The Bayou: Take Two

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This weekend was such a good one. Not only was it Memorial Day Holiday, but also my dad came up to visit to celebrate his birthday!!! The timing was perfect, the weather was great and it was the best excuse to splurge and eat out often.

Since my dad loved it so much when he moved me up here, we went back to The Bayou for his birthday dinner. We both tried something different. He got the Cajun Chicken Sandwich with a side of Gumbo soup and I ordered the Muffaletta Sandwich with Smashed Shallots.

The Cajun Chicken was a spicy chicken sandwich, but the gumbo – the first time I’ve ever tried it – was delicious! Spicy and slightly smokey. I will definitely order that next time.

My Muffaletta was everything I had hoped it would be. Meaty, but without the greasy quality that I associate with salami sandwiches such as Italian Subs. And I absolutely loved the olive and pickled cauliflower and carrot topping it came with. A beautiful tangy balance to the rich and hearty bread, meat, and cheese. The Smashed Shallots were an amazing side dish. The exact same consistency as mashed potatoes but with a definite but light onion and garlic flavour.

We also enjoyed two of the locally brewed beers with our dinner. Two of the Amber Ales, though I forgot to note the names.

As last time, this was such an enjoyable experience and great food. I can’t wait to go back again, maybe when there is a live band playing!

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria and Wine Bar

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Here is a throwback post. I suppose I’ll post this on Thursday to be in proper internet form. #tbt

La Bocca was one of my favorite spots to eat and chill in Tempe. It was on the trendy part of Mill, just North of campus, accesible and fun. It had a wonderful half priced happy hour from around noon to about 4pm.

After class I’d meet up with friends for some wine and apps. The bruschetta choices are to die for. There is both savory and sweet options. My friends and I would often choose three savory and one of the two dessert choices (you pick four per plank). The smoked salmon is our favorite, but is seasonal – if you see it, get it! But I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed by the options, so feel free to pick as you please!

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The sandwich combos are quite delicious as well. Pictured above is the fig and turkey sandwich. It is absolutely delightful and bursting with flavour. And come with house fried potato chips seasoned with fresh herbs and sea salt. I think I enjoyed them more than the sandwich itself!

 

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Tasty Thai

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What’s this? Another Asian restaurant post? But of course! This Thai restaurant is just on the Southwest corner of Liberty park and is quite affordable and delicious.

Cort, as per usual, ordered Tom Kha. It was delcious, of course. I decided to try something new and went for the Gang Dang or Red Curry with  coconut milk, bamboo shoots, zucchini, string beans, egg plant, bell peppers and basil. It was EXACTLY what I wanted. It was creamy and tropical but with that subtle background heat so common in curries. The flavours were full and varied. I near gobbled it up.

Ramen at Koko Kitchen

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What a dreary day I was having. Just one of those what-is-the-point-of-getting-out-of-bed days full of mopes and sighs. And then one of the blogs I was reading through talked about homemade ramen. I thought, what a brilliant idea? Is there any better food for lifting one’s spirits than hot Asian soup? I think not.

So I did a quick google search, and praise the gods that be, there was a ramen shop right down the street from me.

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Thai Sapa

thai sapa pho My first bowl of pho in Utah! Notice I say Utah and not Salt Lake… that would be because is was actually in Springdale, UT right outside Zion National Park (literally starts where the park ends). Cort and I went for a midweek spontaneous camping trip. Because we can because we are still unemployed. So we packed our bags and drove for 4 long hours. And after google maps directed us to the WRONG DEAD END entrance (aka Kolob Canyon) we finally made it. And it was a lovely day. Blue skies with scattered clouds. Not too hot, fairly windy.

We hiked up the three Falls right across from the Lodge. I unfortunately had a severely hard time due to elevation acclimation (or lack thereof) and we had to take many more rests than usual. But we made it to the Big Falls and took a nice long relax on some boulders, staring through the trees, tuning out the HORDES of people and children.  And since it was a particularly strenuous hike we took it easy the rest of the evening and went for THAI!

