Sunday, September 28, 2008


What we normally think of as "licorice" flavor is really anise, a plant closely related to the carrot family, which includes dill, fennel, coriander, cumin and caraway. (The leaves, stems, seeds, and bulb of the fennel plant are used in all kinds of cooking, and they all add a licorice flavor.) Only recently did I learn that the true licorice plant is entirely different. It a legume (think peas and beans) used in a lot of European black licorice candies. The common ingredient in anise, fennel, and licorice is anethole, the chemical that gives all three that "licorice" smell and taste. But licorice also contains glycyrrhizin, a sugar 30-50 times sweeter than sugar.

Twizzler's Black Licorice, as an example, has a trace amount of licorice extract, but most of the flavor comes from anise. If you want to try authentic licorice (made from the extract of the plant), I recommend Kookaburra Liquorice (imported from Australia), or RJ's Licorice (imported from New Zealand). Both are available at local grocery stores. (I bought mine at Macey's.) Both companies also make licorice allsorts, but the classic allsorts are Bassett's, made by Cadbury.

On my mission in Denmark, I also discovered salt licorice, or salmiak, truly an acquired taste. (In Denmark, it's called saltlakrids.) Salt licorice doesn't actually have any salt. The salty taste comes from ammonium chloride, or sal ammoniac. The name salmiak derives from this compound. If anyone knows where you can buy this stuff locally, I will be much obliged. (The great thing about developing a taste for salmiak is that you usually don't have to share.)

Red licorice, of course, isn't licorice at all, but it's the most favorite variety of the candy. Black licorice was originally just "licorice," but when red licorice came along, black licorice got its name. This linguistic change is called a "retronym." (For example, some people refer to "Rocky" as "Rocky I" to distinguish it from all the other movies. World War I didn't get that name until World War II.) The red licorice topic raises another important question: Red Vines or Twizzlers?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Applebee's Makes it Up to Us

After my long rant against Applebee's (and an email to corporate), I got a call from the manager of the store in American Fork. She explained that what I experienced is not their normal level of service, and they wanted to make it up to me somehow. So she agreed to send me a voucher for two free meals including entree, dessert, and drinks. (It turned about that it didn't include dessert after all, but that was all right.) She also made a particular point of saying that I should call ahead so that they would know I was coming.

But what is the point of announcing that you're coming? Of course you'll get good service that way. AnneMarie and I stopped by without advanced notice because I wanted to get the same service that regular folks get and also because I didn't want everyone fawning over us to make sure they got everything right. The food and service were fine. When we gave the voucher to the server, the manager came over to make sure that we had had a good experience.

Overall, I feel that they're at least trying harder over at Applebee's (although I still like Chili's better for consistently good food and service).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sorry about that . . .

I heard this phrase several times at Applebee's tonight. I'm not sure why we keep going to the one in American Fork. I like some of the menu items, but usually it's disappointing, and the service tonight was terrible. You would expect the A team on a Saturday night. If this was it, then I can't imagine what it would be like on a Wednesday night.

1. The Wait. I don't mind waiting 30 minutes on a Saturday night--in fact I have come to expect it. But while we waited, I counted 14 empty tables, just waiting to be cleared and wiped down. And the two hostesses were having a hard time figuring out how to match tables with customers. They kept talking about the need to get people seated, and yet . . . . For some reason, they kept running out of menus too. Obviously, they were short handed.

2. The Wiping. When we were finally seated, they still hadn't wiped down the table, so we had to wait even after we were shown to our table.

3. Napkins and utinsels. We only noticed that we didn't have these when we got our food and had nothing to eat with. We had to flag down our server to get some. I couldn't even swipe any from another table.

4. Bruschetta Burger. AnneMarie and I both like this dish designed by celebrity chef Tyler Florence, but if Tyler could see how they were preparing them lately, he would probably take his name off the menu. These are supposed to come with garlic fries (fries with olive oil, garlic, and shaved parmesan cheese). But they didn't. And every time we order a "broosketa" burger, the server "corrects" our pronunciation to "broosheta." I don't mind if people want to go with the Americanized pronuncation, but it bugs me when they consistently correct the proper pronunciation. At least they get "fajita" right.

5. More water, please? We got one glass of water each and the server kept threatening to bring us more. When she finally realized that she hadn't, it was time for the check. (She probably should have brought some anyway.) The receipt had the manager's cell number on it. I kind of wanted to call right then.

I would like to say that it was just an off night, but I've had similar experiences each of my last visits to Applebees. So if you're in the neighorhood of the Meadows in AF, then check out Chili's.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Women and Girls Out by 8:15

I've often thought it must be an odd experience for anyone just traveling through Utah to pull off the freeway at a local eatery about 8:15 pm on the first Saturday in either April or October. They would find themselves surrounded by famished hordes of men and teenage boys wearing white shirts and ties. It's a semi-annual male-bonding experience.

Unless you want to be waiting for a long time, you need a plan. Some eat dinner before the meeting and go for treats after. We like to go for dinner afterward. We've tried different strategies. When we went up to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, we stopped afterwards at Crown Burgers on North Temple. Here we met a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of hungry men and boys with a handful of bewildered out-of-towners. I think CB served about 15,000 people in an hour. The next visit to the Conference Center, we stopped at the Denny's just off the 4500 South exit. Here there was no crowd at all, but some suspicious looks from the few people there. (Don't people in Murray go to General Priesthood meeting? Or to they just not go to Denny's?) Getting out of the downtown certainly makes a difference. (You'll be dining late either way.)

Here in American Fork, we've tried Arctic Circle in Lehi (moderate crowd), Quiznos (moderate), JCW's (ridiculously crowded), and Gandalfo's (our little secret). In the race to your chosen place, a few minutes can make a huge difference. We've decided against going to a church closer to where we want to go, but we quickly learned that it's a good idea to back into your parking place and plan a route that involves mostly right turns. It's bad form to leave during the closing song, and you should at least put away any folding chair that you sat on, but otherwise, it's quickly out the door. Remember to drive with courtesy and caution, but also with purpose.

Don't even think about some place like Chili's, Applebee's, Cold Stone, or Maggie Moo's. These are probably still occupied by the mothers and daughters who basically own the town between 6-8 pm. But there oughtta be a rule that all girls need to clear out by 8:15. Ladies, it's in your best interest. Otherwise, you'll find yourself surrounded by deacons and their dads. (The only real difference between these two is the size of their bank account.)

