Featured

Laziz Kitchen – Lebanese Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah

4 Stars-2

Food: Homemade traditional Lebanese cuisine that truly satisfies.  The salad bowl and manoushe are must haves.

Service: Welcoming and attentive.  No complaints.

Atmosphere: Modern, plenty of light, and comfortable seating.

Location: 912 S. Jefferson Street, Salt lake City, UT

Extra: A rental space available for roughly 40-50 people for private events.  Wanting to buy their hummus or other delicious spreads?  Check out Laziz Foods.


 

Being welcomed with warm smiles, eating food that is made from the heart, and in an atmosphere full of natural light with comfortable seating is exactly what I want in a restaurant. The owners of Laziz Kitchen, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, seem to have made it their goal to create a local eatery that makes you feel like family.  If you have yet to try out this new favorite restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’re missing out.  With the addition of a new summer menu, now is the time to go.

The Good

Tasty salads hold a special place in my heart.  Especially ones that are unique and robust enough to fill me up for lunch or dinner.  The salad bowl ($14) fulfills those exact two components.  The use of mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, green onion, parsley, capers, quinoa, feta, olives, pickled cabbage, crispy onions, olive oil, lemon juice, and tarator dressing makes for a combination of flavors that sing in the mouth. I would highly suggest adding the fried cauliflower.  It’s slightly crispy, savory, and adds more substance to the meal.

My husband swears by the manoushe (Dinner price $15).  Honestly, how can you go wrong with stone fried flatbread, pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and mint?  You can choose to add zaatar, akawi cheese, or ground beef.  All of which are delicious and add their unique flavor profiles to the wrap.  That price also includes a side salad or fries.

While my husband is a lover of wraps and sandwiches, I get weak at the knees for stuffed grape leaves ($7).  While the ingredients of rice, tomatoes, walnuts, parsley, garlic, and lemon, seem like nothing extraordinary, Laziz’s grape leaves are far from ordinary.  They have a depth of flavor that’s so rich your mouth and belly will be yearning for more.

Even though I have an inability to cook eggplant successfully, I love to try it out at restaurants.  The eggplant rolls ($12) were a perfect appetizer because they were light, flavorful, and woke up my palate for more food.  The combination of eggplant, tomatoes, onion, mint, pomegranate molasses, parsley, garlic, and lemon screamed summer flavors.

A true staple in Middle Eastern food, Laziz’s hummus ($6) doesn’t disappoint.  Smooth, rich in flavor, and served with a side of pita and lettuce, it’s a great appetizer or side dish.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a fry fiend.  I could eat fries for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It’s a bit ridiculous.  The zaatar fries served with toum garlic sauce ($7) made me a happy fry consumer.  Crisp, herbaceous, and salty, they went well with the zip of the toum garlic sauce.

To wash it all down I had the Laziz lemonade ($5) which combined lemon, orange ginger sugar, mint, and orange blossom.  It was tart, slightly sweet, and had background floral notes.  Honestly, I wish I could have a pitcher of it in my refrigerator at home.

The Mediocre

Nothing.

The Let Downs

Nada.

The Food

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Salad Bowl with Fried Cauliflower
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Stuffed Grape Leaves
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Eggplant Rolls
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Zaatar Fries

The Verdict

I can’t rave about Laziz Kitchen enough.  Delicious food, comfortable atmosphere, and owners who truly care about the products they produce is exactly what I want in a local establishment.  Go for yourself and try not to fall in love.  I dare you.

 

