Restaurant Review: Jason’s Deli

After many years of hearing great things about Jason’s Deli, especially their kids menu options, we finally took the family there for dinner.  If you haven’t been, Jason’s Deli is a fast-casual restaurant:  order at the counter, then they’ll bring it to your table.  They’ve primarily got soups, salads, and sandwiches with a handful of other options.

Jason's Deli

A couple of things I really loved about Jason’s Deli…  There are organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free options; no artificial dyes or colors and no high fructose corn syrup; and the nutritional information is easily available.  Also the staff is fabulous.  They are well-informed, friendly, and extremely helpful.  We seriously were asked four times by four different people if they could help us with anything…just random employees around the restaurant.  They also took their time explaining the menu to us since it was our first visit.  I wish every restaurant had employees that cared that much about their customers!

Jason's Deli Salad Bar
Salad Bar ($7.89) – Everything was very fresh and well-stocked (don’t you hate it when your favorite salad ingredient is empty?).  There weren’t a lot of “extras” beyond normal salad ingredients, but we loved the little muffins!

Jason's Deli California Club on Croissant
California Club ($7.09) – Turkey, bacon, Swiss, tomato, lettuce, guacamole, & mayonnaise on a toasted croissant with a side of chips.  Delicious with a generous amount of toppings….look at all that turkey & lettuce!  (Oh, and I have a love affair with croissants…why don’t more places serve their sandwiches on them?)

Jason's Deli Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup ($2.99 or $0.99 to add to the salad bar)Typical, but good.

Jason's Deli Beef Stew
Beef Stew ($2.99 or $0.99 as a salad bar add-on) – Hearty with a lot of flavor...tasted better than it looks.

Jason's Deli Seafood Gumbo
Spicy Seafood Gumbo ($3.99 or $0.99 to add to the salad bar) – Loved the rich flavor with a slight amount of spiciness, but the shrimp were sparse and overcooked. 

Jason's Deli Kids Pizza
Kids Pepperoni Pizza ($3.19 includes a drink) – Eh….nothing exciting here, but I guess it kept the kiddos happy.

Jason's Deli Soft Serve
Soft Serve Ice CreamFree self-serve ice cream is available at the end of your meal, but I found it a bit icy.

When it comes down to it, I thought the service was fabulous at Jason’s Deli, but the food didn’t quite cut it.  The kids meals were varied and well-priced, but I thought the adult menu was overpriced.  I loved that you could add a cup of soup on to the adult salad bar for only 99 cents, but I couldn’t get over that they charge full price ($2.99) to add a cup of soup on for a kid’s salad bar!  But hey, my kids were happy here and loved the free (though sub-par) ice cream.  Also – kids eat free on Saturdays from 4-9 pm, limit of one Jr. Meal per adult meal purchased (at least at this Orem location).  If you go, try a sandwich, but I think I’ll stick with Cafe Zupas.

Jason’s Deli
771 University Parkway
Orem, UT 84097
(801) 655-1150

Entrée Price:  $
Average Fork Rating: 3.8

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

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Gloria’s Little Italy

The best Italian restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of eating have all been on the East coast.  It was there that I really decided that to be a great Italian restaurant, you’ve got to make a really great meatball…and bonus points if it’s big enough to have its own plate!

Gloria's Little Italy

Gloria’s Little Italy has been in Provo for quite a few years and at their current location on the corner of University Avenue and Center Street for about 5 years.  There really is a woman named Gloria behind the restaurant, who came from Italy with her husband Mauro.  We’ve been a few times.   We’ve never been blown away, but we’ve never had a bad experience, either.  Word on the street is the prices went up and the quality of service went down when they changed locations, but we never ate at their other location, so I can’t say from experience.

Gloria's Little Italy Sign

We have always been seated fairly quickly, but have had to wait extra long for our server’s attention sometimes, so don’t be in a rush when you go to Gloria’s.  Take your time, and if you’re lucky, you may even be serenaded by accordionist Keith Lewis on Fridays or Saturdays.  I love that special touch that really adds to the atmosphere.