I ordered a pot of delicious green tea and of course the pho.  Cort ordered Tom Kha and thai tea. It was all delicious. The pho was delicately seasoned and had a decent amount of vegetables (though it could have used more chicken.) It was rejuevenating and refreshing and filling. The perfect meal for a first day of hiking.

Jang Soo Jang

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I am so lucky to be living with someone who loves Korean food (and dramas) as much as I do. And maybe a little bit more!

That means that, after having a delicious meal at one of the local Korean restaurants she is more than happy to encourage my exploring the art of home-cooked Korean cuisine. *Hint Hint* There is going to be a series of Korean recipe posts starting soon!

In our immediate area there are 3 Korean places. We picked the one that happened to be open during the apparently odd eating hour of 3pm. It is called Jang Soo Jang. We knew we were in for a treat when we drove into the parking lot and had to navigate through a crowd of Korean college students streaming out the doors. We parked as we surreptitiously spied on the natives of our cultural obsession.

The inside of the restaurant was very minimal and clean. A few Asian decorations here and there, nothing very Korean or distinct. But the menu offered all the variety that the décor lacked. From soups (guk) to noodle dishes to hotstone bibimbap and several Korean beverages I’ve never heard of before, but that Cortney said were delicious.

After much deliberation I ordered the ManduDdeokGuk (dumpling and rice cake soup) over the Jjajjangmyeon which handwritten printer paper signs declared they “Now Served”. Cortney ordered the Dolsot Bibimbap (Hot stone bowl beef and veggies over rice).

Our food came out quickly and the banchan were diverse and plentiful (with one free refill each. Booyah!) My soup was subtly rich and had a slow growing heat in the broth. The mandu were stuffed nicely with ground pork and went with the rice cakes ohsonicely (though I am saddened to report there were only 3 or 4 dumplings in the huge bowl.) The huge portion served to me filled me up to the overflow level and there was still some broth and ddeok leftover.

Cortney JUST managed to stuff all of her bibimbap into her mouth before calling it quits. That didn’t leave us much room for the banchan, unfortunately. Though during our gorgings we managed to spare room for the gamja jorim (potatoes in soy sauce and sugar), the soybean side dish, and the marinated broccoli. Of course there was also the kimchi banchan, but that hardly counts as extra food, now does it? XD The only banchan we weren’t a fan of was what I could only assume was fish cakes or perhaps tofu in fish sauce. Either way it was too fishy for me to enjoy much, though overall it wasn’t unpleasant. That would be a banchan to get accustomed to slowly.

Overall, the service was quick, the restaurant was pleasant, and the food was delicious. While we still want to check out the others in our area, we will be coming back to Jang Soo Jang.

Ahh Sushi

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Funky Vegas

So Cort and I have a bad habit of going downtown on Sundays. Which in this Mormon controlled city means most places are closed. All we wanted was to go to a café and chill for a while. Instead we walked for 20  minutes before we could even pick a place to sit down!

Eventually we settled on a Starbucks and had a lovely little rest. By then, though, we were starving! So we looked to see what was open around the area. Being Sunday, our options were limited, but we decided on the sushi place across the street.

Turns out Ahh Sushi is a really neat and delicious restaurant. Located on the underground level of a building and connected to a pub. They were playing old jazzy music and the atmosphere was cozy.

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Gyoza

We sat at the sushi bar and ordered two rolls and a “tapa.” There was only one other person there, but it took a while for our food to come out. Besides that it was fresh and delicious. Nice mellow flavours blended together into distinct styles for each roll. The fish was nice and fresh. The gyoza can be cooked either steamed or fried. We choose steamed and it came in the absolute most delicious spicy/sweet sauce!!! I could not get enough of it and I dipped everything in it. =)

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Playboy

The restaurant was really cool and offered some great specials including $3 beers on Wednesday and half price sushi for happy hour. We are definitely going back to check out these specials and to explore the connecting bar – O’Shucks.