Food Truck Review: Art City Donuts

With all the food truck craze going on around here and all over the country, I really can’t believe this is the first food truck review we’ve posted.  The food truck trend lives in abundance here with food truck round-ups and a great number of trucks at farmers markets….in addition to hardly being able to drive very far without running into one.

Art City Donuts Food Truck

Today we’re spotlighting Art City Donuts, which serves up fresh hot mini donuts with a variety of delicious toppings.  They feature a few specialties each day or you can choose your own toppings.  The specialties this day were The Blueberry Crumble (blueberry frosting & crumb topping), The Southern Belle (bananas, chocolate icing, cream cheese icing, & whipped cream), & The Sweet Pig (maple icing with bacon crumbles).  Specialties run $6-7 a have 18 mini donuts…plenty to share!  Standard donuts cost $3 for 8, $4 for 12, and $5 for 18 donuts coated in cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or icing (chocolate, glaze, maple, sprinkles, or coconut crunch).

This day we went with a classic:  Maple!

Art City Donuts Maple

See those babies?  Yum, yum!  They were hot and melt-in-your mouth.  This is the large basket of 18 donuts.  They reminded me of a really light, super fresh pillows of yellow cake.  The maple icing was perfect, too!

Art City Donuts

The only downside was the wait, at least on that day.  The line was not that long at the truck, but the wait seemed like forever.  I think it was 10-15 minutes.  It seems like it would be pretty fast since the donuts all seem the same and it’s just the toppings that are different.  I’ve heard others say that were impressed by how fast they got their orders, so maybe this was unusual.  I hope so.

I would love to try one of the specialties, especially one with fruit…hello, it’s like a donut sundae!  If you have a list of food trucks to try (Is that weird?  Yes, I have one.), definitely put Art City Donuts on there.  Since they’re a food truck, you’ll have to keep up with their constant movement on Facebook or Twitter to see where they’ll be next.
Entree Price:  $
Average Fork Rating: 4

Mrs. Diner: 4
Sweet Diner: 4
Little Diner:
4

Restaurant Review: Wild Mustang Grill & Bakery

Wild Mustang Grill

I tried the pies from Wild Mustang Grill & Bakery long before I tried their dinner menu.  The pies are delicious…especially the Sour Cream Lemon.  Yum!  Wild Mustang has a big banner proclaiming them the “Best of Utah Valley”, so we had to actually go in and try it for ourselves.  I guess they’ve been voted both Best American Restaurant in Utah County in 2013 (Daily Herald readers’ poll) and Best of State for a Southwestern Restaurant in 2014 (Best of State magazine).

Wild Mustang is right off the University Parkway exit of I-15 right across from Utah Valley University.  Unfortunately, you can’t access it from University Parkway and have to drive all the way around the corner and down through the adjacent hotel parking lot to get to it.  I guess they can’t help that, but it is still annoying.  The restaurant opened in December 2012 and is “endorsed by” country singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey, who is also part-owner.  Its focus is barbecue and steak with other American foods, a little fresh Mex section (that seems to be run as a separate restaurant), and a nice selection of pies.

Wild Mustang Grill Nedra's Famous Rolls & Honey Butter
Nedra’s Famous Old Fashioned Rolls with Murphey’s Honey Butter – I’m always excited about complimentary rolls with honey butter.  However, the rolls were a bit boring…they seemed like ones I could buy from the grocery store.  The honey butter was good, but the rolls were not warm and the butter was cold, so it didn’t spread well.

Wild Mustang Grill Hillbilly Nachos
Hillbilly Nachos ($9.00) – Our server touted these as unique, and I have to say he was right.  Never seen anything like this concoction of thinly sliced grilled potatoes with a slew of toppings including grilled onions, pico de gallo, green onions, bacon, jalapenos, cheese, & “Wild Sauce” which seems to be their signature fry sauce.  It was really messy, but delicious like an overloaded potato.

Wild Mustang Grill Salad Bar
All You Can Eat Salad Bar ($10.00) – The salad bar is a fairly average small salad bar (both sides serve the same thing), so I think it’s a bit overpriced.  You can also add one trip to the salad bar on to an entree for $4.

Wild Mustang Grill El Paso Pulled Pork Sandwich
El Paso Pulled Pork Sandwich($9.00) – Our server suggested having the chopped pork instead of pulled on this sandwich, and it was delicious topped with barbecue sauce on a toasted onion roll.  Served with a choice of one side.