Gloria's Little Italy Bread

Complimentary Garlic Bread – Nothing special here, but they gave us a pretty healthy serving for only two people!

Gloria's Little Italy Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup – Delicious and slightly sweet, this tomato soup was super smooth.  I would have preferred some little pieces of basil at least as a garnish, but the flavor was spot on…and the serving was huge.  You get a choice of soup or salad with your entree…go with the soup!

Gloria's Little Italy Spaghetti with Ragu and Meatballs
Spaghetti with Ragu Sauce and Meatballs  ($14.50 plus $3.50 for meatballs) – Classic, right?  The sauce was good and the meatballs had a good flavor, but were a little dry.  The meatballs are extra, but I think they should be standard with this dish.

Gloria's Little Italy Gnocchi with Rosata Sauce
Gnocchi with Rosata Sauce ($17.50) – One of Gloria’s signature dishes and made by hand daily.   The gnocchi were very tender, and the rosata sauce (a smooth and creamy tomato sauce) was wonderful.  After several bites, though, I got a bit bored.  I wanted another texture or flavor in there…maybe a vegetable or chicken or even an herb sprinkled on top with the cheese…something. 

Gloria's Little Italy Gelato
You really shouldn’t leave Gloria’s without at least a gander over at the amazing selection of desserts.  I don’t think I’ll ever leave without at least getting something to go.  They’ve got a great assortment of gelatos (above) and tantalizing cakes, cannolis, and other desserts (below).  Seriously…after seeing these pictures you get it, right?

Gloria's Little Italy Desserts

Gloria's Little Italy Pistachio Gelato

Pistachio Gelato – One of Mr. Diner’s favorites.  It was just as gelato should be…sweet, creamy, and nice pistachio flavor.

Gloria's Little Italy Tartufo
Tartufo ($5.50) – If you know me, you know I have to branch out and try something different at this fit the bill!  This was like a giant cream-filled and sauce-topped cake ball.  It’s served warm and turns into a delicious melty mess similar to a lava cake.  It’s ginormous and could easily serve two.  Yum!

Gloria’s food is generally good, but doesn’t knock my socks off.  The portions are large, but I definitely recommend the addition of a meat or vegetable to pasta dishes.  I think at the prices they charge, they should be included.  Try the Tomato Basil Soup and make sure you get dessert!

Gloria’s Little Italy
1 E Center St #100
Provo, UT 84606
(801) 805-4913

Entrée Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating: 3.8

Mr. Diner:
4
Mrs. Diner:
3.5

Gloria's Little Italy on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Sausage Skillet

One-dish wonders make a great mid-week meal….great food with little clean up!  I love making a mess cooking, but I hate cleaning the mess up!  That’s when these kinds of dinners come in handy…one pot for everything.  And with this recipe, you even cook the pasta in the skillet; how fabulous is that?!

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Sausage Skillet

The sausage and sun-dried tomatoes are the predominant flavors that come through in this dish.  The pasta absorbs a lot of flavor by being cooked in the sauce, and the whole dish comes out nice and creamy.  You can let the spinach wilt to your liking; as you can see, I like mine just a bit wilted.  The leftovers are delicious, but the spinach does get wilted more as you reheat it.

I love Norbest turkey sausage, which is based right here in Utah, and I highly recommend using it in this recipe if you can find it.  I’ve found it at Maceys and I’ve also bought it from their outlet in Moroni).  It’s perfectly seasoned and I regularly substitute it for pork sausage without any complaints (in fact, I don’t think my family even can tell the difference).