Featured

Top 10 Under-Appreciated Places in Utah

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Al Pastor Taco – El Morelense
Iced Tea 3 Cups
Blue Ice Tea – 3 Cups
*This list is no particular order*
The al pastor tacos are my all-time favorite tacos.  Caramelized meat, sweet pineapple, homemade salsas and fresh condiments.
Buttermilk pancakes and chicken salad sandwich are my absolutes. Great atmosphere especially on the patio when the weather is warm.
It’s hard to go wrong with Blue Copper coffee and homemade goodies. They feature unique gelato flavors, such as High West Stracciatella.  If the Southwest salad is available when you visit, order it.  You won’t regret it.
Best pizza in Salt Lake City.  Their homemade ricotta is heavenly.  I usually order pepperoni with ricotta or artichokes with cooked prosciutto.
Go for the beef rolls.  All I can say is delicious.
I could eat the salami sandwich for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It comes with salami, cheese, ice burg lettuce, vinegar, and tomato. While it’s not fancy, the ingredients shine and deliver an excellently balanced sandwich.
An artisan butchery. I go specifically for the smoked trout and salmon.
Homemade breads and baked goods.  If you’re a macaron lover, they have several unique flavors.
A local brewery that brews great bear. I especially enjoy the Random IPA and the Nemesis Pale Ale.
The bubble tea brings me immediately back to China.  The food is seemingly authentic as well.  The boiled wontons are the best in Salt Lake City.

 

Gnocchi

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Growing up, I loved eating at the Italian restaurant Michelangelo Ristorante in Salt Lake City. The dish I would always order? The gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce.  I haven’t eaten at Michelangelo’s for years, but I have never stopped dreaming of their truly decadent gnocchi.  Even though I’ve made gnocchi in the past, it had always turned out dense and doughy.  This time, I had my secret weapon: a potato ricer.  Man oh man did that make the different.  It resulted in light and fluffy gnocchi.  If you don’t have a potato ricer, no worries, you can use a cheese grater.  But if you are a true lover of all things Italian, I would highly suggest making the investment and buy one.

Recipe: Gnocchi

Prep Time: 5 minutes      Cook Time: 15-20 minutes     Serves: 6

Ingredients

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 8ths
3 eggs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Directions

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.  Drain and let cool.  Once they are cool enough to handle, squeeze through a potato ricer or grate up using a cheese grater.

In a medium sized bowl, combine grated potatoes, eggs, parmesan cheese, and salt.  I use my hands to mix so the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Add the flour and lightly combine.  Don’t knead the dough, just mix it enough so the flour is no longer visible.

On a floured surface, take about 1/6 of the potato mixture and dust with flour.  Roll out into a rope that is about 1/2 inch thick.  Take a sharp knife and cut off pieces that are roughly 1/2 inch long.  If your dough isn’t holding together, add a bit more flour and mix lightly.  The more you mess or knead the dough, the more flour you will have to add, which means denser and doughier gnocchi.

Repeat the previous paragraph with the rest of the dough.  If using immediately, place gnocchi in boiling water for about 90 seconds. Once the gnocchi float, they should be done.  If you aren’t using immediately, you can freeze them or place them covered in the refrigerator.

Top with your favorite sauce, parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

Dulce de Leche Brownies

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I made about 100 pieces of these brownies for my wedding reception. Was I a crazy bride or what?! Even after being surrounded by dulce de leche and chocolate for days, they were still one of my all time favorite desserts. You know what? They still are. Truly decadent, the dulce de leche adds a deep caramel flavor that makes these brownies different than any other you’ll have.

Recipe: Dulce de Leche Brownies

Prep Time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 40-45 minutes  Serves: 12 brownies

1 1/2 sticks butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (store bought or homemade – recipe follows)

Dulce de Leche Ingredients (Makes roughly 1 cup)

1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

Directions For Brownies

At medium heat and in a small sauce pan melt butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Stir entire time so the chocolate doesn’t burn.

Once the mixture has melted transfer to mixing bowl.  Add sugar, instant coffee granules, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Add dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Pour into a 9×9 baking dish that has been oiled or lined with aluminum. If you line with aluminum, spray the aluminum with oil as well.

Scoop large dollops of dulce de leche on top the brownie batter. Spacing the scoops evenly. Take a knife and drag it through the mixture to create swirls.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Let cool and enjoy!

Directions For Dulce de Leche

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour sweetened condensed milk into a 9×9 pyrex or shallow glass baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Place the baking dish within a larger 9×13 pyrex baking dish or roasting pan. Add hot water to the larger dish until it reaches about halfway up the smaller baking dish.

Bake for about 1 to 1 hour 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Mix until smooth and store in the refrigerator.

