Thursday, April 26, 2012

Les Madeleines Patisserie

Where: Les Madeleines Patisserie, 216 E 500 S, Salt Lake City

Who Went: Chelsey, Owen & Grandma

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Chocolate Éclair, Mango Jasmine Pâté de Fruit, Peach Charlotte, Meyer Lemon Tart, Hazelnut Buttons, Craquelin, 2 Mint Limeades

What It Cost: ~$15 for half of that...

What We Thought:

Dear Eliane Bakery,

I hate to say it, but I think I may have found a new favorite French bakery. Don't hate me, I'll still come visit you since it's all the way in Salt Lake, but they are just so cute and delicious!

My sister's roommate was getting married in Salt Lake, so after we dropped off her and my mother at the reception, we had an hour or so to kill in Salt Lake with my grandma. Where better to take her than a bakery? Nowhere, let me tell you. We got a little sampling of treats and then sat outside under the maple trees and enjoyed the lovely weather.

First up, the Peach Charlotte, which is made with peaches from the Salt Lake Farmers Market just down the road. Wow. This little fruit delight was absolutely heavenly. The light spongy cake was a little basket for a wonderful whipped and chilled peach filling. The peach flavor was so real and fresh and was absolutely divine with the soft cake exterior.

And as if that wasn't enough, we also partook of the most incredible Meyer Lemon Tart. I surely have mentioned this before, but I am a huge sucker for anything lemon flavored, and Meyer Lemons contribute this wonderfully unique and sweet lemon flavor that I. Die. For. It has a sweet and sturdy crust, and the filling tastes like real lemons, not weird pudding or something. It has a cool and creamy texture, and the meringue on time is indescribable. I love how it is lightly toasted and the whole thing together is officially my new favorite dessert.

Chocolate éclairs that actually taste like chocolate are always a favorite of ours, and this one did not disappoint. Although, of all the pastries we tried, I have to say that I think I actually prefer Eliane's chocolate éclair to this one. But there is absolutely no competition with that Meyer Lemon Tart!!

I've always been a macaron lover - the super cute double foot, the meringue-like texture, and the thin crisp crust on the exterior - and Les Madeleines does not disappoint here. These cookies are so delicate and hard to make, but I love them so much! It is hard to find a place that will sell you one for under $2, so when I saw these for $1.75 each, I had to get two. The hazelnut flavor was light and enjoyable, and they are just so dang cute...I can't help but loving them!

The craquelin was a unique buttery brioche pastry, with loads of crystalline sugar on top and a brown sugar & orange chewy center. Of all of the desserts we got, I probably would never order this one again, but Owen absolutely inhaled it, so to each his own, I guess!

We each got a refreshing fresh squeezed limeade, which was delightfully tart and a little fizzy - a perfect beverage for sitting outside and enjoying a nice spring day.

What You Should Do: You have to check it out! They have pretty limited hours - closed at 6 on most weekdays and at 4 on Saturdays, but they are absolutely worth the trip! I haven't even tried a majority of their desserts, but they each looked as amazing as the next. I think that for my birthday, I am just going to requests 5 of those little Meyer Lemon Tarts, and be happier than I can even explain. They also have a large lunch menu with a variety of sandwiches and other items, but really, how was I supposed to get something healthy with all of those cute little desserts staring me down?

Read other reviews here:
Les Madeleines Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caputo's Deli

Where: Caputo's Market & Deli, 314 W Broadway, Salt Lake City

Who Went: Chelsey, Devynne, Mom, Grandma, Aunt Mary & her 4 kids

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: The Caputo Sandwich, The Meatball Sandwich, Side Green Salad, Side Greek Salad, Cannoli, Soda

What It Cost: ~$17 for 2 people

What We Thought:

Since last week was graduation, my mother and grandmother flew in from Washington to come and stay with us for the week. Seeing as people now think that I know something about restaurants around here, they put me in charge of coordinating all of the meals for their stay. My aunt picked them up at the airport and I decided that we should all go to Caputo's Deli for lunch.

What a lucky pick! They had a great casual atmosphere that was perfect for the kids to wander around and for everyone to be relaxed, a fun atmosphere, and plenty of sandwiches to fit everyone's picky tastes. We weren't super hungry, so we all decided to split the sandwiches, which was a good idea - they are enormous! My grandma and I split The Caputo (decided to go with the restaurant's namesake dish), which had tender prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and balsamic vinegar. The mix of meats was good, but my real favorite part of the sandwich was the bread. With every crisp bite, I inhaled a wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. I loved the balsamic vinegar soaked into the bread, and kept wondering, "Why haven't I thought of this?"

