Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Food I have reviewed cooked by other people and/or vendors and farmers.

Plum Alley–It Brings Out the Happy!

A ceiling full of paper lanterns, cozy family-style tables, citrus and spiced meat flavors wafting from the kitchen, and smiling faces.  This is the atmosphere you will enter when you open the door to one of Salt Lake’s newer restaurants, Plumb Alley.

Plum Alley just opened a few months ago.  Ryan Lowder, the genius behind The Copper Onion is also the brains behind the menu at Plum Alley.  This fact alone told me I was in for a treat, as The Copper Onion is one of my favorite eateries in Salt Lake.  However, you will find a very different flavor, literally and metaphorically, at his new restaurant just a few doors down.

Plum Alley is an Asian inspired restaurant with everything from Steam Bums to Dtom Ka Gai soup. Flavors served here are anything but underwhelming. And, the family style seating makes it really easy to tap your neighbor on the shoulder and ask for a recommendation–which we did.  We also gave some ourselves as new guests were seated next to us toward the end of our meal.  My first reaction to family style seating is one of “no thanks, I don’t want to have to talk to people I don’t know”….however, something about Plum Alley makes you friendly, and I honestly enjoyed eating in close approximation to others.  Go figure!

The menu at Plum Alley is great because you can go all out, or you can taste around and still keep your bill modest.  Most things are meant to be shared and come tapa style. Plum Alley has a great selection of wine and beer and some great original cocktails as well (the Pickled Cow sounds interesting with stoli, soju, Worcestershire, and pickled beef…that’s right, pickled beef).  I enjoyed a light and refreshing glass of Bouchard Pinot Noir and Russ, that man of mine, kept it classy with a “Larger” can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I had heard great things about the Steam Buns ($6 for 2), so that was first on our list to try–we started with the Pork Belly.  The buns were perfect–spongy and light and the Pork Belly was rich, as I was expecting.

We also ordered the Shrimp and Grits ($7) to start as well.  This was a surprising dish, as the shrimp were large with the heads still attached and the ‘grits’ were actually polenta squares.  The flavor was mildly spicy, evened out nicely by the polenta.  I didn’t even mind pulling the heads off my shrimp. The sauce was rich, creamy, and great for dipping the polenta in.

Of course, I always have to order Dtom Ka Gai soup ($9 for 2) if it is available, because I am obsessed with it. Plum Alley did a fine job–although the flavors were much more complex and spicy than I was expecting.  The red chilis hit your mouth like a bomb of fire, however the coconut milk and tender chicken brought the heat back down.  It was certainly more intense than your average Dtom Ka Gai, but outstanding.

Next up we ordered the Vermicelli Noodles & Crab ($11).  This dish was also different than I was expecting.  The crab was fresh and the noddles were light, but the flavor was a little more earthly than I had anticipated. It was good, but probably my least favorite of the items that we ordered.  Something about the cilantro, crab, and sauce wasn’t working perfectly for me–but Russ still ate the entire thing, he loved it.

We decided on one last item:  the Duck Steam Buns ($6 for 2).  These were BY FAR the highlight of our dinner.  The duck with the preserved orange was the perfect combo of savory and sweet.  I could have not eaten anything else the entire evening and had a wonderful dining experience just with the Duck Steamed Buns–they were phenomenal.

For dessert, who can pass up a homemade donuts?  Yeah, not even this girl who has been avoiding sugar at all costs.  We had to get one–the folks dining next to us wouldn’t have let us get away with passing it up.  Fluffy, not too sweet, lick your fingers, delicious.  The dipping sauce was to die for.  WORTH EVERY CALORIE!  😉

Check out Plum Alley on 111 East Broadway the next time you are looking for a dining experience that is different, unique, tasty, and fun.  Enjoy the atmosphere, the great service, a delightful glass of wine (or even a tall boy of PBR for all you hipster kids), and sit back, chat with some new people, and leave happy and full.  We will definitely be going back soon.

111 East Broadway
Suite 190
801-355-0543

Plum Alley on Urbanspoon

(please excuse the photo quality in this post–my camera’s battery died upon arrival and I had to resort to my HTC…so frustrating!!)

