Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Smokehouse Pizza and Barbecue

Here's the dilemma you face at Smokehouse Pizza & BBQ, do you order a pizza or get BBQ? I typically get the barbecue, which includes brisket, chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and sausage. I would generally describe the place as a combination of Texas style and Southern style. They offer three sauces: sweet BBQ, hot BBQ, and sweet mustard. But the BBQ itself comes "naked," which means that you add the sauce yourself. The meat comes from right here in Utah, and they smoke it on site. (I wouldn't describe this as a great BBQ place, particulary because BBQ is such a regional dish, but it is certainly good Q, and among the best Utah has to offer.) They offer some typical sides. (beans, corn, cole slaw, homemade chips), and some unique choices, like garlic knots (little knots of bread dough with olive oil and garlic).

But the pizza is good too. It's New York style crust (they know their NY pizza history) with some California style toppings. They call it "Neo-Neopolitan Old School." I can go with that. So you can get a classic Pizza Margharita or Pizza Bianca, but also a trendy Sweet & Spicy Thai or Buffalo Chicken.

They have also added salads to the menu, but you might want to start with a half salad because they are huge. They also have some great desserts: cobbler, peanut butter pie, carrot cake.

You really can't go wrong here because most dishes are in the $5-7 range. It's a pretty busy place around lunch time, but the service is pretty fast. You can also get take out and catering.

Smokehouse offers two locations. The original Orem location, which is in what I call "Mormon corner" just off University Parkway. This is where you find the Distribution Center, Missionary Mall, Emergency Essentials, Kneeshorts, and Deseret Book. There is also a Provo location on University near Center street (where the Underground used to be).

Monday, July 23, 2007


I like a place that has a sense of its own identity.

I finally made it over to J-dawgs, the hotdog shack just south of campus on 7th east. The nice young man at the counter said, "What, you've been here before? You're kidding. Today's a day for a journal entry." Or a blog entry. There's a first for everything.

J-dawgs is literally a shack. It's about 10 x 10 with a corrugated tin roof. The do a pretty brisk business at lunch time. To save time, realize that there are two windows. You order at the first and then move down to the second to pick up your order ("like Seinfeld," explained one student, referring I think to the "Soup Nazi" episode.)

I got the beef hotdog with their special sauce, onions, and pickle spears. The special sauce is a sticky sweet (in a good way) Southern barbecue sauce. The hotdogs are good, and the soft over-sized buns are baked fresh at a local bakery every day. And the buns are big enough to hold everything (unlike most hotdog buns). Great food at a great price. Next time the Polish.

Costco Ice Cream Bars

Costco food court has three frozen things that are worth mentioning: the berry smoothie, the berry sundae, and the dipped chocolate ice cream bar. The ice cream bar is pretty big, so you probably need two people. It's vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate coating and nuts. Sometimes, they can be a little melty and messy, so grab a fistful of napkins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mimi's Cafe

Normally, Mimi's Cafe is a lunch spot for me, but a couple of days ago we took my mom there for Mother's Day (a couple of months late, obviously). I like the bread basket there, particularly the carrot raisin bread. I've found the french onion soup to be reliably good, and my favorite is the pot roast sandwich. This time I tried the split pea soup, which was OK, but not great. AnneMarie had the meatloaf sandwich, which was huge. Pretty good, but I would stick with the pot roast (which is a chuck roast).

Mimi's has kind of a New Orleans theme, but it's really broadly American with some European influence.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chevron Bakery in Kamas

A Chevron station may be an odd place to find a bakery, but the Chevron in Kamas, UT (at the intersection of Center and Main) is famous for excellent doughnuts, particularly the apple fritters, which are about the size of a catcher's mitt (no exaggeration--really).

We picked up a fritter on the way to Scout camp last week, and it served several people. Next time you're on you're way to the Mirror Lake Highway, gas up in Kamas and load up on doughnuts.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Shave Ice vs. Shaved Ice

Nothing cools you off in 100 degree weather quite like a shaved ice, or is it a "shave" ice? If you want the real deal, drop the "d." It may not be good grammar, but it's good eats.

The authentic shave ice comes from Hawaii. Perhaps the most famous stand is Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa on Oahu's north shore. This is a classic surfer town, but also famous for Matsumoto and for one of my favorite pizza places, Pizza Bob's (but more on that later). You can also find good shave ice in Honolulu. I particularly liked Waiola Shave Ice and Bakery. (We went to the store on Kapahulu.) It may sound a little odd, but along with all the rich tropical flavors, you can add sweetened azuki beans, a favorite in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cooking.

So we do you find shave ice here in Provo. I'm eager to try out Ella Good Shave Ice, on the corner of 700 East and 820 North. You can tell it's authentic because they drop the "d" and serve up the azuki. Also, look for Hawaiian Style Shave ice with locations in Lehi, Lindon, North Orem, and Spanish Fork. As I recall, there is also a shack called Aloha Shave Ice in Lindon right across from the Pizza Factory. As far as I know, these are Utah originals, but with a strong island influence.

Now, I suppose you can still do all right with a "shaved ice" at your local Snowie or Sno Shack. But if you want the real taste of the islands, drop the "d," brah.

Snow cones have their own appeal, but should not be confused with a shave ice.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Scandinavian Eats at IKEA

AnneMarie and I finally made it up to the IKEA in Draper. AnneMarie was interested in furniture, lighting, window treatments--that sort of thing. I mainly wanted to check out the food. Having served as a missionary in Denmark, I have an abiding interesting in things Scandinavian. Because AM was with me, I decided to skip the gravad lax and the herbed salmon (AnneMarie can't stand fish) and settled on the meatballs. These weren't great, but they were OK. I liked the creamy brown gravy and the red potatoes. (These are very Skandinavisk.) The ligonberry jam is good, but I wouldn't have thought of just serving it along with the meatballs. The Swedish food market is the real place to go for Scandinavian eats. You can get herring in various marinades (but watch out for the herring in aquavit!), Marabou chocolates, flatbread, gummy candies, "saft" (fruit juice), cookies, and of course the meatballs, gravy, and ligonberry jam. Too bad that they don't serve real Scandinavian hotdogs. They're just the regular old cheap hotdogs, but at least they're only 50 cents. The lingonberry soda was interesting. AM said she thought it tasted like cranberry.

Two days after checking out IKEA, I read a review of their restaturant in the Deseret News.

Chadder's Can Stay Open--For Now

The judge finally ruled in the Chadder's/In-N-Out civil case. Chadder's can stay open, but it can't use any of the trademarked menu names, such as "Animal Style," "Protein Style," "3x3 Burger," "4x4 Burger," or "Double Double." (Chadder's doesn't actually *use* these names, but if customer's used these names, Chadder's would at least in some cases provide them with an item similar to the In-N-Out item.) In response to the lawsuit, Chadder's has also changed the colors of the uniforms and the trim on the building and menu. They have also added additional items to the menu that were formerly part of a "hidden" menu. But Chadder's may not be off the hook yet, because In-N-Out is still pressing the litigation. David v. Goliath. Chadder's still remains pretty busy.

I hope now we can move on to other food topics . . . .

Read the complete article from the Daily Herald.