My grandma also got the Greek salad on the side, and she loved the tangy dressing and feta cheese mixed in. A great light and refreshing side if you are having a heavier sandwich.

We shared a cannoli, which mind you, is not an easy thing to do - I completely smashed it when trying to break it in half. But it still tasted great, and we loved the rich but not too sweet marscapone filling and cookie crust that had just a hint of almond.

My mom and sister shared the meatball sandwich, which was actually a little disappointing for me. The marinara sauce was spot-on perfection, but the meatballs were not as great awesome as I was hoping for. They were a little bland, but the sandwich was definitely a good pick if you are looking for a modestly priced lunch that will fill you to the brim.

And here's the green salad. It looks like a green salad and pretty much tasted like one. Good mix of greens, nothing too spectacular though.

Before my family arrived, I really enjoyed browsing the market portion of Caputo's and seeing all of the different artisan food products. I was surprised at the range and quality of products available in Salt Lake, and will definitely be visiting the market area again for some balsamic vinegar and CHOCOLATE and CHEESE. They have a great selection of cheeses that are actually pretty decently priced! Yes please.

What You Should Do: If you're in the mood for some quality food product shopping and want to grab a fresh Italian lunch on the way, Caputo's is the place for you! They are a local establishment that has been in Salt Lake since 1997 that provides a wide range of delicious specialty food, and is a great place to have a casual sandwich . Their service is fast, friendly, and the bread is heavenly. Check it out.

Read other reviews here:
Caputo's Market & Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nothing Today...

Sorry guys, no post today --- I AM GRADUATING! WOOOOO!

Be back soon :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thai Mango

Where: Thai Mango, 2250 N University Pkwy #4, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Owen

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Spring Rolls, Pineapple Curry, and another dish we can't remember the name of (!!!) Something with "pad" and maybe "king" in it??

What It Cost: $31.00 (including tip) 

What We Thought:

Okay, so along with Korean food, we also are not really the number one experts when it comes to Thai food. But a guy in my research lab said that this was one of their favorite restaurants, so we thought we'd give it a try. 

We started out with the spring rolls, which were very different and much better than I expected. Of course (don't judge me for this), I'm pretty sure the last time I had a spring roll was at Panda Express, so...I probably didn't have a very good idea going into it! But they were super delicious! The filling was fresh and delicious, I loved all the basil, and they tasted great dipped in the peanut sauce it was served with. I loved the combination of crunchy and crisp with the meat inside them, and could have eaten like 20 more.

Then I got the pineapple curry with jasmine rice, which was super tasty. I loved the tangy infusion of pineapple in the sauce, and chicken was definitely a good choice with the other flavors. The only thing I didn't love was the bamboo - the texture stood out too much for me in the medley of other vegetables, and the pieces of bamboo were pretty big. I ended up eating around most of them, but thoroughly enjoyed the rest of it.

Neither Owen nor I for the life of us can remember the name of his dish, but all we remember is that he loved it! He got it with beef and jasmine rice, and loved the savory sauce mixed with fresh grilled vegetables. He was a little surprised at the huge branches of basil in it, but I am a basil fanatic, so I thought they were delicious. 

What You Should Do: Definitely check it out. The service was better than I was expecting from other reviews - they were pretty busy and didn't have many people working, but we never had to wait super long for anything. This was a great experience for us, and we certainly are going to be trying other Thai food restaurants soon!

Read other reviews here:
Thai Mango on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 13, 2012

Legends Grille

Where: Legends Grille, 106 SAB, BYU Campus, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Owen, plus Chelsey & a lot of people freshman year

Number of Visits: Too many to count

What We Ordered: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Hawaiian Burger, Giant Cookie

What It Cost: $17.54

What We Thought:

Being the avid volleyball fans that we were my freshman year, my friends and I would always stop by Legend's Grille before the game to get some food with our super awesome meal plan (man, I really miss those days sometimes...) In addition to having a relief from the Cannon Center that was pretty close, Legends Grille also offered free pizza delivery to the dorms, which made you feel like you were having that super cool dorm-room pizza experience, but the pizza was actually good (is that an experience I just made up in my mind?) Of course, they could only have boys deliver the pizza during visiting hours, but you know how it is...Anyway, I've always had a special place in my heart for Legends Grille (a great place for spotting hot football/basketball/rugby players after practice too), and decided to go back there and see if all my taste buds had been skewed freshman year, or if they were really as good as I had remembered.