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Chanon Thai–Melt Your Face Deliciousness!

Face melting–that is right.

I had my first trip to Chanon Thai last week–and then quickly after that, a second trip.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it after trip number one.  The cozy & quaint location, the welcoming and kitschy decor, the scent of hundreds of spices wafting form the open kitchen, the lovely wait staff, and of course–the flavor of the beautiful food at Chanon Thai were like a dream…

A good friend of mine, who works at the record store across the street (Randy’s Records), had been telling us he went to Chanon at least once or twice a week for lunch. So before we all went to see a show a few nights back, we met at Chanon for dinner.  The first thing I noticed about their menu was that calories, carbs, and most ingredients were listed.  This was the most amazing thing for me, as my diet is still pretty strict.  The Calamari was breaded in whole wheat, so we went for it.  Hands down, this is the best and most fresh calamari I have had in Salt Lake.  The cuts of squid are large and the sauce is perfectly sweet and spicy.  There wasn’t a hint of chewiness or fishiness.  Perfection.

Chanon Thai has a large menu with many different selections–from seafood, pork, and chicken–to being able to order nearly any dish vegan.  I am particular to tofu in my Thai food, so we went with a large order of Tom Yum Soup, which was outstanding.  I love the lime in Tom Yum soup, and Chanon nailed it by using lime leaves, rather than the actual fruit.  Previously, I have loved the Tom Kha Gai soup at Thai Siam, but sometimes the lime can be a bit overwhelming.  Chanon Thai nailed that part. I could order just this and be super happy.

By now, we are pretty much full, but we have some amazing main courses coming as well.  I ordered the Gang Dang (Red Curry), which was so full of flavor–and also spicy.  I ordered the meal mild, since I am a baby when it comes to heat–and it was still pretty hot.  Chanon Thai offers mild, medium, and hot on a scale of 1 – 5.  If you can eat a 5, you are made of steel.  I have no idea how one can eat such spicy food!  My boyfriend ordered his meal at a 2 and the smell of it was even spicy.  However, for those who love things with a kick (or a BANG even), you will definitely not be looking for more heat at this restaurant.  And for those of you who are like me and can’t handle a lot–remember that even the mild food at Chanon Thai is spicy.

The Gang Dang had acorn squash, zucchini, eggplant, bamboo shoots, tofu, and everything else delicious.  The coconut mixed with the curry spice was creamy and filled with heat all at once.  This dish is a Thai food lovers dream.

Everyone couldn’t say enough about how enjoyable the food and service was at Chanon Thai.  It is certainly going to be one of those places I crave on a regular basis from here on out.  Go check it out for yourselves, melt your face with spicy tastiness, and support a great local spot.  I honestly don’t think you could order anything from this restaurant that wasn’t prepared with quality ingredients and lots of LOVE!

Chanon Thai

278 East 900 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

(801) 532-1177

Chanon Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

What I Have Been Eating Lately….

Tomorrow is the one month mark!  Hurray!  Things are still going pretty well.  The weight loss has slowed down, but I have met the 15 lb mark–which is awesome. I figure if I can knock out another 10 in the next two months, I will feel super happy.  I am really looking forward to incorporating some vino back into my diet.  Really.

BUT–I thought I would share some of the things I have been eating the past few days.  Please note:  my camera phone is NOT a professional device. 😉  Most of these were taken with my HTC and not intended for super great results.  At this point, I am not doing reviews, per sae’, but just documenting for those who want to see some low-carb, low-sugar eating happening.

Blueberries. LOTS of them. They are really delicious right now for some reason. Very plump and juicy!

Eggs and cottage cheese. I am addicted lately. Add some lime Cholula and you are set!

Taco Salad: ground turkey with taco seasoning, lettuce, sour cream, and some homemade guac. YUM!

Steak marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and red onion with zucchini noodles, artichoke marinara, and ricotta cheese

New favorite dessert: 1 large container of plain greek yogurt with one packet of sugar-free jello (this was cherry). Mix together, heat in the micro for about 2 minutes, stir WELL, and then let sit for an hour. Add berries or fat-free whipped cream!

