25 July 2011

rico - farmers market edition

The place: Rico

What we hoped for: a delicious lunch and cold coke to finish off our weekly visit to the market.

What we got:
pork tamale

artichoke, asparagus, and cheese tamale
Mexican coke

You likely know from reading our blog that we are real suckers for good Mexican food, and Rico"s tamales didn't disappoint.  Their artichoke, asparagus, and cheese tamales are cooked in plantain leaves, rather than the traditional corn husks.  They practically melt in your mouth.  When paired with their fresh, delicious tomatillo salsa and an icy, cold Mexican coke, it is a lunch that will surely satisfy.  At $2.00 a tamale, it is a great cheap eat.  Rico also has a store on the corner of 800 S and 500 E and they are open for lunch.

Rico Mexican Market on Urbanspoon

21 July 2011

Dinner party at Vinto

The Place: Vinto Pizzaria (website)

On Tuesday we were invited to attend a dinner party at Vinto Pizzeria with several other Salt Lake food bloggers by the ever charming Becky Rosenthal of The Vintage Mixer.  We were able to sit with some wonderful, and very knowledgeable foodies including Heather King of SLC Lunches, Mike Hollopeter of Foodie from Scratch, and Ryan Kendrick of SLC Eats.

Our entire experience at Vinto was fabulous.  The owners and chefs were friendly. The entire restaurant was designed for efficiency.  The dishes were delicious.  The desserts were heavenly.  We feel that we can't give this a typical cheap eats review, because our six course meal comprised of thirteen dishes would certainly not fall in the under $10 category, however, I'm sure we'll be back soon so that we can review our cheaper dining experience.

A few highlights from our meal:

Sorrel soup with potato and cream

Grilled artichokes with wild arugula and shallot vinaigrette

Tuttabella pizza with housemade spicy sausage, caramelized onion, fresh tomato, garlic, roasted peppers, fontina, and fior di latte mozzarella

Patate pizza with sliced yukon potato, fontina and goat cheese, rosemary, wild arugula, and white truffle oil

Vanilla Gelato with Viola extra virgin olive oil and grey sea salt
Butterscotch Budino with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream - pure joy!

While our main goal of writing SLC Cheap Eats has been to inform people of great spots around the city, one of the other big goals was to try to get some free food out of this, so a huge thanks to the Vintage Mixer and Vinto Pizzeria.

If you haven't tried Vinto, you ought to.  You won't be disappointed.

27 June 2011

bana parte - farmer's market edition

The place: Bana Parte at the Salt Lake Farmer's Market

What we hoped for: another tasty, cheap Mediterranean place like O'Falafel at one of our favorite Salt Lake events.

What we got:
lamb kabob

grilled cheese


The pros: Very good smelling, fresh ingredients and fast service.  Plus they had red pepper spread and tasty beverages.

The cons: The preparation of the food.  The lamb was overcooked, the pita bread was very dry and should have been toasted, the cheese wasn't melted at all, and the menu said it included eggplant but it didn't.

Rating (changed for Farmer's Market)
Potential: 4.5 mo-mos.  We sure love Mediterranean food; especially lamb.  It was pretty, smelled good, had a good menu, great ingredients, and we had high hopes.
Taste: 2.5 mo-mos.  It turned out to be pretty average.  Perhaps they were too rushed with the crowd of the market, but we were disappointed with how they prepared things.  Overcooking things that shouldn't be, under cooking others.
Price: 3 mo-mos.  Our grilled cheese was $4 and our lamb kabob was $7.  Pretty average price.  We would have rated it higher, had the food been better.

Will we be back? Probably not.  There are many other places to try at the market, and only so many Saturdays until it ends.

15 June 2011

o' falafel

The place: 
O' Falafel (website)

What we hoped for: a tasty, cheap Mediterranean place.  We love places like Mazza and Layla Grill, but can't afford them too often.

What we had:
Beef Shwarma and Kifteh

The pros: Delicious sandwiches with fresh ingredients and wonderful spices.  The owner brought out free hummus and pita bread to our son, who was having a hard time.

