• Utah Eats 5, and That’s a Wrap!



    The day has finally come…. my daughter’s birthday (which we have been celebrating all month!) is finally here. Boy did we eat well for the big day! We started out with a fabulous lunch at The Black Sheep Cafe in Provo. It is a fusion of Native American, Mexican and good ole American food. In my opinion.. a perfect combination! I have to mention that when we arrived (which was at noon… lunch started at 11:00), the waiter informed us that some of their most popular items on the menu were not ready yet and would not be ready for another hour or so. I was so perturbed by that I almost left. Really?? An hour after you open, you still do not have some of your main selections and appetizers ready? He assured me there was still plenty of items I would love, so lucky for me I stayed! That was so true that I want to go back to try the items that were not ready yet.


    This is their Navajo taco. Yes… it was as good as it looks! It is made with their house made fry bread topped with pulled pork and and taco fixings. It is not for the faint of heart. Or one that is eating “light.” We loved it!


    Look at their house salad. What a great and creative presentation! It was served with a fantastic vinaigrette. 


    Now this… was the favorite of the whole Evans clan. We inhaled it in nothing flat! It is their Green Chili Stew. They married the perfect spices, vegetables (including squash and corn), tender pork and cheese. I don’t know how they managed to make a chili so amazing, but it they did… big time! 


    They also serve pretty good burgers on their house made flatbread. The meat is tender and they offer a variety of burgers with different cheeses and toppings. You also can choose regular or sweet potato fries (both of which are great!) or their street corn which I also loved. I have to also mention their cilantro lime rice is worth getting. Loved it!


    For those of you that know me, you know I am a water only girl. I do not care for soda, juices or anything else. Boring, I know… but it is what it is and I love my water! With that said, my family ordered this… their house made cactus pear lemonade. The waiter told my kids to trust him on this one… so they did. And man… it is worthy of mentioning here. It is really, really good! With one order, you get that whole bottle! So my kids each had their own bottle… no need for refills here! Definitely worth trying… I think you will be hooked!


    Now I mentioned that this day was my daughter’s birthday, so yes we did more than just eat! Provo has a place called the Provo Beach Resort that has a flow rider that is a lot of fun for the kids and adults alike. My boys went to a flow rider in San Diego that has a beginner and advanced flow rider. This one was a perfect intermediate level. My girl was happy to just body board while our boys wave boarded. You pay per session which lasts 1 hour and costs 20.00 plus a first time 5 dollar waiver fee. Their older sister also took them to a trampoline place called Lowes (also in Provo) and they loved that place as well. The kids in Utah are back in school ( I love that we southern Californians don’t go back to school until September), so my kids practically had they place to themselves. Who wouldn’t love that?


    Dinner was at one of my favorite places in Utah… Communal. Another great place that uses local produce, meats and cheeses. My girl is happy to be here too! Their menu is changes every time we visit. I am always excited to see and taste what they are serving.


    They started us out with maybe one of the best rolls I have ever sunk my mouth into. And coming from someone who prides herself on MY amazing rolls… that is saying a WHOLE lot! 


    We will go straight to the main entrees. We ordered a lot of starters, but let’s get straight to these or this post will never end! This is their braised short rib. Tender and delicious. 


    Roasted Chicken. Pleased the whole table.


    Skirt steak. Tender and so good!


    Pork belly done right. It seems everyone is doing pork belly. I have had 

    poor, mediocre and great pork belly. This falls under the great category. 


    We ordered a few sides. This here is their roasted corn and it was fantastic! We also had their potatoes gratin and mac cheese. We thoroughly enjoyed all three. 


    For the big finish, we ordered the peach cobbler (peaches were hard, not sweet or ripe inside the cobbler), a lime and strawberry sorbet (both were excellent) and this carrot cake with vanilla ice cream. I am a hard critic on baked goods and this made the grade. It had a nice caramelization on the outside but they managed to keep the cake moist on the inside. It was a fantastic meal that we thoroughly enjoyed. Their staff are always so nice and the service has always been great. We have always had a wonderful experience here and always enjoy the wonderful food! Communal is always a must stop for me when I am in Utah. 


    Now I already told you I am a crazy person when it comes to eating. Lucky for me, my family knows me all too well, so they weren’t too surprised (well maybe a bit) when, on our drive back to Park City I wanted to stop here. Dairy Keen is actually a fast food place that also has a drive thru and is very well known for their milkshakes. They are located in Heber, which is right on our way back to PC so I couldn’t resist stopping here for a major indulgence!