Willie Mae's Scotch House

Willie Mae's Scotch House is old-fashioned Southern cooking at its best. This restaurant lies on St. Anne's Street in the Treme neighborhood just outside New Orleans' French Quarter. New York City's Ed Levine ("the missionary of the delicious") describes Willie Mae's fried chicken as the best he has ever had. After a recent trip to New Orleans, I have to agree.

For $10 you get three pieces of chicken. The chicken has a light flour coating that leads to a crisp skin (so crisp that it has a light "snap"). There's also a bit of heat from ground red pepper and whatever other spices they use. It's not overbearing, but it does sneak up on you a little. The chicken is moist and juicy and has probably been soaked in buttermilk. You get your choice of several sides: French fries, red beans and rice (my favorite), butter beans and rice, green beans and rice, potato salad, or green salad. You could also choose the breaded pork chop, which is about as good as the chicken. They have bread pudding for dessert (if you have room).

In 2005, after cooking chicken for nearly 50 years, Willie Mae won an "America's Classic" award from the James Beard Foundation, an award given to "down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape." Later that year, along with much of New Orleans, Willie Mae's restaurant was destroyed by Katrina and the flooding that followed. With only the clothes on her back and her Beard award in her purse, Willie Mae fled before the storm. When she returned, the restaurant had been ruined.

Led by the Beard Foundation and the Southern Foodways Alliance, volunteers stepped in almost immediately to rebuild and restore this legend. It's now run by Kerry Seaton, Willie Mae's great-granddaughter, who follows the original secret recipe.

The inspiring story of this rebuilding has been told in Gourmet Magazine, on the Travel Channel, on CNBC, and on Food Network's Good Food with Dave Lieberman.

If you're planning a trip to New Orleans, take a taxi out to Willie Mae's. The area right around the restaurant is safe, but it's a long walk from the French Quarter beneath the I-10 freeway (where you will still find dozens of tents housing those still displaced by the storm). The restaurant will gladly call you a cab for the return trip. Allow some time, because they take their time to get it right. You also want to get there earlier in the afternoon because they start running out of popular items (such as a the delicious Creole-style red beans and rice). They are open for lunch, 11-5.

Here is a great video telling the story, but it's several minutes long.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Crown Burgers--The Tastiest Parking Downtown

Yesterday we ventured downtown Salt Lake to see the Video Games Live! concert with the Utah Symphony. Crown Burgers on North Temple/300 West seemed like a good place to grab something to eat. Little did we know that it would also pay for parking. If you spend at least $14 for food you can get an event parking pass for the Crown Burgers lot for the evening. From there it is a short walk to Energy Solutions Arena, Conference Center, the Gateway, or Symphony Hall (our destination).

Crown Burgers is a downtown legend which has now become a small chain. The original CB is on 200 South and 400 East, but the North Temple location is well know to thousands of men and boys who have crowded the joint following General Priesthood meeting. Unfortunately, there are no restaurants in Utah Valley. Like Astro Burger, Apollo Burger, and Burgers Supreme, Crown Burgers was started by a Greek family, so in addition to hamburgers, you can also get gyros and souvlaki (kebabs). As far as I know, CB is the first Utah Greek burger diner.

AnneMarie got the chicken gyro, which has a great tzatziki sauce. I got the Crown Burger, which is a 1/4 pound hamburger with hot pastrami stacked on top. They have thick-cut fries and their own variation on fry sauce. Because each CB restaurant is owned separately (by a different branch of the Katsanevas family), each one has slightly different menu items and decor.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

EZ Take Out Burger

For years, people have speculated about when In-N-Out Burger might finally open a place in Utah. This place has a cultish following, and with so many former Californians in the state, Provo would seem like a gold mine for In-N-Out. There are those who say that In-N-Out is anti-Mormon (but aren't there plenty of church members in So. California?) I suspect that they haven't opened a joint in Utah because they only use fresh ingredients. Apparently, Las Vegas and Phoenix are about as far as you can ship the fresh ground beef from Baldwin Park, CA. I'm sure that part of their desire to keep the chain relatively small is to maintain the "aura" surrounding it (in the same way that Harley Davidson does with their motorcycles).

There are conflicting reports of In-N-Out coming to Washington (near St. George), but according to the Dixie Sun, In-N-Out will open there in May.

The desire for In-N-Out also fueled the craze about Chadder's in American Fork which was well documented in this blog (look under "hamburgers").

Now along comes EZ Take Out, another hamburger place that seems oddly familiar. This California chain first got started in 1969 in Upland, CA, and it competes directly with In-N-Out (which got started in 1948). Sometimes, these may even be across the street from one another. They offer a simple menu: hamburger, cheeseburger, "double take" (which is a double cheeseburger) and a couple of chicken sandwiches. You can get your any of these "monster style," which is like In-N-Out's "animal style.) Interestingly enough, they also have breakfast burritos.

I know that people get pretty fanatical in the California burger wars (don't even try to talk to fans of Tommy's), but I think EZ is a pretty close approximation of In-N-Out, and probably a bit better than Chadder's. But it looks like if you crave the real thing, your drive down I-15 will become a bit shorter in May. (St. George is still technically Utah, right?) Too bad we can't just buy a fresh one of each and do a true side-by-side. (This would be a bad day to get your cholesterol checked.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Whistle Wok

The Whistle Wok may be the world's only Chinese take-out/dine-in restaurant with a railroad theme.

The Whistle Wok actually began life as The Whistle Stop, a sandwich and ice cream place. As in the Dairy Keen in Heber City, there was a model train than ran around a track at the top of the walls near the ceiling. There were also pictures of trains on the wall.

I don't remember ever going to the Whistle Stop, and it didn't last long. But the Chinese place that replaced it has become an American Fork institution. I suppose it was to save money, but the new owners just changed the name from Whistle Stop to Whistle Wok and kept the train theme. (The pictures on the wall and the model train and tracks are still there, but I've never seen the train running.) They also continue to serve ice cream.