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Sausage Skillet
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 pound bulk turkey sausage
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, and chopped
  • 8 ounces penne
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces baby spinach, washed
  • ½ cup Parmesan, grated
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute until the oven is softened.
  2. Add the sausage, breaking into smaller pieces, and cook until no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant (just a few seconds). Add tomatoes and penne, spreading evenly. Pour the broth and cream over the pasta. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue simmering until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the baby spinach a handful at a time, stirring in each handful. Let it wilt the amount you desire. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper.

 

Average Fork Rating: 3.9
Mr. Diner: 3
Mrs. Diner: 4
Amazing Diner: 4
Sweet Diner: 4.5

Boar’s Head Boldest Bracket Challenge

This post brought to you by Boar’s Head Brand. All opinions are 100% mine.

Getting ready for March Madness?  Here in our house, we're all about the bracket challenges..and frequently it's not the person who knows the most about basketball who wins them around here.  I love it!

Boar's Head has its own bracket challenge for you:  the Boar’s Head Boldest Bracket Challenge.  They've lined up sixteen amazing bold and spicy sandwiches from bloggers you probably already know and love.  Each sandwich features products from the Boar's Head Bold line including new Horseradish Cheddar Cheese (my dad would love this), Blackened Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Chipotle Gouda Cheese (oh, my dad would love this one, too), 3 Pepper Colby Jack Cheese, and many more.  For bold and spicy flavor fans like me, these are a dream come true.

Every day two sandwiches go head-to-head for the challenge and the sandwich with the most votes progresses to the next round.  The first round wrapped up on March 10, but there's still time to participate in the the next three rounds.  Round two starts on March 17. 

Boar's Head Jamaican Jerk Turkey Sandwich

I'm going for the Jamaican Jerk Turkey Sandwich all the way (Boar's Head Bold Jerk Turkey Bread, Boar's Head Chipotle Gouda Cheese, avocado, lime, cabbage, mango chutney, and more…are you salivating along with me?)!

Now it's your turn.  Go to the Facebook and/or straight to the Boar’s Head Boldest Bracket Challenge and vote for your favorite sandwich.  By voting, you are entered to win fabulous prizes including $50-500 gift cards, T-shirts, and an iPad Air!  Now, which sandwich are you voting for….tell me in a comment.  Hope you win!

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Restaurant Review: Market Street Grill

I’m a sucker for seafood.  Why do I live in the desert where there are few seafood restaurants?  I keep holding out hope to find a place that serves excellent seafood, but keep being disappointed.  Unfortunately, Market Street Grill led me down that same path once again.

Market Street Grill Sign

Market Street Grill has a handful of locations in the Salt Lake area.  We went to the downtown location, which also has an oyster bar attached.  I am not an oyster-lover, so we didn’t go for that.  We had a reservation and ended up arriving quite a bit early, so we spent about 15-20 minutes in their (freezing cold) waiting area.   We were quoted 5 minutes or less.

We were seated and our server attended to us quickly.  He was very informed and had recommendations for us, which I always appreciate.  Even when we began placing our order, he gave us some ideas about how to save money on our meal.

Market Street Grill Sourdough BreadSourdough Bread- The complimentary bread was good, but I thought the portion was skimpy.  Granted, there were only 2 of us and we shouldn’t eat more than 1.5 slices each, but I like to at least be offered 2 slices per person.

Market Street Grill Shrimp CocktailGulf Coast Shrimp Cocktail, 3 pieces ($7.90) – This is a horrid value, especially since there is a much larger portion for $12.90, but I was eating it all myself.  The shrimp themselves were not overcooked (a problem with a lot of shrimp cocktail), but seemed slightly watery and not very flavorful.

Market Street Grill Shrimp ScampiShrimp Scampi ($7.90) – Mr. Diner would have happily ordered a whole plate of this.  It was sooooo deliciously prepared with just the right amount of garlic and butter.  Sadly, this is the only size they have….just three shrimp.  The garlic toast was perfect and we loved soaking up the sauce with it.

Market Street Grill Side SaladMixed Greens Salad (served with meal or $3.90 a la carte) – Nice greens and everything seemed fresh.

