Friday, June 29, 2012

Glade's Drive In: worth it's fare?

Last month the Salt Lake Tribune published an article about the top 10 small town drive-ins in Utah. My mouth was watering as I pictured myself eating at the Burger Bar in Roy (reviewed here), continuing on to Maddox in Perry, and finishing up at the Hometown Drive Inn at Bear Lake. You could hit a few of these in a day, just enough time to make it to your cardiologist appointment. Many of these are your typical side-of-the-road grease food. I love it. Someday soon, I will release a book about my Foodie Road Trip.

Small Town/Old School Attraction

One of the joints left out was Glade's Drive Inn in Spanish Fork. This place has been around long enough that it's practically an institution. We stopped here on our way to Canyonlands two weeks ago. I had not been here since 2002. We were in college and drove the 55 miles because someone loved their fry sauce (it was also her birthday). I remember being unimpressed with the fry sauce but didn't remember much else.

Forgettable Food

There wasn't much else to remember. The fry sauce is pretty much mayonnaise. The fries came from a high school cafeteria. And the cheeseburger was of lesser quality than a $1.00 burger from McDonald's. Maybe the shakes are good but I didn't find out.

It has the small town drive inn feel; which really draws you in. Unfortunately, that is the end of the excitement.

Sorry Glades, I now know why you were left off the list.

Happy Eating.

 Glade's Drive Inn on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cajun Seasoning: Brings the Bayou to life!

If you like a little "fire" in your food, this is great to have in the cupboard. Personally, my "fire" tolerance has been rising for years. Some people think that I am disturbed, which may or may not be true. The amount of Cajun seasoning that I go through is truly amazing. The beautiful think is that you do not have to buy it pre-made, you can make it with ingredients that you likely have in the house.

Cajun Seasoning (in parts-I use tablespoons):

2 paprika
1 smoked paprika
2 granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1 black pepper
1 oregano
Bay leaves (1 per tablespoon part)
1 salt
1 granulated onion (or onion powder)
1 thyme

Mix all ingredients in a coffee grinder. If you want more heat, add some cayenne; I usually add 1/2 part cayenne. You can add heat but you can't take it away.

This is fabulous on veggies, burgers, pork tenderloin, in soups, gumbo, jambalaya.

I made some gumbo (recipe here) and it is truly fabulous. There is a huge reward in knowing that you make your own seasoning.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Loaded with Cajun seasoning; it's delicious

Pure Deliciousness

Happy Eating

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grove Market: sandwich or loaf of bread?

My good lunch friend was anxious to take me here to try their sandwiches. It's quite an adventure. I am always on the hunt for places where the food doesn't stand alone; it has to be the full experience.

Straight out of the 1950's

From the exterior, you wouldn't know that there was a Deli inside; except for a few picnic tables. The place is part mini-mart, part deli; all Hoarders paradise. I'm pretty sure that most of the food in the aisles was placed there over 30 years ago. Nobody was their to buy anything but the sandwiches freshly made at the deli counter in back.

As for the sandwiches, they are meant to be eaten for lunch and dinner. I ordered the corned beef with lettuce, tomato, red onion, mustard and mayonnaise all served on a loaf of bread. They are enormous. At first I was disappointed because all I could taste was the bread. It was a little overwhelming. I barely got through half of it during lunch. I picked at it later in the day but was a little sandwiched out at that point.

Meet your baby boy: 7 lbs, 6 oz; 19 inches long.

4 hours after ordering

My recommendation: get a half sandwich. No matter how hungry you may be, you will not finish it in one sitting. Next time I will try something other than corned beef. Although freshly cut, it tasted like pre-packaged meat. I hope that the ham & turkey taste better. As for the price, you can't beat a very large sandwich for $8.39.

Claustrophobia Inducing

Hoarder Friendly

As for the experience, you will enjoy feeling claustrophobic in the aisle while the deli worker decides who is next. I hear that they have a real great locally brewed root beer; looking forward to it.

1906 S. Main St. 
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115

Happy Eating.

Grove Market & Deli on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken: Start with Pink, change to Orange

Who doesn't like sweet & sour chicken? It's the safe dish if you are at an Asian restaurant and don't know what to order. Originally I found this recipes on Of course I altered it some but it is still wonderful nonetheless. It's definitely labor intensive but worth it. Pineapple is the sweet, vinegar is the sour; savory and delicious is the result.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch strips
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 drops orange food color
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
2 cups water
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and orange food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and egg. Add 1 1/2 cups water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add chicken, and stir until well coated.

Heat oil in skillet or wok to 360 degrees. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Remove chicken, drain onto paper towels.

When ready to serve, layer green peppers, onions, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter of rice. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top.