    I am sorry I did not get great shots of the different shakes we got. We dove right in before I remembered to take pictures! Except for this one… a snickers shake…. only because it came later. They have soooooo many flavors it is hard to decide what to settle on! I ended up with banana cream pie and oh my… I was in heaven! It had crushed Nilla wafers mixed in with all the banana ice cream goodness. I think everyone had a different favorite. The have so many flavors, you are sure to find something you will fall in love with. Their shakes are nice and thick…. the only way I like them. I am sure I couldn’t wait to unbutton my pants after this day! I hope you get a chance to try some of these amazing places the next time you find yourself in this part of the country. At least you will know of some great places to try and what great dishes they have to offer. Happy Eating!

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  • Utah Eats Part 4


     Before I get to the eating, can I tell  you how amazing Park City is? We only used to visit in the winter to go skiing/ snowboarding and boy have we been missing out! That is saying a lot coming from a Southern California girl who loves to live at the beach all summer long. This place is so stunningly beautiful and has the best biking trails! The Rail Trail is one of the easiest trails there. My hubby, son and I ventured out one day on this particular trail and got wonderfully lost. Not really… it was more of an adventure… trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel. We ended up biking 18.5 miles. I love a good workout! And a good workout I got!


    My hubby checking his app to see which way we should go. This is after about 10 miles or so. Thank goodness for technology. We might have biked forever without it!


    Until I found this place…Riverhorse on Main… I have not fallen in love with any particular restaurant in Park City. Boy am I head over heels in love with this place!


    Great looking restaurant with a great ambiance. They also have a large patio with a lot of seating. We ordered A LOT of food, so I have a lot to share with you below.


    This is their watermelon and mango salad. We loved it!


    Their sashimi was fresh and excellent.


    Now this starter was unique. Goat cheese panna cotta with figs. Creative and delicious. I liked it… worked for me!


    Their Wedge salad. Also delicious! I don’t know how I forgot to take a picture of my favorite starter of all! I guess I was so enamored by it, I couldn’t think straight! We ordered a mushroom risotto that was probably one of the best risottos I have ever had. We all just died over it!


    On to our entree’s. This was their trio of of wild game. It was amazing. I promise you it was not gamey in the least bit. It was by far my hubby’s favorite dish. 


    This my friends was my favorite entree of the evening. The wild caught sockeye salmon served with the most amazing potato croquettes. Simply divine!


    When in Utah, you must order fresh trout! It did not disappoint.


    My son wanted steak so we ordered the center cut filet mignon. Yup… he was in heaven.


    And last but not least, we ordered the sesame seared ahi. It was good but not memorable. The ginger risotto that came with it was not the best though. 


    Now this was memorable! Their truffle macaroni and cheese. I am a huge lover of truffle anything and so this was right up my alley!


    For dessert, we ordered the peach torte (pictured above), warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, blueberry pie and the mud pie. All the desserts with the exception of the warm chocolate cake were a disappointment. Not worth your money or calories. 


    As a pre birthday celebration, my daughter asked for her favorite dessert on the planet. Plain ole vanilla ice cream. She was thoroughly satisfied and happy with her choice. Who’s daughter is this?!

    The final word on this place is… go! I finally found a restaurant in Park City I can’t wait to go back to. But I must warn you… you it is a very pricey restaurant so come prepared with very deep pockets!

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  • Utah Eats and More Part 3

    I have so much to share with you about this trip! Bet you want to go to Utah about now. Just wait… there is so much more. 

    IMG_0040We love to go to the local farmer’s market they have in Park City. Here one of my son’s is enjoying a chocolate dipped frozen twinkie on a stick. He wanted to try something different from his beloved chocolate dipped frozen banana. I have a confession to make. You know how I do not like fast food or processed food and am proud of it? Well, I love twinkies. There… I said it. I grew up on twinkies and I have never shaken off my love for the little devils. Gross, I know. But I can’t help myself. Once, when in South Beach Florida, I found a fantastic chocolate shop that sold great milk chocolate dipped twinkies. Now I am talking good quality chocolate people. I took one bite and thought I died and went to twinkie heaven! My husband looked at me like I was daffy and frankly, was grossed out by the whole thing. Not me… I devoured the whole thing in nothing flat and couldn’t have been happier! Ok… sorry to get side tracked. I think about twinkies and that just happens!


    Look what else we found at the Farmer’s Market. A roasting fishing pole. It can hold up to four marshmallows or hotdogs. What a great invention. We love it! Seriously love it!


    This is a fairly new restaurant called Plum Alley. The owner, Ryan Lowder opened this restaurant next door to another one of my favorite restaurants, The Copper Onion, which he also owns. Plum Alley specializes in South East Asian cuisine and it is fantastic! Get ready, because I have a lot of dishes to show you from this place.


    They have fantastic steamed buns. I love how they serve it taco style. This one is their braised short rib with kimchi. Loved it!


    Their pork belly steamed bun was out of this world good too!