We started out with one of my traditional favorites - the gigantic chocolate chip cookie. Most BYU food service places are notorious for slow service, so we always get the dessert first, ask for it to be warmed up, and then snack on this deliciously huge cookie while waiting for our dishes. Despite its large size, somehow these cookies are always cooked just right - a little soft and doughy in the middle, and just crispy enough on the outside. I love them. Definitely my favorite cookie in Utah County.

As I have mentioned before, BYU actually does a pretty decent job with their burgers. My favorite is the Hawaiian one, which comes with a thick slice of ham and pineapple. The pineapple isn't as great as the kind they had at JCW's, but the amazing sweet and spicy sauce they add makes up for it. I love that sauce. Lucky for me, they also have bottles of it on the table, and I usually add at least 4 more squirts for good measure. And eat fries with it. And want to secretly sneak it out with me, but never do because well, we're on BYU campus. I got my burger with a side of fruit, but they have lots of other options that are all delicious, like mac & cheese, fries, a green salad, and more.

Here's the burger with all the toppings added. Good luck trying to hold all that together! I usually make a huge mess, but it is so worth it.

The pizza is also delicious, and super filling. Plenty of chicken and huge chunks of pineapple, with a savory sweet barbecue sauce, all baked to perfection in their little pizza hearth. I don't really know what else to say about this pizza besides hey, it's pretty dang good. And you should try it.

What You Should Do: Go here, especially if you're a lucky little freshman with a meal plan! Take advantage of it! And even if you're not, the prices aren't too high for a date night out - our meal was under $20 and we ended up taking half the pizza home. Not bad! And feel the BYU spirit with all the fun sports decor and fieldhouse across the street. But if you're in a hurry, you can call ahead of time to place your order because they do take between 10-20 minutes to get you your food...on a good day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guru's Café

Where: Guru's Café, 45 E Center Street, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Devynne, then Chelsey & Owen

Number of Visits: 3

What We Ordered: SWEET POTATO FRIES, Waldorf Salad, Chicken Avocado Wrap, Burrito Grande with Carne Asada, Pan-Seared Salmon Rice Bowl

What It Cost: Trip 2: $15.00, Trip 3: $28.00

What We Thought: 

Those fries. Those wonderful, amazing, life-changing, sensational sweet potato fries. These are the things that dreams are made of people. Specifically, my dreams. Of all food items to be found in restaurants near BYU, I crave these sweet potato fries most. They are crispy and crunchy and perfectly fried on the outside, with the perfect density and soft sweetness on the inside. And paired with that southwestern sauce? Heaven. And they definitely give you your money's worth - the serving shown above is only a small order of fries, and the large is enough to feed 1.5 people a full meal! The best part about them is that I don't ever get tired of them...even the very last bit of sweet potato goodness on the plate is as incredible as the first. I don't care if you buy anything else from this place, but you MUST get the sweet potato fries! Now!

On this trip, I also ordered the pan-seared salmon rice bowl. I have to admit, I was actually a little disappointed with this. I was grateful that I ordered the half-size rice bowl - even with the half-size, I ended up taking a sizable portion home with me. There was a good mix of fresh vegetables in there, but the red pepper sauce was not super flavorful and the salmon was disappointingly fishy. I liked it on the brown rice, and it was pretty filling, but it didn't blow me away and I probably wouldn't order it again.

Owen loved his Burrito Grande, and hardly even let me take a bite of it. It had a different flavor than I was expecting - very fresh and Tex-Mex flavor. And it certainly was grande...with plenty of salsa and other flavors to compliment it.

We've also had the chicken avocado bacon wrap (a special) and Waldorf salad and loved them both. Their wraps are pretty big and filling, and I would definitely recommend them over the rice bowl. And the The salad was great, full of fresh produce, deliciously creamy bleu cheese, and the most delicious candied nuts.

What You Should Do: Hop in your car and drive down there to get yourself some of those AMAZING FRIES! Trust me, you won't regret it. They were even able to remedy the sweet potato fry damage that Sammy's caused my husband, which was really a miracle. They have a wide variety of food options (including vegan and vegetarian), so if you're looking for a place to go with a group where there will be something to please everyone, I would recommend giving Guru's a try! I've heard their breakfast is wonderful, so I'll be trying that next!

