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

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

“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

“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: Buttermilk Turtle Cake

Turtle Cake

There is something magical about the combination of chocolate, caramel, & nuts.  It’s the sweet, salty, gooey, crunchiness of everything put together that just puts it near the top of my list for chocolate goodies.  This Turtle Cake wraps up all those qualities in a delicious and easy cake.

Turtle Cake

The chocolate cake itself is very moist and flavorful.  Top it off with an easy chocolate frosting, caramel sauce, & nuts and you’ve got an easy-to-love winner.  And buttermilk just makes everything better, don’t you think?  If you don’t, you can always substitute milk for buttermilk….but don’t.  This is delicious as it is.  You could step it up and make your own caramel sauce, too, but I keep it easy with my favorite pre-made caramel sauce.  Serve it up with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream….Mmmmmm!

Buttermilk Turtle Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (I prefer dutch-processed)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
Topping:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the egg, oil, applesauce, & buttermilk for the cake.
  3. In a separate large bowl or mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, & salt for the cake. Add the egg mixture and beat until well blended. Slowly stir in the hot water until it is well incorporated.
  4. Pour mixture into the greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. While the cake is cooling, prepare the topping. Mix the sugar and buttermilk for the topping in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  6. Put the chocolate chips in a medium bowl and pour the hot butter mixture over the top. Stir till smooth.
  7. Spread warm chocolate topping over cooled cake. Drizzle with caramel sauce, then sprinkle with pecans.
Notes
Toast pecans on a baking sheet for 8 minutes at 400 degrees or in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

*In high altitudes, decrease baking soda to 2½ teaspoons.


Average Fork Rating: 4.4

Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
4.5
Sweet Diner:
5
Little Diner:
4

Restaurant Review: Sushi Groove

This post is sponsored by Restaurant.com.

I’m so glad my family likes sushi (minus Little Diner…he still needs to acquire the taste for it)!  Mr. Diner & Amazing Diner love sashimi and nigiri; Sweet Diner loves sushi rolls; and I love it all!  There are just about a bazillion types of sushi out there and I just love when a sushi restaurant gets fun and creative with the names of their sushi!

Sushi Groove is a really funky little sushi spot that I have just fallen in love with.  My parents were in town and I knew I wanted to take them there, so we loaded up the whole fam and had a fabulous meal after visiting the equally fabulous Natural History Museum of Utah…that place is seriously awesome (you must go if you haven’t already)!

The whole staff at Sushi Groove is super friendly and casual.  I’ve always found them very accommodating of questions and special requests.   The atmosphere is fun, young, and casual with bright walls, graffiti art, and occasional live music and karaoke.  The one down side is that it can be a bit loud, even at lunchtime.

Sushi Groove Miso Soup

We started out with the Miso Soup ($1.95), which was good, but pretty typical.  I find it very comforting and love the stuff, but my husband always thinks all miso soup tastes like dishwater…hmmm….I wonder how he knows what dishwater tastes like. 

Sushi Groove Coconut Shrimp

These Coconut Shrimp ($6.95 for 5) are SO good.  I don’t think I can ever go here without ordering them.  They are served with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce on the side.  I go for the spicy mayo, but they’re both good.

Sushi Groove Gyoza

My kids are dumpling fanatics, so we also got some Gyoza ($4.50 for 5).  They were lightly fried and tender inside.

Sushi Groove Pokki Salad

Pokki Salad ($5.95) – raw tuna marinated in sesame oil, green onion, & masago and served with seaweed that is also marinated in sesame oil.  I love sesame oil, so I love this stuff.  Amazing Diner loved the tuna portion and Sweet Diner ate every last bit of the seaweed.  Yum!

Sushi Groove Sushi

California Roll ($4.95 – crab, cucumber, & avocado), Spicy Tuna Roll ($6.95 – spicy tuna, cucumber, sprouts, & green onion), & Groove Roll ($10.50 – spicy albacore, tempura crunchies, & avocado topped with marlin, mango, & eel sauce) – All were fresh and delicious, but we wished we had ordered a little more variety this time….like one of their rolls with strawberry.