    Now this dish was probably my favorite of all. Simple, but so flavorful and adding a fried egg on top? They know how to win a girl over! This is their wok seared zucchini with mushrooms. Their menu changes, so this particular dish will change out with whatever vegetable happens to be in season at the time. Get it. That’s all I have to say.


    Persian cucumber salad. Fresh and delicious. 


    Spring Peas side dish. Yum!


    Chicken Stir Fry. Awesome!


    Pad See ew. Charcoal smoked pork, chicken, rice noodles with seasonal greens. Oh my! It was a flavor party in my mouth.


    Duck Stir Fry. Another hit.


    Plum Alley Ramen with their house noodles. We couldn’t get enough of that broth!


    Pandan Ice Cream. A special for the night. I could’ve eaten the whole bowl by myself. Actually I pretty much did.


    Another House made ice cream for the special tonight? Chocolate cashew. Ok.. if you twist our arm.


    This is one happy and satisfied group! We had an awesome waiter too. If you like Pan Asian food, this place is a must!


    The following day we headed out to find the “crater” hot spring located at The Homestead in Midway. 


    Pretty charming looking place. Charming enough that I had to take a picture of it! I am a sucker for anything “charming.”


    Here we are… headed in. Oh we love adventures and discovering new places!


    This is what it looks like inside.


    There is an opening at the top. It was a fairly rainy day so this was a perfect activity. Luckily the rain had stopped while we were in there. 


    The water is very warm and blue. They don’t have any jumping off spots so this is pretty much what you do. I think we paid somewhere around 15.00 a person and got about an hour to swim. It was a fun adventure but definitely not something we would return for. Stay tuned for part four!

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  • Amazing Utah Eats Part 2

    Yes, this post is all about amazing food! A full day of amazing food! And some side activities too… because we are well rounded people. I’d say we were rounder after this trip than before it started! By the way, all the places I will tell you about in this particular post are located in downtown Salt Lake City.

    IMG_0009This place is all the rage for a particular baked treat that is out of this world good! 


    Have you heard of a kouign amann? I never did until recently and I do not know how these amazing delicacies never made an appearance in my life before! They are a buttery, caramelized, crispy with a gooey inside, flakey dream. Although this is my first and only experience with this treat, apparently Les Madeleines makes the best. FYI… kouign amann (pronounced kween-ya-man) is a specialty that was born in Brittany France. So make this a huge priority next time you find yourself in Salt Lake City. You can thank me later… because I know you will!


    As I told you I am crazy and make my family follow in my crazy ways….. so right after we left Les Madeleines, we headed to a cookie shop to try their goods. Ruby Snap Cookies…. oh my.


    They have SO many flavors and I can guarantee they will have one that has your name written all over it. Each one of us picked a different cookie that we chose as the best. The most amazing thing about this place? They let you sample as many of their cookies you would like and the sample is half of their big cookies! I sampled just about every one in the case! Look at the top of this picture and you will see some of the many samples I tried that I lined up. Well…. what was left of the samples. Let’s just say I can definitely handle my sweets. Maybe too well?


    Here is the box with the cookies we selected. A plethora of everyone’s favorites. And their sugar cookies? The only ones I like outside of my own. I seriously love this place and highly recommend you coming and sampling the soft and perfect cookies before you make your selection. You have been forewarned… sampling these babies are not for the faint of heart. You have to be be able to handle all of the sugar!


    It was time to take a break from food and sweets so we could be ready to enjoy dinner in less than four short hours! Downtown Salt Lake has a new shopping mall called City Creek. Here are my two shopping loving girls.. happy as can be.


    Right across the street from City Creek is Temple Square. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons) built this beautiful temple that stands majestically in temple square as well as two visitor centers and other beautiful and historic buildings. If you have never had a chance to visit Temple Square, I highly recommend it! They give tours too.


    Me and my girls in the visitors center enjoying the statue of Christ. I love this place!


    Now… on to the secret (speakeasy) restaurant that I have hinted about. Not only was it yummy, but a fun and unique experience too! I will walk you through the whole experience. This is what you will walk up to. Bodega is a front that they built when they built the restaurant(complete with graffiti on the windows). This place is opened up just two short months ago. Inside you will find a small market on one side and a small bar on the other side. You wouldn’t think there was anything else to this place…. unless you know the secret! 


    Above a doorway you will see this neon sign. Did you notice that THE REST is the lit part? Well, that is because after you go under the sign, there is a door that will lead you to The Rest (the name of the name of the secret restaurant). You can only go through the door if you are given a key. And just how do you get a key you ask? If you call and make a reservation, the person at the store will hand you a key with  your name on it. 