Read other reviews here:
Guru's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cocoa Bean Cupcake Café

Where: Cocoa Bean Cupcake Café, 1774 N University Parkway #20, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Owen

Number of Visits: 3

What We Ordered: Luscious Lemon Blueberry Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcake, Coconut Lime Cupcake, Better than Whatever Cupcake, Madagascar Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake, Marbled Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcake

What It Cost: ~5.50

What We Thought: 

As you may have guessed, I'm not super swept away with the whole cupcake trend. I usually find them way overpriced and smaller than I hoped, and generally uninspiring. However, sometimes you are just in the mood for a little treat that is cute and a little girly. And The Cocoa Bean definitely fits the bill. Of all the cupcake places I have visited, I feel like this cupcake shop has the best prices (still expensive, but worth it), the best sizes (the cupcake actually feels substantial, not tiny), and the most original flavor options (a rotating and seasonal menu). Of all the cupcakes I've had, I think my favorite has been the lemon blueberry and coconut lime, and I have to warn you - I did not find the "Better Than Whatever" to be better than any other fact, it was probably my least favorite flavor I've ever had. I have yet to taste their hot chocolate or other drink options, but I would definitely recommend getting the jumbo sized cupcakes. Oh yeah.

What You Should Do: If you're in the mood for a cupcake, go here above any other place. They always have lots of different options that rotate every day, and are the best priced/sized cupcake near BYU. If you're a cupcake addict, then make sure to get a punch card, and these can make fun little birthday gifts for friends or husbands you forgot to bake a birthday cake for (not saying that this ever happened...two people shouldn't eat a whole cake anyway!) 

Read other reviews here:
Cocoa Bean Cupcake Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 6, 2012

Restaurant Update: Diego's

Sometimes I look back at some of the restaurant we've been to and I wonder if they've changed. Many of the restaurants on here we've only visited once or twice a few years ago, so I want to know if my viewpoints on their food and service are still accurate. For this reason, I will occasionally post "Restaurant Update" posts like this one, where we will head back to a place we haven't been a while and see if anything is different.

The first of these will look at Diego's Taco Shop, which somehow is a Provo favorite, despite the horrible experience we had.

Owen got Diego's for lunch the other day, just to see if our terrible memories of the place still are applicable. And I am sorry to inform you that they completely are. Owen got a chicken burrito, which seemed simple enough. Here was what he had to say to me in a Gmail chat that day after partaking of it:

4:54 PM 
Owen: Possibly the worst burrito of my life
  if you can call it a burrito
  all it was was slimy chicken and cheese in a tortilla
  there was one chunk of tomato in it though
  I took a picture of it
4:55 PM I was hoping for some kind of salsa or sauce
  or something other thank chicken and cheese
  I guess if you like just chicken and cheese in a tortilla, it's the perfect burrito for you

There it is, the one sad little tomato that existed in his entire burrito. The whole burrito was bland, unvaried, and overall disappointing. The only good news is that our first review of this taco shop still holds true, and we would recommend to avoid this place like a plague of undesirable Mexican food.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Omar's Rawtopia

Where: Omar's Rawtopia, 2148 Highland, Salt Lake City (in the Sugarhouse area)

Who Went: Chelsey, Owen, and Jarom (brother-in-law, vegetarian, and it was his birthday!)

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Pizza, Bean Burrito with a side of guacamole, Pasta, Chocolate Açaí Beverage

What It Cost: $60 (for all three people)

What We Thought:

Omar's Rawtopia is the first, and only, raw food restaurant in Utah. From what I gathered from the menu, it is specifically a raw vegan restaurant - serving only unprocessed, uncooked, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains (no meat or dairy). Raw diets are becoming increasingly popular, and though I can not get into the idea of only eating cold food for the rest of my life, I thought it sounded like an interesting idea and we decided to check it out for my BIL's birthday dinner.

I started out with a chocolate açaí beverage, which was probably my favorite part of the meal. This was the half-sized beverage, and it is definitely only half of the regular size drink. But it was pretty thick and filling, so I'm glad I ordered the smaller option. It kind of reminded me of a healthier version of my childhood favorite drink, Ovaltine, but with a little chalkier texture. Throughout the whole meal, it was the difference in textures that stood out to me most, rather than the flavors. Everything had really intense and rich flavors, but sometimes the textures were just too different from what we were expecting.

