Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wild Ginger

Where: Wild Ginger, 366 N University Avenue, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Sidney

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Wonton Soup, Fried Dumplings, Sesame Chicken, Beef & Broccoli

What It Cost: $24.37

What We Thought:

What used to be a cheap and rather shady Chinese buffet has been transformed into a more upscale and delicious Chinese restaurant near downtown Provo! When you're in the mood for Chinese food that doesn't come from a paper box, Wild Ginger is a great place to check out. They have a huge range of menu options (seriously, the menu is like 20 pages or something), and lots of specials and also sushi choices, if that's your thing. Sidney and I decided to go with a couple classics, and were delighted with the results.

We both started out with the wonton soup, which was included with our entreé. I loved the plethora of soft wonton noodles in the light broth, and enjoyed the spicy soy sauce that could be mixed in as well. They offered a great variety of condiments and sauces that could be used to customize the soup to your tastebuds, and I thought it was a great way to start off the meal.

Though not necessarily the healthiest option, these fried dumplings were absolutely delicious. It was a huge portion, and definitely would have been enough food for an entire meal, and even though I tried to convince Sidney to eat some, we were both completely stuffed by the end of our meal. These dumplings were fried without being too greasy, and were full of delicious flavor. I tried making my own dumplings once and decided that they were way too much work so I always appreciate heavenly dumplings that someone else prepares :)

Just look at how perfect that sesame chicken looks. Yeah, it was pretty dang good. Just the right amount of sauce (not dry, not drenched), and perfectly sized pieces of chicken (I hate it when you get a piece of chicken that takes like ten bites to eat) helped make this sesame chicken dish perfect. Coated with plenty of toasted sesame seeds and a flavorful sauce, this dish is definitely a good choice. I usually prefer spicy foods, so I probably would have gone with the orange chicken or something with a stronger flavor, but Sidney was overall very satisfied with this dish.

I absolutely loved my beef and broccoli, which surprisingly came with much more than just these two ingredients. I thought the mixed in zucchini and carrots were a fantastic addition that enhanced the texture of variety of this dish. The beef was tender and savory, and all of the vegetables were cooked to perfection. I thought the sauce was great, and was pleasantly surprised by the fried rice I had on the side. There weren't any vegetables or anything mixed into the rice, which I was initially disappointed about, but this made it go really well with the beef & broccoli and completely the dish nicely.

What You Should Do: Definitely check it out! I think that Wild Ginger may be my new favorite Chinese restaurant in the area, which is a bold statement for me because it has taken forever to decide! They have a cool atmosphere, convenient location, reasonable prices, and delicious dishes.

Wild Ginger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pizzeria 712 - Update

Where: Pizzeria 712, 320 S State Street #185, Orem 

Who Went: Chelsey & Devynne

Number of Visits: 2

What It Cost: ~$35.00

What We Thought:

I have to admit, I am primarily doing this review for very personal reasons -- I am so embarrassed by the horrible photographs from my first review of this restaurant that I just had to redo it. Plus I think Pizzeria 712 is delicious, so any excuse I can come up with to justify the price is good for me! 

The fact that they serve pita bread as a starter for pizza still makes me laugh a little bit (Team Carbs!) but just because I'm anticipating more bread later on does not mean that I can restrain myself from the delicious hummus and pita bread they serve. The hummus has a delicious texture, rich flavor and vibrant color, and is irresistible with the soft fresh pita bread. Plus, you know, anything served on a slab of wood just automatically tastes better if you ask me. 

This little dish is probably in my top three favorite plates ever. Tender juicy braised beef short rib is served on top of a little polenta cake that is more delicious than any polenta I've ever had! The polenta is sourced from the local Anson mills, prepared to perfection, and then sautéed so there is a crispy top that is incredible. It is all served with savory au jus and a spicy amazing horseradish cream that brings it all together. Normally I'm not a huge horseradish fan but it paired so well with the luscious and appetizing short rib that I just couldn't get enough!

Their pizza was delicious as usual - this specific combination of toppings is no longer available, since they typically rotate their menu seasonally. This particular pizza came topped with toasted walnuts, kalamata olives, and fresh parsley, and our server recommended that we try it topped with speck (smoked prosciutto) as well. I wish she had told us that there was an additional charge for the meat - I guess I should have assumed there would have been, but the casual way she suggested it made me surprised when I saw the bill. Nonetheless, it was delicious and left us feeling great after the meal -- good quality food = good feeling afterwards!