Wild Mustang Grill Fries
French Fries (Side Item or $2.99 a la carte) – I love battered fries and these puppies were just about perfect, except a little over-salted.  Still, I loved them and  I could use one right now.  Yum!

Wild Mustang Grill Chisolm Trail Brisket Platter
Chisholm Trail Brisket Platter ($15.00) – This brisket had good flavor, but was quite fatty, which is a problem I run into with a lot of brisket.  It’s served sliced over a piece of toast and topped with a barbecue sauce.  Served with 2 sides.  The coleslaw is really sweet thanks to the addition of pineapple.  It wasn’t my favorite.

Wild Mustang Grill Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Fries (Side item or $2.99 a la carte) - These were just about perfect…crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  A few were a little too salty, but most were just right.

Wild Mustang Grill Wild Mustang Burger
Wild Mustang Burger ($9.50) – Sorry for the blurry burger.  It was huge and topped with all the good stuff like bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato, cheddar AND swiss, and Wild sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun.  Good classic burger.  Includes one side.

Wild Mustang Grill Kids Cheesy Quesadilla
Kids Cheesy Quesadilla ($3.99) – Little Diner is happy whenever he finds a quesadilla on the menu.  This one was HUGE…I didn’t know tortillas could be so big!  Pretty standard other than the size, but our guy loved it.  This is another one that I think is overpriced since it doesn’t come with any sides. 

Wild Mustang Grill Pies

I’ve only had the Sour Cream Lemon pie (three times!) and it is really good with a flaky crust, a sweet-tart lemon filling, and topped with a creamy layer (a slice is $3.89).  I’ve heard other pies are delicious, too, but have heard especially good things about the Coconut Cream and Banana Cream.  The bakers were trained by the well-praised Croshaw Gourmet Pies in St. George.  They have since tweaked the recipes to make them their own, but I haven’t noticed any changes in the Sour Cream Lemon pie.  It is just as delicious as ever.  Seasonal pies are coming for the holidays.  They do have a few other dessert items in case you’re not a pie person, but if you are, make sure you save room or at least take some pie to go!

The service was very good.  Our server was very friendly and had lots of ideas on how to stretch a dollar and menu recommendations.  We love that!  Overall, we found Wild Mustang to be kind of hit-and-miss.  Some items were good, others were average.  We thought it was a bit pricey for what it was and have had better barbecue and burgers for the same price or less at other places.  Favorites were the Hillbilly Nachos, both kinds of fries, and (of course) pie.  Since this visit, I’ve heard good things about the ribs, so if I went back, I’d probably try them.  As of now, though, there’s not enough to lure me back except the pie, which I can take to go!

Wild Mustang Grill & Bakery
860 West 1250 South
Orem, UT
(801) 226-9067

 Entree Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating: 3.1

Mr. Diner:
3.5
Mrs. Diner:
2.5
Amazing Diner:
3.5
Sweet Diner:
3
Little Diner:
3

Wild Mustang Grill and Bakery on Urbanspoon

Hawaii Restaurant Review: What’s Shakin’?

What's Shakin'

Best. Smoothies. Ever.  That’s what they serve up at What’s Shakin’ (along with some other fresh goodies).  Of course, you’ve got to be on the Big Island of Hawaii to get one and I hope every one of you gets there!

What's Shakin Farm Produce

What’s Shakin’ is right along an old coastal highway north of Hilo.  If you’re headed to ‘Akaka Falls or to one of the botanical gardens up that way, this is the perfect place to stop for some refreshment.  It’s built on its own farm with pineapples, papayas, mangoes, avocados, and more growing literally right outside the door, which is one of the big reasons I think this place is such a star.  It is seriously tree-to-table…can’t get any fresher than that!  You sit right next to a pineapple that might be in your next smoothie.

The recipes are simple with no added sugar or ice…just fruit and juice.  I love that they use no ice.  It makes each one really smooth and super fruity.  And they are sooooo goood.

What's Shakin Red Tide Smoothie

Red Tide Smoothie ($6.95) – Delicious with a strong papaya flavor, but also has strawberry, guava, & apple juice.

Bananarama Smoothie
Bananarama Smoothie ($6.75) – For the one who wishes you had stopped for milkshakes…this is a creamy blend of bananas, milk, macadamia nuts, & apple juice.  Even better than a milkshake, if you ask me!

