My Dining Group’s Delicious Dining Journey

Two years ago I started developing a love for eating out and I was craving it more and more. I mean, what’s not to love? Someone else cooks for me, serves me, and cleans up after me. All I have to do is sit on my tush, eating and visiting.

During this same time, I was also wanting to become a little more adventurous with food. I’m a recovering super picky eater and wanted to get past that inclination a little more.

One day, I got the sudden idea to ask on Facebook if anyone wanted to start a dining group with me. I had a huge response! It seemed ladies were hungry for a night out. After the first couple of months, the group whittled down to four stalwart members. We didn’t know each other well at the beginning of this little adventure but are now proud to call each other dear friends. I love these girls.

We are celebrating our TWO-YEAR anniversary and I can hardly believe how that’s even possible. We’ve enjoyed 23 amazing meals together while talking and laughing and being brave trying new flavors. We order anything that sounds good and eat it all family style.
In honor of our anniversary, I’ve excitedly made a list of all the terrific (and less terrific) places we’ve eaten along with a few brief notes on each. I also describe my personal standout dishes, with the help of online menus (My memory is good but not THAT good). Doing this helped me remember all the fun we’ve had restaurant hopping.

Feel free to use this list as a reference for your own dining pleasure. Just click on the links for more info. One thing, be aware that menus change so you may not have the exact eating experience we had but that’s okay. It’s all in good fun and good food!

Aristo’s

Greek. Good ambience. Everyone liked it but I had been wanting to eat here forever and it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. 
Kolokithakia (fried zucchini chips served with garlicky skordalia)

Native American flavors located in Provo. Loud. 
Green Chile Pork Navajo Taco (braised pork, green chile sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, crema, tomato, red onion, cilantro, served with cilantro-lime rice and black sheep pinto beans)
Prickly Pear Lemonade
Orange Habanero Creme Brulee (We are all STILL raving about this dessert. It was that good.)

The Copper Onion

So good. One of our favorites.
Brussels Sprouts (shredded and roasted. This was the first time I’d ever tried brussels sprouts and I was easily won over!)
The Copper Onion Burger (Our favorite burger of the whole two years!)
Steak Strogonoff
Chocolate Dessert (It’s not on the menu anymore and I can’t remember exactly what it was but I do remember it was delish.)

Caffe Molise

Great ambience on the outdoor patio with live music.
Ravioli con Zucca (butternut squash ravioli in a garlic brown butter sauce topped with asiago cheese and balsamic reduction. We were licking the plate!)
Pappardelle al Sugo (house-made fresh pappardelle tossed with a savory, slow-cooked sauce of pork and beef with tomatoes, topped with asiago)

Alamexo

Cool place. Hip vibe.
Chicken (It’s not on their menu anymore so I don’t know exactly what it was but everyone on the table was spooning up the sauce and eating it like soup. I’m guessing it was either a pistachio or almond mole?)

Oteo

Known for gourmet tacos. We also came to try their well-known cronuts but we were all somewhat disappointed with them.
Apple appetizer (This isn’t on the menu anymore so I don’t have a good description but it was quite tasty.)

Cedars of Lebanon

The food was good. We were entertained by a belly dancer and needed to pass the Hookah room to get to the restroom. 
Homous (smooth puree of chickpeas mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. I never liked hummus until I tried it here.)
Chicken Pastilla (thin fillo dough folded around tender pieces of chicken in a sweet yet tangy curry sauce and topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar)

East West Connection

Not my favorite restaurant.
No standout dishes.

Eva Small Plates and Drinks

I loved this restaurant! One of my tops.
Slow Roasted Wagyu Steak Bruschetta (lemon, parmesan, aioli, raddichio)
Steak (The steak on the bruschetta was so good we decided we needed more.)
Spinach and Potato Gnocchi (white wine cream sauce, peas, mushrooms, parmesan, truffle oil. This is where I first tried truffle oil. Mmmm.

Finca

Really dark and stylish decor and ambience. This is where I first tried saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. I didn’t get it…maybe it wasn’t good quality as it didn’t seem to have any flavor. I think this is also where I tried salmon roe (eggs). It didn’t taste like anything, either.  
Figs (If I remember right, these were stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. Really good.)

Takashi (No Website)

I had my first taste of sushi in a very long time and I almost lost my stomach on the table. Yikes. Suffice it to say, not my favorite restaurant. However, their tempura veggies were pretty good.