Eggplant with parmesan, mozzarella, and marinara. Cook on 350 for about 20 minutes.

Also, we went to dinner at the lovely Silver Fork Lodge in Brighton, Utah this weekend.  I had THE BEST golden beet salad.  It was probably one of the most amazing, flavorful, wonderful salads I have had in a long time–if not ever.  It is on special right now and I highly suggest going to try it out. We also had their amazing tomatoes and warm mozzarella–the roasted garlic was delish!  I was getting sort of tired of the same old cold tomato, cold mozzarella, olive oil, basil dish.  This was nice, hot, and so flavorful.  The pesto was such a good substitution for simple basil.  A very well thought out dish, certainly.

Also, I have been drinking too much coffee and a lot of sparkling water (still).  I will be honest, this week was kind of rough.  It is easy to get bored with the food you can eat and staying home because you don’t want to ruin your diet or go somewhere where people are drinking and you aren’t. I feel great, but haven’t quite felt like…myself.  Which is an odd feeling.  I am keeping up with it though.  But yes, quite looking forward to adding some “normal” things back into the routine.  Blueberries are giving me way too much happiness at this point. 😉

-Nosh

 

Quick Update–Almost to the 15 Lb Mark!

Good Afternoon!

Just wanted to give a quick update.  🙂

As of Sunday, I am down a total of 13 pounds…and people are starting to notice.  That is the best part–when other people besides you can tell that you are getting thinner.  Clothes are fitting better–and having to buy new jeans isn’t too far off.  It is a really good feeling.

I have become a bit more flexible with my diet as well.  Including fruit has been great.  Last night I had a few friends over for dinner and we even got a delicious dessert – fat free whip cream, mixed with fresh berries and lemon, and then left in the freezer for about an hour.  It was awesome.  A very low-fat, low-sugar treat.  Who needs ice cream?

Other than adding some berries into my diet, nothing much has changed.  I have incorporated plain Greek yogurt–but for the most part, have kept to the veggies and low fat proteins.  We didn’t eat out as much over the weekend, but managed to get in a great brunch at Market Street Grill.  I ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, minus the english muffin and with sliced tomatoes on the side.  The crab cake had a very mild amount of breading–so I wasn’t too concerned about that.  Everything was amazing and it is such a welcoming realization that you really don’t need that english muffin at all.  🙂

Another new meal for this week?  Some awesome bratwurst, saurkraut and pickles!  Brats are certainly something you don’t want to eat in the first 2 weeks of the diet, as they are higher in fat than you should be eating.  However, they are still carb free and I find that adding meats like sausage and bacon after that intial cleanse are ok in moderation.  Yum.

I am officially 3 weeks and 2 days into the diet.  The thoughts of a glass of wine have subsided immensely.  Even with a small dinner party last night, no alcohol was present–and we all still had a great time.  Whoda thunk?  (And thanks to some awesome girlfriends who were ok with lemon/strawberry water!)  I am really enjoying how amazing I feel, watching the pounds drop, and getting up in the morning with no problem.  I haven’t slept this well or been so ready to wake up early in years.  The change in how my body is functioning is almost surprising.  This is definitely a change in my way of life that I don’t want to give up–and “getting back into the groove” of week day drinking or bad snacking just simply won’t happen.  I feel resolved, and that is a good feeling.

Enjoy the rest of your week!  We have a packed weekend of fireworks at Brighton Resort and dinner with friends ahead of us.  It will be nice to get out of the house–my hermit days are starting to get to me. 😉

-Nosh

A Weeked of Delicious Food

I was a bit worried to get on the scale this morning–not because I had cheated, but I had so many delicious meals this weekend, that I thought for sure I hadn’t lost.  I was wrong.  I lost 2 more pounds, which means in 13 days, I have lost 10 pounds total. 🙂  Happy!