What's Shakin Groovy Guava Smoothie

Groovy Guava Smoothie ($6.75) – Great guava & strawberry flavor with banana and apple juice.

What's Shakin Chilled Coconut
Chilled Coconut ($5) – You can get these all over the place in Hawaii…a cold coconut with a hole for a straw so you can enjoy fresh, chilled coconut water.  This one was especially sweet and, of course, refreshing.  Just a shame they don’t offer to break it open and shave the meat out for you when you’re done.

What's Shakin'

If you are in Hilo, make sure you take the time to stop by What’s Shakin’!  Sandwiches, baked goods, juices, and other goodies are available, so feel free to stop for a snack or lunch.  Just order at the window and wait for your name to be called, then sit at a shaded picnic table and relax.  My favorites were the Groovy Guava and Bananarama, but I’d sure like to try just about everything on the menu!  Yes, the prices are a little high, but you’re in Hawaii and the quality is top-notch.   You can also purchase fresh produce; mangoes were in abundance for $1 each.

What’s Shakin’
27-799 Old Mamalahoa Hwy
Papaikou, HI

(808) 964-3080

Entree Price:  $
Average Fork Rating: 4.8

Mr. Diner:
5
Mrs. Diner:
5
Amazing Diner:
4.5
Sweet Diner:
4
Little Diner:
5
Guest Diner M: 5
Guest Diner D: 5

What's Shakin' on Urbanspoon

Recipe: My Favorite Meatloaf

My very first cookbook was a copy of Better Homes & Gardens Junior Cookbook that I received as a gift.  I loved making the meatloaf recipe that was topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheese…definitely comfort food!  Since then I’ve tried several meatloaf recipes, some I’ve loved and others, not so much.

My Favorite Meatloaf

My favorite meatloaf recipe is my tweaked version of America’s Test Kitchen’s All-American Meatloaf from their Family Cookbook.  It has a nice duo of meats, delicious seasonings, and a nice mixture of binding agents that keep the loaf together without being too moist, nor too dry.  And of course, I love the saucy glaze.  That’s my favorite part of any meatloaf, but in this recipe, the rest of the loaf is really flavorful even without it!  My family loves this recipe, too…in fact, this is the only meatloaf that Amazing Diner likes.

My Favorite Meatloaf
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (i.e., Tabasco)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ⅔ cup crushed saltine crackers
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
Glaze:
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook till fragrant. Remove from heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the glaze.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
  4. Add the beef, turkey, crackers, parsley, and onion mixture to the egg mixture in the large bowl. Mix until it is evenly blended, but do not over-mix.
  5. Turn the meat mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet and shape in to a 9x5 loaf. Brush all exposed sides and top with half the glaze. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Brush the loaf with the remaining glaze and continue baking until an inserted thermometer reads 160 degrees (about 15 minutes). Let cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

 
Average Fork Rating: 4.1
Mr. Diner:
4.5
Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
4
Sweet Diner:
4

Restaurant Review: Station 22

Station 22

We finally made it to Station 22.  Since it opened, I had heard from a few friends how much they loved this fun, modern cafe in (where else?) Downtown Provo.  It has a fun atmosphere with rustic wood and metal, chalkboards, and collectibles.  The menu is filled with salads, burgers, sandwiches, and a few southern comfort foods….oh, and their vast selection of gourmet sodas!

Station 22 Sodas

Station 22 has a wall of bottled sodas in the back that you are welcome to browse and select from.  They usually have a soda of the day that is discounted to $1 a bottle (others are about $3).  Unfortunately, only a few varieties are refrigerated so request a cup of ice!

Blue Mason Jars

Of course, drinking water from a blue mason jar is kind of fun, too, isn’t it?

Fry Daddy Basket

Fry Daddy Basket ($6.49) – Fries, Sweet Potato Wedges, & Hush Puppies with Memphis Sauce & Fry Sauce.  Fries were battered, but not very crisp.  The hush puppies were served very hot and well seasoned with garlic and herbs.  My favorite was the thickly cut sweet potato wedges…so good!  Memphis sauce is Station 22′s house barbecue sauce.  Their fry sauce is sweet and quite tangy.

