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.


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.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Announcement #1, Addendum 2.

Okay, I know that the title to this post can be misleading. Yes, there is another announcement coming but it's not quite ready.

Last week I wrote about Suprise Announcement #1. These are exciting times and today I am adding that City Weekly picked up another article of mine. Thai food has been an addiction of sorts for me; especially one dish: Tom Yum Gai Soup. Some people have a goal to scale Mt. Everest. Others to visit every country in the world. For me, I want to eat at every Thai restaurant in the Salt Lake Valley. Oh the wonders that await.

Searching for Tom Yum Gai Perfection

Please read it, rate it, comment on it. I appreciate your participation greatly.

Happy Eating

Pawit's Royale Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon
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