For breakfast, you can pretty much gather by now I have some kind of egg and a sugar-free jello or pudding…so unless I have something special, I am going to start leaving those out.  Today I made a delicious quiche, however–so I wanted to mention that.  Making a quiche on the weekend is great (I had today off work for the holiday) because you can eat it the rest of the week…just pop it in the microwave for a minute or so and you have a great breakfast before work.  My quiche is pretty simple.  6 eggs, 2/3 cup of milk and then any ingredients you want.  Today I used artichokes, sausage, tomatoes and goat cheese.  Cook on 350 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until you can stick a knife in it without anything on it when you remove it.  Quiche, or mini quiches made in muffin tins, can get you through the week.  Also, this weekend I went to brunch at Eggs in the City with a great friend and ate huevos rancheros–minus the tortillas.  YUM!

Lunches consisted mostly of leftovers….boring, but necessary.

Dinner was where the fun was this weekend.  Friday we went to see a movie at Brewvies, which also has pretty great food.  I ordered the Spinach Salad without the cranberries and it was tasty–and left me pretty full.  And even though I was at Brewvies, no beer was had!

On Saturday, we decided to go to the Pizza Factory because they have these amazing zucchini noodles.  I swear, sometimes veggie noodles are better than the real thing.  I have the zucchini noodles with alfredo (probably not the best choice) and artichokes.  Ok, yes, I have an obsession with artichokes.  They are God’s nectar, I tell you!  🙂  Another great meal, out on the town, that stuck to my diet–but maybe with some added fat I could have done without.  But hey, I didn’t see it on the scale and the important thing here was to avoid carbs and sugar.

Sunday night I made chicken tortilla soup.  I made enough to give me lunch 3 times over. 🙂  This is pretty basic, and you can add in a lot of things according to your taste.  I start with one can of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can of regular diced tomatoes, 2 cans of “tri-bean blend” beans, 1 anaheim pepper, 1 can of mild green chilies, about 1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro, 1 can chicken stock, 2 chopped tomatoes.  You can cook your own chicken breast, but a great short cut is to purchase a rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store and shred the chicken off of that.  It is already moist and tender, and you don’t have to cook anything separate (just don’t get a flavored one–a BBQ chicken might not taste awesome in tortilla soup).  I always remove the skin and only take the best meat–and it takes a lot of time off the soup.  Bring to a boil for at least 20 minutes.  Then add whatever else you like!  We garnished with fat free sour cream, low fat cheese, and some diced avocado.  Yum.

So, if anything, let this post help you to realize that YOU CAN eat tasty food on a diet.  Once you figure out the ingredients that are allowed, you can be creative to make or alter many recipes.  And, seeing that scale steadily decline is quite the motivation.

This week, I can add a little fruit.  So, I purchased some blueberries and also some plain fat free yogurt.  It will be nice to have some sweetness.  Still no carbs or alcohol at this point however!  Let’s hope to see another 10 shed off in the next 3 weeks or so!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

-Nosh

Weekend Eats & Omar’s Rawtopia

Weekends can be tricky.  Food that is easy to regulate during Monday – Friday can get all messed up.  However, this weekend, I stuck to my guns.  It was a mellow weekend–not much going out other than a few meals and a wedding reception full of ice cream. 🙂  So, here is the run down.

Friday

Breakfast: 1 string cheese, celery with cheddar cheese spread

Lunch: leftover chili (even better the second day!)

Dinner:  We tried a new place!  Omar’s Rawtopia!  I have heard from a few people that this place is great–but have never checked it out.  We decided that this would be a perfect place to try while carbs and sugar are out of the question.  And, it was delicious. Omar’s has a great philosophy about living food increasing the amount of nutrition one can get from eating raw.  Click HERE to read more about their story.

We ordered Seaweed a Noodles for an appetizer ($8), which had awesome flavor.  Seaweed marinated with nama shoyu and ginger served on
zucchini noodles, topped with avocado, tomatoes, celery,
red bell peppers, cucumbers, and onion.