 

HSL Review

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Food:  Some hits include seeded crackers and snap pea salad.  Avoid the fried chicken with lentils and grilled broccoli.  Seasonal ingredients are used but comes with a high price tag.
Service: Attentive and helpful
Atmosphere: Large open room, plenty of natural light, and a modern meets vintage feel. During warm weather, the patio is a great option.
Location: 200 South 418 East

Ever since HSL opened, I’ve wanted to love it.  American food that focuses on seasonal ingredients is exactly up my alley.  I first went to HSL a year ago and left satisfied but not craving much of what I ate. This past weekend I went again, with an open mind, and left with roughly the same feelings.  Don’t get me wrong.  The food is tasty and well executed.  Conceptually, the items just don’t come together the way I wish they did.
Keep in mind, HSL offers seasonal items, so many of the dishes I ate are not available or won’t be available for long.
The Good
Seeded Cracker – served with pepper jelly, cream cheese mousse, and an herb salad.  Salty, sweet, spicy, and creamy.  It’s a great appetizer because it’s not heavy and provides enough for 2 people to have 2 full crackers.  The only component that didn’t work was the cracker itself.  It fell apart when touched, making it a bit difficult to eat.
Chicories & Broccoli with macrona almonds, dates, olive oil, and lemon juice.  The crunchy almonds combined with the earthy broccoli and sweet dates created a balanced and delicious combination.
Flatbread with HSL goat milk ricotta and aged balsamic.  According to the menu, it also has confit winter squash.  But I didn’t taste any squash.  Rather, I tasted pickled onions.  Who knows.  While the dish as a whole was on the sweeter side, the ricotta completely made the dish. Creamy and unctuous, I could eat the ricotta with a spoon.  The aged balsamic provided a depth and acidity the flatbread was needing.  It would be a great appetizer for a group or a meal for one.
Snap Pea Salad was fresh, crisp, and well seasoned.  A great side dish or main entree for a light dinner.
Honey Cake with sour cream, lime, honeycomb, and cassis.  Again, a solid but not mind-blowing dish. The cake was expertly made, moist and delicate.  The honey flavor was subtle, especially if you didn’t get honeycomb in your bite.  Overall, a nice ending to the meal.
The Mediocre
Fried Chicken and Lentils – I was curious about this dish because I love fried chicken but wasn’t sure how lentils would add to the dish. Unfortunately, they didn’t add much.  Actually, they detracted from the chicken.  A bit grainy and heavy, I had no need to eat more than the first few bites.  Even though I love fried chicken, the piece they used was too big.  It was about the size a soft ball, making the ratio of chicken to batter unequal..  On the positive side, the batter was seasoned perfectly and had a great crunch.
The Let Downs
Grilled Broccoli with pickled peppers, horseradish vinaigrette, HSL bacon, and hazelnuts.  Ian enjoyed this dish more than me.  I thought it tasted similar to a stir fry with a strong and unappetizing vinegar.  It reminded me of sherry vinegar, which isn’t my favorite flavoring.  While Ian didn’t mind the strong vinegar taste, he disliked the combination of broccoli and bacon.  Overall, it was an unappetizing looking and tasting dish.
Toasted Vanilla Bean Sundae, which came with lemon, rhubarb, cornmeal cake, and roasted white chocolate.  I love desserts.  I also love sundaes. So I was really excited about this dish.  Unfortunately, I was a complete let down.  The cornmeal cake was dry and the lemon overwhelmed all other flavors.
The Photos
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Toasted Vanilla Bean Sundae
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Honey Cake
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Fried Chicken & Lentils
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Flatbread
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Grilled Broccoli
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Seeded Crackers
Verdict
Even though I’ve enjoyed my meals at HSL, I’ve never left yearning to go back.  The 3 star rating results from the food often not quite coming together conceptually, such as the fried chicken and lentils.  Combined with high prices, I question if I would rather spend my money at Copper Kitchen or Current.  If you haven’t tried HSL, I wouldn’t shy away from it.  Rather, I would suggest eating one of the seasonal salads, flatbread, the popular, though I’ve never tried it, pork shank, and the honey cake. If you’re wanting a knock-out meal, I would suggest going elsewhere.