The cons: The entrees, which sounded great, were a little out of our under $10 budget, but considering the type of food, the price was still reasonable.

What to get: We loved our sandwiches, but we'll be back to try some of the entrees like makhshi and mousakka.

Atmosphere: 4 mo-mos.  It's clean, has plenty of seating, and friendly staff.
Price: 3 mo-mos.  While some of the menu is a little higher than we like to pay, it is definitely cheaper than other Mediterranean restaurants.
Food: 4 mo-mos.  Fresh, flavorful, and healthy.  It was very good, and a nice change of pace restaurant.

Will we be back? Definitely.  There are many other dishes we would love to try.

O' Falafel on Urbanspoon

08 May 2011

Andinita Venezuelan Restaurant

The place: Andinita's Venezuelan Restaurant

What we hoped for: Something new. This is a time when we were eating out for the sake of eating out, and googled around for Latin American food.

What we had:

Ham and Cheese Patacone, which was a ham and cheese sandwich on fried plantains, with veggies (including avocado) and green sauce.

Pabellon Arepa, which was shredded beef, black beans, cheese, and sweet plantains on an almost pupusa-like bun.  This was grilled, but it's also served fried,

Plenty of cilantro based salsa (in the moclajete pot) and avocado sauce (in the squeeze bottle).

Inca Cola

The pros: Really, the arepa.  Everything was outstanding, but the arepa was the highlight.  Beans and plantains on a sandwich was really an epiphany for us.  The service was friendly, all the staff played around with our fussy kid to keep him calm, and it was fairly busy for a hidden strip mall gem.

The cons: There was no dessert other than a cake, which isn't really our style.  The ham itself on the sandwich was basically typical deli meat - beef might have been a better choice.  Really, that's all we can come up with.  Really, an all around great experience.

What to get: The arepas, but specifically the pabellon.  We'll try it again to give more recommendations.  The patacone was really good too.

Atmosphere: 4 mo mos.  The restaurant itself was clean and standard, but the staff was very very friendly and excited to please.  Our teenaged waiter made our kid laugh and the manager/owner came and talked to us several times and told us about the place.  Plus, having foreign soda is a nice touch.
Price: 4 mo mos.  The arepa was about $4 and the patacone was about $7.  The arepa was a steal at that price.
Food: 4.25 mo mos*.  We're not ready to give it 4.5, but it might go up after another visit.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Readers of this blog will know we like Latin American and Mexican food, and this keeps up with some of our other favorites.  We don't get to Taylorsville as often as we should (and we really ought to more often - there are several great spots there), but this is worth the drive.
*Subject to change.

Will we be back:
Absolutely. The beef patacone needs sampling and the pabellon arepa needs another try.

Venezolano Restaurante Andinitas on Urbanspoon

25 April 2011


The place: Scaddy's (website)

What we hoped for: A very tasty burger joint in SLC.

What we got: Scaddyburger combo and Scaddy egg burger.

The pros:  Scaddy's has a very extensive menu (breakfast, lunch/dinner, and dessert), despite what is listed on their website.  The burgers were pretty tasty, with a good bun, and Scaddy sauce (very similar to Hires and B&D).  The fresh cut fries were pretty good too.

The cons: It wasn't spectacular.  A pretty standard burger, especially for what I am paying for it.

What to get: The Scaddy egg burger was better than the regular Scaddyburger.  I'd recommend getting a burger with something added to it (like fried egg, bacon, guacamole) since the burgers are on a pretty big bun.

Rating: (1-5 mo-mos, 1 being the worst, 5 being the best)
Atmosphere: 3 mo-mos: Pretty standard fast food joint, but we did enjoy watching sports on the flat screens.
Price: 2 mo-mos: I'd be fine paying what I did if the burger was fantastic, but it seemed fairly expensive for a burger.
Food: 3.5 mo-mos: The burgers and fries were pretty tasty, but not as good as I was hoping.