Sushi Groove Vegas Roll

I love tempura rolls!  This is the Vegas Roll ($8.95 – salmon, crab, cream cheese, & avocado topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce).

Sushi Groove Teriyaki Shrimp Combo

If you want a plate with a bit of everything, you can get that, too.  Shrimp Teriyaki Combo ($12.95) with 4 pieces of California Roll, 3 pieces of Gyoza, & a bowl of Miso Soup.  The Teriyaki Shrimp was good with large shrimp and loaded with fresh vegetables.

Sushi Groove Kids Noodles with Teriyaki

Since Little Diner’s sushi palate hasn’t fully developed, he got a kid’s meal with Noodles & Teriyaki Sauce ($3.50).  They gave him a choice of sauce and whether he wanted it on the side or not.  They’ve got a huge variety of kids meals, too with everything from teriyaki to sushi, tempura, & more.  There are seriously 26 kid’s options…yep, I counted them.  I wish every restaurant had that many!

Sushi Groove has an assortment of creative desserts including ice cream, mochi, dessert rolls, and more.  We were stuffed, so we took ours to go.

Sushi Groove Coco Tempura Nutter Butters

The Coco Tempura Nutter Butters have been a favorite….eat them while they’re warm!  They usually sell these as part of their Cookie Challenge ($7.95), but sometimes they’ll sell them separately when you’re lucky.

Sushi Groove Berry Cheesecake Dessert Roll

Their dessert rolls change from week-to-week.  I loved the berry cheesecake roll ($7.95) I got last time, but this time a similar roll wasn’t so good.  The rice was plain and chewy instead of being soft and sweet like last time.  It has raspberry, cheesecake, & nutella.  The dessert rolls are served with ice cream (not pictured).  The Coconut Ice Cream is amazing!

If you’re in the Sugar House neighborhood in Salt Lake, definitely take the time to try Sushi Groove.  Grab a discount certificate from Restaurant.com to save some cash. On Tuesdays, they also have select items for only $2.50 each!  My favorite rolls from my previous visit were the Coco Loco & the Groovy Tuna…can’t wait to get those again!

  Sushi Groove
2910 Highland Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
801-467-7420

Entree Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating: 4.3

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

 

“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!”

Durango Restaurant Review: Bar D Chuckwagon Dinner & Show

Bar D Sign

Summer is right around the corner and one of our favorite summer traditions is a relaxing night eating a chuckwagon dinner at listening to cowboy songs under a canopy of mountain stars at Bar D Chuckwagon in Durango, Colorado.  My husband’s family has had this tradition forever and introduced me to it on my first visit to their home.  I immediately fell in love with the peaceful mountain setting, the lovely cowboy harmonies, and the simple supper.  I’m longing for a visit just thinking about it.

Bar D has been doing this awhile and has everything from the parking to serving dinner down to science.  When you first arrive, someone is waiting to show you exactly where to park your car (just like Disneyland).  Make sure you get there plenty early to enjoy the fun shops (the chocolate shop is a must!), ride the train (the kids love it!), and to just relax.

Bar D Seating

Seats are assigned and you are welcome to head to your picnic table whenever you please, but they’ll ring a dinner bell at 7:30 pm when it’s time to start.  Everyone is seated at picnic tables, which you may be sharing with new friends unless your group is large enough to fill one on your own.  The area is open to the beautiful night sky unless it’s stormy, in which case, they will close the top.  We always bring blankets and jackets even in the middle of summer because it cools off (some to cushion the seat are always welcome, too).

Bar D Food Line

Dinner is started with instructions on how to get your food (you go through a line, but it’s quick…I promise) and a moment of silent prayer, and then dinner’s on!  A regular ticket comes with BBQ beef or BBQ boneless chicken breast served on a divided metal plate.  You can pay extra for a combo ticket (beef & chicken) or a steak ticket (12 oz. rib eye).  Each dinner comes with baked potato, baked beans, biscuits, chunky applesauce, spice cake, and coffee or lemonade served in a tin cup.  The food is good, but it’s the atmosphere and the whole experience that really makes this place a 5 in my book!