The Whistle Wok does a brisk business. The food is typical Chinese American fare: garlic beef, sweet and sour pork, General Tso's chicken, orange chicken, cashew chicken, egg rolls, won tons, etc. Occasionally, they'll have something a little unique (like the sesame-paste pineapple dumplings they were handing out tonight). But most of it is just what you would find at similar places (including Panda Express or Smith's in AF). And it's cheap. In addition, where else can you get hand-scooped ice cream to go with your kung pow chicken? With ice cream, trains, noodles, and finger foods, it's a great place for kids.

We go on occasion when AnneMarie gets a craving for hot and sour soup. Their soup needs to be hotter and more sour, but it's still pretty good for $1.69. It's the perfect remedy for when AM has a cold. It also brings back fond memories of going with her mother to the popular Golden Gate in Mesa, Arizona, which has great hot and sour soup. (I also liked their lemon chicken.)

The Whistle Wok tried to open a second location on the west side of American Fork over by Sears in what would seem like a better location, but perhaps one Whistle Wok is enough.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pizzeria Seven Twelve

On a chalkboard mounted on the wall of Pizzeria Seven Twelve is the following quotation from Alice Waters: "When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is."

This quotation identifies the roots of 712 in California cuisine and also demonstrates their commitment to excellence. They take pizza to an art form.

712 takes its name from the proper temperature needed to cook pizza dough. Their name suggests an attention to detail that is evident in the food. The chefs, Colton and Joseph, came from the Tree Room at Sundance, which has long set the standard for fine dining in the Utah Valley area. But unlike the Tree Room, 712 is affordable. The pizza here costs about the same as pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, but at 712 you don't feel like you're eating at a chain restaurant. And I'm going to say that the pizza is better (even though I really like CPK).

712 reminds me of those small neighborhood restaurants you find in New York City. It may only have a dozen tables. As a result, you may find yourself waiting for a table at busy times (although we went about 1:00 pm and were seated immediately). This may also not be the best place to take young kids. Also, they don't do take out. But who would want to "take out" one of these pizzas when you can eat it hot out of the wood-fired oven in such a nice environment. (If you're really looking for take out, drive on down to CPK.) We found the service there to be great. If you're not sure what some of the ingredients are, just ask. Need a recommendation on a pizza? They're more than happy to oblige.

I visited 712 with Ed, a friend from work. While we waited for our pizza to cook, we polished off the complimentary handmade hummus with pizza crust cut into triangles.

He had the pizza margherita, a Neapolitan classic (which the server casually referred to as "our Marg"). It is tomato sauce, hand-pulled mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. I had pizza with speck, sopressata, garlic, and mozzarella. Readers of this blog know that my favorite kind of pizza is cheese pizza (which I would expand to include a good margherita). I normally don't like sausage on pizza unless it's really good. And soppresata is really good. (I asked the server about it.) It's an Italian dry-cured salami, but a long way from the greasy, waxy salami you get at the grocery store. Speck is a cured and smoked prosciutto from the South Tirol area of Austria (near the Italian border). The smoking is what sets it apart from regular prosciutto, which is typically dry cured. I think we both liked this second pizza better. Ed's pizza was $9.50 and mine was $11.50. These 10 inchers were more than enough for one but probably wouldn't have been enough for two large guys to share (unless we had ordered salads are some other accompaniment.) These prices are comparable to CPK. In fact, although I haven't checked, I think 712 may be slightly cheaper.

We decided against dessert, but their offerings look pretty enticing: apple cobbler, panna cotta, and chocolate cake with premium vanilla ice cream. (AnneMarie and I will make a trip back for dessert.) The dessert menu shows their commitment to high quality local ingredients. The panna cotta is made with creme from local Winder Farms, and the premium vanilla is from the Spotted Dog.

Here's the only problem with 712. It's kind of hard to find. It's located on the ground floor in one of the buildings in the upscale Midtown Village commercial/residential development at about 400 S. and State Street in Orem. (Since I blog about food, not architecture, I'll just say that you can't miss it.) It's much easier to turn in coming from the North, or perhaps from Orem Boulevard (State Street's parallel universe). But perhaps it's all right that 712 requires a bit of work to find. The more for the rest of us.

Joseph and Colton are also fellow food bloggers. Check them out.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ono Kaukau

Utah has a pretty strong connection to the Islands, to Hawaii in particular. It seems like everyone you meet there (whether they're LDS or not) has an auntie who lives in West Valley City. As a result of this, Hawaiian places here in Utah have come and gone, particularly in strip malls, where rents are relatively cheap.

Opening a restaurant has been an important part of the immigrant experience in this country, but I've noticed that if you want to try out one of these places, you have to be quick, because many are gone pretty quickly. (A good example is Tiki’s Island Eats, which I happened to visit for lunch before it disappeared. I think it's now a Thai restaurant.)

Here's the real Hawaiian experience. Last summer I was on a long bike ride with the Scouts from our troop. On a Saturday afternoon, we were riding on Geneva Road down by the Provo boat harbor and road past a place where a family had set up a grill and was selling "plate lunches" in their own driveway. (I didn't have time to stop, so I'll have to see if I can track them down this summer.)

What is a plate lunch? It's a traditional Hawaiian take-away lunch that includes some kind of meat, a couple of scoops of rice, and a scoop of either macaroni salad or potato salad. These were historically prepared for workers in the field. In Hawaii these are often served out of a little shack with a couple of picnic tables out in front (painted white). Made to travel, they are usually served in a styrofoam clamshell container.

In addition to someone's driveway, Provo offers a few other options. The Aloha Grill is a relatively new Hawaiian place located in the huge retail area on the Southwest corner of State Street and University Avenue in Orem. It's in the location of the former Durango Grill (home of the "burango" and some pretty good chicken tortilla soup). This is a local place where they offer traditional Hawaiian plate lunches. There are handwritten signs taped to the walls ("soda" or "restrooms" with arrows making sure you don't confuse the two). They kept the original Mexican decor and just added some pan-Asian/pacific island tchotchkes. The food was OK, not great, but it did come served on a banana leaf, and the people working there were friendly. But I was surprised to see that kalua pork was an off-menu item. We had kalua pork with cabbage and some deep fried Mahi Mahi (with two "shrimps"). Their menu offered several other barbecue selections along with saimin, a Hawaiian variation on ramen.