For our meals: Raw Pasta ($14)–Tomato sauce, basil garlic pesto, and alfredo nut sauce mixed in with zucchini noodles, tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, olives, topped with avocados, our famous seed/nut cheese.  THIS WAS SO GOOD!  The sauce was rich and it was very filling.  Tabouli Salad ($12)–A mix of parsley, tomatoes, red onions, scallions, hemp seeds, and mint. Marinated in
olive oil, lemon juice, and Celtic sea salt. Served with cabbage, lettuce, or a bed of greens, topped with avocados.

Seaweed and Noodles

Tabouli Salad

Raw Pasta

Delicious Raw Pata Sauce!

Tabouli Salad

Omar’s was great.  The pricing is a little high, but for the preparation and high quality ingredients, it is worth it.  Also, enjoy their fresh juices!  I couldn’t just yet due to the fruit, but can’t wait to go back and try some.

Omar’s Rawtopia

2148 Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Phone: 801-486-0332

Saturday

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with fat free cheese

Lunch:  Delicious smoked tofu (grilled with some worchestire sauce and sea salt) and cauliflower with cheese sauce.

Dinner:  Fiddler’s Elbow Black and Bleu Salad with half the dressing served.  The steak was delicious!  And, skipped all the ice cream at the wedding reception.  🙂

Sunday:

Breakfast:  Celery with cheddar cheese spread

Lunch:  Homemade stuffed mushrooms (mushrooms stuffed with low-fat sausage, fat-free cream cheese, and some fresh garlic).

Dinner:  making taco salads!  🙂

And, weighed myself today, 6 days in, and have lost 5 lbs!  No carbs and no sugar works.  Looking forward to adding some fruit back in though…

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

–Nosh

Omar's Rawtopia on Urbanspoon

Spedelli’s: Where the $1 High Life and Tasty Pizza Rule!

We have this new favorite place.  It isn’t some fancy 4 star restaurant nor will you find any white linens or $10 cocktails.  What you WILL find is everything you want if you are looking for low-cost but delicious food, fun entertainment, or a chill hang out session after a day on the mountain.  Welcome to Spedelli’s!

Spedelli’s is on Foothill Blvd., right as you are coming out of the mouth of the canyon–which makes is super convenient for anyone who is starving after boarding or skiing all day. My boyfriend, the obsessed snowboarder that he is, loves Spedelli’s because it caters to his mountain-riding, snow-loving instincts.  I would venture to say that if he can’t be on the mountain shredding or in our garage practicing his skillz–he would be at Spedelli’s eating pizza and watching The Art of Flight for the 11 billionth time.  However, being the non-snowboarder that I am (currently), I still love the place for very different reasons!  YES!

Spedelli’s is just plain cool.  The atmosphere is similar to a lot of pizza joints, but with some very awesome additives.  Spedelli’s big highlight for me is their bar and bar prices.  The actual bar makes you feel like you aren’t just at any other pie-slinging corner diner.  AND, the prices for their beer and wine are pretty fantastic.  $1 High Life and $1 PBR in the can is a great way to go, or take it up a notch for the draft pint of PBR at $1.75.  They also have imports and other drafts for the beer snobs, but still at much better prices than most bars or restaurants.  Wine?  $6 a glass all around.  NICE!

However, the food at Spedelli’s is also pretty awesome–and getting better.  We have been eating there since they opened and find that the pizza only gets better each time. And…there is something about Spedelli’s sauce that keeps us coming back. Also, all of the side or appetizer items we have tried so far have been great, fresh, and reasonably priced.

While you are eating, you can choose to watch snowboarding videos, or if you are so inclined, read some of the local print such as SLUG and City Weekly or even Arkade.  If that doesn’t suit you, you can play a game of pool, or hit up some of their new video games like Asteroid or try to get yourself a killer prize from the game claw.  Spedelli’s even has live music! There is seriously something for everyone regardless of your  shredding abilities or involvement (thank GOODNESS!). Personally, I just like to check out the collection of vintage beer cans. 🙂

So, go support a great local spot that makes a habit of supporting other local artists, boarders, musicians, etc.  They deserve it and you won’t be disappointed!

-Nosh

SPEDELLI’S

2352 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84109

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Spedelli's on Urbanspoon