The dessert met mixed reviews at my table - it was a bread pudding served with honey almond granola, lavender, and a homemade crème anglais. I liked the crème anglais but thought the overall dessert was kind of bland and that the granola gave it a weird texture. Devynne, on the other hand, thought it was amazing. She loved the delicate lavender flavor and consistency of the bread pudding. So I guess you can decided if you want to take the risk on this one - for us it was either a love it or leave it dessert.

What You Should Do: Well, I think my opinion of Pizzeria 712 has been sustained during this visit - they consistently produce tasty food, have a fun and trendy atmosphere, and are still pretty pricey. I don't think that I want to spend around $14 a person when going out to pizza all the time, but for a special occasion or treat, Pizzeria 712 brings fresh and wonderful flavors right here in Utah County. So check them out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bombay House

Where: Bombay House, 463 N University Avenue, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey, Owen, Devynne, Mom, Grandma, Uncle Lee & Aunt Sara

Number of Visits: 3

What We Ordered: Mango Lassi, Assorted Snacks, Vegetable Samosas, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Makhani, Peshawari Naan, Lamb Vindaloo, Vegetable Briyani, & Regular Naan

What It Cost: ~$40.00 for two people

What We Thought:

Well, in the battle for best Indian food in Utah County, Bombay House takes the gold for us! We love their atmosphere, varied menu, and heavenly unique Indian flavors. My mother's never really been a huge fan of Indian food, but we took her here on one of her visits and now I think she's been converted! Bombay House delivers consistently delicious meals in gigantic portions, so even though some people may comment that it is a little expensive, we've always had plenty of food for at least two meals! The only thing I wish was different about this restaurant was the dim lighting, but only so I could take better pictures of their amazing food! 

Cool and refreshing mango lassi - a heavenly complement to the intense and rich flavors of Indian food. I love super spicy food, so I didn't find that Bombay House was ever too hot for me, but if you are a little more wary of spicy food, then ordering this drink could help balance things out for you!

Owen and I decided to try the "assorted snacks" appetizer, which is basically a platter of heavenly fried Indian food! It came with my all-time favorite, the vegetable samosa (if only I could eat these every day!), two onion bhaji (sliced and fried onions - like Indian-style delicious onion ring cakes), chicken pakora (fried chicken strips), and vegetable pakora (where yummy spinach was the highlight). Honestly, after eating these wonderfully fried foods, we were already pretty much full and could have called it a night!

The vegetable samosas are filled with a delicious mix of veggies - including peas, potatoes, chickpeas, and is served with mint and tamarind chutneys. I am obsessed with the tangy sweet tamarind chutney dipping sauce, and Owen prefers the mint, so it works out great!

Their chicken tikka masala is definitely the best I've ever tasted anywhere - creamy, flavorful, and rich. It doesn't look like much in the picture, but trust me, you've got to try it! This barbecue Indian classic will charm even the biggest Indian food doubters. We'll never be able to go to Bombay House without at least one person ordering this in our group because we never can get enough of it.

The chicken makhani was a similar dish to the tikka masala, but with the addition of cashews, ginger, and different spices. Though they may look nearly identical, the flavors of these two chicken dishes were completely different. The tikka masala was much more sweet, whereas the makhani dish had this unique smoky flavor. It wasn't my favorite dish that we've ordered at Bombay House, but it was still satisfying and tasty.

We ordered the peshawari naan as per recommendation of a friend, and were pleasantly surprised. I don't like raisins and my mom doesn't like coconut, but somehow combined with cashews in this dessert-like naan, it was delicious! We are definitely adding this to our must-order list of foods here at Bombay House.

My uncle ordered the lamb vindaloo, and although I didn't get a chance to taste it, he guarantees it's the best lamb vindaloo he's ever had. So there you go...

Now for my personal favorite - the vegetable briyani. If I was a vegetarian, I think I would eat Indian food every single day because the combinations of vegetables and spices is so delicious! Sometimes I prefer ordering vegetarian dishes to meat at Bombay House because the mixture of vegetables is more interesting and multi-dimensional. In this incredible basmati rice dish, there is an assortment of vegetables, garlic, onion, cashews, golden raisins, and ginger all mixed and cooked to perfection, and served with a large bowl of raita - an amazing cool cucumber-mint yogurt sauce that tastes good on pretty much everything. I would never expect that one of my favorite dishes would be a bowl of vegetables and rice, but this vegetable briyani was an unexpected delicious discovery.

