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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Salt Lake Roasting Co.

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What’s this? ANOTHER coffee shop post? Why yes, yes it is! Because I am poor and lazy my baking adventures and eating out fun times has been desperately lacking… I apologize!

But take a look at that sumptuous shiny chocolate and chili truffle – eh? It looks so good. And it was creamy and silky and rich… but not so chili. After several bites (it was a very large truffle, guys) I could JUST start to feel a little heat build up in the very backest part of my throat…

But the café au lait was quite nice. They are never as rich or sweet as the ones from Spain… maybe they have magic beans and milk, but I can’t help but compare every coffee to those of my beloved España.

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But Cort and I, of course, came back. Because this place is great. And this time I got a slice of cake…tart…pie…thing. It has a base of a sponge or angel food cake, with a slightly crispy crust. then they topped it with the above pictured fruits. It was light and sweet and lovely. Perfect for PI day! (yes it was that long ago… DONT JUDGE ME). And I tried their spicy chai this time.

This was as good as I was hoping the truffle would be. It had all the lovely and varied nuances of a traditional chai…. BUT it lit a tiny fire in your mouth. It burn so good with the spices. Spicy chais are my favorite and so far, this is the best drink I’ve had in all of Salt Lake City. I haven’t got anything different since. It’s so perfect.

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I forgot to tell you about the restaurant didn’t I…

Well. It’s two floors and very hip. The bottom is full of roasting and grinding machines, a little gift shop and the front where you can get drinks (tea, coffee, frappés…) and food! Not just pastries but quiche and sandwiches and soups!

And then there are a bunch of tables, two sofas, a wall-sized window that looks out onto their cute patio (where we have not sat yet because cold and wet.) Then there is the second floor. Which actually isn’t that cute. It has some maps on the walls, but it’s a great study area and there are always a bunch of students there. So we fit in quite well as we chat about life or read.

And then that last picture was me just messing with a photo editor. BUT IT LOOKS COOL, RIGHT?!

I will continue to post. Even if I have to resort to subpar scrambled eggs or toast with nutella and hot sauce. And eventually, when I have a source of income again, I will have more fun places to post about and more fun and interesting recipes to share!

Coffee Garden

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Sundays are a veritable no-man’s land here in Salt Lake City. It is the second biggest frustration, after not being able to buy any liquor at any grocery store.

But there are still a handful of places open on Sundays. Mainly they are pubs! And a handful of coffee shops. But be warned, DO NOT go Downtown on a Sunday. Unless you just want to walk along empty streets and pretend you are one of the last survivors of the apocalypse.

But luckily for us, there are several coffee shops a few blocks away from our apartment. The one we tried last Sunday was Coffee Garden. As we were walking towards it we saw a crowd of people. The only populated area of the intersection, in fact! Though it was quite busy, we didn’t have to wait long to get our orders in.

I ordered my usual – a chai latte. It was decent here, not anything special. But what wowed me was the quiche. The Mushroom and Artichoke Quiche, to be exact. It was fresh tasting, still moist after being reheated in the microwave, the crust was still flaky (of course soft and flexible, that can’t be helped when sitting out for more than a few minutes) but intact and not soggy in the slightest. And the flavour was superb. While I couldn’t pick out the individual flavours of artichoke or mushroom, the overall taste was fresh and spicey (they definitely went heavy on the pepper. But in a GREAT way.)

Cortney was quite pleased with her coffee drink and the ambience of the place. Which I nearly forgot to describe!

When walking in you are affronted by a crowd of tables with the thinnest walkways imaginable. And you have to walk all the way to the back of the room to get to the counter. Further blocking your way, but also demarking the end of the table-lands is a floating island counter in the center full of one’s coffee and meal supplies. At the right hand side is the line to order, where one can see all the goodies (both sweet and savory). This line then leads back towards the left where you order and then continue to the VERY leftmost wall to pick up your drink and food.

It is a ridiculous set up. But once out of the throng, we found some seats along the hallway around the right side where the entrance to the kitchen can be found. Contrary to what you might expect, it wasn’t suffocating, but cozy. They did an EXCELLENT job of turning that most inconvenient space into a really lovely study nook. There are pictures of the coffee bean harvesting process along the kitchen wall, a wooden booth with several two person tables along the opposite wall and classical music playing to sooth your confusion-and-crowd jarred spirits.

We stayed there for a good while, simply enjoying the ambiance and doing some people watching. Then we headed to the park where we encountered a drum circle hippie fest at the bottom of a tall hill. It was so much fun to watch and commentate on those from our perch at the top while soaking up the sun and enjoying the sounds of laughter, music, and joy in the air (and the not-so-occasional ramblings of someone very high.)

So if you are looking for a great Sunday spot or just a chill place to study or read, check out the Coffee Garden. And DEFINITELY try the quiche.

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.