Will we be back: Possibly.  It's a place we'd be fine going to if our friends wanted to go, but we probably won't be back on our own.

Scaddy's on Urbanspoon

24 April 2011


The place: Eva (website)

What we hoped for: slightly finer dining at a reasonable price.

What we had: 
Slow roasted tri-tip "bruschetta" and the fig and pig baker's pie
For dessert: doughnut holes and banana cake

Our friends tried Eva's pie and shrimp and grits

The Pros: Truly tasty food and unique flavors on each dish.  Friendly staff.  Felt like a nicer restaurant than our usual spots.The Cons:  We know it's known for it's small plates, but we could have used some larger portions.  Fairly limited seating, so you probably want to get reservations if you're going at peak times.What to get:  It all was very good and you probably can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but the fig and pig baker's pie was fabulous.  It was the right combination of sweet and savory.  Against our general recommendations, splurge and get dessert.Rating (1-5 mo-mos, 1 being the worst, 5 being the best)Atmosphere: 4 mo-mos: Very nice, charming restaurant.  It's a little tight but cozy.Price: 2 mo-mos: It was a good price for upscale food, but more expensive than we generally like to pay.Food: 4 mo-mos: It really was very good.  Very flavorful, nice presentation.
Will we be back? Yes.  Interested in trying the lunch menu.
Eva on Urbanspoon

10 April 2011

Navajo Hogan

The place: Navajo Hogan (website)

What we hoped for: 
The restaurant to actually be open (and a tasty Navajo taco).

What we had:

green chili Navajo taco


sweet fry bread

The pros: 
The actual fry bread is delicious.  It is the best Navajo taco you will find in SLC.  Both of our main dishes were very good and the owners were friendly.

The cons:
It's hard to ever find it open.  We have tried to go many times before with no luck, but we hear they are open pretty regularly for lunch and evenings during the week.  There isn't a lot of creativity on the menu.  We found that the burrito was the exact same thing as the Navajo taco, only the fry bread was folded in half.

What to get:
You absolutely must try their sweet fry bread.  Imagine a churro and a scone got married and had a beautiful baby and smothered it in honey butter.  Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.  The Navajo tacos are also very delicious, topped with beans, beef, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and cheese.  Add a little of their tasty salsa and you have a great and very filling meal.

Urban Spoon users: are basically right, but not too many people know about it.

Rating (1-5 mo-mos, 1 being the worst, 5 being the best)

Atmosphere: 2.5 mo-mos: The place looked clean and has quite a bit of seating, but it's nothing too exciting.
Price (main course): 3.5 mo-mos: It's just under $6.00 for a Navajo taco.  Not the cheapest thing to eat, but you get a lot of tasty food for the price.

Food (main course): 4 mo-mos: It's a nice change of pace meal.  Not something to eat every day, but a good dish to add to the line up.
Price (dessert): 5 mo- mos: $1.89 for pure heaven.
Food (dessert): 5 mo-mos: Can we stress any more how delicious the sweet fry bread was?  We are adding this to our exclusive SLC Shawsome Spots club.  Go get one, now!  Though they probably aren't open.

Will we be back? You bet!  Especially for dessert.

Navajo Hogan on Urbanspoon

03 April 2011

Cafe Shambala

The Place: Cafe Shambala

What we expected: Like Vito's, we know what we're getting into.  Tibetan food, which we can best describe as a slightly lighter Chinese, heavier on veggies, and much much tastier.

What we got: Thanks to our language barriers and our adventurous spirits, we've ended up with most everything here at one point or another.  There's one or two things to get every time.  Otherwise, whatever you want.

The pros: It's truly fabulous.  If you get take out or take home leftovers, the smell lingers in your car for a couple days, reminding you of the joy you experienced previously.  It's right next door to Hatch's so you can get an ice cream after.  It's not all that busy, so getting a table isn't hard.  The food always tastes a little different, so you don't get sick of it.  Saying "Shambala" is fun.  The staff is very friendly.