For some reason, my sauce turned out pink. It was quite pretty but not that appetizing. It took more than 2 drops of food coloring to change it to orange. Also, since I have been taking a lot of cooking classes, I am not a fan of cornstarch. It's hard to get rid of the strong flavor. I prefer a roux-equal parts by weight, cooked butter and flour.

Is this the "Pink Slime" referred to in the news?

This was one of Rachel's favorite dishes. I also liked it but since it was so laborious with much clean up required, I was a little burned out.

Happy Eating.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Havarti Apple: Does it sound expensive?

No, this is not a review of a fancy sandwich at a restaurant, this is a review of a fancy sandwich at our home. Rachel came up with this creation. Nothing beats a good sandwich on a hungry Sunday afternoon. We actually double this recipe for double the pleasure.

Havarti Apple Sandwich

1 sliced Gala apple
1/3 cup honey mustard
4 slices fresh Havarti cheese
4 slices bread (we used Grandma Sycamores)

Smear honey mustard on all slices of bread. Add apple, Havarti, and place on George Foreman Grill. When golden brown, remove, let cool, enjoy, make another.

I hope that you love it as much as us. The Havarti has a creamy sweetness to it which leaves you craving more. When you marry this with the freshness of the apple and the tang of the honey mustard, you get perfect harmony.

Happy Eating.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tony Burgers: Sirloin, Chuck, and Brisket

Normally, Tony Burgers is not a place that I would try; it's showy, trendy, and you wonder if it will be around in a few years. I did stop, however, because I was on my way to Rachel's work, this restaurant was on that path, and the hunger pains were calling.

Even though it was trendy looking inside, I did like the feel of the place. I ordered a Tonyburger with American cheese, raw onion, tomato, pickles, Tony sauce, a side of fries and a drink. They advertise the fact well that their meat is a mixture of sirloin, chuck and brisket. Apparently the Owners criss-crossed the country doing research in preparation for opening this joint. They must have met up with Michael Symon of Food Network fame; he does a similar thing (mixing the types of meat) with his burgers.

The burger really is delicious. Mixing the different types of meats gives it a stronger, fresher flavor. The website says that it's "addicting" and I would have to agree. Often the only flavor some burgers have is the condiments-maybe that is why they got rid of "pink slime." The fries were also wonderful. They are hand cut and cooked twice in the perfect blend of oil. It does seem to be an imitation of Hires' fries. Not as greasy', but I will still give Hires the upper hand.

You will spend over $10 for a combo; about average given a gourmet burger place these days. That is a tough psychological hurdle-to be over $10 for a burger combo. Probably not a place I will frequent, but good food nonetheless. Their salads and shakes look good and would likely make it worth a return trip.

613 E. 400 S. 
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102 

Happy Eating

Tony Burgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Park Cafe

Sometimes life teaches you a lesson. For me it was one which I learned unwillingly (initially) the other day. It was a Thursday afternoon, 1:00pm, I was very hungry and craving Thai food. My friend and I drove to Tasty Thai (which I love). I was already craving the hot & sour soup and masamman curry. My heart sank when I saw the "Closed for lunch on Thursday May 31st" sign in the window. What evil thing did I do to deserve this? As I was searching for answers, my friend recommended The Park Cafe just one block away. I reluctantly agreed.

It took a little while for my bad mood to subside but I began to take in the place. The Park Cafe is definitely a place where you eat, relax, linger, socialize, read the paper; much like Blue Plate Diner. It has a very inviting atmosphere; being an old bungalow home remodeled to a restaurant helps with the hometown feel. This place has a huge weekend following. If you drive by late morning on a Saturday or Sunday, there are people waiting out on the street.

The menu is small: Breakfast options, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Soups, and Salads. Since they are open from 7:00am-3:00pm, they don't need much else. Having eaten at The Better Burger Truck the night before, I wasn't craving a sandwich or burger. Ultimately I chose the Michigan Hash; partially because of the name. It includes park potatoes (their delicious version of hash browns) mixed with sausage, onions, mushrooms, peppers, topped with cheddar cheese and 2 eggs. As if that wasn't enough food, it's servedwith a side of toast.

Michigan Hash

Like most life lessons, I was ultimately grateful for this one. The Park Cafe is delicious. The Michigan Hash was a wonderful skillet. All the ingredients are fresh and cooked well. The sausage is spicy but not overpowering. The park potatoes are crispy but dry; not enough to ruin the dish but it does need a little something. It's a heavy dish; you won't be eating much dinner that night but you will leave happy and relaxed. I didn't think that I would be able to touch the toast; I was full but they had Marion Barry Jam on the table-it was wonderful.

French Toast: looks like a meal in and of itself

Veggie Omelet

My friend had the Veggie Omelet and 2 slices of French Toast. It was an incredible amount of food but he finished it, and loved it. His exact words were: "The grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes were perfect. That was the best restaurant omelet I've had." He is a fellow Foodie which means we might enable each other and that will be bad on the wallet.  However, the prices here are not bad, $6.95 for the Michigan Hash and $7.50 for the Veggie Omelet. Worth it, I think so.