Market Street Grill Clam ChowderClam Chowder (served with meal or $4.90 a la carte) – I feel like you can generally judge a seafood place by their clam chowder.  This one was blah.  It was thin with a disappointing number of clams and potatoes.

Market Street Grill Filet Mignon with Snow CrabFilet Mignon with Snow Crab and Parsley Boiled Potatoes & Broccoli – The steak was a bit tough and not flavorful, but the crab was very sweet and tender.  Potatoes?  Who cares about parsley boiled potatoes…they are what they are.

Market Street Grill Steak & Lobster SpecialSteak & Lobster Special with Parsley Boiled Potatoes & Broccoli - Our server highly recommended the grilled lobster tails that this came with, but they were the worst lobster I’ve ever had:  overdone and bitter, which leads me to believe it wasn’t fresh.  My steak was excellent; very tender and flavorful.  Potatoes and broccoli were fine…nothing special.

Our server was excellent at Market Street Grill…very attentive and eager to help.  The food, however, was very hit-and-miss.  My steak was excellent, but Mr. Diner’s was overcooked and tough; my lobster was horrid, but Mr. Diner’s snow crab was very good.  Most everything else was just okay except for the shrimp scampi, which was delicious.  The prices are Market Street Grill are high, so everything should be top notch, but it’s not.  You might get something good here, but for me, I’m not willing to take the risk.

Market Street Grill
48 West Market Street (340 S)
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 322-466

Entree Price: $$$
Average Fork Rating: 2.8

Mr. Diner:
3
Mrs. Diner:
2.5

Market Street Grill on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Shoots Chinese Cuisine

Shoots Chinese Cuisine

Right now I am battling the intense Chinese food cravings developed from viewing the photos for this post, so bear with me (and here’s my warning that if you proceed, you, too, may develop Chinese food cravings!).

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had our fair share of great Chinese restaurants and they were always one of the top choices for a dinner out for my family.  We had a tradition where each family member would take a section of the menu (seafood, noodles/rice, chicken, etc.) to order something from.  Loved doing that…I always got my favorite (can you guess?):  Seafood!

Here in Utah, we’ve got quite a few Chinese restaurants, but they are pretty hit and miss.  I haven’t been to one yet that serves my favorite Char Siu Bao (BBQ pork buns) and I think the only restaurants that serve Dim Sum are up in Salt Lake.  Anyway….

Shoots Interior

Shoots is one of the classier Chinese restaurants in the Utah Valley area.  I love a good hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant, but this place is a little nicer with its Riverwoods location, dark wood furnishings, and red cloth napkins.  Of course, with that comes higher prices, too.

We were greeted and seated quickly and found the service to be very attentive and friendly.  The host and server interacted with our kids (that always scores points with parents, right?) and our drink were refilled without every asking (another plus).

Shoots Fried Wonton ChipsWon Ton Chips with Sweet & Sour Sauce – There’s not much to these, but, hey – they’re served complimentary.  If you need a little fried crunchiness while you wait, here you go.

Shoots Egg RollsEgg Rolls (2 for $3.50/4 for $6.45) – These were pretty standard egg roll fair with vegetables inside and served with average sweet and sour sauce, but I love that they cut them in half…makes for easy sharing, eating, and dipping, right?

Shoots Egg Drop SoupEgg Drop Soup ($2 for a cup) – Pretty good egg drop soup with corn and carrots.

Shoots Won Ton SoupWonton Soup (Large – $14.95) – I like to think of myself as a wonton soup connoisseur, ordering Wor Wonton Soup whenever it’s available ’cause who doesn’t love more stuff in their wonton soup? This one was pretty average with chicken, shrimp, pork wontons, and a variety of vegetables.  There was supposed to be BBQ pork, but I don’t recall seeing any.  It definitely needed some soy sauce to enrich the flavor, but it seems most wonton soups do.