South of the Burger
South of the Burger ($10.99) – A nice hand-formed burger (made from local beef!) served open face on a toasted bun and topped with chili, cheese, & jalapenos.  This is definitely a burger to eat with a fork.  The bun was pretty soggy with all that sauce.  Overall, it was slightly sweet and a little spicy.  Not our favorite, but I think the other burgers would be worth trying.

Memphis Chicken Sandwich
The Memphis Chicken Sandwich ($9.99) – Crispy fried chicken filet served with sweet-spicy Memphis Sauce and red cabbage on a ciabatta.   Pretty simple, but it works & is one of their signature sandwiches.  

Pulled Pork Plate
The Pulled Pork Plate ($11.99) – Delicious tender pulled pork served on a slice of toast and topped with barbecue sauce.  Served with some amazingly delicious mashed potatoes (a huge heap of them!) and salad.

The Pig and Cheese
The Pig and Cheese ($10.99) – Pulled pork, grilled green apple, & cheddar all melded together on cheese & herb-crusted Texas toast.  This sandwich is a unique blend of flavors.  It’s tender and savory with a hint of sweetness.  I liked the pork on the pulled pork plate better, though.

 Kids Chicken Fingers
Kid’s Chicken Fingers & Fries – Thank goodness for real fried chicken fingers for kids!  Crispy & delicious!

Sandwiches and burgers are served with a choice of salad, fries, soup, or fried okra or sweet potato wedged for $1.25 extra.  The salad is predominantly fresh ruffly lettuce leaves and a couple of red onion slices with dressing on the side.

Station 22 is a fun place with pretty good food.  The service both times we’ve been there has been on the slow side, both for table service and the amount of time to get your food, so don’t be in a hurry.  I also think it’s a little on the pricey side, but I’d still go back….and I’ll try a new soda every time!  Favorites so far have been the Memphis Chicken Sandwich, the Pulled Pork Plate, & the Sweet Potato Wedges.

Station 22 Cafe
22 W. Center Street
Provo, U

Entree Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating:   3.9

Mr. Diner:
3.5
Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
5
Sweet Diner:
4
Little Diner:
3

Station 22 Cafe on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: El Taco Burrito

This post is sponsored by Restaurant.com.

Utah County has a few good taco shops and casual Mexican and Tex-Mex places around, but it’s been lacking in good table service Mexican restaurants.  Sure, there’s Los Hermanos (sorry, not my fave), Milagros (I like it, but it is on the sweet side & definitely unique), Maria Bonita (OK), and a handful of others.  But I’ve still been on the quest to find something our whole family really likes that offers table service.

El Taco Burrito

Our latest entry is one that I must admit I had not planned to try.  It took over the spot where Las Glorias /Las Puentes had been over by the University Mall Cinemark, and I think the restaurant’s name is really boring.  I mean, El Taco Burrito?  Yes, it gets the point across that they have tacos and burritos, but c’mon, there’s got to be something a little more interesting (plus the cartoon taco & burrito sign feels a bit cheesy).  But then I got a Restaurant.com certificate for El Taco Burrito and decided to go ahead and give it a try.  We had low expectations, but we were very pleasantly surprised.

El Taco Burrito Interior

The employees are very friendly and welcomed us quickly.  We were seated immediately and given an overview of the restaurant and menu.  They are a family-run restaurant that uses family recipes, focusing on great flavors rather than spiciness.  The menu features traditional Mexican favorites including the host’s recommendations, Guacamole, the Flautas and Chicken Avocado Salad.

El Taco Burrito Order Form

They also make custom burritos and tacos; just fill out the cards with your choices for tortillas, meat, toppings, & more.

El Taco Burrito Salsa
Chips & Salsa (complimentary) – The chips were spot-on:  slightly warm, perfectly crisp, and not too thick or thin.  We all really liked the salsa, which was a medium consistency with fresh cilantro and onion flavors.

El Taco Burrito Guacamole
Guacamole ($4.99) – A classic chunky and creamy guacamole with fresh tomato, lime, and cilantroI love that they bring out small bowls so you can portion the guacamole into your own individual bowls.  No double-dipping worries!

El Taco Burrito Flautas
Three Flautas, Chicken ($8.49) – These were HUGE!  They are served with a side of sour cream; guacamole is an extra 99 cents, which I think should be automatically included.  The flautas were nicely crisp on the outside and had shredded chicken that was tender and moist.