The Dodo Restaurant

Fun place in Sugarhouse.
Baked Cream Cheese and Crackers (baked cream cheese, marinated in soy sauce, breaded with toasted sesame seeds. Served with apple and Asian pear slices and crackers)
Beef Stroganoff (tender beef tips in a creamy mushroom sauce with fettuccini topped with sour cream and scallions)

Tosh’s Ramen

I kept hearing about how authentic ramen tastes amazing. It was good…but just ramen. I didn’t get the hype.
No standout dishes.

Martine

This place felt pretty pretentious…like an ivy league eatery.
Split Pea Soup (Heads above any other split pea I’ve ever tasted. It was light and smooth.)
Elk Shank (Another first time taste for me and I loved it.)

Neapolitan-style pizza. This was one of our first restaurants and I don’t remember what we ordered but I do remember it was tasty.
Involtini di Prosciutto (prosciutto crudo wrapped around baby arugula and goat cheese topped with goat cheese, shaved parmigiano-reggiano, red wine vinaigrette)

Oooh. This was good. We loved everything we ordered.
Chicken Marsala (pan-seared chicken breast sautéed with black truffle, crimini mushroom, and marsala wine. Served with fresh fettuccine, baby vegetables and topped with crispy speck and shaved parmesan. I’m a sucker for chicken marsala and this one did not disappoint!)
Wild Boar Agro Dolce (wild boar braised with apricots, onion, carrots, and currants then slow cooked in white wine, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Served over creamy polenta and topped with manchego cheese. Both the boar and polenta were first tries for me and it was all sooo good. The fresh green beans were the best I can remember tasting. Plus, who doesn’t like manchego cheese?) 
Bread Pudding (chocolate flavored and topped with caramel, creme Anglaise, and fresh berries. An award winning recipe and I could taste why! This was different than any other bread pudding I’ve ever had and I liked it all the better. It was more compressed, kind of like a cake. I had to really hold myself back from licking the plate.)

Very hearty breakfast food. They close at 2pm so there’s no breakfast for dinner option. Bummer.
Breakfast Nachos (two eggs served on top of house fried tortilla chips, smothered in our house made pork chili verde sauce and topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream. It was good but the chips got soggy pretty quickly. Rob and I went back just the other day and got the Pork Chili Verde Skillet and it was amazing!)

Pig and a Jelly Jar

A cute neighborhood place that does serve breakfast for dinner. Known for their chicken and waffles but we didn’t partake.
Waffles (belgian waffle topped with fresh fruit, house jam, and lemon curd. I loved the lemon curd and the fruit was so perfectly ripe.)
Fried Green Tomatoes (house buttermilk batter, salt and pepper, sriracha aioli. Oily, but good. I never thought I’d like these but I did!)
Beignets (puff pastry, powdered sugar, blueberry lavender jam. The beignets were only ok but the jam was really nice.)

This place has won a couple of Best of State awards but we only thought it was fine.  They also make their own ketchup from scratch but I thought it tasted a little weird. I tried beets for the first time and didn’t care for them.
Risotto Cake (with wild arugula, roasted bell pepper sauce)

Bombay House

Indian. Home-cooked comfort food.
Peshawari Naan (Indian bread stuffed with a mix of coconut, raisins, and cashews. Baked in tandoor. I could eat a lot of this. It is the perfect amount of sweetness.)

Sweet Ginger (No Website)

Chinese dive in Midvale. Supposedly very authentic. One of our least favorite dinners.
No standout dishes.

Bake 360

Good for brunch and European pastries.
Croque Monsieur (ham, gruyere, tomato, sourdough, bechamel)

Pricey but it was our two-year celebratory dinner so we splurged. 
Heirloom Tomato Starter (fresh mozzarella, citrus ricotta, gremolata, basil, Saba (cooked grapes over a fire making make the main ingredient in balsamic vinegar), smoked sea salt. I loved this dish. I could’ve had a couple more helpings of it.)
Pasta Carpaccio (ricotta, cucumbers, oil-cured olives, radish, sunflower sprouts, Banyuls vinegar, flowers. This wasn’t a dish I really liked much but it was definitely one of the prettiest and most interesting!)

Well, that’s everything I can remember! I’ll bet my next meal that your hungry now!

Thanks, dining group buddies (dining groupies??), for going on this amazing journey with me. Here’s to another fabulous two years of food feats and friendship!!

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