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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Basil Bacon Penne

It's obvious that I have veered away from putting many recipes on the site. Not that I don't cook anymore; I am cooking more than ever and am enjoying it immensly. As I have been dilligently involved in the process of restaurant reviews however, more doors and opportunities have opened up. I honestly use to think that I would run out of restaurants to review. That is not turning out to be the case.

I am reminded of a question I asked a BBQ Chef in class. I inquired if he ever went out to eat. He replied "Oh yeah, when I go out to eat someone else gets to cook." Advice I follow far too often.

Here is a great pasta recipe. It's a favorite at our house.




Basil Bacon Penne

2 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup flour
3 cups heavy cream
1 pound Penne
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
10 strips cooked bacon, chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Make a Roux by melting butter in pan, add flour. Stir while cooking for a few minutes until your roux is light blonde. Add the heavy cream 1/2 cup at a time while stirring consistently. Mix in bacon, basil and salt & pepper to taste. Pour over pasta, enjoy, wait for heart attack.

Okay, maybe no heart attack; just a play on the butter and heavy cream.

This is a great dish; incredibly creamy and delicious. Bacon and basil sure make anything great. It's similar to the Bacon Fettucini I made last year.


Happy Eating

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lazy Day Cafe: Hidden yet Delicious!



Yes, this is a real restaurant, not a place that I found to waste away the afternoon. After working diligently all morning, I quickly realized that I was very hungry. My "Around Me" App said that there was a Caribbean restaurant nearby. That sounded interesting so I made my way there.

The restaurant for which I was looking never appeared but back in the corner of this quiet shopping center I saw a sign which read "Lazy Day Cafe." I still had to search to see where the place actually was. Finally finding it, I walked inside.

The place was busy but I found a quiet table in front of the fireplace. Just as I was wondering how anyone could possibly know that this place exists, I heard the waitress, either Candice or Cheri, refer to most of her customers by name. They are also the owners and know how to make great food.



Lazy Day Cafe has been open since October, 2010 and is tucked into the back corner of the Ivy Place Shopping Center (itself a quiet locale). They are open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00am-2:00pm. The atmosphere and hours remind me of Finn's. My table by the fireplace reminded me of a Maine Bed and Breakfast.

Looking at the menu, I was disappointed that it was 12:30pm. Breakfast is served until 11:00am and it looked wonderful: Shrimp & Grits, Biscuits & Gravy, Lazy Deluxe, Lemon Pancakes. That's okay; time for a return trip soon.

I was reviewing the sandwich & burger options when she told me about the specials. One of which was a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich slightly breaded with panko, served with lettuce, tomato and a zesty mayo on a baguette and fresh cut fries on the side. Done, I'll take that! They also had a Tomato Bisque soup as their soup d' jour so I had a cup of that.



The sandwich had thin slices of breaded pork tenderloin. The meat was really moist and tender and didn't overwhelm. The baguette was perfect with a very soft interior. The Zesty Mayo could be eaten with a spoon and put on cereal, crackers, anything you want. It has a slight hint of spice but mostly a citrus taste. I loved it.

The tomato bisque looked a little odd at first but I grew to love it. I think that it was the lumpy texture which first made it unappealing. Whatever spice they didn't put in the zesty mayo was in the tomato bisque. I love a soup with some heat and this had it. Last year we learned in class how to make a roasted tomato soup and it is wonderful.

Look hard because the Lazy Day Cafe will be hidden but it will be a nice visit. Now, to plan my return for breakfast.



2020 East 3300 South, Suite 24
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84109

Happy Eating.

 Lazy Day Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 25, 2013

"The Caputo" at Caputo's Deli on 15th: Now that's a Summer Sandwich!

With the warm weather in the past 2 weeks, it's led to some revelations:

1. That was a long, cold winter.
2. I am excited for some fresh, delicious Summer food.

I thought back on some of the best food from last Summer. There was a lot to choose from but Caputo's on 15th has such a wonderful menu. Their fresh, tasty food is a sure sign of summer.



After picking up Rachel's birthday present, we had less than an hour to get some lunch. Since it was her birthday, it was totally her choice (as if it isn't any other time). She wanted a nice sandwich so that eliminated any chain joint; not that we would go there anyway.