El Taco Burrito Shredded Beef Tacos
Two Build-Your-Own Tacos, Shredded Beef ($6.99) – One has lettuce, tomatoes, & cheese.  The other has tomatoes, onions, & cheese.  Both are on corn tortillas.  They were loaded with toppings and had to be eaten open face at first.  The beef was excellent, very tender and flavorful.

El Taco Burrito Shredded Beef Burrito

Build-Your-Own Burrito, Shredded Beef ($7.99) – White tortilla with shredded beef, tomatoes, rice, beans, & cilantro, smothered with green chile.  These burritos are ENORMOUS!  Again, the shredded beef is really good.  When Amazing Diner started to get full, he ate the rest of the filling out of his burrito ’cause he loved it so much!

El Taco Burrito Ground Beef Burrito
Build-Your-Own Burrito, Ground Beef ($7.99) – With a white tortilla, ground beef, a ton of toppings, and smothered with red chile.  The ground beef was also very flavorful and seasoned with cumin and other spices. 

El Taco Burrito Beans & Rice
Side of Rice & Beans ($1.99) – Many dishes don’t come with rice and beans.  A side is fairly large and can easily be shared by two people.  These are pretty typical and nothing unique about them.

El Taco Burrito Kids Quesadilla
Kids Cheese Quesadilla Meal ($4.99) – Served with a drink, rice & beans (but our little guy just wanted rice) or fries.  Pretty normal stuff here, but Little Diner gobbled up the whole quesadilla.  It would be nice if they would pre-slice it, though. 

If you’re looking for a pretty traditional Mexican restaurant, this one is a good fit.  They’ve got flavorful food and good chips & salsa (and guacamole!).  The meats are tender and well-seasoned and/or marinated.  Everything we ate was on the mild side.  We like it a bit spicier, but we liked the flavors.  I thought the prices were a little high.  I’d definitely recommend trying the custom tacos and burritos.  There were very few people here, so go give them a shot for dinner (especially when you’re headed to the movie theater).  We’ll be back!

Right now  you can get a great deal on El Taco Burrito through Restaurant.com.  They are only $4 for a $10 certificate right now, $6 for a $15 or $10 for a $25 (make sure you check the minimum purchase requirement)!  Certificates are easy to purchase online or with the app.  Just show it when you order and the dollar amount will come off your order total.  Easy!  Restaurant.com certificates never expire, so go get one now!

El Taco Burrito
1069 S 750 E
Orem, UT 84097
(385) 207-7025

Entree Price:  $
Average Fork Rating: 4.1

Mr. Diner:
4.5
Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
3.5
Sweet Diner:
4.5
Little Diner:
4

Taco Burrito on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt

This post is sponsored by Restaurant.com

Sub Zero Ice Cream

It’s the season for ice cream!  Seriously, my kids and I take just about every opportunity to get ice cream during the summer.  We love hand scooped traditional ice cream and smooth soft serve, but sometimes it’s fun to try something unique.  Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt was started here in Orem a decade ago and have since opened many more locations throughout the United States and even recently in the Middle East (amazing, right?)!  Perhaps you’ve seen them on Shark Tank or heard buzz about them at a school science show or entertainment awards show.

What makes Sub Zero unique is their process of making your own custom ice cream in seconds before your eyes.  You choose from six creamy bases for your ice cream – including premium, low fat, fat free, gluten-free, and dairy-free options.  Custard (10% fat) is my go-to base unless I’m feeling extra-indulgent.  Then I go for the Premium (14% fat).  I tried the Lowfat (5%) once and decided I wanted it creamier.  After choosing your base, you select one of over 40 ice cream flavors including traditional (Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate) and unique (Dr. Pepper, Hot Cinnamon, Citric Acid) choices.  I believe they’ll even combine two flavors for you, if you like.  Last, choose mix-ins from more than 30 choices.  (And please don’t get gummy bears…my kids love to get gummy bears & they turn as hard as rocks!) You can also choose from their Sensations with all your flavors and mix-ins already combined, if you’d like.

Sub Zero Ice Cream Nitrogen

Then the fun begins as they freeze it with liquid nitrogen.  They swirl it around and mix it together until that liquid turns to solid before your eyes.  My kids love to watch the magic!  The idea is that by freezing it so quickly, fewer ice crystals can form, resulting in a creamier ice cream.  Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun and like to go once in a while, but I prefer the texture of traditional ice cream.  Sub Zero’s ice cream is a bit harder at first.  It is very creamy (with the higher fat bases), but I like the softer feeling of traditional ice cream.