    Here is mine with the number of people in my party. To get the number for The Rest, you call the store (Bodega) and ask for the number for the restaurant below. Here is the tricky part. When you call the number, you have to leave a message for a reservation. If you don’t get a call back, you are in! They will call you back if they are full and cannot fit you in. Good thing I told you, right?! Lucky for me, a friend (thanks Mosi!) knows the owner and had the owner call me directly and got us in. I never would’ve figured out the whole “you are in if you don’t get a call back” thing.


    Here we go!


    We are in! Did I mention the restaurant is below the market? Once you enter through the door, you head downstairs. 


    This a landing area as you head down the stairs. There are a lot of stuffed animal heads throughout the place. This is as far as I am going to show you. Yes, I took pictures of the restaurant (which is very cool by the way), but I want you to see it for yourself for the first time when you go. It is part of the experience! They also have a sitting library room. Loved this place and so did my kids. Now… let’s talk food!


    This is one of our starters. Deviled eggs with pork belly bacon. SO good!


    Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, but it was not a well lit restaurant so this is what you get. Now these my friends are onion rings made with pickled onions. Inventive and Y.U.M.M.Y!


    Beer can chicken with the most amazing potato and mushroom side dish. They bring it out to show you the cooked bird before they take it back to cut it into pieces for you. The chicken is so tender!


    This is their Hobo Trout. Amazingness…. serious amazingness! By far everyone’s favorite at our table. I don’t know how they make trout so over the top good, but they do. Trust me and order this!


    They only offer one dessert and this is it. Blueberry filled beignets with a mocha cream side. It wasn’t the best beignets I have had, but they weren’t the worst either. We ordered more than what I showed you but I liked the entree’s I showed you the best. There was a lot we didn’t get a chance to try this time around. I know I will be back. My whole group loved the whole experience of this fun place. I can’t wait to take my hubby here (he had to fly home for 24 hours and missed this dining experience). You all should make a point to try this place out when you find yourself in the Salt Lake area. It is such a fun experience and they offer great food too! 

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  • Utah Trip and Good Eats Part 1

     Can I tell you how surprised I am with the amazing food and restaurants Utah has to offer? First of all, they are on board with the eating local and organic train… well… a lot of them at least. Many more than we have here in Orange County. Who would’ve thought? If you are wondering what the big deal about eating local is, let me tell you. First of all, you will get produce that is fresh, at it’s peak and in season. And that my friends means fresh tasting and flavor packed food.What a week we had of amazing meals and baked goods! 


    I have some friends that highly recommended this place. The Tortilla Bar in Orem. This is a relatively new place with a great story and family behind it. I met one of the family members and he shared their story with me. First of all, the Oteo family is a large one and they are the heart and soul of this place. I love that they chose organic and local. It is evident when you eat the food. But as Mosi (one of the sons) says, ” The romantic part of the story is the humble truth of why we chose organic and local. Mom has been fighting cancer and she’s limited to where and what she can eat. Everything on the menu, mom can eat. Everything is her kind of food. I believe the success has been due to this alone. Tortilla Bar is family. It was meant as a vehicle to maintain our family close and at any given time you will catch 3-4 of our family members there cooking, serving tables, prepping food….. My favorite is when mom makes the tortillas. Something about the touch of a woman that makes them truly delicious. I always tell people you don’t just come to try the food here, you hear the story and embark on an experience.”


     Here are some of the delicious and creative tacos we devoured. Above is their hanger steak with apples taco. 


    Their avocado and beets taco (there is some delicious goat cheese from a local farm under all of that).


    This was my personal favorite, the Pork Pibil taco. Everyone had a different favorite. This is just a few of the many, many dishes we tried here including a delicious kale salad with pineapple. I love their take on food. Wonderfully surprising! The menu changes so it will be fun to see what dishes they come up the next time I am in town.


    Here I am at the end of our meal with my newest friend, Mosi Oteo. Stop by this fantastic, small restaurant next time you are in town and don’t forget to say hello to this awesome family while you are enjoying their delicious and creative dishes! Tell them Jenny sent you!


    After a long day getting our college- aged daughter moved into her new apartment, we set out with hungry bellies at a late hour. Can you believe we went for Mexican food again? It is a family favorite! They have simple, but oh so fresh food. “Everything is made fresh daily. We use pasture raised organic chicken and locally grown organic produce whenever available. We do not own a can opener.” My kind of place!


    Chicken Taco


    My Chicken salad with chicken that was so tender. We got here five minutes before they closed…. whew! Sorry for the terrible pictures. It was really good despite what it looks like with my pictures! Stay tuned for the many, many more wonderful eats from this week including the secret restaurant I am so excited to share with you (I guess it won’t be much of a secret anymore)! Now that the kids are back in school, I will hopefully have more time to blog about this amazing week we had. See you when you check back!

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