The Bamboo Hut in Provo has a pretty loyal following, but my favorite is L&L. Although this is a chain, it's a Hawaiian chain, found throughout the islands (at 52 locations). And the older L&L restaurants offer some local variety. This is where you'll find the real deal. (If you're visiting the temple or BYU-H in Laie, make sure you stop off at the L&L.) In addition to plate lunches, you'll find laulau, BBQ short ribs, loco moco, chicken katsu (one of my favs), saimin, and spam musubi (a Hawaiian variation on sushi). For dessert you can get malasadas, the Portuguese-style doughnuts that are usually sold out of vans or trailers. For those without a sense of adventure, they have hamburgers.

Want to have your own luau? Bamboo Hut and L&L offer catering, and you can also order items from BYU catering's "islander buffet": kalua pork, shoyu chicken, long rice, sweet and sour chicken, lomi lomi salmon, and guava sheet cake. Now that's ono kau kau ("oh no, cow cow," which means "delicious food").

We've also learned that you don't need an imu (underground oven) to make kalua pork at home. Just buy a couple of pork shoulders, add lots of salt and some liquid smoke and wrap these in foil. Stick them in a roaster oven for several hours, pull the meat, and add more liquid smoke and sea salt (as needed, to taste). Eat some for dinner and put the rest in the fridge or freezer. This is a good use of your turkey roaster after Thanksgiving.

Maybe this summer I'll start selling it out of my driveway.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I first tried herbal tea on my mission to Denmark. Once they let you in the door (which wasn't very often), the Danes were very hospitable, but it was difficult for them to find something to serve us. "Would you like a cup of coffee? A beer? Some tea?" The easiest answer was to suggest herb tea.

I'm not sure what the first herbal blend was that I tasted, but I thought it tasted like weeds. Then I got to where I really liked herb tea--particularly peppermint tea. (I used to eat that Ricola granulated tea right out of the can.)

Recently, I've been turned on to rooibos (roy-boss), or African "red tea." I first learned about rooibos by reading the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. The main character, Mma Precious Ramotswe, prefers the native African red tea, or "bush tea," to the imported green or black tea. Red tea is naturally caffeine free and high in antioxidants. Those who know tell me that it preserves some of the qualities of regular tea. As a result it's occasionally used as a substitute for tea or even coffee. (You can buy an "Earl Grey" variety, which is red tea with oil of bergamot, an essential oil extracted from the bergamot orange.)

My kids were a little disturbed when they saw me mixing up a cup of rooibos. "Dad," they asked, "I thought you weren't supposed to drink tea." This led to a lengthy discussion about what is really "tea" and what the Word of Wisdom means by "hot drinks." They were finally satisfied when I pointed out that just like "rootbeer" doesn't really have beer, not everything that is called "tea" is really tea. (In the world of French cooking, an herb tea is technically a "tisane," a word describing any herbal infusion.)

Red tea will taste best if you let it steep for a longer time than you would regular herb tea. Pour boiling water on the tea bag and let it sit for at least five minutes until it is a dark, rich red. I sweeten mine with sugar or honey. In Africa, milk is often mixed into the tea. Red tea also makes a good iced tea.

There are a few retail varieties of rooibos. Republic of Tea (which I haven't tried) offers several flavor blends. Kalahari offers a pure red tea along with several blends, including the "Africa Grey." You can also find varieties from Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Lipton, and Twinings (which is my favorite). But nothing from Bigelow that I can find.

If you're going to drink herbal teas, you need to be a careful reader of labels because sometimes herb teas have regular tea blended in. I avoid green tea, black tea, and white tea (oolong). Although church members drink it in Argentina, I would also avoid yerba mate. This isn't tea, but it's got pretty strong stimulants (as does guarana).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


If Jared Fogle had eaten two meals a day at Gandolfo's instead of at Subway, he wouldn't have lost all that weight, that's for sure.

Gandolfo's is a Provo original with authentic New York roots. The founder of the chain, Craig Gandolph, got started with a deli in New York, but after he moved to Provo, he opened the original Gandolfo's in 1989. Gandolfo's now has stores throughout the West.
Subway began as Pete's Super Submarines in Bridgeport Connecticut. It is now the third largest fast food chain in the world.

Both stores offer a New York theme, but Gandolfo's feels more like a New York deli. (My favorite NY deli is the famous Carnegie Deli--right by Carnegie Hall--where they offer ridiculously huge sandwiches and cheescake. Can't make it to New York? You can now find a Carnegie Deli at The Mirage in Las Vegas. But as the name of the casino indicates, it's not the same.) Gandolfo's also offers a wider selection than Subway does. They have good pastrami and corned beef, a variety of hot and cold subs, and authentic Nathan's hotdogs, both in the original coney dog style and a "second city" (Chicago) style.
Subway is probably healthier if you get the low fat meat and forego the mayo, but looking for a New York experience close to home? Skip the subway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Danishes at Flour Girls and Dough Boys

Most "Danishes" bear little resemble to the pastry (wienerbrød) that I came to know and love on my mission in Denmark (I ate it every day--and gained about 40 pounds). Most Danish pastries are just bread with filling and a glaze. As a general rule, anything that calls itself "a Danish" isn't.) A true Danish pastry has flaky layers, like a croissant. In technical terms, Danish pastry is made from a "laminated dough." A laminated dough is created by alternating thinly rolled dough with thin slabs of butter. This type of preparation is common to croissants, brioche, Danish pastry, and baklava (which may be the ultimate source of this family of pastries). Most bakeries just don't take the time to do it right.

I've only found a few places outside of Denmark that have true Danish pastries: Larsen Brothers Danish bakery in Seattle, bakeries in Solvang, CA, a place we visited in Elk Horn, IA, and a few really nice bakeries in New York. Basically, where you find large concentrations of Danes, you typically find good Danish pastry. (Some day I need to try O & H bakery in Racine, WI. I've also heard good things about Andersen's in Santa Barbara.) The Danes claim that the pastry requires a certain technique, but they also claim that there is something about the Danish climate--the humidity, the altitude, the latitude. (In a similar way, New Yorkers claim that the secret to their pizza dough is New York's famous water--and the coal-fired ovens.) Seattle has the fortunate combination of good climate and a large concentration of Danes.