The cons: It's hard to decide what to order.  If you're picky, you may be in trouble because they get your order wrong sometimes since they don't speak great English.  If you like an adventure, that's a pro.  It's cheap, but not super cheap.

What to get: Veggie fried mo-mos.  Make sure not to order the meat ones or the non-fried ones.  They're good, but what you want is the veggie fried mo-mos.  7 come on a plate, and you want at least 3 1/2, so order a plate for two of you.  And then another plate to take home.  We can't say enough about veggie fried mo-mos.  We rate all other food in comparison to mo-mos.

Chicken chow mein is probably the next best thing.  Beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, chili chicken, fingsha, etc. etc.  They're legit.  There are many vegan and vegetarian options as well, which have been good. But we eat more meat.

(Half eaten chicken chow mein) 

(Veggie fried mo-mos and sauce from the outside)

(Veggie fried mo-mos from the inside)

(Sweet and sour chicken and rice)

Urban Spoon users: Are basically right.  But it's better than they say.

Ratings (1-5 mo-mos (see, mo-mos!), 5 is the best):
Price: 3 mo mos. It's a good deal, but like a lot of this kind of food, it's not as cheap as a sandwich or a burrito.  The bigger issue is that we end up ordering enough for a couple days of leftovers.
Atmosphere: 3.5 mo mos. It's pretty okay.  Clean and friendly, and nice to get to the aves from time to time.  Being next door to Hatch's doesn't hurt their rating.
Food: 5 mo mos. This is only the second 5 we have on here, and we don't have another one in mind.  If we weren't opposed to people giving ratings higher than the scale, we'd give this a 5.5.  But we are opposed to that.

Will we be back:
Seriously?  Of course.  This is one of the most elite members of the already elite SLC Shawsome Spots club.

Cafe Shambala on Urbanspoon


The place: Vito's

What we hoped for: Well, really, we knew what we were getting.  One of us eats here weekly since it's close to work.  Weekly, we hope for a good sandwich at a great price and, if we're lucky, nice enough weather to sit outside and enjoy it.

What we've had: Almost everything.  The Philly is the classic and there are several variations of it (cream cheese, mushroom, deluxe, garlic, Italian, etc.).  The meatball is great.  The reuben and the Italian sausage are nice change of pace sandwiches.  Lots of people like the pastas, but we're not people that eat pasta at a sandwich cart.


(Alfredo Philly)

(Italian Philly)

(Cream Cheese Philly)

The pros: Price to value is hard to beat.  For ~$5, you get an overflowing 6 inch sandwich, chips, and a soda.  And in a county that's lacking in good, quick lunches, it's the hit of Davis County.  It's cash only, which helps keep yuppies away.

The cons: Only open for lunch, which is too bad.  In the winter, he's only open Tues-Friday.  If you get there after noon, the line fills up with high schoolers, so it's not quick.  And if you're one of those people that don't trust the cleanliness of a food cart, this might not be your place.  But if you're one of those people, stop reading this blog.

What to get: Permission from your boss to eat here often.  The first time you go, you should probably eat the Philly.  But after that, you need to have tried the cream cheese Philly, the meatball, the Italian sausage, the reuben, and whatever Philly variation you want.

Urban Spoon users: Are just getting to know it.  And I kind of don't like the publicity it's getting there (and here), because the line is bad enough already.

Ratings (1-5 mo mos.  5 is the best):
Price: 4.5 mo mos.  Extra drinks are a buck, which is the only thing keeping this at 4.5 instead of 5.  Two can happily eat for $10 total.
Atmosphere: 4.  If you like eating outside, like we do, and like you should, this is a great good-weather spot.  The downside is the line at times and there aren't enough tables - but you can just pull up a curb or open your trunk.
Food: 4.5.  Sometimes the bun is a little too soft.  But really, it's hard to complain about anything here.  This is a legitimately good sandwich.

Will we be back:
Every Wednesday for lunch for one of us.  Slightly less often for the other.  One of the very few places we eat at somewhat regularly.  It's a SLC Shawsome Spots club member.

Vito's on Urbanspoon