Shoots Pork Chow MeinPork Chow Mein ($8.50) – We found this a little bland with few vegetables besides cabbage.

Shoots Mongolian BeefMongolian Beef ($11.45) – Flank steak with onions, mushrooms, & carrots in a spicy chili sauce.  We thought this was great…the spice level was just right for us and the mushrooms were especially delicious.  It was a tad on the salty side, though.

Shoots Salt & Pepper ShrimpSalt & Pepper Shrimp ($13.95) – I’m a little obsessed with salt & pepper shrimp, and this one was delicious with lots of peppers, sweet onions, and that simple savory coating of salt & pepper.  Yum!  I can never get enough of these!

Shoots Firecracker ChickenFirecracker Chicken ($9.95) – Battered chicken in a sweet chili sauce with broccoli on the side.  This was supposed to be a bit spicy, but we didn’t think it was at all.  It was good, but we would have liked the broccoli mixed in with the chicken even better.

Shoots Fortune CookiesChocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies -  Complimentary sweet ending, or course.  We thought the chocolate was a nice extra touch and make the cookies a little more enticing (let’s face it, the best part of the fortune cookie is the fortune). 

We like Shoots.  It’s a little pricier than a lot of Chinese restaurants with smaller portions, but when you want something a bit nicer, it’s a great option with good food.  Perfect for a date night at the Riverwoods!  We definitely recommend the Mongolian Beef & Salt and Pepper Shrimp!

Shoots Chinese Cuisine
4801 N University Ave
Provo, UT 84604
(801) 225-0445

Entrée Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating: 3.9

Mr. Diner:
4
Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
4.5
Sweet Diner:
4
Little Diner:
3
Guest Diner M: 4

Shoots on Urbanspoon

Valentines Giveaway: Prettylicious ASL I Love You Necklace

This post is sponsored by Prettylicious.

Looking for something fun and unique for Valentines Day?  My fun friends over at the amazing Prettylicious etsy shop are hooking you up with the perfect gift for your family, friend, or special someone of any age.

Prettylicious makes all sorts of fun stuff:  headbands, necklaces, and  earrings.  They love making them in all your favorite team colors, but also do lovely ones for everyday wear and will be adding more fabulous things to their shop soon.  They’ll even do custom orders for you.  We have one of their cute blue & white headbands and absolutely love it!  But what we’re really excited about today is their ASL I Love You necklace!

prettylicious ASL I Love You
The I Love You Necklace has an ASL sign hand-stamped on a 5/8″ aluminum disk and also features a Swarovski pearl bead on a 17″ ball chain.  It is a lovely, simple design that can be worn both casually and a little dressed up.  I just love it!  Right now it’s on sale for just $12.50!

Prettylicious Mother-Daughter Necklace Set

I also absolutely love this Mother-Daughter set that includes two coordinating necklaces ($25 for the set).  Wouldn’t this just be perfect to share with your mother or daughter or a special mother-daughter duo in your life?  Love it!

Prettylicious I Love You Necklace

Prettylicious is giving away an ASL I Love You necklace to one lucky reader!  Yay, yay!  Plus, they are offering all our readers 20% off all orders with the code RATETHEPLATE through Valentines Day (February 14, 2014)!  This makes for a killer deal on some great Valentines gifts…or stock up on your favorite team wear or something else fun for yourself.

To Enter:  See the Rafflecopter form below.

Giveaway Closes: 12:00 am EST on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Winners will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address (no PO boxes accepted). Good luck!

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Recipe: Slower Cooker Mexican Pork Stew

Mexican Pork Stew

I think I’m in a soup mood…Winter just does that to me.  My family has its favorite comfort soups that we have pretty often in the winter:  Tomato Soup, Chicken & Wild Rice Soup, & Chili (this one or this one).  They’re the kinds of soups that feel like home and are just warm and familiar.  This Mexican Pork Stew done in the slow cooker is another comfort soup that is thick and hearty with enough chili powder and cumin to warm your soul without the spiciness to make you uncomfortable.  (Although my boys like to eat spicy peppers straight from the jar, so they’d welcome that any day.)