Caputo's on 15th & 15th came to mind. I had never been there before but had just driven by earlier that week.


The Caputo


It was a fabulous choice. I ordered The Caputo: A taste of Cosenza Italy, prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It was delicious. Sometimes I forget that a sandwich doesn't necessarily need mayonnaise and mustard. The olive oil and balsamic vinegar give this just the hint of seasoning that it needs. All the other ingredients are fresh, high in quality and packed in abundance. It's $8.25 for a full sandwich and definitely worth it.


Roasted Peppers on Focaccia


Rachel ordered the Roasted Peppers on Focaccia: Roasted sweet red peppers, arugula, Manchego cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I'll have to take it word on it that it was delicious. It definitely looked so.

Just like I wrote in my review of Gandolfo's, Caputo's also does not offer a $5 footlong that you hear in the big chain advertisements. But after you order a sandwich from Caputo's, you will never go back to the imitations.

1516 S. 1500 E.
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105


Happy Eating
Caputo's Market and Deli on 15th and 15th on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feldman's Deli: A Sandwich for Lunch, And one for Late Lunch!



Often, I am driving down the road and a restaurant will catch my eye. It's my greatest distraction, or inspiration; whichever way you see it. This happened with Chanon Thai, Bruges, Ali Baba Kabab & Curry (I will eat there soon) and recently, Feldman's Deli. It is incredibly stressful to think about what I saw, where and most importantly, how soon I can eat there.

Any restaurant with the name "Deli" in it makes you wonder what kind of delicious sandwiches creations are inside. The excitement and potential anxiety is like waiting to hear back on your taxes. Will you get a refund & go on vacation or owe money and tell your kids that they better make plans for community college? Walking into a Deli is knowing it will be the pinnacle of culinary delight or a total disappointment; no middle ground.


This is for Lunch

Feldman's is tucked into a strip mall in the Upper Sugarhouse/Millcreek area of Salt Lake. They market themselves as a New York Style Delicatessen offering a variety of Jewish Deli Sandwiches. Currently, no other restaurants in Salt Lake offer authentic Jewish deli standards with traditional Eastern European specialties. Sounds delicious doesn't it?

The menu isn't large but does not need to be. There are Soups, Salads and Starters such as Potato Pancakes, Knish (potato & onion filled pastry), Gefilte Fish and Kishka. These will have to wait for my follow up visit. Today I was drawn to the most important section of the menu, "1/2 Lb Sandwiches." I was hoping to order the Hot Pastrami, Hot Corned Beef, Corned Beef Reuben, Sloppy Joe and Turkey & Roast beef. Spending $54 on lunch leaves you sleeping in car however so I went with the Sloppy Joe.

No, it's not ground beef and onions cooked in canned tomato sauce served over hamburger buns. This "Sloppy Joe" has corned beef, pastrami, thousand island & cole slaw. Each sandwich has a side choice of French Fries, Cole Slaw or Potato Salad.


And this is for Late Lunch

The Sloppy Joe was amazing, and very large. I could only finish half of it but couldn't wait for a mid-afternoon snack to devour the remaining half. Each ingredient: bread, corned beef, pastrami, thousand island & cole slaw were all perfect. None of them overpowered the other. Cole slaw and thousand island is usually powerful on it's own. They do a magical job of making it delicious but allowing the other flavors to be present. It was as if I was in another world while eating this sandwich. What a wonderful creation.

The Potato Salad was pretty good. It had a good amount of garlic and fresh parsley. Overall, it was a fabulous potato salad. So many are bland and disinteresting.


A Mason Jar for your beverage needs

Thank you Feldman's for a delicious sandwich and experience. The Owner, Mike Feldman, was walking around making sure that everyone was enjoying their meal. Part of that great experience was drinking from a mason jar.

2005 East 2700 South
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84109

Happy Eating

Feldman's Deli on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Heavenly Hot Cakes at Penny Ann's Cafe.



When the Editors at City Weekly asked me to contribute to the Second Helping Column, they said that they have someone who covers a full review of restaurants and that I needed to find signature dishes or out-of-the-way joints. Essentially they said, "what are we missing on the food scene?"