This is a roundabout way of saying that on the way from getting my hair cut to gassing up the car, I stopped off at Flour Girls & Dough Boys in American Fork to try their "baked from scratch" Danish. I saw these last time I was in, but only after I had already bought a brownie. Although the dough wasn't quite as flaky as the best I have had, their Danish pastry is certainly a cut above most and has the layers you would expect to find in a laminated dough. If you can't make it to one of the other places on the list, then give FGs&DBs a try. They obviously have the skills (Those chocolate croissants looked pretty good, and they use a similar technique.) They just need a more authentic Danish recipe (and perhaps a more conducive climate).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pirate O's

Every few months or so, AnneMarie and I make a trip up to Pirate O's gourmet food store in Draper. Pirate O's is a Utah original but should remind some of Trader Joe's. I like Pirate O's a lot better because it seems a bit more eclectic. Wonder where to go to get some squid ink pasta? Running low on pickled walnuts? Need some imported stollen for Weihnachten? Got the jones for some Jones Fufu Berry soda? Down to your last can of treacle? Looking for some single origin chocolates? Then Pirate O's is the place.
Here is a list of what we bought:
  • Dutch gouda cheese (all cheese was 30% off)
  • Danish havarti cheese
  • Jacob's Cream Crackers from England (You'll recognize the packaging if you're a fan of Wallace and Gromit.)
  • Haribo gummi bears (Germany)
  • Haribo "happy cola" gummi cola bottles
  • Chocolove raspberries and dark chocolate
  • Twinnings Rooibos (red tea)
  • Jones Fufu Berry carbonated candy
We could have bought more. I was eyeing the Sprecher's cream soda (bottled in Wisconsin), we passed on the Leibniz Butter Biscuits (Germany) because we still have some in the cupboard. We searched in vain for dark chocolate HobNobs. (They only had the milk chocolate.)

Salt Lake has some other great food stores:
  • Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli (downtown SLC)
  • Jade Market (downtown SLC)
  • The Store (Sandy)
  • Emigration Market (SLC)
  • Dan's Foods (Foothill Blvd and Park City)
  • Good Earth (also in American Fork and Orem)
In Utah County, check out Many Lands Market.

Wendy's Premium Fish Sandwich

Wendy's is probably my favorite of all the fast food chains, primarily because it offers some variety. (I like the salads. Sometimes I like the chili and potato. Occasionally, I get a hamburger or chicken sandwich.) Recently, we took the family there to cash in some Christmas gift cards. (My oldest son loves Wendy's. It's the hangout place for him and his friends--a place where everyone knows your name.)

This time I tried a new menu item, the premium fish sandwich. "It's all cod!" they promise. Sure enough, it's a complete fillet of Northern Pacific cod breaded in panko (Japanese bread crumbs). (It's hard to imagine Dave Thomas coming up with a menu item that uses panko. I'm guessing this would be a little too much Food Network for him. He was a traditional burger and fries kind of guy. I guess Wendy's is trying to go upscale.) The cod is a delicious whitefish, comparable to a halibut. It tasted pretty good, although not as good as the fish and chips combo over at JCW's. But it was pretty small for what you had to pay.

But here's the real shocker. I guess I was under the impression that the fish sandwich would be healthier than the Wendy's single hamburger, but it has more calories (450 to 430) with less weight (177 grams to 226 grams). The fish sandwich also has more fat (22 grams to 20 grams), although less saturated fat. It has less protein, more carbohydrates, and fewer vitamins. It does have less cholesterol, but more sodium. The hamburger even has more fiber.

I appreciate Wendy's efforts to make their menu a little more gourmet, but if you're going to go to Wendy's, go Dave's way and get the hamburger. You get more for your money--and it's actually a little healthier.

Every wonder why Wendy's hamburgers are square? My oldest son slaved away in the Wendy's "burger mine" last year. According to him, Dave Thomas used to say, "Wendy's doesn't cut corners."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Old Spaghetti Factory is Slipping

The Old Spaghetti Factory has been a favorite with our family over the years. We all have our favorites, although everyone seems to like the mizithra brown butter pasta. We went tonight to the University Mall OSF to celebrate our tax refund and were disappointed with a few details.
  • First, we ordered the tapenade as an appetizer which used to come with toast points. Now it comes from some kind of flat bread (a little like a big saltine cracker with no salt) which is OK as a delivery device, but not for the price you pay. Also, there was less of the tapenade itself, and, no boiled egg on top.
  • Second, I like to get the meatloaf at dinner, but they've changed the recipe. The meatloaf used to have a cheese and Italian sausage filling. I couldn't really taste the sun-dried tomatoes either. Now it's just uniform meatloaf. I'll have to figure out how to make my own.
  • Third, my daughter got spumoni with no pistachio. (The OSF spumoni has chocolate, cherry, and pistachio--the real "Neapolitan" ice cream.) I realize you can't always get equal amounts of each, but you hope for a mixture.
  • Fourth, the top layer of cheese on the lasagna was a little hard--as if it had sat too long.
  • Fifth, no mints. They used to have these great chocolate/spearmint starlight mints.
I'm sure we'll go back again because it's one of the few places we can all agree on, but I won't be ordering the meatloaf any more.

Chocolate-covered Cinnamon Bears at the BYU Candy Counter

Those visiting BYU from other universities are often surprised to see a candy counter at the heart of our campus bookstore. Other university bookstores typically sell books, sweatshirts, mugs, and other college paraphernalia. Not only does BYU have a candy counter, but it's in the center of the bookstore.

And since yesterday was Valentine's Day, the place was hopping with men of various ages desperate to find something that would meet the high expectations of Valentine's Day. (A student in one of my classes yesterday asked all the men in the class what men want for Valentine's Day. There was pretty universal agreement that men don't care what they get. Anything she got for a guy would be great--because it would be coming from her. Well, anything but flowers.)

For the students in my afternoon class, I picked up a couple of bags of chocolate-covered cinnamon bears--a Bookstore tradition. The chocolate coating is what you might call "grocery store chocolate," but I still find these strangely addicting. And it's a tradition. (They had a whole table full of them, which I take as a sign that they're a big hit. But while writing this, it occurs to me that you could see the table full on Valentine's Day afternoon as a sign that they're not.)

I guess I shouldn't assume that everyone likes these because I like these. (I assume that everyone loves Neapolitan ice cream--three flavors in one!--but I have learned that that isn't the case.) I sent the bag around the room, and it came back mostly full. I guess students are more discerning than I thought. Eventually, most of the first bag disappeared with a few students (all guys, now that I think about it) declaring, "These are great!" New converts.