604 E. 1300 S.
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105

Happy Eating.

Park Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

You can't but love Paula Deen. When Rachel and I were in Savannah, Georgia back in 2008, I would have loved to eat at Lady & Sons, her restaurant. The problem was that by 10:45am, there was already a line around the block. That is when you know the food is good. If it's fried or made with a lot of butter, it's delicious. Thankfully she publishes many of her recipes; whether I follow them to the "T" or not. This recipe could be dinner or dessert.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
12 slices white bread
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Butter, for cooking
Maple Syrup, for serving
Strawberry Syrup, for serving, recipe follows
Confectioners' sugar, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and granulated sugar. Spread the cream cheese on half of the bread slices (the recipe indicates only on one slice. We did it on both because more cream cheese is never bad) and top it with the sliced strawberries. Top with the remaining 6 bread slices and press around the edges to seal.

Melt butter on griddle over medium-low heat. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture for a few seconds on each side. Cook the sandwiches until golden brown, 2 -3 minutes each side. Serve with maple syrup, strawberry syrup, or confectioners' sugar.

Strawberry Syrup:

3 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the strawberries are soft and the syrup is thickened and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 in volume, 15-18 minutes.

Because of my lack of ability (or discipline, aptitude, focus-whatever you want to call it) in following recipes, We made a few of the sandwiches with blueberries and raspberries. They were all delicious. The strawberry sandwich with the strawberry sauce was definitely a sugar overload. If you are diabetic, it could kill you. The raspberries we used were very strong; the flavor overpowered everything else. The blueberry sandwich was really good. The way that the cream cheese interacted with the crispy bread and fruit was a perfect plural marriage.

Have it for dinner, dessert, or both.

Happy Eating.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Better Burger Truck: "Better" is an accurate description!

Better than what, Crown Burger, Five Guys, Smashburger? Yes, better than them all!

My kind of RV

Rachel was inspired last Wednesday. She texted me that the Better Burger Truck was going to be close to our home from 6-8pm. I was ecstatic as I have been looking to try this truck and also that I didn't have to make dinner; it had been a long day and I was out of ambition.

Walking towards the truck was a beautiful sight (and smell). The website mentioned a garlic burger and I got to enjoy that smell during the one-block walk. It was if I was in my own little world.

I chose the Blue Burger: Blue cheese and Horseradish blended into the patty and topped with Pepper Jack Cheese. Rachel went with the Garlic Burger: Minced Garlic and Garlic powder  blended in to the patty and topped with Swiss cheese. We went "Mo Betta" on both burgers which means that it is smothered with grilled onions. We also split an order of fries. Not just any fries, Sweet Potato fries. You can also go "Mo Betta" on the fries, with garlic and savory seasoning.

To sum it up: WOW! Most garlic burgers have just garlic powder or garlic salt mixed in with the patty. The minced garlic gave this burger some power. Once you took a bite, the garlic permeated your mouth within about 5 seconds. It was strong but not overwhelming; very fresh tasting.

Blue Burger: blue cheese and horseradish blended in to the patty

As for the Blue Burger, blue cheese, horseradish and pepper jack cheese is a fiery combination. I enjoyed it but it was a little overwhelming. I will try this burger again but without the pepper jack.

The sweet potato fries were excellent. They cook them a little longer than most, which makes them crispier.

The high quality of the food really comes through. All the beef comes from grass fed cows raised right here in Utah. The buns come from Stoneground, probably the best bakery in town. You pay for the quality, $7.00 for a burger, but it's worth it. I did not try the shakes but they look delicious and come from Farr's Ice Cream, also here in Utah.

Better Burger sure does have a niche. It was a busy night when I came by. Something that I will definitely do again; I'm thinking Bacon Burger next time, it has bacon chunks blended into the patty. My mouth will water until then.

Mother Ship in sight

Happy Eating.
Better Burger (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hometown Slop on Tour

We have arrived! Not only are we selling out venues and doing live cooking shows, but our first book will be released in August. Okay, not fully arrived yet, but we are getting there. Everyone starts somewhere right?

This week we did a grilling demonstration to a Ladies Church Group. The product is important but, in addition to that, the presentation has to be memorable. We rocked the house!

Sous Chef Sam and Sous Chef Jesse (my awesome nephews) accompanied me. These guys are fabulous cooks already. We grilled up some cheeseburger of champions, Cajun burgers, steaks, and Bahamian chicken. In addition we discussed dry rubs, wet marinades, thumb/doneness test, grill marks, foil tents, and how to get a nice crispness on your burgers-with clarified butter of course. Everyone received a handout with grilling tips and recipes.