It's an exciting hunger (no pun intended) to eat my way to a workable column. What a fun problem to have.

Since I first visited Penny Ann's Cafe last year, I didn't heed this advice: "once is one too many, one more is never enough." I don't regret going there at all; the place is wonderful. It's so wonderful in fact, that it's difficult to ignore the constant cravings to eat there.

Please check out the article. Feel free to rate it and comment on it. Thank you.

Penny Ann's Cafe: You'll love the Heavenly Hot Cakes

If you missed any of my previous articles, please take a look:

Liberty Heights Fresh: Elevate Your Lunch with Tasty Sandwiches


Pawit's Royale Thai: Searching for Tom Yum Gai Perfection


Happy Eating


Monday, March 18, 2013

Contest Winners: Here are your Gift Cards!



Thank you for participating in the contest for the Firehouse Subs Gift Cards. I really appreciate the input and look forward to eating at restaurants recommended by you. It will be one of my greatest joys.

Here are the winners:

Ian Gerszewski

Amber Spek

Sara Lou

Teri Baker

Firehouse Gift Cards are on the way. Please let me know what you have and how you liked it.

For everyone else, stay tuned. More contests and free food coming soon.

Happy Eating

Friday, March 15, 2013

Las Glorias Mexican Restaurant: A Red, Green and Yellow Glimmer of Hope!



Last Saturday, I was wrapping up some appointments in Draper. Again, I had overlooked breakfast as I had a lot to accomplish; not a wise choice. I was craving Mexican food and drove down 12300 S. looking for La Puente. The searching was in vain as there was no La Puente to be found and my spirits were beginning to be crushed. Right as all hope was going to fade forever, I saw a bright green, yellow and red sign that read "Las Glorias Mexican Restaurant." It looked delicious!
While walking in, I saw the daily special written on the board, Carnitas Burrito: a homemade flour tortilla filled a touch of refried beans and very tender pork carnitas topped with our special sauce and melted cheese. Served with a side of rice, avocado slices, lettuce and pico de gallo.


That actually sounded really good and it saved me from having to read the menu. The waiter who seated me asked right then if I knew what I would like. I mentioned the special and he said that he would get working on it and bring me some chips and salsa as an appetizer. This all took about 30 seconds. In my mind, I can see my wife's eyes rolling as she reads this.

All the food here is homemade including the chips and salsa. The chips are thin, crispy and delicious. I often find myself on a hunt for good tortilla chips. The closest that I have come to finding chips like these was in a grocery store while on vacation to Whidbey Island. The salsa is filled with chili peppers so make sure that you have your glass of ice water close by. It's worth the heat despite having to guzzle cold water. They have developed some fabulous flavor profiles here.


They are right about the pork carnitas; it is very tender. Pork is so easy to overcook and they do a masterful job of keeping it moist and tender. The Burrito was loaded with a lot of pork and refried beans. Their special sauce must be mole-similar to a chili pepper puree. It's delicious and goes really well with the dish. It reminded me of the mole at El Mana. I wasn't sure about how the avocados would fit but they were very nice; a creamy, soft component to a pretty powerful entree.

My only slightly negative thought by the end of the meal was that it could use a hint of sweetness. There are some powerful, spicy flavors in there. You don't notice it at first but like a high-maintenance relative, it takes it's toll in the end. I will say however, that authentic Mexican cooking likely doesn't have much sweetness. That is when food gets "Americanized." that it becomes sweeter.

The service here is impeccable. They really care and are invested in both your experience and the quality of the food.

185 East 12300 South
Draper, Utah, 84020

Happy Eating
Las Glorias on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My First and Only Drug Deal!




Last Wednesday, I wrote a blog post titled "Another 30 Minutes of Work Accomplished Today." In there I described one of the worst job experiences of my life. I didn't listen to the whisperings within and dearly paid a price for it. I love these life lessons.

At the office one afternoon, I was joking with some co-workers that there was a bottle of Lortab in my medicine cabinet. Somebody at the office had recently had some dental work done and was in pain. The medicine was in my cabinet because my wife had her widom teeth out years prior but never used all of the pills.