So I brought the second bag home. I showed it to family, and AnneMarie said something like "ewwww" and then "how much did you pay for those?" Apparently, just as I am the only one who likes Neapolitan ice cream, I am also the only one who likes chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. At least Kristan and her friends get it.

We've got a get-together this week with the extended Hatch family. Maybe some of my siblings and their kids will help me polish them off.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pancake Tuesday

Last night we took the family to IHOP to celebrate national pancake day. On the Internet, there seems to be some disagreement about when national pancake day should actually be celebrated.
Some sites list September 26. Most sites list Feb 5, 2008. This is Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday as it is called in England. This is the day before Ash Wednesday, which traditionally marks the first day of Lent. (Yes, this is also Mardi Gras, but the more restrained British and Canadians celebrate by eating pancakes.) The tradition began because people would try to cleanse their homes from all eggs, milk, and fats. The most efficient way to do this was to mix up a batch of "all you can eat" pancakes. In England, this day also involves pancake races, particularly in Olney, in Buckinghamshire, where the pancake racing tradition goes back to 1445.
The date of pancake day changes with the Easter calendar. The US Navy (that's right) has a calculator to figure out when Ash Wednesday/Easter fall in any year. So you can plan your pancakes ahead.

Those keeping a careful eye on the calendar will notice that IHOP celebrated a week late this year. They didn't want to compete with Super Tuesday.

At the NPD celebration at IHOP, you get a free short stack, but we also got a couple of sides of bacon and hash browns. Two kids wanted chocolate milk. We left a tip for the server (based on what we would have paid) and made a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. So our free pancakes cost just a little over $30.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Parker's and JCW's (and Arctic Circle)

I went up to Sundance to do a little skiing recently and decided to stop off at Parker's on the way home. This gives me a chance to compare American Fork's two hamburger institutions: Parker's and JCW's.

A recent article from the Daily Herald breaks down the burger scene valley wide. JCW's came out on top, but there were plenty of good comments for Parker's too.
JCW's always brings in a crowd. They offer a wide variety of hamburgers and other grilled sandwiches. I usually order the All-American burger. AnneMarie usually gets the avacado bacon burger. I also like the pastrami burger and the bacon blue cheese. (Bacon is a pretty common feature here.) The steak sandwich is pretty good, too. The meat they use tastes to me like flank steak. They have good fries (including cheese fries), onion rings, and over-the-top shakes. None of this is health food, but they do offer soup and salad, too. And the two-piece fish and chips (with halibut--the prince of white fish) at least feels a little healthier than a burger.

Parker's Drive-Inn is a more traditional drive-in, reminicient of the old Arctic Circle. This connection is no accident. Parker's used to be an Arctic Circle. The Range Burger is a little like the Arctic Circle Ranch burger. But Parker's has put its own twist on everything. They buy all of their beef locally and mix up their own fry sauce fresh every day. They offer some classics like the lime squeeze and the brown topper (a soft-serve ice cream cone dipped in chocolate sauce, forming a hard chocolate shell). Fans of Artic Circle will recognize all of these as AC specialities. There is definitely an influence there, but Parker's is what Arctic Circle was like 50 years ago before AC turned into a fast-food chain. (Parker's doesn't have a "play place," and the only setting is outside.) Parker's also offers the "stake sandwich," which could answer either of the following questions: "What does a vampire never order at the restaurant?" or "What should we order for the high priests social?" Their burgers are better than their spelling.

If I had to choose one or the other, I would choose JCW's for the hamburgers and shakes. Both have good fries. Parker's might be the place to stop if you just want to pick up a bag of cheeseburgers on the way home from work. Both have loyal followings here in American Fork. With JCW's, Parker's and Chadder's, could we say that American Fork is the burger capitol of Utah Valley?

Monday, February 4, 2008

La Vigna

It's hard to imagine that they would name a restaurant La Vigna (the vineyard), in Utah County, but that the name of the Italian restaurant that was once Ottavio's in American Fork. Charlene Winters hits it right on in her review of this restaurant in the Deseret News--it's hit and miss. Some of the dishes are very good and others disappointing. The Daily Herald offers a similar opinion--fine Italian dining, but not as fine as one would hope.

AnneMarie and I have been there twice, once for lunch and most recently for dessert. At lunch we had the buffet, which included some pretty good Neapolitan-style pizza (cooked over gas, not wood, in their brick oven) and some pasta dishes, which were a mixed bag. For dessert, I had the creme brulee, which I thought was very good. A good creme brulee should have a hard sugar glaze--it should crack when you break it with your spoon--but not be burned. The custard should be creamy and smooth. AnneMarie was looking for something chocolaty (no surprise), something like the Ottavio's chocolate cake. She had a small cake with a creme anglaise topping. (This sounds pretty fancy, but you can create your own pretty quick and easy version with melted premium french vanilla ice cream.) It turned out to be a chocolate sponge cake, which tasted OK, but not for $6. Here's one problem with La Vigna: everything seems pretty expensive for what you get. Even the dishes that taste pretty good seem overpriced. This restaurant is also pretty low on the authenticity scale. Some dishes look authentic Italian, but "Surf and Turf"? Sometimes it's just the name that is authentic. I do like the focaccia at La Vigna.

Based on the crowds, La Vigna seems pretty popular, but so is The Olive Garden--which offers inauthentic Italian food at a much lower price.

La Vigna is close by, so we may end up there again, but for good Italian, we'll probably stick with Ottavio's, Macaroni Grill, and (for inexpensive family dining) The Pizza Factory.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Say it ain't so, Joey--More on the ketchup and hotdog debate

Recognize this actor? It looks like some New Yorkers like ketchup on their hot dogs after all. Actually, Matt Le Blanc isn't a real New Yorker. He only plays one of television. According to Wikipedia, "Matt has said that with the one ketchup commercial he was able to buy a house, a car, a motorcycle, and a wardrobe full of clothes."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Orville and Wilbur's--the hot dogs

Last summer, the Daily Universe ran a story on the Orville and Wilbur's, the "secret snack bar" at the bowling alley at BYU (basement of the WSC). They offer hamburgers (which didn't look very special), chicken wings (which give the place its name), and the Cougar Dog, which some people claim to be a rip-off of J-Dawg's. I dropped by one day to investigate that claim, but first I want to comment on this sentence from the article:

"If a Chicago-style hot dog with sauerkraut and tomatoes, is what students want, the staff can make it. If a New York style hot dog with mustard and ketchup would please the palate, that option is available too."

