Posts Tagged ‘pork belly’
165 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
I suppose it’s strange to review a hot dog place without having had a hot dog, but here I go anyway.
I had two bánh mì sandwiches: the pork belly and the beef. Short version: pretty tasty, with some dizzying highs and a few low spots.
To start with, the proteins were a definite high. Given my lifelong vendetta against pigs, it’s no surprise that the pork belly was my favorite. Even bad pork belly can be pretty good, but this was spot on: crispy edges, nicely rendered, with plenty of lean and just a kiss of honey. The beef wasn’t quite as good, though it was tender and tasty as well. I can’t say that I got much miso flavor, but the taste of beef has a tendency to sit on top of and squash some spices, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that something as delicate as the flavor of miso. The pork belly awesomeness made the meal, though.
The chipotle aioli added a bit of creamy, though not much else. Things are going to go downhill from here, too, so you can look at those four stars and know that the pork belly was responsible for most of that.
The bread was ill-suited for the challenges of the sandwich, and was a soggy mess by the time I ate my sandwich. Either a crispier, more traditional product is in order, or at least a bit of toasting. The daikon and carrot had clearly had some sort of quick pickle on it at some point, as it was in that familiar territory between cooked and crisp, but there was zero acid and also no sweet, both of which are notes that are typical in this kind of veg. I really missed both, but the acid in particular. Also missing was the usual pate, which if it’s the traditional chicken liver with a dash of cognac, can also add a bit of acid and give the palate a break.
Prices are expensive: $5.75 per sandwich. With better bread, pickled veg, and some pate, I’d have had no problem paying that price for the pork belly sandwich, so it’s not incredibly far off the mark.
Bánh mi options are scarce downtown; you’re either paying artisanal prices at Copper Onion or heading east to catch Lewis Bros. on the U campus. If I was craving a Vietnamese sandwich and was downtown, I’d brave the non-optimal parts and have another pork belly. Were the pickles and bread right, though, I can see this becoming a frequent and joyful stop for me during Sundance.
May 18, 2010
Just outside Broadway Centre Cinemas
I ate at The Copper Onion for the second time last night. Bottom line: I like.
Having really enjoyed their house-made pappardelle with pork ragout the last time I was there in January, I was tempted to order another pasta dish. Carbonara always sounds good to me, but since I’m trying to drop a few pounds, I figured I’d do something lighter.
Whether I accomplished this by getting the griddled halibut, I’m not sure. The first was straight ahead: perfectly cooked fish, a rarity in landlocked Utah, with a light, crisp crust of very fine cornmeal. The fish is served on a bed of dark-green herb spaetzle which has a vibrant red, mildly spicy piquillo vinaigrette around it as a sauce. And, to push things over the top, as well as add a really welcome unctuous note, a few chunks of grilled pork belly scatted around. The overall look of the plate is all fish, all the time, which is how I want my seafood entree. Although the menu said the dish came with market vegetables, they didn’t appear on my plate, unless they were somehow disguised cleverly, hiding in the spaetzle.
Dessert, on the other hand, was a disaster. What was sold as an apple cobbler was really more of an apple crisp, and light on the crisp: only half a dozen very small clusters of oats sprinkled over my bowl of limp, dead-tasting apples with a scant half-scoop of vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce.
I love dessert to an unnatural degree, so it’s a strong recommendation when I say that I’ll go back to Copper Onion despite that apple cobbler. I’ll skip dessert next time, though, in favor of a two-block walk to Bayleaf Cafe or maybe take the short drive straight up Third South to
where dessert nirvana awaits in the form of the vanilla gaufre, a dense, moist confection served hot off the iron. Although Bruges sells the lighter liege waffle that I was more familiar with, they cannot hold a candle to these small, dense little jewels. Owner Pierre Vandamme has blessed Salt Lake City with a real gem here. They sell frites and a variety of dipping sauces sure to stretch the palate of we living in The Land of Fry Sauce. But, for me, this place is all about dessert. Although they offer ice cream, berries, and chocolate as potential toppings, after maybe a dozen of the things with topping combinations from plain to smothered, I go back to the simple vanilla waffle with creme fraiche. If I really feel the need for a change, I’ll maybe do the cinnamon instead.