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!!)

A Goal Reached!

Well, some good things are happening.

First, I got my glass of wine!  Well, a bottle rather.  My birthday was lovely and my boyfriend and I spent a great evening dining at Frida Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  I purchased a Chilean wine for the occasion, and it was perfect.  Root:1 is a wine that I hadn’t tried before, and it was one of the better wines in its price range that I have had in a long time.  We had the Cabernet and it was rich, but also super mellow with hints of dark chocolate–the tannins are also very subtle.  It was almost velvety.  And, at about $12 a bottle, it is super affordable.

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Second, a major weight loss goal has been reached!  I am not talking about numbers here people (weigh in is Sunday)….I am talking about clothing.  I had this sleek black pencil skirt that I haven’t been able to fit into for a while now.  I actually tried to fit into it the last week in December when I got a little teary-eyed that I could get the zipper more than half way up.  I folded the skirt up and left it on my dryer as a reminder of where I wanted to be.  This past birthday weekend, I zipped that baby up with no problem and may or may not have jumped around the house a little bit with a big grin on my face.  Ok, let’s be honest, I totally did.  In fact, today, I am wearing the skirt at work, feeling great.  It is amazing how good hard work feels in the end.  And, while I am not to my end goal in numbers (yet)–I have a tropical Key West vacation ahead of me to look great for–so, my motivation is amped up!  Bikini season, here I come.

Anyway, have to share success right?

This weekend I am doing a review of Maxwell’s downtown!  Hoping it is a good one.

-Nosh

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