Sub Zero Ice Cream Magnetic Mint

Small Magnetic Mint Sensation, Premium ($5.69) – Mint ice cream with Fudge, Oreos, & Andes Mints.  The ice cream was delicious with the fudge and Oreos mixed in, but the hard bits of Andes mints were a bit too much for me.

Sub Zero Ice Cream Cheesecake with Snickers
Large Cheesecake with Snickers, Premium ($5.39) – Cheesecake ice cream with Snickers mixed in.  This was a good candy bar combination.

Sub Zero Ice Cream Cheesecake with Cookie Dough
Small Cheesecake with Cookie Dough, Premium ($4.39) - Sweet Diner loves cheesecake & cookie dough!  I thought this combination was a bit sweet, but she loved it.

Sub Zero Ice Cream Bernoulli Brulee

Medium Bernoulli’s Brulee, Custard ($6.29) – Caramel, Dulce de Leche, Vanilla , & Cinnamon ice cream with Twix and English Toffee mixed in.  This combination sounded really good to me, but it was extremely rich and the cinnamon dominated the caramely flavor.  (And who did they name this after because when I hear Bernoulli, I think of airplanes and I have no idea what this has to do with flying!) 

If you have a Sub Zero near you, give them a try for a fun ice cream experience.  They also have smoothies, shakes, ice cream pies, and steamers.  I’d recommend going for the Custard or Premium bases if you can.  I keep wanting to try one of their soda flavors…anyone tried one of them?

Right now you can get a great deal on Sub Zero through Restaurant.com.  I know there are several locations that have certificates available in my area including Provo and Spanish Fork.  If you have a Sub Zero near you, check and see if they have a certificate available on Restaurant.com.  They are only $4 for a $10 certificate right now, which you could use to get two ice cream treats!  They are easy to purchase online or with the app.  Just show the certificate when you order and $10 will come off your order total.  Easy!  Restaurant.com certificates never expire, so go get one now!

Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt
1200 Towne Centre Blvd
Provo, UT 84601
(801) 919-0074

Entree Price: $
Average Fork Rating: 3.9

Mrs. Diner: 3
Amazing Diner:
5
Sweet Diner:
3.5
Little Diner:
4

SubZero on Urbanspoon

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal.  Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go.  Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”

Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

Back in my elementary school days, I took a cooking class.  I think it was through 4-H.  My husband thinks it’s funny that I was in 4-H because he associates it with farms and animals, but 4-H actually has a lot of other classes.  I took some good home skills classes including sewing, cooking, & crafts, and had a great time.

Chinese Chicken Salad

This recipe dates back to those days.  I learned it in the kitchen of my elementary school and have been making it ever since.  It’s a classic Chinese Chicken Salad that is crisp, fresh, and light…perfect for summer dinners!  I love the light sweet rice vinaigrette…I could literally eat it by the spoonful.  Sweet Diner loves it, too.  I think she literally had five helpings for dinner!

Chinese Chicken Salad Fried Maifun

Many people use uncooked ramen noodles or crunchy chow mein noodles in their salad, but this one uses fried maifun rice noodles, which are really fun to cook! Frying the maifun is my favorite part of making this salad (other than eating it)! The noodles start out as thin, hard, translucent sticks and then puff up into delicate white crisp tangles that are three or four times their original size.  It is so fun!

Chinese Chicken Salad Maifun

I’ve been able to find maifun in most regular grocery stores that have a decent Asian section.

The only downside to this salad is it doesn’t make good leftovers.  Since the dressing is tossed into the whole salad, the rice noodles turn soft and the lettuce wilts overnight, so keep that in mind.  If you know you will want to save leftovers, I would suggest mixing up only part of the salad and saving the dressing and rice noodles separately to toss together with the rest of the salad later.