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Anyone who knows me knows that I could eat pasta most nights of the week.  Even though I love it simply made, just noodles, oil, and parmesan cheese, I also love to “amp” it up a bit by adding garlic and cherry tomatoes.  Here’s a simple but tasty recipe that could be made any day of the week without much work and will leave everyone satisfied.
Recipe: Cherry Tomato Pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Time: 15-20 minutes       Serves: 2 or 3
Ingredients
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup pasta water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound pasta
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
Directions
Cook pasta until al dente.  Boil pasta in salted water.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to boiling water. Read box for cooking instructions.  Reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water.
In the meantime, heat a large saute pan on medium.  Add oil, butter, and cherry tomatoes.  Cook until tomatoes are soft and cooked down, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and continue saluting for 1 minute.  Add cooked pasta, salt, and pasta water.  Continue cooking until pasta water has reduced, about 2 minutes.  Top with basil and parmesan cheese.  For extra measure, I add an extra pad of butter and some a bit more cheese.  This is completely optional but makes for even tastier pasta.
Enjoy!

Tradition

Food: A modern twist on classic comfort food, such as fried chicken, pigs in a blanket, and homemade pies.
Service: Excellent.  My server was April, who was welcoming, attentive, and patient.
Atmosphere: Bright with natural light, simple, modern, and clean. Seating is a bit too close for comfort.
Location: 501 E. 900 S. Salt Lake City, UT

Tradition, located next door to Beltex Meats and known for its comfort food, is a newbie restaurant in the Salt Lake food scene.  Having recently opened for dinner, I couldn’t wait to try it out.  Fortunately, even with relatively high hopes, I wasn’t let down.
The Good
The fried green tomatoes with cilantro almond pesto, chipotle aioli, and chili jam was a unique take on a traditional Southern classic.  The chipotle aioli provided a subtle smokey flavor and went beautifully with the earthy pesto and slightly sweet chili jam.  With a batter that was crunchy and not oily, I was one satisfied customer.
I was a little hesitant about the beet salad because honestly, how could a restaurant make a beet salad interesting or unique? Well, I was proven wrong.  The chefs at Tradition added capers and pistachios to the plate, which made this salad a total standout.  The capers added a great pop of salt and acidity, whereas the pistachios offered a crunch and nuttiness that balanced the sweetness of the beets.
Not to toot my horn too much, but I admit I make killer fried chicken. Thus,I have high expectations.  While I’m still on the fence with Tradition’s take, I will say I enjoyed the dish. What made their fried chicken different than any other I’ve had is the crust. It was slightly sweet and spicy.  At first, I poo-pooed it.  Thinking it was just a weird twist on something that should be classic, but then I found myself eating more and more until it was all gone. Apparently, there’s something strangely addicting with sweet, spicy, and salty chicken.  It certainly helped that the grits were filled with butter and cream, and the collard greens had a deep, meaty flavor.
Ian and I ordered two pies, the spiced cherry  and the peach.  Ian preferred the cherry whereas I preferred the peach.  However, both were excellent.  The cherry was tart and slightly sweet, and the peach had a nice kick of ginger.  For an additional $2 you can add a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
The Mediocre
Don’t get me wrong, the pigs in a blanket were tasty.  They just didn’t blow me away.  The thought of Beltex sausage, puff pastry, and various dipping sauces sounded like the perfect starter, but flavors fell flat.  It screamed for something spicy to offset the sweetness of the mustard.
The Let Downs
While the aesthetics, such as lighting, decorations, and seats were comfortable, the tables are placed too close together.  I often got distracted by my neighbors’ conversations, making me feel cramped.
The Food
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Peach Pie
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Cherry Pie
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Fried Green Tomatoes
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Pigs in a Blanket
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Beet Salad
The Verdict
If you’re in Salt Lake City and looking for a semi upscale restaurant that will leave you satisfied and want to go back, try out Tradition.  With its modern take on classic comfort food, it’s hard to go wrong. If a mid-day meal is more up your alley, stop by for lunch or for brunch. Also, during warmer months, patio seating is available.