Slow Cooker Mexican Pork Stew
The other great thing about this soup:  slow cooker!  Yep…another slow cooker soup to add to your collection for days you want to avoid the meal-time rush.  Plus this one is even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld together just a bit more, so look forward to your leftovers!

Slower Cooker Mexican Pork Stew
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds boneless, country-style pork ribs
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 (14 ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
Instructions
  1. Trim excess fat from ribs, dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown half the pork at a time, adding 2 more teaspoons oil for the second batch. Transfer pork to the slow cooker.
  2. Heat last 2 teaspoons oil in skillet. Add onions, chili powder, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with juice. Bring to a simmer and pour over pork in the slow cooker.
  3. Add broth, hominy, & oregano to the slower cooker. Cover & cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
  4. Before serving, shred the pork, removing any fat or gristle, Then add it back to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
May serve with pickled red onions and additional fresh cilantro and limes. Definitely have some warm tortillas on the side! This has a lot of pork in it; for a change, you may consider reducing the pork to 4 pounds and increasing the tomatoes to 2 cans. Haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would be delicious!

 

Average Fork Rating: 3.3
Mr. Diner:
3
Mrs. Diner:
4
Amazing Diner:
3
Sweet Diner:
3

Sonic Salsa Verde Breakfast Items with Wholly Avocado & a Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Sonic & Wholly Guacamole.

Classic Wholly Guacamole

My number one favorite snack is chips and salsa; a close second is chips & guacamole.  I never thought store-bought guacamole could be good until I was introduced to Wholly Guacamole years ago.  Their guacamole is delicious and stays nice and fresh because of their use of a special process that uses high-pressure cold water instead of heat and chemicals.   They don’t use any preservatives or additives.  I love to buy their 100-calorie snack packs for the times when I want a single serving of guac just for myself.  That’s why I was excited when I was contacted to try Sonic Drive-In’s new breakfast products featuring Wholly Avocado (from the Wholly Guacamole company) and to share this fun giveaway featuring goodies from both companies.

Sonic Salsa Verde Poster

Sonic has partnered with Wholly Guacamole to feature two new breakfast products:  the Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito &  the Salsa Verde Breakfast Toaster Sandwich.  The sandwich has bacon, salsa verde, eggs, onions, American cheese, and avocado on Texas Toast.  The breakfast burrito features bacon, salsa verde, eggs, onions, cheddar cheese, tater tots, & avocado wrapped in a warm tortilla.  The Salsa Verde breakfast items will only be available through February, so get them while you can!

Sonic Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito

Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito – Delicious combination…loved the bacon & avocado!  We found the salsa to be quite mild and welcomed the addition of the red salsa packets it was served with.  I would love it even more if the onions were cooked!

Sonic-Wholly Guacamole Prize Package
Sonic & Wholly Guacamole want to celebrate the launch of these breakfast items with a fun giveaway for you!  One winner will get a fabulous Sonic backpack filled with all the items you see above including a $20 Sonic Gift Card to try your own Salsa Verde breakfast item and 5 vouchers for free Wholly products!

To Enter:  See the Rafflecopter form below.

Giveaway Closes: 12:00 am EST on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. Winners will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address (no PO boxes accepted). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Restaurant Review: The Old Spaghetti Factory

The Old Spaghetti Factory

I think the first time I heard about The Old Spaghetti Factory was when a college roommate came home with a glass with a logo and red and green stripes on it, the signature “keepsake glass” they give you with every Italian Soda purchase.  It took me years before I ever actually tried The Old Spaghetti Factory.

The first thing I noticed besides the dark woods, Tiffany-style lamps, and dim lighting inside was the trolley sitting in the middle of the restaurant which also doubles as a dining car.  I’ve never sat in the dining car, but it seems like it would be fun.