Jarom ordered the pasta, and loved it. The "noodles" were made from shredded vegetables, and it kind of reminded me more of a pasta salad than anything. The presentation of each of the entreés was phenomenal, full of bright colors and interesting textural contrasts. Some people have complained that the service is too slow here at Omar's, but considering that they are not using any pre-processed foods or anything, I felt like it took an appropriate amount of time for us to receive our meals. It also is on the pricey end, but I swear there were at least 4 avocados split between the 3 of us, and there is so much fresh and organic produce in the meal that I can understand the cost.

This was the "bean burrito" - certainly unlike any bean burrito we've ever had before! Though recommended to us by the server, I think this was overall our least favorite of the three meals. The bean texture was too grainy and it just wasn't as satisfying on the lettuce wraps (not to mention my natural distate for lettuce wraps...). We ordered a side of guacamole for $1.50, and though it was pretty delicious, I felt like we didn't get our money's worth, especially since there was already avocado in the bean burrito mix itself. However, I was greatly impressed at how much the "sour cream" tasted like the real thing!

I ordered the pizza, which was full of intense pesto and pepper flavor. I liked the creamy avocado on top as well, and even though it didn't look that big at the beginning, I was only able to eat half of it, it was so filling! But I must warn you - this pizza does NOT make good leftovers! The apple buckwheat crust became soggy and the macadamia nut "cheese" texture was just too much for me to handle the next day.

What You Should Do: Even if you are not vegan or into the whole raw food thing, I would still recommend giving this place a try. It is fun to see the innovative way that they manipulate food in different ways and to see the new creative twists on traditional differences. I was surprised at how flavorful all of the food items were -- who needs artificial flavoring anyway, right? For a meal that will make you feel good inside and will cleverly challenge your palate, I would head to Omar's Rawtopia.

Read other reviews here: 
Omar's Rawtopia on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 2, 2012

Orville & Wilbur's

Where: Orville & Wilbur's, 1171 WSC, Brigham Young University

Who Went: Chelsey & Devynne

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Boneless Chicken Wings with BBQ sauce, Buffalo Chicken Burger, Cheeseburger

What It Cost: ~$10 for 2 people

What We Thought:

Yeah, I bet you didn't even know that this place existed. Because I totally didn't. Until I was looking at the BYU Dining website and saw a place that I totally did not recognize. And then I convinced Devynne to go there with me for lunch. It is down in the basement of the Wilk, by Outdoors Unlimited and all the pool tables. It is seriously a whole different world down there. Even though it was right in the middle of the lunch hour rush upstairs in the Cougareat, there were plenty of open tables and we did not have to wait in line to order our food. It was like the Twilight Zone of BYU Dining.

Also, I have to apologize for the not-so-quality food photos here - my camera is too big to lug around campus, and Devynne forgot to bring her camera, so these were taken on her iPod. Cool.

So, being my wing-loving self, I was excited to see that they have wings. But I should have known better when on the website it said "boneless." Basically these were chicken nuggets, not wings. They still tasted good, and the barbecue sauce that came with them was tasty, but they were certainly not the wings I was envisioning. They weren't even tossed in the sauce, which was good and bad - bad because it made them seem even more like chicken nuggets, but good because I was eating lunch and didn't particularly want to get super messy.

BYU makes good burgers. They are pretty consistent across campus, and they are delicious. People will wait in like at the Scoreboard Grill upstairs for 20 minutes for a basic cheeseburger, but they should just head downstairs where there is no line and get the equally delicious sandwich here at Orville & Wilbur's. They weren't super speedy because they only had two guys working, but it was nice that we did not have to wait in a huge line in the super crowded Cougareat.

I have to admit, I really liked this buffalo chicken burger. It was like the spicy chicken burger at Wendy's that I used to love, but twenty times better. The buffalo sauce was surprisingly good, and the breading was thick and crunchy. It was a very filling sandwich, and pretty unique compared to other chicken sandwiches I've experienced on campus.

What Should You Do: If you're in the mood for a burger, skip the lines and head to the Games Center and get some lunch at Orville & Wilbur's! Don't go for the chicken "wings," unless you're in the mood for some pretty good chicken nuggets. But it is a fun little place and they can make a decent, fresh, delicious burger and a lovely buffalo chicken burger. Check it out!


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