Bar D Beef DinnerBBQ Beef Dinner – Tender roast beef simmered in barbecue sauce served with pretty basic barbecue beans, a plain baked potato (butter, salt & pepper are available), fluffy biscuit, chunky fresh applesauce, & soft simple spice cake.

Bar D Chicken Dinner
BBQ Chicken Dinner:  The chicken is a boneless chicken breast with barbecue sauce, served with the same sides as the BBQ beef plate above.

The chicken is delicious, but like the beef best!  The other sides are pretty basic and simple, but good.  I love to eat my spice cake with a bite of applesauce…yum!

After everyone’s been through the line, anyone is welcome to go back for second’s.  Helpers come around to refill your drinks while you eat.  When  you’re done, you clear your own table.  Then it’s time for the fun!

Bar D Wranglers Show

The Bar D Wranglers are the hosts of the whole night and you will see them helping out with the food and mingling with guests through the night, but after dinner they will be in the spotlight (literally).  The show starts with recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, large parties, and people from various locations across the country and the world (just stop by their little office earlier to let them know about special occasions).  Then the Bar D Wranglers perform so many fun and beautiful songs the way only singing cowboys can:  in simple, clear harmonies with a lot of heart.  From comedic tunes like “Old Matt Palmer’s Farm” and “The Opossum Song” to classic beauties like “Cool Water” (for you, Tara), “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, & (my favorite) “Colorado”.  Every show ends with recognizing active military and veterans and with a patriotic song.

Bar D is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, so if you’re planning a summer trip to Durango, don’t leave without going to Bar D!  We’ll be there this summer, for sure!  It’s a lovely way to spend a summer evening with good food, great entertainment, and a whole lot of heart.

Entree Price:  $$$
Average Fork Rating: 4.8

Mr. Diner:
4.5
Mrs. Diner:
5
Amazing Diner:
4.5
Sweet Diner:
5
Little Diner:
5

Bar D Chuckwagon on Urbanspoon

Restaurant.com Dinner & a Movie Summer Blockbuster Deal

This post is sponsored by Restaurant.com.

summer blockbuster

Summer is always a time when a lot of big movies are released and this year is no exception!  I’m really excited to see a lot of them including:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Maleficent
  • X Men:  Days of Future Past (my husband thinks it’s hilarious that I’m a big X-Men fan)
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Million Dollar Arm
  • The Giver

What movies are you waiting for?  Here’s a great deal for dinner & a movie date nights.  Get it while you can!

Restaurant.com, the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide, wants to help kick-start your summer with a blockbuster event! Whether you’re celebrating mom or just looking for a night out, enjoy this Specials by Restaurant.com Dinner and A Movie deal. With this exclusive offer from Specials by Restaurant.com, you’ll get two movie tickets to use at one of your favorite movie theaters along with a $50 Restaurant.com eGift Card, all for just $28!

Don’t miss out on this show stopping event as this offer is only available for a limited time! Specials by Restaurant.com deals make great gift ideas for everyone.

Locate your theater here and you’ll be on your way: http://emoviecash.com/locator/
Deal Link: http://rst.cm/wkMza

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chile Flank Steak

Slow Cooker Chile Flank Steak

I remember the first time I had a really good burrito filled with juicy, really flavorful shredded beef.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  I hope so.  Well, this fabulous recipe can help satisfy that craving.  Set a batch of this beef cooking in the crockpot all day and you’ll have wonderful, slightly sweet beef to fill your tacos, burritos, or to top a salad.  Hey, just eat it with your fingers….I won’t judge.

Slow Cooker Chile Flank Steak
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1½ pounds flank steak, cut in half
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small can (4.5 ounces) diced green chiles
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flank steak and brown both sides briefly to get a nice crust. Place the beef in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. In the same skillet, add the onion and vinegar. Saute until onions are soft. Then add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and pour over steak in the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove beef and shred, then return to crockpot. Serve.


Average Fork Rating: 4

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