One day some two weeks later, my manager came up behind me and whispered "Hey Jeff, can I talk to you?" I said sure and the conversation went like this: Manager, "Do you still have any of that Lortab" (she must have overheard my conversation with co-workers). I nodded in accordance. They continued, "My back is killing me. If you go get me two Lortabs right now, I'll give you half a day off Friday as a paid bonus."

Within two minutes I was in my car driving to my apartment. I brought the Lortab back and that Friday I spent the afternoon relaxing. What a horrible decision yet anything was nearly worth it to me to get away from that place.

Reflecting on this experience was another reason that I made the decision to leave. I was so miserable inside. I often look back on events in life such as this, which help me to understand who I am and what calls to me from within.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Firehouse Subs: Dinner with the Founder!


Italian Sub

Last April I went to Firehouse Subs with a friend. He wanted to go there but I pre-judged the place thinking that this was just another chain with cheap, processed food. I was wrong and wrote here about how much I loved the place and the food. It's also where I began scheming on how to get one of those interactive Coca Cola machines installed in my house.

This past week, the Founder of Firehouse Subs was in town from Jacksonville, FL. He invited some food writers to a presentation about his company and to try some delicious food.


Robin Sorensen and I

Robin Sorensen is a down to earth, fun-loving guy who also is a great cook. He fell in love with cooking while working at as a Fireman on those 24 hour shifts. His Parents ran a TV store for many years and that is where he learned customer service. They do a great job of making you feel great at Firehouse Subs. When asked what makes his place stand out. He replied with "Rich Flavor, Quick Service and Hospitality." Firehouse has the highest sales in the industry; they also have the highest food costs. What this means is that the ingredients are all high quality. He described in incredible detail, each of the meat suppliers and their process. I was awestruck.

When I came last year I, ordered the New York Steamer. We got to eat this again along with the Hook & Ladder, Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket and Italian Subs. There was no going home hungry this night.


Hook

The Hook & Ladder is their best seller. It has Smoked Turkey Breast, Virginia Honey Ham and melted Monterey Jack cheese served fully involved: mayo, deli mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and a kosher dill pickle on the side. This sub is incredibly delicious. The melted monterey jack over the meat is a perfect marriage; especially over the Virginia Honey Ham.


New York Steamer

The Italian was a little over-seasoned and had a hard time standing out over the other three sandwiches. The Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket came in second with the New York Steamer claiming the gold medal. It has corned beef brisket, pastrami with melted provolone. The quality of the smoked meat really shines through. This meat would be good by itself. Combining it makes heaven on earth.

Firehouse Subs also has a large selection of hot sauces, Cheech's Mango Habanero Hot Sauce, Bee Sting Rainforest Honey Mustard, Jim Beam Hot Sauce, Jamaican Scotch Bonnet, and the fabulous Captain Sorensen's. It's made with the Datil Pepper and definitely has some "fire" to it. I would use this as toothpaste if I could.



The generous folks at Firehouse left me with a stack of gift cards. Nothing like a good contest for free food. To get one, please comment on where you think I should go next to eat. Leave your e-mail address and winners will be contacted.



1008 E. Ft. Union Blvd.
Midvale, Utah, 84047

Happy Eating.

Friday, March 8, 2013

BRUGES WAFFLES & FRITES; And a Machine Gun Sandwich!



While driving through the Sugarhouse neighborhood, I noticed that a recently seedy gas station was now bright and inviting. There was not time to look for too long. I was driving and you can't focus on the road, write e-mails, update facebook, and look around for restaurants all at the same time. You need to eliminate at least one of those.

Thankfully I am driving on this road often and was able to look more thoroughly the next time. In nice yellow and maroon colors read the sign, Bruges Waffles & Frites. The place looked wonderful. Too bad it was only 8:00am and my first lunch of the day doesn't start until at least 9:45am.

A few weeks later I made it here for lunch. The Waffles looked delicious and like they could also be dessert. The "Frites & Co" section of the menu also looked wonderful. It's that recurring dilemma of what to order, how much, and when can I come back?