Chinese Chicken Salad
 
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 2-3 Chicken breast halves (can also use rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 ounce Maifun rice sticks (a little goes a long way)
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted almonds, slivered
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Dressing:
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cook chicken breasts (can grill, boil, bake...whatever method you'd like), shred meat, and refrigerate.
  2. Heat 1" of oil in a large frying pan or wok over med-high heat. Test heat by putting one piece of rice stick in the oil. If it sizzles and puffs up within a second or two, but doesn't burn right away, it is the right temperature. Fry a small handful of rice sticks at a time, removing each batch to a plate with paper towels to drain. They will triple in size and cook quickly, so remove as soon as they have puffed up. You may need to flip them to get them completely fried if you put in a large batch or don't have enough oil. Set aside.
  3. Toss all salad ingredients except rice sticks in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over salad and toss well until all is evenly coated.
  5. Add rice sticks to the top & carefully toss lightly.
Notes
All ingredients can be prepared the day before, then tossed together just before serving. If you prefer more dressing, prepare 1.5-2 times the dressing recipe, but the original recipe is enough to lightly coat the salad.

 

Average Fork Rating: 4.2
Mr. Diner:
4
Mrs. Diner:
4
Sweet Diner:
4.5

Restaurant Review: Bam Bam’s BBQ

Bam Bam's BBQ

Bam Bam’s BBQ, a new BBQ joint opened in Orem a year ago.  The owner has learned from the barbecue greats and toured the competition barbecue circuits, adding several trophies and titles to his collection.  They got rave reviews and we got really excited to go try authentic Texas BBQ from a pit barbecue champion.

Bam Bam's BBQ Interior

We showed up on a weeknight for dinner and stepped up to the counter to order.  It’s a counter service restaurant:  order and pay at the counter, then they’ll call you when your order’s ready.  The atmosphere is fun with several long picnic tables perfect for large groups and local sports memorabilia on the walls.  They weren’t very busy that night, but the staff didn’t seem eager to help us order our food.

Bam Bam's BBQ Chalkboard Menu

The menu is posted on a chalkboard and is frequently updated since they routinely sell out of many items.  The turkey was sold out and we took the last of the pulled pork.  You can order a sandwich, which is served with one side and a drink; everything else is a la carte.  Meats are sold by the half pound  and sides are sold with the choice of  single serving, a pint, or a quart.  Everyone gets a slice of bread on the side, but it seemed like white Wonder bread straight from the bag.

Bam Bam's BBQ Food
Food is served on a large sheet of paper like several of the BBQ joints in Texas do it.  I myself am a fan of the paper plate for BBQ…less mess, especially when you’re trying to share food among family.  One of the kids ordered a sandwich meal, but the rest of us ordered several meats and sides to share.  We had to ask for extra papers when I think they should have just asked how many we needed (even the sandwich meal was served on the family paper).  I felt like they wanted to feed us like animals from a singular trough or something.   We also asked for several small paper trays to share the sides.

Bam Bam's BBQ Ribs Brisket Pulled Pork Meats
Ribs ($7.99/ half pound), Beef Brisket ($9.50/half pound), & Pulled Pork ($6.99/half pound) – The ribs and pork were both good with a nice smoky flavor.  Brisket is a highly praised menu item at Bam Bam’s so we were really excited to try it,  but the high percentage of fat really turned us off.  Brisket is usually quite moist and frequently has a lot of fat.  This one was over the top with the fat, though…one large slice was all fat and had to be discarded.

Bam Bam's BBQ Sauces
Tangy & Sweet Sauces at the Table - The meats are served without sauce so you can sauce it all you want at the table.  The Sweet was the favorite at our table…it was more of a traditional BBQ sauce.  The Tangy was a thin, vinegar-based BBQ sauce which I still really liked.  Combine the two for the best of both worlds.

Bam Bam's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Sandwich ($7.99 including one side & a drink) – We liked the pork a lot and this sandwich was smokey, tender, and just good….especially if you top it with their coleslaw and some sauce.

Bam Bam's BBQ Coleslaw
Coleslaw ($1.99/single serving) – I was excited when I saw the poppy seeds in the coleslaw.  I love coleslaw!  It was a little sweet and good, but nothing special.

Bam Bam's BBQ Potato Salad
Potato Salad ($7.99/quart) – I liked the potato salad, but most from my family didn’t.  The dill pickles have a strong presence here.

Bam Bam's BBQ Beans
Beans ($7.99/quart) – I love it when multiple varieties of beans are cooked together with bacon, spices, and sauce.  These looked really good.  I was surprised by the lack of sweetness.  These are savory beans with flavors of bacon and cumin.  They are quite saucy, too, as you can see.