We were seated at a booth for our party of five, which was fine with us, but the first table we were seated at was quite dirty and we asked to be moved.  The second booth was clean, but quickly got crowded since as our meal progressed, the server didn’t clear anything from our table unless we asked her.  So we weren’t impressed with the service, but onto the food.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Bread

Sourdough Bread – The complimentary sourdough bread is served hot and crusty on the outside, soft on the inside.  It’s a fairly mild sourdough.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Cheese Bread

Sicilian Garlic Cheese Bread ($6.25) – Because a loaf of bread isn’t enough for this family, I guess.  But what’s not to love about garlic cheese bread?  Garlic bread topped with a blend of melted cheese and served with marinara sauce?  The cheese bread was really soft and loaded with cheese; the marinara sauce was really good.  Loved it!

The Old Spaghetti Factory Italian Soda

Strawberry Italian Cream Soda ($3.99 includes take-home glass) – As long as they put enough syrup in there, the Italian sodas are awesome.  Choice of 6 flavors.  Wish these had at least one free refill and that you could order the soda without the glass.  I don’t need it.  You don’t have to take home the glass you use…they bring you a clean one at the end of the meal.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Minestrone

Minestrone Soup – Good, but not like my grandmother made (of course, how many restaurants can make soup that good?!)

The Old Spaghetti Factory Side Salad

Side Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing – Salad was pretty typical iceberg side salad, but the dressing was delicious!  If you like creamy dressings, definitely go for this one.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Side Salad

Kids Spaghetti and Meatball ($5.99) – Served with applesauce or salad (Sweet Diner loves salad!), a drink, & dessert.  Marinara sauce was good and the ground beef meatball was good, too. 

The Old Spaghetti Factory Italian Sausage with Meat Sauce

Italian Sausage with Meat Sauce ($11.85) – The sausage was really good, but I was disappointed with the presentation and the meat sauce.  Just putting a whole sausage on top of pasta, really?!   It makes it look like a hot dog.  The meat sauce was not very flavorful, either.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Sicilian Meatballs

Sicilian Meatballs ($11.95) – Meatballs should be big, right?  These are large beef ones that were well-seasoned and delicious.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Crab Ravioli

Gourmet Jumbo Crab Ravioli ($13.50) – Can you guess who ordered this – of course I did!  These ravioli were filled with lots of crabmeat and ricotta cheese and topped with a creamy Pesto Alfredo sauce. 

The Old Spaghetti Factory Spumoni

Spumoni – I love that every meal includes vanilla ice cream or spumoni.  Can’t resist the chocolate, cherry, & pistachio combination of the spumoni!  And because I believe dinner should end on a sweet note, this is definitely a plus in my book.

Overall, we think The Old Spaghetti Factory is fairly average.  Our server was friendly and fast, but the clearing of the table and the first dirty table brought the service level down a notch.  The food is pretty average, but the kids were happy with it.  I do love that their meals include dessert and that their kids’ meals have a side salad option.  If you go, try the meatballs and the cheese bread!  The Mizithra Cheese & Browned Butter Pasta is a specialty here and it’s good, but my taste buds prefer meaty or seafood choices.

If you’re thinking about going soon, they are celebrating their 45th anniversary with select meals for only $4 or $5 for lunch or dinner on Jan. 13-14 & 20-21, 2014, which is a great deal!  These meals still come with all the same sides and dessert.  Kids meals will be $3 those days.  Nine traditional favorites are offered at these prices including the Sicilian Meatballs ($5) & the Spaghetti with Browned Butter & Mizithra Cheese ($4).

The Old Spaghetti Factory
575 East University Parkway
Orem, UT 84097
(801) 224-6199

Entree Price:  $$
Average Fork Rating:  3.9

Mr. Diner:
4
Mrs. Diner:
3
Amazing Diner:
4
Sweet Diner:
4.5
Little Diner:
4

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