First of all, sauerkraut and tomatoes don't make a hot dog a Chicago dog. True Chicago dogs don't even have sauerkraut. They have that radioactive green relish that you can apparently only get in Chicago. In addition to the relish, the distinctive features are really the tomatoes, the hot pepper, and the celery salt. For the true Chicago experience close to home, visit The Hotdog King on South State in Orem.

Second, ketchup on a NY hot dog? fuggetaboutit! That's hot dog heresy. (In NYC, ketchup is for kids--or french fries.) There is a famous scene from one of the "Dirty Harry" movies (which I confess not to have seen) where Harry and his partner investigate a scene where some guy has just been gunned down. They're looking down at the guy eating hot dogs. Harry remarks, "That is absolutely sickening." The partner replies, "Yeah, the guy was in the prime of his life, and now look at him." Harry responds, "No, not him, you just put ketchup on a hot dog!" (Anyone got a source for this one?) In Sudden Impact (1983), the writers return to this gag. After confessing that this job is starting to get to him, Harry indicates that it's not the blood or the violence--it's the fact that his partner keeps putting ketchup on his hot dog. He says, "Nobody, but nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog."

By the way, I had the Cougar Dog with barbecue sauce and onions (the same way I order the J-Dawg). It bears only a slight resemblance. I think the BBQ sauce was probably KC Masterpiece (which is still a good bottled sauce, but not J-Dawg's homemade). And the hot dog was Vienna beef cut the way the J-Dawg's cuts theirs. The Cougar Dog also has a really good bun, but the whole combo isn't as good as the J-Dawg. The Cougar Dog bun would be really good for a cheese steak.

Baked Olives

Karen Pierotti, a friend and co-worker here at BYU, recently brought to work a great Mediterranean side dish--baked olives.

This dish had two kinds of olives, small black olives and large green olives. (One recipe suggests nicoise olives and kalamata olives. I think you could use any combination you like.) There was a mixture of Italian herbs (thyme?), some sliced garlic, orange peels (without the pith) and a some olive oil sprinkled over the mixture (probably with some of the orange juice squeezed over the top). Bake this on medium heat and serve, or prepare in advance and then reheat.

You could do a lot of variations on this. The point is olives, citrus, herbs/garlic, all heated up.

Here's a recipe for a version of this from the BBC. This version adds a bay leaf (which you should remember to take out).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"No thanks, I ate bugs for lunch . . . ."

In one of the few really good scenes from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Kate Capshaw's character dines on some exotic and extreme (but not very realistic) Indian food. When one of her fellow diners asks why she isn't eating, she replies, "I ate bugs for lunch."

I'm currently reading Christa Weil's Fierce Food: The Intrepid Diner's Guide to the Unusual, Exotic, and Downright Bizarre. This is an alphabetical listing of extreme foods from Armadillo to Yuba. (Armadillo is apparently tasty, but a major carrier of leprosy--caveat omnivore.)

Weil is a London-based fashion journalist, whose other books are Secondhand Chic and It's Vintage, Darling!. As far as I can tell, this is her first foray into food writing.

These are brief and interesting discussions of exotic food from around the world, most of which just sound too disgusting to eat but a few of which might be interesting. Weil has developed an interesting rating system for each item, indicating for example whether the item "has eyes," "tastes like chicken," or "may cause pain/disease/death."

This book provides good bedtime reading because each entry is only a page or so long, but you might end up with some strange dreams. (You can buy the book used on Amazon for 1 cent plus shipping.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fish and Shrimp Tacos at Cabo Grill

Cabo grill is an American Fork original, but it's been facing some tough competition from Cafe Rio and Bajio (which have both opened on the West Side of town over by Walmart). But we're determined to keep them in business. I usually get a taco (either pork, chicken, or steak) but with no rice or beans. This time I decided to try a fish taco and a shrimp taco. I've had these before at Cabo, but these were better than I remember. The fish taco is halibut (not pollock, an inferior fish found at most other places). It is lightly breaded and deep fried with the traditional shredded cabbage and light mayonnaise sauce. The shrimp taco had a lot of shrimp with a great guacamole. Most guacamole around here is pretty bland (I'm talking about *you* Los Hermanos), but this had minced jalapenos to give it a little bit.

I'm on a quest to find the best fish taco in Utah, and for a long time, I had favored Rubio's. (I know it's a chain, but I still like the fish tacos.) But I think Cabo has been working on their recipe, because it tastes a little like Rubio's. (There used to be a Rubio's in Provo on 1320 North--where the L&L is now--but now the only Rubio's restaurants are in Salt Lake City, one on 400 South and 700 east and the other in Sugarhouse.)

According to Sunset magazine (March 2000), some of the best fish taco in the West are found at the Lone Star Taqueria at 2265 Fort Union Blvd in Salt Lake City. I've driven by, but never stopped in (more's the pity).

Easy Bread Sticks

The other night we had spaghetti with some easy bread sticks made from a recipe that AnneMarie got from her sister Susie. Here it is:

1 1/2 cups water, warm
1 T dry yeast
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour

Mix all the dry ingredients together (including the yeast) in a large mixing bowl. Then add the water. Knead in the bowl for about three minutes, adding additional flour as needed. (The dough will be a little stickier than bread dough.) Press the dough into a greased pan and cut into desired lengths. Drizzle with 1/2-1 stick of melted butter and sprinkle with garlic and parmesan cheese. Let rest for 10-20 minutes and then bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flour Girls and Dough Boys

A new artisan bakery has opened in Utah Valley, Flour Girls and Dough Boys, at 35 N. Barrett Avenue, a location that was previously the Naborhood Bakery, which looks like has moved to Gardner Village, and before that Bryson Bakery, which has moved to Orem.

Before the run of bakeries, this was the site of Barrett's Hardware.

I haven't been there yet, but AnneMarie and her friend Cheryl went there for lunch. This looks like a great place, and it's getting rave reviews on various blogs. Cheryl had tried some of their bread at the Farmer's market at Thanksgiving Point.