The Machine Gun Sandwich
The Machine Gun Sandwich sounded particularly fitting to my personality that day. It's a hearty lamb merguez sausage served on a fresh baguette, stuffed with their famous fries and smothered with Andalouse sauce. What honestly sold me on this sandwich was the sauce. I didn't even read what it was, just went on impulse. Later I read the sauce menu; Andalouse: Mayonnaise with fresh red bell pepper, fresh basil, mustard, cayenne pepper, seasonings.


Sauce Menu

The lamb merguez falls somewhere in between a brat and gyro meat; both good things. It really gets lost in the baguette but stuff it with fries, drizzle with sauce and you have a party. The fries truly are heaven sent and are as good as the fries at Yanni's; a perfect crispy outside, fluffy inside combination with great flavor.

Their sauce selection alone could make your shoe, belt, shirt, or that weird relatives cooking taste good. You can choose from Lemon Pepper Dill, Zensation, Brasil, Curry, Zango and Samurai among others.


Found the Lamb Merguez Sausage hidden in there

I look forward to returning soon to indulge in their waffle selections. That is if Fiddler's Elbow or Fat's Grill don't divert me on the way. It's a great Foodie neighborhood.

2314 South Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84106

Happy Eating

Bruges Waffles & Frites on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another 30 Minutes of Work Accomplished Today!

Yes, this is a blog about food. But I also love to look at what started me on this journey of finding out what I truly love. We all have life experiences which are very educational and most often enjoyed in restrospect. Here is one of mine.



In 2003, I graduated with a Business Finance degree from the University of Utah. At that time I was working as a Teller for Bank One, now Chase. I applied for numerous jobs within the bank but no positions were offered. My wife was back in school, our savings was running low and I was feeling desperate.

Finally I interviewed with a mortgage loan servicing company. The interview went very well and two days later I was extended an offer. I accepted the job over the phone but couldn't ignore the sick feeling that I had inside of me. For two weeks I justified the feeling; telling myself that we needed the money and this was an answer to prayers.

On a Monday morning I showed up for work, putting on a good face while the sick feeling still resonated. They trained me but honestly, not much training was required. If you have seen the movie "Office Space," my job was very similar.

It was my responsibility to copy the loan number from a spreadsheet, pull it up in the company's software and see if the borrower's were current on their taxes and insurance. If they were current, I typed "FINA;" If they were not current, I sent an e-mail to an employee in another department. That was it!

On my first day, I could analyze 400 loans. By my last day, 8 1/2 months later, I could still analyze 400 loans. Why no improvement you ask? I soon learned that if I finished a spreadsheet, then I got another spreadsheet sent to me.

This was so frustrating to me. I am an incredibly hard worker but my motivation was zero. There was no variety and my anxiety and unhappiness started to manifest itself physically. I was out of shape and getting heavier by the day. To cope with my unhappiness I drank 1 or 2 super big gulps of Dr. Pepper per day. I also usually ate fast food and snacked on candy all day.

It was so exhausting to look busy. How to fill 7 1/2 hours a day was incredibly draining both physically and emotionally. Most of the people in my department surfed the internet all day. One guy would have phone interviews for other jobs while he was sitting next to our manager.

Ultimately, I was having borderline suicidal thoughts, my wife disliked being around me and I was going crazy. I took the jump and quit with no guarantee of anything or even another job.
Lesson here: listen to those feelings within. They are telling you something.



Monday, March 4, 2013

Will Vacation Food Kill Me?

Hometown slop was on the road this past week. Nothing is more fun than watching your good eating habits diminish and your exercise routine vanish. Fun until you return home and attempt to get back in shape.

Road food is wonderful even if it can be unhealthy. Here are some of the culinary delights we enjoyed:


Old Timey Burger at Slater's 50/50. Yes, the meat is 50% beef, 50% bacon on a Brioche Bun. Very Delicious!



Bacon Mac & Cheese Hot Dog at Disneyland



Appetizer Platter at Slater's 50/50: Sweet Potato Fries, Beer-Battered Onion Rings and Deep Fried Mac & Cheese Balls


Hearty Chili in a Sourdough Bread Bowl at Disneyland

Complimenting the Chef who made some of these dishes possible.





Happy Eating, whether at home or on the road.

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