly recommend would be: black and white hummus appetizer, ham and havarti sandwich, southwest chicken wrap, asian wrap, smoked turkey sandwich, number one wood fired pizza, citris hamburger, shroom burger, and the cobb salad. This is everything I have ever tried here. I am sure that most all of the menu is delicious.

Should you have the opportunity, please do not hesitate to eat at Citris Grill.

Citris Grill
2991 E. 3300 S.

Yesterday another friend asked if I could go to lunch today. I said yes and he asked where I would like to go. First words out of my mouth: Citris Grill on 3300 S.

Happy Eating.

Citris Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Utah State Fair

Last Wednesday we had the wonderful opportunity to go the Utah State Fair. One week earlier, we had hoped to go to the Greek Festival but Ruby was not feeling well. We definitely did not want to miss the fair. It was a fabulous evening. Ruby loved petting the rabbits, feeding the goats, and watching the sea lion show. I mostly loved, as you can guess, the food!

Right after you enter, the row of food shacks begin. This is part of the search for "Americana," as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, that I love. The aroma is constant and if you were not hungry when you came, you are now. I love that the food stands look like they haven't been changed since the 1950's. Something classic about that must make us crave the food even more. The rush is on. To me it was similar to when I haven't had a Dr. Pepper in three days, leaving my head pounding and my body shaking until that sweet syrup has calmed my nerves. I didn't care when we would see the animals, I needed food. We sat down at the food court and I set out on my search.

There were philly cheesesteaks, burgers, fries, burritos, pizza, churros, lemonade. Anything you could want. At one stand there was a picture of a very large, juicy chesseburger with hand cut fries. The cheeseburger was smaller than advertised but the fries were wonderful. Rachel and I shared a large homemade raspberry lemonade made with fresh raspberries. It was heaven. While eating, the lady at the table next to us was working on an onion blossom. Oh how I wish I had ordered that. How I wish that I had a four-chambered stomach, like a cow, to eat as much as possible.

How I wish also I had taken out more than $20 at the ATM on the way to the fair. Thankfully there were strategically placed ATMs very close to the food stands.

After petting the animals and touring some arts and crafts, Rachel, Ruby and I shared a funnel cake; amazing.
At the food stand next door they were selling smoked turkey legs. They looked wonderful. I spent the rest of the time wondering if I could fit in either an onion blossom or turkey leg. On the way out I realized that I sadly could not. Was I defeated? Not at all. It gives me more to look forward to next year.
If you have not experienced the Utah State Fair, then plan on next year. It is not to be missed. Bring lots of cash and an empty stomach and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Happy Eating

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Indian Market & Grill

In a previous post, I wrote about my love of travel and especially good food while traveling. I don't seek out chain restaurants or the 24 hour buffet. Not only in the towns that we travel to, but in the restaurants also, I am looking for a little bit of Americana. Whether in a quaint New England village or the Deep South, I desire a quality restaurant that you would likely find on Diners, Drive-In's & Dives.

I do not wait to travel to find great restaurants. I seek out great places to eat here in Salt Lake. Two weeks ago I was showing some condos in the Avenues. As I drove east on 2nd Avenue, I looked right on D Street and saw the Indian Market & Grill. Planning on picking up something for dinner, I pulled over. Immediately it had the look of a place I would find on a trip: quaint, great aroma, not in a strip mall, not part of a chain. It reminded me of some of the fabulous places we ate at while in Montreal, Canada back in 2007. I ordered the Korma Curry and Tandoori Chicken Gyro and eagerly waited.

The drive home was tough. I only had 3 miles to go but the smell was permeating the car and I was very hungry. Upon arriving home, we set the table, sat down, and dug into the food. I excitedly took the first bite, then the second; all while waiting for the explosion of flavors in my mouth. It never happened. I took a bite of the gyro; a little better, but not much. Overall: it was very bland.

I love indian food and was disappointed. Usually indian cuisine is spicy, savory and leaves you craving more. Not this time. Numerous times I have eaten at Tandoor, India House and Taste of Punjab; All wonderful.

If you try something at Indian Market & Grill and have a different experience than I, please let me know. It seems like the best part of this restaurant is the location.

Happy Eating.

Indian Market & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food on the Road

Sprague's Lobster Shack in Wiscasset Maine
I am a Dreamer and, as such, love to plan vacations to places that will fill my soul and leave me fully relaxed and ready to work tirelessly until the next vacation. Has it happened yet? Definitely. Vacations to the Deep South, Montreal, Oahu's North Shore, New Hampshire, Maine, Boston, and Cape Ann have all been extremely relaxing and soul filling. One getaway which left me feeling like a I needed another vacation upon arriving home was a week in Cape Cod. Something about that place sickens me. Maybe it was the endless highway of chain motels, bowling alleys, arcades, bad restaurants, and tour buses filled with old people at every stop. I must insert here that not all of Cape Cod is bad; Highway 6A (the original higway) is a beautiful drive with antique shops, stores, and old cemetaries (my wife's favorite).

What is it about some vacations that are wonderful and others which leave us unfulfilled? For some it's the people you travel with. My Brother said that when he and his wife travel, they get up earlier than normal and see everything on the list. They wonder why we won't travel with them:-). For others, where you stay is important. For me, as you can probably guess, it's how many great restaurants I patronize. Rachel and I plan very little as to what we are going to do. Somedays we do nothing but go out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a little relaxing in between. I would prefer to stay in a $49/night motel room and spend the majority of the travel budget on food. This leaves me fulfilled and gives me something to write about. It works great for us. 

Traveling, much like food, has turned into a passion for me. I love finding places to travel; where to stay and where to eat. My wife leaves the travel planning to me much like I leave home projects to her. She regularly answers "sounds great" to my question "should we go here?" Figuring out where to go can be summed up with this sentence: I don't know what I am looking for but will know it when I find it. It's very exciting for me.

Two weeks ago we planned a trip to Florida. Or I should say that we bought the plane tickets. My cousin invited us down for a week in January and I got very excited guessed it, where to eat when we get there. After booking the tickets I started researching restaurants in the area. It was 3 days later that I remembered to let him know that we were coming. That was a little awkward on the phone as I was  hoping that he still had the week available and hadn't invited someone else to stay. No worries, he's looking forward to seeing us. I went there this past January but this time, Rachel, Ruby, and I will be going. My Cousin and I ate at Miller's Ale House in Ft. Myers, Harpoon Harry's at Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda, Rum Bay Restaurant on Cape Haze - you need to take a water taxi to Cape Haze. Ruby will love this. 

Well I better get back to work so I can save up for retirement? home repairs? new car? Not a chance; I will be saving up for restaurant money on our trip to Florida. 

Happy Eating (and Traveling).  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grilling Tips

Back in June I was asked to be the Grillmaster for a Ward BBQ. I brought my two nephews, Sous Chef Jesse and Sous Chef Sam. On the night before we spent many hours doing prep work as we prepared 3 varieties of burgers & a chicken dish. The night of the BBQ was intense; fed over 50 people. Lots of work, lots of fun. We even had 2 grease fires. The most aggravating part of the BBQ was when someone brought over a package of vegetarian burgers and asked me to cook them. How insulting!

Here is a list of grilling tips which I provided at the BBQ. Included here is the recipe for Cheeseburger of Champions; heavenly burger.

The summer may be winding down but there are many good days of grilling still.

Happy Eating
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