What You Should Do: Definitely go. Even if you think you don't like Indian food, you've got to give Bombay House a chance. They have a ton of different options, and something to please everyone. I mean honestly, I've never met anyone who doesn't like their chicken tikka masala. If you are looking to have the traditionally very spicy Indian food, make sure to tell your server that you want it "actually hot" not just "Provo 'hot'." There's a difference :)

Read other reviews here:
Bombay House (Provo) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Station 22 Cafe

Where: Station 22 Cafe, 22 W Center Street, Provo

Who Went: Chelsey & Owen, Chelsey & Katie

Number of Visits: 2

What We Ordered: Trip 1: Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles and Indian Summer Sandwich. Trip 2: The Ratatouille Sandwich and Tuna Tarragon Sandwich

What It Cost: $17.24

What We Thought:

I've got to admit - I have mixed feelings towards Station 22.

First off, I have mixed feelings towards paying around $8 for a sandwich. Sandwiches definitely have to be on the top 10 list of easiest foods to make, and sure you can throw on a bunch of fancy ingredients, but all you have to do is plop them on top of each other, and BAM - you have a sandwich. So it's going to take a lot to impress me enough that I feel like a sandwich is worth much more than the cost of the ingredients.

So let's start with the best of Station 22 --

Have you ever tried fried chicken and waffles? It's been on my food bucket list for the past couple of years now, and I was so excited to finally try it here in Provo at Station 22! Luckily for me, it lived up to all my wildest sweet & salty imaginations. The waffles provides a slightly sweet and sturdy base for heavenly fried, savory and juicy chicken, topped with crispy bacon and a creamy syrup. Are you one of those people who secretly dips their bacon into the leftover syrup from your pancakes? If so, this is a dish made for you! Every piece of this dish is executed with style and flavor, and it was a wonderfully hearty and soulful lunch. The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact that it was called "Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles," and there was absolutely no sage detected in my meal. Since sage is a pretty potent herb, I assume they just forgot to include it, which was kind of a bummer to me since I love a little sage here and there.

Owen ordered the Indian Summer sandwich which came with roasted pork tenderloin, a pineapple-tomato marmalade, and brie cheese. Unfortunately, this sandwich didn't come close to my chicken and waffles. Overall, we felt like it was way too sweet, the meat was too dry and not very flavorful, and the bread was disappointing. It just seemed like normal grocery store wheat bread, and didn't really add much or seem to go well with the sandwich. Brie cheese is best enjoyed warm, and sadly the brie on this sandwich cooled very quickly and was less desirable by the end of the meal. The sandwich was definitely unique and unlike any other sandwich I've ever had, but still wasn't that delicious to us.

I decided to go back with my friend Katie to see if I could make up my mind about Station 22. Lots of people rave about their vegetarian options, so I decided to go for the Ratatouille sandwich, which seemed to be missing the key tricky ratatouille ingredient - eggplant! I wanted to see if they would be able to incorporate this much-hated vegetable into a delicious tasting sandwich, but oh well. I did enjoy the sandwich, after I was able to devise a strategy of fitting it's hugeness into my mouth. It probably would have been equally delicious and much easier to eat with half the amount of fresh spinach, but I enjoyed the roasted vegetables, basil spread, and fresh ciabatta. I ordered the steak fries on the side too since many people seem to enjoy them greatly, and they were pretty good - a nice unhealthy addition to my somewhat healthy sandwich...Served with fry sauce in classic Provo tradition, they were hearty, flavorful, and served in a portion where you felt like it was worth the extra $2.50.

However, Katie's sandwich proved to be another disappointment. When it first arrived, it looked promising - a nice mix of fresh greens, tuna meat that didn't look like cat food (I am not a huge tuna fan, but Katie is :) and some interesting-looking herbs mixed in. But after the first bite, the sandwich was decidedly way too salty. To me, this is a carnal sin of tuna sandwiches, since tuna is already pretty salty to begin with, and Katie had to remove two-thirds of the tuna meat to even be able to complete her meal. Part of the saltiness culprit may have been the excess of capers mixed into the tuna meat - since capers have such a strong flavor, they really overpowered this sandwich.

What You Should Do: Go for the chicken and waffles. I'm 2 for 4 here at Station 22, but I keep finding myself wanting to like it so much - I like the interior decor, the creative sandwiches, the CHICKEN & WAFFLES, but have to issue caution when picking a sandwich here. I'd say either get the chicken and waffles (am I being obvious enough?) or go for a sandwich that looks like it's served on a good type of bread with vegetables (not the meat) being the highlight of the sandwich. I think I would go for the caprese sandwich next time, or chicken and waffles. Obviously.

Read other reviews here: 
Station 22 Cafe on Urbanspoon


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