AnneMarie had the turkey, swiss, and cheddar panini on the asiago bread. Cheryl had the cranberry walnut, turkey, brie (which is probably what I would have had. She took home to her husband Dale the ham & swiss panini on rustic country. AnneMarie also reports that they have monster brownies, mint or regular, for just $1.50. (Brownies are my weakness--along with chocoloate milk.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two Great Tastes . . .

I don't know who first thought of combining chocolate and peanut, but it was genius. Maybe it really was accidental (as in those old Reese's PB cup commercials). Yesterday, I work I bought a Twix PB out of the machine. Apparently, the Twix PB replaces the peanut butter Twix, which has been around off and on for several years. Like the Peanut Butter Twix, the Twix PB replaces the caramel with peanut butter, but PB has a chocolate cookie base, instead of the sugar cookie. A quick Internet search shows mixed reviews, but I liked it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little Caesar's Hot N (Hardly Ever) Ready Pizza

I may come across as a bit of a pizza snob, and I do confess that I do have strong preferences, but I understand that part of the appeal of pizza is its convenience. There are some nights when you just want to get everyone fed in a timely manner. This need is answered by Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready pizza, guaranteed to be ready for pick up.

But when it's not ready, it starts to lose its appeal. Little Caesar's has an adequate taste, but it's only really worth eating because it's cheap and fast. When it's not fast, then what's the point?

AnneMarie says that there has always been pizza ready whenever she has gone--except for the time she went with me. Perhaps I'm the problem. Tonight I only had to wait about ten minutes (someone had just come in and bought 17 pizzas for a Church youth night activity. It does say "no limit.").
Once I made the mistake of going in on a Friday night, when it was raining hard, and there was football on TV. That all adds up to no pizza. They told me I would wait for 20 minutes, but it ended up being 1 1/2 hours. (I stuck around because I had already paid. I was trapped.)
Part of the problem (apparently) is that some people confuse the Little Caesar stores in American Fork and Lehi. They'll call in one place but try to pick up in the other. I imagined on this night stacks and stacks of pizzas at the Lehi store with a bewildered crew wondering where all the customers were. It's Friday. Raining. Football. Why not make a whole bunch more pizzas? Although the service at LC's is usually adequate, this night it wasn't exactly the "A Team."
Let me try to explain this. They would run out of cheese pizzas, so they would start cooking a bunch of cheese pizzas. Then they would run out of pepperoni, so they would start cooking more pepperoni. They never seemed to have both cheese and pepperoni at the same time. I like cheese, and my kids say they like pepperoni (but then sometimes they eat my cheese pizza). On top of this, if someone came in just wanting cheese or just wanting pepperoni, the LC's crew would move them ahead in the line, ensuring that those of us who wanted both would never get our pizza. (While you're making all them there pepperoni pizzas, would it hurt anything to throw in a cheese pizza or two? Just in case? I only need one.)
So although the pizza is never ready on time, at least it's always hot.

Food Memories--Jeno's Pizza Mix

I got off the phone with my mom last night, and she was talking about how she had an upset stomach from eating pizza at lunch--the pepperoni is just too spicy for her. I gave my standard speech on the virtues of cheeze pizza (now my favorite kind--particulary in New York). And then I had a food memory of eating Jeno's pizza as a kid. This was the pizza that came in a box. You mixed the flour with the dry yeast, spread out the dough, put on the sauce and seasonings, and then added the cheese. It came in two varieties: cheese and sausage. But because my mom was feeding a family of hungry boys (and one girl), she added hamburger and cheddar cheese (including additional parmesan from the green container). My mom used to spread out the dough on a rectangular cookie sheet, so you ended up with rectangular pieces. And the pieces in the middle had no crusts. (Later, pizza companies would call hamburger/cheddar pizza "cheeseburger pizza.")
My taste in pizza has certainly matured, and we never buy the paramesan in the green container. Good parmesan cheese is something worth spending extra money on. It doesn't have to be the fancy reggiano, but it shouldn't be somthing that looks like sawdust either. (I have to admit, however, that I used to eat handfuls of Kraft cheese out of the can when I was a kid. I think I liked the saltiness.) But I still have a fondness for hamburger and cheddar cheese on rectangular pieces--just not out of a box.
And did you know that Luigino "Jeno" Paulucci, the food entreprenuer between Jeno's and Totonio's pizza, begin his career with the Chun King brand of "Chinese" food? He said, "When I started Chun King, my mother said to me, 'What are you doing in the Chinese food business? We're Italian.' I told her some day I'd pack her sauces." His tribute to his mother is the Michelina's line of frozen Italian food.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Ever since Dippidee opened, I've wanted to stop by and check out the "sweet surprises," but I was afraid they might go out of business before I have a chance. (If a new food place opens in Utah county, you better get there quick, because some don't last very long.) But Dippidee is still around, and it's easy to see why.

Dippidee specializes in made to order desserts, particularly wedding cakes, and these are the real deal. But if you stop by their shop, you can also get really good cupcakes (very trendy at the moment, associated in particular with New York's Magnolia Bakery) as well as other pastries and chocolates (including a Ghanaian single-origin chocolate that I'll talk about later). Dippidee is by the Costco in American Fork.

AnneMarie and I split a chocolate cupcake with vanilla filling and chocolate frosting. (They also have a really nice website.)

Getting Caught Up

I got pretty busy in November and December and fell behind on the blog. Here are a list of topics that I need to cover:

  • Good Earth store opening in American Fork
  • Almond butter machine at Good Earth (as well as ideas for making your own nut butters)
  • Toaster Oven restaurant opening in American Fork
  • Checking out the Chicago Dog at Hot Dog King in Orem
  • Dagoba Xocolatl bar
  • Single Origin Chocolates
  • Pirate O's
  • Lon's Cookin' Shack (with the deep-fried pickles)
  • Cinnamon-roasted almonds at the BYU basketball games
  • Mo's Seafood Restaurant in Newport, Oregon
  • Shoot's Chinese cuisine in Provo
  • The Orange Chicken wars (Panda Express claims to have the original orange chicken. Now there is orange chicken at Rumbi's and Applebee's. But isn't OC just a variation on General Tso's chicken?)
  • Trip to NYC (including the Brazil Grill, the Morning Star Cafe, the Moon Rock Diner)