Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pastrami Burger at Crown Burgers

Piles of pastrami on top of a hamburger is the way they make burgers at Crown Burgers in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The burger at Crown Burgers has thinly-sliced grilled pastrami on a charbroiled hamburger patty. The pastrami is lean and grilled nicely. And there's lots of it as you can see in these pictures. This is a very meaty and tasty burger.

There's plenty of fry sauce (ketchup, mayo, and relish) to dip your french fries into.

I first saw Crown Burgers on Man Vs. Food with Adam Richman on The Travel Channel.

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Sweet and Savory Kolaches at Hruska's Kolaches

Strawberry kolache at Hruska's Kolaches in Provo, Utah
Strawberry kolache at Hruska's Kolaches in Provo, Utah
I'm getting closer to my home in California, but still looking for unique and tasty things to eat. Which I absolutely found this morning at Hruska's Kolaches in Provo, Utah.

So what's a kolache? Wikipedia says "a kolach is a type of pastry that holds a dollop of fruit rimmed by a puffy pillow of supple dough." But at Hruska's bakery, they take it beyond a sweet danish and turn it into a breakfast meal, with many meat and cheese combinations to choose from. Their menu changes daily.

The dough is wonderful. It's fresh, soft, and airy. It has a buttery flavor that reminds me of the butteriness of a croissant, without any of the greasiness. Unlike a croissant, kolach dough chewy and moist. Sort of a cross between a fresh baguette and a croissant, but definitely with it's own unique taste. And they hold up well throughout the day -- I kept one for a late night snack, and it was still fresh and chewy.

Lots of strawberry filling
Bacon, cheese, and jalapeno kolach at Hruska's Kolaches
TIP: Get there early! Hrusha's closes when they sell out, and there was already a line at 7:30 on a weekday when I was there.

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Hruska's Kolaches on Urbanspoon

Salad and Sandwich Combo at Zoup!

I like to try regional chains that we don't have back in California. Maybe someday they will be the next McDonald's, but usually they are something unique and definitely worth giving a try. By a "regional chain" I mean more than just a couple of locations -- usually these have dozens or hundreds of locations. Some of the other regional chains I've tried on this trip are Blake's Lotaburger, Whataburger, and White Castle.

As I was driving through Grand Junction, Colorado on my circuitous return home from Philadelphia, I stopped in at Zoup! which also has locations in the Midwest in and East (check out their web site for locations).

One thing I noticed right off is how friendly the staff is. They ask if you've been there before, invite you to sample as many of the soups as you like, and explain the menu. (Why doesn't every place do that??)

With 10 soups to choose from, with most of them changing every day, I'm glad they offered me some samples. One in particular that was very good was the lobster bisque (in fact, that is offered every day).

One way to enjoy Zoup! is to get the combo, which is any two of: soup, half sandwich, and half salad. I had tried plenty of soup samples so I had the American Farm sandwich, and the Chicken Toscana salad.

The half salad is a very generous size, and I image the normal size must be very filling. The American Farm salad is romaine, spring mix, cucumbers, celery, mozzarella and tomatoes with Ranch dressing on the side. All of the greens were fresh and I liked it.

The Chicken Toscana is grilled chicken, provolone, roasted red peppers, marinated red onions and basil mayo. The sandwich is on a fresh, toasted baguette. The cheese is melted and I enjoyed this sandwich a lot.

Fresh, fast, and friendly -- that's a good combo!

Zoup! reminds me a lot of Soup Nation in Eugene, Oregon which was recently on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Both have many soups to choose from, and offer salads and soups to go along with them. And both are really good.

Zoup! on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Indian Taco at Tocabe

Is there such a thing at Native American fast food? There is in Denver at Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery.

The setup is similar to Chipotle: start at one end of the serving bar, and pick the base of your dish. Then slide over for the beans and meat, and slide over again for the salsa and other toppings.

I had fry bread, chicken, pinto beans, and hominy salsa on my Indian taco. This is really good!
Iko's Green Chili Stew is full of ground beef, sweet corn, green chiles. It's spicy and delicious.

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St. Paul sandwich at Old St. Louis Chop Suey

St. Paul sandwich is egg foo yong inside two slices of plain bread with mayo, lettuce, and a pickle
The St. Paul sandwich is egg foo yong inside two slices of plain bread with mayo, lettuce, and a pickle
For something unique, visit St. Louis for a sandwich called the St. Paul. This is egg foo young (or is it egg foo yong?) inside plain bread with mayo, lettuce, and pickles. I had a couple: beef, and also the special (shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork).

Let’s face it: the St. Paul is not a good-looking sandwich. But what it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in taste.

Legend has it was named after the city where its creator was born.

Everyone gets their St. Paul to go.
You can find the St. Paul in many Chinese restaurants in town. I went to Old St. Louis Chop Suey where everyone was getting their sandwiches to go.

Old St Louis Chop Suey on Urbanspoon

Pretzel Sandwich at Gus' Pretzels

The pretzel at Gus' Pretzels in St. Louis
The pretzel at Gus' Pretzels in St. Louis
Gus' Pretzels in St. Louis makes warm, fresh pretzels. But why just get a pretzel when you can get it wrapped around a sausage and call it a pretzel sandwich?

At Gus', walk in and order, then take it to go. There's no seating but there's plenty of parking and a couple of parks around the block.

Salsiccia pretzel sandwich is delicious with plenty of fennel seeds
Bratwust pretzel sandwich
And for dessert -- the cinnamon sugar pretzel. It's served hot and it's sweet.
Gus' Pretzels reminds me of the Center City Pretzel Company in Philadelphia -- you can't beat a fresh pretzel!

Pretzels and beer are a great combo -- and the brewery is right across the street!
TIP: Closed on Mondays.

Gus' Pretzels on Urbanspoon

Concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

The Concrete at Ted Drewes is too thick to drip
A St. Louis tradition since 1929, Ted Drewes serves frozen custard in many flavors. Custard is different from ice cream because it has a lot less air so it's thicker and creamier. It also has less butterfat than ice cream, but you would never know since custard tastes creamier than ice cream.

You can get the frozen custard in a sundae, but I got the concrete which is Ted Drewes' custard made into a milkshake. I got cookie dough which was full of lots of cookie dough chunks.

Don't be put off by the long line, because there are many windows and they keep things moving. I was there on a rainy day and even then it was crowded! This is a popular place.

Ted Drewes is located on Historic Route 66
Ted Drewes reminds me of the frozen custard at Caliche's in Las Cruces. Both are creamy and delicious, and both places have a huge menu to pick from.

I found Ted Drewes in 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them which is one of my go-to foodie books. You can buy it on Amazon (and I highly recommend it):

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard as seen on Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate and Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel.

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