For us, Bam Bam’s didn’t quite live up to the hype.  We thought most of the food was good, but the prices were a bit high considering  nothing knocked us out of the park.  The brisket was a disappointment, but we know a lot of people go there just for that, so maybe we got an extra fatty batch.  Service was severely lacking from the lackadaisical attitude when we were ordering to when my youngest spilled a full drink and they didn’t clean it up well, leaving ice cubes all over the floor.  If I went back, I’d recommend getting a pork sandwich meal if you’re going to eat there (less mess & a decent price) or getting several meats and sides to go for a family style meal at home.

Bam Bam’s BBQ
1708 South State Street
Orem, UT

(801) 225-1324

Entree Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating: 3.6

Mr. Diner: 
3
Mrs. Diner:
3.5
Amazing Diner:
5
Sweet Diner:
3

Bam Bam's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Joe’s Gourmet Grill

This post is sponsored by Restaurant.com.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers

Honestly, I never thought of going to Joe’s Gourmet Grill until I noticed them on Restaurant.com.  Joe’s is the restaurant portion of a hangout spot that features The Game Room with sports, billiards, etc. They also have frequent concerts and live music.  The dining area some couches, some small tables, a couple long tables, and open areas, too.  One entire wall is a chalkboard covered in art and words from customers.  It definitely caters to young adults.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers Chalk Wall

However, don’t let that keep you from stopping in to grab a great burger and some fries because they’re good!  We took the family out to Joe’s around dinner time on a Friday night, but it wasn’t very busy in the dining room.  Maybe it’s busier during the school year when more students are in town (that’s why I love summer in this college town!).  I’m sure it’s busier when there’s a concert.  We could also tell there were more people in the game room section who were ordering food from Joe’s and eating it in there.

The employees are friendly, but super casual.  The menu is short and features a few burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, milkshakes, six flavors of fries, and some snacks like nachos.  There is no kid’s menu, but they do offer a Kid’s Corn Dog Meal for $5.  Order at the counter and pick your favorite spot to sit.  Then they’ll either call you up or deliver it to your table.  Be sure to ask for any condiments (including ketchup) at the counter.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers Stoneman Burger
Stoneman Burger ($7.50) & Small Smokey BBQ Fries ($3.00) – This is their most popular burger for good reason.  With its hand-formed beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, grilled onions, cheese, guacamole, and their signature Stoneman BBQ sauce, it is loaded and delicious (and messy).  We loved it!  A small order of fries is plenty for two people.  These have a dry BBQ seasoning on them.  The flavor was very good.  The fries are on the soft side, which doesn’t appeal to me, but somehow I still liked them.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers Old World Cheeseburger

Old World Cheeseburger ($6.00) & Small Sweet Potato Fries ($4.00) – The guy at the register said this was his favorite burger, so I ordered it based on his recommendation.  The ingredients were good, but overall it was a bit plain for my tastes.  Beef patty with colby-jack cheese, grilled onions, tomato, & brown mustard.  The sweet potato fries were good.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers BBQ Pork Sandwich
BBQ Pork Sandwich ($6.00) – Lots of pulled pork smothered in their house BBQ sauce on a huge fluffy bun.  It’s supposed to have grilled onions, too, but I didn’t find any.  The pork was really delicious with little fat and a really good sweet-tangy BBQ sauce.

Joe's Gourmet Burgers Kids Corndog Meal
Kids Corn Dog Meal ($5.00) – Includes a fountain drink, corn dog, & your choice of fries.
 

Joe’s surprised me.  I was not expecting the delicious hand-formed hamburger patties, the giant awesome soft buns with a light crust, the large portions, and the variety of french fries.  If you’re in the mood for a good burger, stop by and order the Stoneman or try a BBQ Pork Sandwich.  I want to go back and try more fry flavors like the Candied Sweet Potato, the Spicy Cajun, or the Sour Cream & Onion.  The prices are a bit high, but the ingredients all seemed to be high quality and there is plenty to share.

Discount certificates are still available from Restaurant.com.  Certificates are currently $4 for a $10 certificate (with a minimum $20 purchase).  They are easy to purchase online or with the app.  Just show the certificate when you order and $10 will come off your order total.  Easy!  Certificates never expire, so go get one now!

Joe’s Gourmet Grill
490 N Freedom Blvd
Provo, UT 84601
(801) 377-5637

Entree Price:  $
Average Fork Rating: 4.3

Mr. Diner:
4
Mrs. Diner:
4
Sweet Diner:  5
Little Diner:
   4

Joe's Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal.  Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go.  Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”