The feedback was impressive. One lady said that if I wasn't yet doing this for a career, that I definitely needed to be. Another shared that my passion for food was contagious.

Sam got added to a will and Jesse got a phone number-for yard work of course. On the ride home Sam said "We rock, we seriously rock." I replied, "Start with presenting to 20 people, before you know it, the crowd is 400,000."

Happy Eating

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about caramelized onions. They are delicious and addictive. I mentioned how they are great with soups, salads or sandwiches. Rachel made a roast beef sandwich with the caramelized onions that was absolutely wonderful. It ate them for lunch for the next two days.

Now to further your addiction:

1 pound fresh deli sliced roast beef (not the pre-packaged meat)
1/2 pound fresh deli sliced Swiss cheese (again, not the pre-packaged cheese)
Caramelized onions
Whole wheat rolls

Brush the inside of the roll with olive oil-this will add a crispiness to the bread along with a great flavor. Pile high with roast beef. Place two slices of cheese on top of meat. Load with caramelized onions. Broil on low for 5-7 minutes. Eat, repeat, eat, repeat, attend 12-step meeting for recovery.

Happy Eating.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Red Rock Brewery: For Teetotalers?

A $15 gift card to Red Rock was placed in our gift card/coupon envelope a couple years ago. The envelope is often forgotten about for months at at time. Once remembered, we open it up to see either what is calling to us or what is about to expire. Upon dusting off the gift card, we set a date night and anxiously looked forward to Red Rock.

Do you ever feel like they peg you right when you walk in to a restaurant? Currently I am reading "Garlic and Sapphires: The secret life of a Critic in disguise." by Ruth Reichl. When she shows up to a restaurant acting like she doesn't fit in, she ends up in a bad location, virtually forgotten. On the other hand, when she arrives as the Restaurant Critic for the New York Times, the seas part to give her the best experience possible. When the Hostess asked me if I wanted a beverage menu, I declined. She got a forlorn look on her face and shuffled us off to the nearest table. It's as if  she felt that we were going to order the cheapest thing on the menu and occupy their table for 90 minutes while getting 6 refills of soda.

Our Server must have had the same impression, as her presence was scarce. We did order drinks, house brewed cream soda and root beer. They are made with cane sugar and were delicious; the root beer had a taste similar to a root beer barrel candy.

House brewed cream soda cures a rough day at work.

The menu was overwhelming as there were so many options. They do a captivating job of describing each dish. Ultimately I ordered the Smoked Red Trout Club: House smoked red trout fillet, red onion marmalade, dill cream cheese, cucumbers, bacon & tomato on a pumpernickel bread. Sounds like something you would order at an Alaskan fishing lodge. For a starter, I got a House Salad: Organic spring mix, greens, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrot chips and croutons with a creamy garlic and basil house dressing. How is that for overloaded?

Smoked Red Trout Club. I am a club sandwich junkie and this was one of the best yet.

The sandwich is best described by relating it to a fabulous vacation. You know how most vacations have some good, some bad, but the good memories override the bad ones? This was like the vacation where you thought it impossible that the next activity could be any better than the last. Each bite of the sandwich was more wonderful than the bite previous. The way the red onion marmalade (doesn't that make your mouth water just saying it?) creates a perfect synergy with the dill cream cheese and trout is the work of geniuses. I wish to be mentored by them. All I can say about the house salad is that the creamy garlic and basil house dressing is definitely also the work of geniuses. Your mouth waters when it hits your taste buds.

You would eat your own shoe if it was covered with this creamy garlic and basil dressing.

Other than the neglect of Teetotalers, the only negative was the dessert. We ordered the Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. The frosting and raspberry sauce were good but the cake was very dry. I would not order it again.

Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Raspeberry Sauce. Hold the cake, keep the sauce and frosting.

Despite the neglect, I will definitely be back.

Happy Eating.

Red Rock Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 1, 2012

Emeril's Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni

A few years ago, I came across this recipe. Being a Lover of many things Pasta, I thought that I should give it a try. It truly is delicious! Healthy? Not so much. But if you can see through the fact that this is taking some time off of your life, you will really enjoy the dish.


1/2 pound elbow macaroni
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 475. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni for minutes (it will be undercooked).
Drain. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-45 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a bowl. Add macaroni, stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and evaporated milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cheeses; mix well. Add macaroni mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to a square baking dish. With a spoon, gently spread mixture to form an even layer. Bake just until sauce is bubbling at edges, 12 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

I like to add some bread crumbs over the top prior to baking. It's either because it makes it crispier, holds together better, or because I get to alter the recipe slightly; and therein lies the joy.

Your family and tummy will thank you. Your heart, not so much. But worry about that in 20 years.

Check out my Homemade Mac & Cheese recipe.

Happy Eating
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